Georgia, Russia: “What's Next?”

Global Voices Online
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev announced the end of the so-called "peace enforcement" operation yesterday. LJ user varfolomeev66 - Radio Echo of Moscow journalist Vladimir Varfolomeev - asked this question on his blog: "What's next?"

He wrote (RUS):

I'm not referring to Georgia now.

The Russian government has used every serious crisis as a reason for yet another tightening of the screws and strengthening of its own positions. After the [Moscow apartment blasts of 1999], the [Second Chechen War] began, and Putin came to power. After [the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster] and then [the Nord-Ost theater siege in 2002], [ORT and NTV TV channels] were finally suppressed. After [Beslan school siege of 2004], regional elections were canceled.

What is the regime up to now?

Here are a few comments to this post:


- Control of the internet


Considering that there's almost nothing uncontrolled left, this is possible.


They'll tighten the remaining screws on the internet.

And [Radio Echo of Moscow] ;)

Though you were definitely trying hard not to annoy our two dwarfs [with your coverage of the crisis]

Blogging from Tbilisi, LJ user oleg-panfilov - Oleg Panfilov of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations - posted the day's summary on his blog and explained (RUS) what the five-day crisis might mean for Georgia politically:

Today was the day of emotions.

First, an incredibly huge rally in the center of Tbilisi and people crying during Saakashvili's address.

Second, a day of waiting, while the politicians were discussing and expressing opinions on Georgia and its relations with Russia.

And finally, Georgia's departure from [CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States]. For now, in the form of a political statement, but after a while, in a matter of a few days, Russia will automatically turn into an occupying force not just formally, but legally as well, because it will lose its status of a "peacekeeper" on behalf of CIS. And then, in accordance with all international laws, any presence of [Russian] troops on the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia can be recognized as illegal.

To put it differently, yet another military adventure has turned into [a nothing].

I don't know what kind of thinking overwhelmed Russian military commanders (of course, if there was any thinking involved at all), but Georgia has managed to endure and avoided getting back into the state it was in during the Soviet times. That is, a state of a ["large shashlyk restaurant"] for the Russian nomenclature.

If we analyze what's happened, we'll find many arguments both in favor of Georgia, and in favor of the imperial ways of today's Kremlin. One thing is clear, though - Georgia is not going to turn into a different country, it has tasted freedom in the past five years, has tasted democracy, despite the fact that many people do not like it.

Now it's up to other remnants of the Soviet empire whether they are going to continue living the way they did or will learn from Georgia.

Tomorrow is another day of waiting.

Below are a few comments:


Georgia has lost South Ossetia and Abkhazia. When euphoria ends, gray everyday life will begin - without money transfers from [relatives working in] Moscow, without sea and air transport connection [with Russia], without working banks - and then the size of the catastrophe will grow larger than the size of the naive and excited crowd at the rally.

This war has no [winners or losers]. There is guilt, a feeling of enormous guilt before the dead ones: Georgians, Russians, Ossetians, Ukrainians, Dutch... And what is membership in CIS, or NATO, or anyplace else compared to this guilt...


"without money transfers from [relatives working in] Moscow"

Re-orientation of labor migration to the West? Isn't his progress? [...]


Oleg, you are wrong, unfortunately. [...]

1) NATO countries and allies in general are not going to get themselves involved in a war with Russia, if it happens again - this is [counterproductive] for everyone.

2) Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not going to become part of Georgia even as autonomies - most likely, Russia will recognize their independence.

3) If it is proved that civilians died in Tskhinvali because of [the use of Grad multiple-launch rocket system] - Saakashvili will not have a chance to join [any organization]. [...]

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