What’s next in the Russia-West crisis over Georgia?

August 26, 2008

South Ossetian servicemen fire their weapons and wave South Ossetian (C) and Russian flags as they celebrate Russia's recognition of their state as an independent state in Tskhinvali August 26, 2008. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced on Tuesday that Moscow had decided to recognise two rebel regions of Georgia as independent states, setting it on a collision course with the West. REUTERS/Sergei KarpukhinThe people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia were celebrating on Tuesday after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree recognising the independence of the two regions. 

Western leaders responded with harsh words. U.S. President George W. Bush said it increased world tensions and Britain called for “the widest possible coalition against Russian aggression in Georgia,” where the two regions lie. 

But what can the West do to punish Russia or discourage it from any similar acts in the future? 

Military action has never been a realistic option since Russia sent tanks and troops to halt Georgia’s assault on South Ossetia. United Nations sanctions are also out of the question because Russia ihas the right of veto on the U.N. Security Council.

Major powers are also reluctant to do anything that might encourage Moscow to withdraw its help with U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme and transit support for NATO forces in Afghanistan. 

Retaliation could involve Russian membership of the big international clubs: excluding Russia from the Group of Eight (G8) top industrial democracies or blocking its bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

ssian troops on an armoured personnel carrier move past a Georgian police officer (L) stationed at a checkpoint in Mosabruni, a village just inside South Ossetia, August 26, 2008. Georgian police withdrew from the disputed village of Mosabruni on the border of South Ossetia after Russian forces moved into it, a Reuters reporter at the scene said on Tuesday. Police, which manned checkpoints in the village where government troops faced South Ossetian separatists in a tense stand-off for several days, left and moved deeper into Georgian territory after Russian tanks and armoured personnel carriers rolled into Mosabruni. REUTERS/Adrees LatifBut any action will be carried out with the nagging thought at the back of Western leaders’ minds – Moscow is no longer the economic basket-case of Soviet times and, riding a tide of petrodollars from soaring oil prices, western Europe depends on Russian oil and gas.

Russian leaders have signalled they are not troubled by the Western reaction, partly because the Kremlin sees strong public support at home for its actions in Georgia and in the stand-off with the West, and partly because of the wealth it now has from its natural resources.

When NATO suspended activities with Russia, Moscow responded with a shrug of the shoulders, saying it was also freezing activities with the defence alliance. Moscow also plans to halt visits by senior NATO officials and joint military exercises with the alliance.

The European Union could, in theory, send in peacekeepers or break off talks with Russia over a wide-ranging strategic partnership, or even announce economic sanctions such as curbing existing trade arrangements. Moscow has shown no sign of concern over this - such moves would risk Moscow cutting energy supplies to Europe.Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev makes a statement at the presidential residence at the Black Sea resort of Sochi August 26, 2008. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, defying U.S. pressure, said on Tuesday he had signed a decree recognising two rebel regions of Georgia as independent states

“Nothing scares us, including the prospect of a Cold War, but we don’t want it,” Medvedev said on Monday. “In this situation, everything depends on the position of our partners.”            

Does Russia have the upper hand? Perhaps. But despite the talk about a Cold War, there are also reasons to believe it is not about to start and that conflict can be contained.

Moscow’s confidence and strength rests largely on high prices for energy and other natural resources and it is still a far cry from the military force it was in Soviet times. Moscow also no longer controls large swathes of eastern and central Europe and no longer has the huge influence it once enjoyed in other parts of the world. The Kremlin is also likely to be concerned about investment flows into Russia, which ratings agency Fitch says could be affected by the rising tensions. 

Mikhail Kasyanov, a former Russian prime minister turned Kremlin opponent, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying Moscow’s decision was “one more step towards the self-isolation of the Russian Federation from the international community.”

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes isolation is not looming for Russia: ”I don’t believe this should really be a doomsday scenario. I believe common sense should prevail.” 

42 comments

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My “conspiracy theory”: the unusually harsh reaction from Washington and the very fact that Washington permitted (although with warning) Saakashvili to proceed with the attack on S. Osetia is based on calculation that the classic cold war-style confrontation with Russia should benefit McCain, the man “ready for command”, the one that has no doubt who is right and who is the evil. Where is the nuke-em button, time to fight the evil… So, if this is the case, forget about the little new democracy, forget about the US-educated dictator wanna-be, Saakashvili, they just want their boy McCain in the office! And sure, we saw his polls surging in recent days. If this theory is correct, then we should see more confrontation through November. Next thing you know – the ships will start colliding, the fighters will start targeting each other and the diplomats will get expelled. What can we do? Yes, it’s that important. What puzzles than, why British are so furious??? Someone need to explain me.

Posted by Ostap | Report as abusive

By recognizing two break-away georgian regions Kremlin
has completed palestinization of Caucasus
So what heppened on a night of so called Georgian attack
2 weeks before heavily armored divisions of russian contractor army already was sitting at the other side of
Rocki tonnel,and russian genereals were still recrutting
pardoned former chechen out-lows to join OMON which was later used to cleanse ethnic georgians in ossetian villages..
So georgian side responded,which triggerd start of russian revenge plan in action.
Here is tiny Georgia facing blind fury of neocons whothirst the blood of west for Kosovo,for lost baltics,
eastern EUrope,may be you dear Ledies and gentelmen
forgot,but Putin didn’t
He said:Kosovo is stick w/2 ends and one will hit somebody’s head very soon.And it did,unfortunatly
it ricocheted in Georgia!
So what do we georgians do about it – ruined towns and
villages,innocent civillian lives,thousends of displaced
georgians,port in ruins and russia “peacetaker” forces
digging tranches in my home town of Poti 200 km away from
Ossetia.
- What West is going to do about it,wait for Russia to
hit Ukraine maybe Poland,mmm,I don’t know what will heart
West more.The monster is on rise and hungry,so watch out.
When you deal w/Russia common sense has 0 chance to prevail

Posted by Nana | Report as abusive

Why British are so furious?Because they know very well
what putin and his team w/marionet Medvedev are reaching
for.And stop dragging Mccain or Zionsts or Kosovo w/Irak
and Iran into this.THe fact is that in 18 century history of christianity in Georgia Russians are only
christians who invaded Georgia twice,I don’t count invasion by 11-th red army in 1921.West’s biggest mistake
was to include Russia in democratic world,there is not a single bone in gigantic body of russia and never was.
Hou can russian army keep peace anywhere after what they
did in Poland,Finland,Prague,Hungary,Afganistan  ,Tbilisi
in april of 1989,Chechnia,Beslan,Nord-Ost.THe definition
of freedom and democracy is taken out of russian vocabulary substituted by FORCE,HATRED,POWER,PUNISHMENT
press belongs to goverment,FSB controls hearts and minds
of russia,I wonder if Putin still keeps statue of “iron
Felix”on his desk.How many jurnalists and reportes were
killled in russia in last 8 years.Ostap,as you already
guessed I’m georgian and I know you are Russian.I want to
be clear – When I say russia – I don/t mean Russian People,Putin is not face of the nation I have greatest respect for.Russians my friends,relatives,just for the regular guy or girl in the streets of Moscow.But what
kremlin is doing in Georgia Is Occupation of sovereign
country w/attempt to annex and mirotvorcami tam i ne paxnet.

Posted by Nana | Report as abusive

Hello from Russia! Look at you, your polition leadear broke internationall law each time when it’s necessary for them. Like it was in Kosovo. NATO anigilate whole country without any reason (former Yuogoslavia). You hahe no wrigt no blame us. It’s our own deal.

Posted by Eugene | Report as abusive

Yeah, well if the United States can say that they did right by freeing Kosovo since they wanted it, Well why can’t Russia do the same for Ossetia,and Abkhazia? Georgia can’t say that it’s wrong if they agreed with recognizing the freedom of Kosovo. That’s double standards, and now that they are loosing land as well, it don’t look so wonderful anymore. LOL Georgia should feel sorry for Serbia now… they know how they feel.

Posted by Zach | Report as abusive

I would really like to see those “western leaders” disapproving Medvedev’s recognition of S. Ossetia and Abkhasia saying with straight face: “NO freedom and independence for Ossetians and Abkhasians”. And see how their electorate reacts to this.

Posted by Egor | Report as abusive

LOL, my bad georgia doesnt recognize Kosovo independence… Still, Serbia and Georgia both got the shaft.

Posted by Zach | Report as abusive

10 interceptor missiles in Poland by 2012, another 10 by 2015, then a few years later the site manned by 100 US servicemen may conceal nuclear missiles. Who in their right mind would trust Texan republican neo-con rednecks after they invaded the sovereign country of Iraq under false pretenses with no UN mandate and caused the deaths of over 100,000 civilians??? The US has 750 foreign military war bases around the world controlled by GW Bush a man with an IQ of 92. Doesn’t anyone believe that is a little dangerous. The president of Georgia was trained by the US CIA and came to power through the so called Rose revolution instigated by US billionaire George Soros. Russia basically would like to live in peace and not be encircled by US missiles or US militiamen in Georgia. I believe that’s a fair call, especially considering the US feels the same way. But now we are going to witness a massive unstoppable nuclear arms race. Russia will install nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad, Belarus, Syria and Iran. What if Al Qaeda gets hold of some atom bombs & sends suicide bombers all across Europe and with no border security European countries will be sitting ducks. That is the war of the future and no missile site in Poland will be able to stop it. Has anyone actually noticed that every country in the world is threatened except for the USA. Has anyone actually noticed that every conflict in the world has been created by the USA. The US wants total world domination land, sea, air and space. They have actually admitted it, and they call it “full spectrum domination” If the US and NATO can bypass the UN over Kosovo then Russia can bypass the UN over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. There is absolutely no difference. I say it again, what the world needs to be wary of is US domination with their foreign military bases mushrooming everywhere. Every person should analyse and assess every one of the 750 US foreign military war bases around the world to find out what they are doing. I propose a new American flag with a swastika in the corner. I still can’t believe Saakashvili’s comment to CNN regarding world leaders on holidays at the olympic games “Brilliant moment to attack a small country” That comment is in fact a declaration of a War Crime.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

Many of analytics speak in a global scale, but here, on personal level I see America, creating democratic institutions as a free media, free and tolerant society, free economy, business, respect of cultural, ethnic and religious traditions and from the other side -Russian ‘system’ based on fear, corrupter, chauvinism and total KGB control /70 years we lived in/. I and many here around chose the first way to live and even if Russia now will break us, one day we or our children will be free anyway. So, farewell, Russia!

Posted by Khabuliani | Report as abusive

Hi,

the situation is not good, forget any conspiracy theory the fact is that russia doesn’t feel threaten by any other country in terms of isolation bu prehaps many of us know that a country isolated will suffer badly the consequences.. Russian people are very nacionalist and not afraid of causing a war and if this war happens will be a big problem for all of us, even worst will be for russian but obviously all of us will need to defend ourselfs… at the moment I’m not spending any money that I would spend and I’m thinking in taking most of my money from the bank so that if a war starts they don’t froze all my money, this is the way I think about the situation.

Posted by citizen | Report as abusive

What Russia has done in Georgia would be quite wrong in a world where differences over borders, etc were settled through genuine negotiation in international forums.

But in a world where Western politicians feel free to declare war on any country whose policies they do not agree with, what Russia has done is nothing more than normal behaviour.

The West declared war on a Russian ally, Serbia, then broke up the country by military force and permitted the ethnic cleansing of Serbian citizens in Bosnia and Kosovo. Russia had to stand by and do nothing because it was too weak to intervene.

Now Russia considers itself strong and the West has demonstrated that it is weak, so Russia has invaded a Western ally, Georgia. It can readily be argued that Russia has more justification for its actions in Georgia than the West had in Serbia, because Russia has at least got the excuse that it is defending its own citizens in the breakaway regions of Georgia.

Western politicians need to cut their hypocritical rhetoric about “punishing” Russia for imitating their own behaviour and look instead to the security of their own citizens and allies instead of warmongering abroad.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

talking about USA over Iraq I want to remind you all, that the operation was suported by many countrys, and that is not just USA.

I think they just want to take the sea cost of georgia for more control of that area, show to the world they feel strong and they feel that US missiles in polish land are not welcome at all and they might be affraid of changes that georgia could bring in oil and natural gas supplies for europe. I think USA missiles shield is a stupid idea, it just makes nations think that if they are building missiles and put them in another country what can stop other countrys of doing the same ? this would make everyone mindset be in war and missiles and threats etc…

Posted by citizen | Report as abusive

Russia presents an enigma today. After the collapse of the USSR she developed into a “thriving” kleptocracy which resulted in a government run by those who could pay for it and former KGB like Putin. The fact that Russia remains the Russia of the Cold War in the eyes of the West is another source of contention. Russia is acting in a way that is natural for a country that has lost its moral backbone and is bent on reclaiming its position as a world power that should be, at the least, respected for what it COULD do. An interesting book that talks much about Russia in the more recent years is a book by Anna Politkovskaya called “Putin’s Russia.” It is a striking look at the lives of ordinary Russians and the problems they face. It will open your eyes. This author mysteriously died several years ago under unexplained circumstances. It is widely believed that she was killed because she was exposing so much about the Putin regime.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

Suddenly glad i live in South Africa!

Posted by anton | Report as abusive

Western countries and the rest of the world should stop listen to american cowboys and start to think! Sorry, but you are blinded by your “free media”, like CNN, BBC, FOX etc, which in fact shows only one side of the conflict which is profitable to the US.
After this conflict we don’t beleive “western” democracy and freedom. All this is lie.

Posted by Russian | Report as abusive

If every country in the world refused to accommodate US foreign military war bases there would be no trouble in the world today. 750 foreign military war bases in 140 countries operated by the USA. What are these bases there for??? Has anyone actually considered that question. Why are they there??? The next US military war base will probably be in Georgia or Ukraine to stir up more trouble. Why are we all allowing this to happen??? Will the US end up having a military war base in every country in the world??? Is that their goal???

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

Aug. 27, 2008 – Moscow)
WAR IN OSSETIA – REPLY LIMITED – THE WEAK LINK

There’s been a lot of talk in the West about the West being limited in its response to Russia’s conduct in Ossetia, etc.

To me, the limitations lie in the ethics, in the West’s own culture – not in politics or economics or military power.

It’s not even about the precedents and embarrassments such as Kosovo or Iraq, where the West was/is debasing the values it claims to profess.

In the Ossetian war, the limitations came the moment everyone thought that Georgia’s president could be right after all, might not be a totally bad idea to use multiple-rockets on a city of 10 000, we just didn’t expect Russia to reply, it came as a surprise.

The rest – ‘the bear is back!’, ‘say no to Russia, we won the cold war and we will move on!’ – were variations on the theme, compensatory reactions and Fredian slips, the West struggling with itself rather than Russia.

The limitations multiplied when it was said, oh it looks like just a handful of civilians were killed in Ossetia, how good that Russians can’t prove anything.

It’s not to say that the West is evil and that there’s one single ‘West’.

To me, there’s a crisis of meaning, a sense of identity gone wrong – it affects judgment and cuts at the moral base.
You can’t bring together a country or a group of countries based on consumer satisfaction and military power alone, you’ll keep having problems with that.

Moscow
Russia

Posted by TovarischZhivago | Report as abusive

Georgia is of course being punished by the mighty Russian, however the Georgian President Saakashvili has been a fool during the time leading to the recent events, by: 1) being a puppet of USA, 2) allowing his country being used as a pawn by others against Russia. The day when Georgia launched the large scale attack and bombardment on South Ossetia and its capital , Georgia already lost the mandate to govern that region. The West (certainly USA) knew about Saakashvili’s audacious but lunatic offensive crusade on South Ossetia on the eve of the Olympic Games, maybe the leaders of the Free World thought that it would be a jolly good way to embarrass Russia and the Olympic host, China.

What we see is that Russia asserts its power on Georgia with a vengeance, it is as simple as protecting your interests and punishes your enemies, and sadly that is how the geopolitics goes. It is Not of the EU’s interests to have an ever-worsening Europe-Russia relationships for the sake of Georgia, and crucially it is for Georgia’s interests and future to maintain the balanced and friendly relationships with both the West and Russia.

Posted by Hodge, London | Report as abusive

For all who consider the US as weak (ie: russians and iranians) don’t be confused by a false sense of reality led by a bunch of hollow “noise” being mouthed by medvedev and ahminjedad of iran. Take a look around… 750 foreign military bases not including our own. We ARE the strongest country in the world… We have the money, the power, and the weapons to wipe you all out in a matter of days. Don’t be foolish. I am speaking truth. Do you really think we got to where we are by being weak. If that was the case someone would have taken us out already. All we hear is TALK from russia. It is our job to protect our weaker alliances. We are not losing the war in iraq. Its guerilla war, there is no direct army its people in plane clothes blowing themselves up. If we knew who they were they would already be gone. So go ahead russia BRING IT….. i dare you

Many of the posters here like to compare South Osetia and Abkhazia to Kosovo. The closest case to which these two regions can be compared to in the Balkans is Republika Srpska. South Osetia became prdominantly russian after the georgians were ethicaly cleansed there.The serbs did the same against the muslim bosnians and croatians. In Kosovo the ethnic cleaning was commited against the Albanians and not the Serbs as a poster here says. Because if it was the contrary it will have been a NATO intervention to save the serbs and not the Albanians. There is no hypocrisy on the west but ont the russian side. The nation that declared that it will do everything to protect international law,and territorial integrity,breaks any international law and recognizes as independent two regions of the sovreign country of Georgia. Even if the west was wrong in recognizing Kosovo,what russia did is wrong to.Because it shows that they don’t believe in what they preach and because :Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Posted by Felix | Report as abusive

It is clear that that internationally there are two sets of rules. Serbia was a sovereign nation and Kosovo a province of that nation. The United States agreed to respect the territorial integrity of Serbia in 1999. Out of convenience, they supported an independent Kosovo in 2007/2008. It is therefore only logical that the Russian Federation, along with many other areas of the world that have separatist movements, including Canada, will look to Kosovo as a precedent. How then when Russia repells a suprise attack against the people within South Ossetia are they main out to be aggressors in the media? South Ossetia and Abkhazia do not want to remain a part of Georgia and that has been clear for more than 18 years. In fact, had Georgia not attacked, the status quo in the region would be maintained today. Did the United States know that Georgia was planning the attack?

The excuse for the separation of Kosovo by western nations is that “ethnic cleansing” made the reintegration of Kosovo into Serbia impossible. Well, a suprise attack against South Ossetia leaving the civilians only one escape route north to the Russian Federation must also be seen as an effort to clean that particular area and re-claim it as part of Georgia. How now can the people of this region be forced to re-integrade with Georgia against their will? I would say to anyone who reads this that if we allow the people of Kosovo to be free in that circumstance, we must allow the same to happen in other regions of the world as well. Internationall, there must be one set of rules for all nationa and clearly the media is critisizing Russia for doing exactly what the United States has already done.

Posted by Concerned Citizen | Report as abusive

Dear nana, I can’t help noticing discrepancies in your posts.

” … russian contractor army already was sitting at the other side of Rocki tonnel …. So georgian side responded,which triggerd start of russian revenge plan in action.”

Are you saying that Georgian attack on Tkhinvali was a response to some troops movement inside Russia? How does that make sense? Besides, we all know, that Russia encroached Georgia (S.Ossetia) after almost a day of bloodshed.

I do understand your grief about lost provinces, but you lay blame on Saakashvili. Starting the war was his idea. I guess he wants to keep power in Georgia indefinitely. I agree, that Russia has overreacted. But the war was provoked by Saakashvili (probably not without some help from his masters from Bush administration), – this is the fact.

Just for curiosity sake, what would have happened if it was not Russian peacekeepers who were attacked and killed, but Americans? I bet, there would be not a single building left in Georgia.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

“talking about USA over Iraq I want to remind you all, that the operation was suported by many countrys, and that is not just USA.” (from citizen)

Could you name at least one serious country in this “coalition of willing”? Except for Pathetic Britain, a traditional butt boy for the USA, there is no one. Georgia and Poland sent about 2,000 for a handsome payment of ~$1B each. I call it mercenaries and not a coalition.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

A simple remedy here would be to deport these “ethnic” Russians, especially those carrying Russian visas. If they consider themselves Russians rather than Georgians, Ukrainians or Moldavians then they should, by God, be living in Russia. Either they swear allegiance to the governing body of the nation in which they live or they should not be there. Russia is using this dual citizenship excuse to enforce its will upon it’s smaller neighbors and this cannot be tolerated. While there is no need for “ethnic cleansing” there is also no reason why these people should be allowed to provide Moscow with any excuse to use force.

Just as the U.S. has been accused of acting unilaterally Moscow should be held to the same standard and required to take any issues before the U.N. before taking matters into its own hands. This issue seems to have been festering long enough that had Russia truly cared about the independence of these regions it should have taken the issue before the U.N.long before now.

Were Russia or it’s allies more concerned with peace than power they would not be making threats against their pro-western neighbors nor would there be any desire by those neighbors to form new alliances. Russia is it’s own problem in that their oppressive behavior is driving these “vassal” states to seek help from Russia’s “enemies”. The enemy of my enemy is my friend? Right? If Russia would but treat these nations like friends or allies they would return the gesture in kind, but, alas Russia is Communist and so the people live to serve the government rather than the other way around.

Posted by Vaughn | Report as abusive

I hope I am wrong but this is the beginning of the end. I think now would be a good time to give Israel a green light to attack Iran. It is about time USA and ISRAEL KICKED SOME ASS!!! We have about 12,000 nukes just waiting to be launched and I think now is the time to use a few. We are the land of the free home of the brave but piss us off and we will unleash the WRATH OF GOD ON YOU!!! So Russia keep it up and keep talking smack with your other satanic brother in Iran because your days are numbered.

Posted by Troy | Report as abusive

Hi, Nana,
why don’t you mention what happened in Croatia -where 250000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Kraina? Kosovo – from which Serbs and Gypsies were thrown away- practically with the help of the United States and their NATO buddies?
More than 250 000 civilians were killed in Iraq after US invasion. Just several days ago 65 civilians including 20 children were killed in Afganistan by the US bombardment ! Why the so called world public opinion is not crying about it ? Are the
lives of Afgans not that dare or maybe they are far awy from European and Us media where Sakashvili lies have become the daily pergormance ?

Posted by monotavr | Report as abusive

The question is – who began the war ? Here in Russia we see only one answer – Georgian army. Certainly Russian president should ask for permision when doing such a thingns with poor army of brave Georgians.

That’s great. Thanks for your non-bias blog and effort to prevent those who are pro-American from expressing their views. Many of those comments here are rather pathetic and represent a distorted point of view of history. In restrospect, I regreted wasting my time from responding to these diatribes.

Posted by Trevor | Report as abusive

About the aid, I live in New Jersey and I see some people barely making their ends these days around here. Can they send us some aid here too?! Maybe 20 million, just to start with? I’m sick of seeing how the Administration is wasting my tax money on regime changing, nation building, and nurishing #4&ing newly born democracies on the other side of the world while my son’s school looks like a barrack, half of people don’t have decent health insurance and cannot afford to live in the city.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

The cowardly murderer bush won’t be happy until he starts WWIII. As usual, the idiot is backing the wrong horse. Georgia started this conflict by invading S.Ossetia, and Russia spanked them for it. It’s NONE of our business!
As far as the shrub’s idiotic move of putting missles in Poland, I guess it’ll be perfectly fine when the Russians put missles in Cuba, right?
The blithering hypocritical moron, who lied repeatedly to get permission from congress to invade Iraq, should keep his pathetic piehole shut until he slithers back to Crawford. January 9th, 2009 can’t come soon enough.

Posted by BillG | Report as abusive

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IN THE WORLD TODAY THAT NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED RIGHT NOW. Why does the USA have almost 750 foreign military war bases spread across 140 countries throughout the world??? What are these bases there for??? Why are they there??? Does the US intend to have a military war base in every country in the world??? Is there a US military war base in your country that you don’t know about??? What is their goal??? World domination??? Why are we all sitting back and allowing this to happen??? The next US military war base will probably be in Georgia or Ukraine to stir up more trouble. We all better wake up real fast

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

As far as I am concerned, I am glad for all the US military basis throughout the world, because if it were not for these, my family and I would have been sent to Gulag many meat grinders. The Russian people may very well be peace loving individuals, but how am I supposed to interpret that in their national survey for the most important historic figures the three front runners were Czar Nicholas II, Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin? Justification by Russians of invading Georgia is typically one sided but living in the US I am glad I can express my personal suspicion.

Posted by Bohdan Slabyj | Report as abusive

“Greetings from Canada”

Dont you love the free media..Pure example
of propaganda..I laugh at the people who
actualy 100% belives this..Cnn Fox even
bbc..Western Propaganda i think..So Russia
finaly responds to American/EU Imperialism
in Georgia..So wut i dont even think we should
care remember this is russia’s backyard!
Georgia Invaded South Ossetia on the opening day
of the Oylimpic Ceremonies..I wonder why?
Maybe to achieve tactical surpirse..when all
the world media was focus on Beijing and Edwards
affair lol…I think its time sumone stood up to
the US its a bout time…I dont like this Unipolar
world

Posted by Shane | Report as abusive

Shane
Actually the interesting comment regarding the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia on the opening day of the olympics was made by the Georgian president Suckavilliii (or what ever his name is) on CNN and it regards the world leaders being at Beijing. “Great moment to invade a small country” he said. That comment I believe is a declaration of a War Crime. In fact Suckavilliii should be tried for war crimes for actually admitting on CNN he was going to murder thousands of civilians.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

Not so long ago, the NATO countries invaded Serbia and recognized the independence of its province Kosovo.
They broke the international law for the first time since the collaps of the Nazi Germany. A clear precedent. A dangerous one too.
Russia followod that NATO pattern in Georgia.
Now, the NATO countries condemn Russia for the same thing they did in Serbia. Do they really think the world is so blind?
The world is watching and what people around the globe can see is an unlimited western hipocrisy.

Posted by Uncle Sam | Report as abusive

Uncle Sam

Can you post a link or a reference to an internationally recognized document that says that Kosovo is part of Serbia?

Since Nazi Germany,which country in Europe brought back concentration camps,mass graves,ethnic cleansing?

Since you can see the western hipocrisy try to open your eyes a little bit more and see the russian hipocrisy.

Posted by Felix | Report as abusive

Look, my “conspiracy theory” (the first comment) works – today Putin came up with some comment along my lines – I should be his analyst! Or was it so obvious?

Posted by Ostap | Report as abusive

Felix,
It’s funny, that you touched Nazis and WWII subject. For Serbs were cleansed from Kosovo by German Nazis (not without help from Albanians, Hitler’s allies then). Then cleansing continued by J.Titto, who hated Serbs. Then, when Albanians become a majority on the historical Serb’s land, they started expelling Serbs with criminal activity. They organized KLA (heavily supported by CIA). When Serbian government realized what’s happening, it was too late. And then wraith of NATO (despite UN resolution) started bombing Serbian cities to submission. The rest you probably know. Again, Kosovo was a cradle of Serbian civilization!
Now, Abkhazia and S. Ossetia were never under Georgian jurisdiction, – they are proud and independent people, living on their land for centuries. They were forcefully given to Georgia by communists. And in 1990-th, after USSR collapsed, these two countries immediately broke away as a response to the attempt from Georgian government to take away their autonomy.
An advice, – do not use incendiary words, if you are not familiar with the subject. It just shows your low level of intelligence.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

Alex
The serbs showed up in the Balkans in the 5th century.And when they showed up they didn’t bring any land with them.All of the sudden half of the Balkans is serbian land.As for Albanians being Hitler’s allies how come Belgrade was the first city in Europe to be declared Judenrein(free of jews)by the germans?
http://www.eurojewcong.org/ejc/news.php? id_article=129

This is an article taken from the serbian newspaper Blic 2 years before Kosovo’s independence.Read it and learn about history of Serbia.

Return of state status after 88 years

Has anyone ever congratulated you June 20 when Serbia became a state? On that June 1878 Serbs had reason for celebration. On that day independence of Serbia was proclaimed for the first time.

Today, 128 years later, Serbia shall become an independent state again by a declaration that the Parliament is to pass in a few days.

Does the history repeat itself?

Then territory included present central Serbia. For that territory, without Montenegro, KiM, Vojvodina and Sandzak, Serbia paid its independence in two Serbian-Turkish wars with 20,000 lives.

After difficult years of the Balkan wars /1912-1913/ Serbia enlarged its territory getting Sandzak, KiM and today’s Macedonia. Then followed the WWI /1914-1918/ and setting up of a new state the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians. At Grand Podgorica Assembly, Montenegrins with large majority voted for Montenegro integration with Serbia. After this war Serbia also got Vojvodina because its regions decided to integrate themselves in Serbia after breakdown of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. By that, however, Serbia lost its state status.

After the WWII, Serbia lost Macedonia that became a federal unit of then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In the past, Serbia was wise in choosing its allies. With Slobodan Milosevic, who ‘succeeded’ in confronting Serbia with the most powerful force on the planet, the situation completely changed. Results of that war shall probably soon affect the final map of the Republic of Serbia.

Posted by Felix | Report as abusive

No matter how many times would Russia cry “why can’t I do what the US did in Kosovo?”, nobody in the whole world would give it a hand.

Not even Serbia, portrayed here as a victim of the USA.
Because everybody understands the difference between the policemen NATO-USA and the bully Russia.

Maybe USA applied force a couple of times, but it had good reasons to do so, and these reasons were accepted and supported by a number of powerful allies.

And who supports Russia today, except Hesbolahh, Hamas :) and the charming amigo from Venesuela?

Nobody. Because Russia, an UN member, applied military force unilateraly, towards a souvereign neighbouring country, also an UN member, looting, raping and killing innocent civiliants.

It behaved like a stone aged barbarian, and all its wipping about ossetian victims would not be able to change that.

Posted by Angela | Report as abusive

Felix,

What do Jews have to do with the fact that Albanians were Hitler’s allies during WWII and Serbs were fighting fascists? Stop distorting the history!

You can copy/paste irrelevant texts from Wikipedia as much as you wish, that wouldn’t change the fact, that Kosovo is a historical part of Serbia.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

Angela,

You talking nonsense. USA-owned NATO has no jurisdiction over the world. Nobody gave them right to police other countries.

The way I (and the most of reasonable people here) see it, – Russia has rights to protect her interests. When Gorbachev has torn Berlin Wall down, he has been given a promise, that NATO would not expand to the East. That was a lie. Apparently, Russia was enduring this for too long. But when NATO started openly threatening Russia’s defenses by installing bases in Poland and expanding through CIA-established governments to Ukraine and Georgia, Russia has slapped it in the face. I feel for Georgia, she is a pawn in the Big Game of the USA for world dominance. btw, did the USA help you? I don’t think so. That was a powerful message to NATO, – hands off!

Now Saakashvili has a dilemma, – in order to get accepted to NATO, he has to recognize and drop all claims on S.Ossetia and Abkhazia. Because of his actions, Georgia has lost them forever, and Georgians will never forgive Saakashvili for that! (The last words belong to my friend, a Georgian, also living in the USA).

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive