Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia shows her true colours...

Since I've written extensively about Kosovo in previous posts, I guess it would be remiss if I didn't throw in my opinion about the chaos that's overtaken Georgia at the moment (that's the former Soviet Georgia, not the one the Duke boys live in.)

The Conflict in Georgia

Georgia used to be part of the Soviet Union. In 1991, as the Iron Curtain fell, the region declared independence. However, two regions of the new Republic of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, contained a strong separatist movement that refused to accept being part of the new Republic of Georgia. They almost immediately declared themselves independent of the Georgian government and, in 1995, 'ethnically cleansed' the two provinces of over a quarter of a million Georgian citizens.

Since that date, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have both effectively been independent provinces, despite angry noises from the Georgian government. Georgia has attempted to regain control, but the separatists have led a fierce resistance against them.

A few days ago, the tentative ceasefire broke down when the Georgian government accused the separatists of bombing villages in Georgia. The Georgians entered separatist territory to 'defend themselves' and reclaim their turf. However, the Georgian push was met with a frightening response.

The old bear, Mother Russia herself, sent troops and airplanes into separatist and Georgian territory - reacting with brutal military might to 'protect the independence' of the two breakaway provinces.

What we're left with is a de facto invasion by Russian forces into a neighbouring country.


The Russians may want people to believe that they're 'lending military support' to the separatist movement in Abkhazia and South Ossetia - and both breakaway governments have actively asked for their support in defending themselves from the Georgians.

However, their real intentions are utterly transparent.

Given their angry response to Kosovo's independence - Russia's never been too fond of breakaway republics ever since they got a bloody nose in Chechnya - it seems astonishing that they'd suddenly support the fight for independence in Georgia.

The truth is, Russia's not interested in independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia at all. They're looking to absorb both provinces into Russia itself. Once the Georgian military is silenced, both provinces will be occupied by the might of the Russian army for a long, long time to come.


Following some emails, I'd just like to clarify the following:

1: No, I'm not 'on the Georgian's side.' Shooting at women and children, burning down villages and generally being brutal towards civilians in disputed territory is unacceptable. It was certainly unacceptable when it was Serbs doing it is Kosovo, so I don't see why it should be any different here.

2: 90% of the population of South Ossetia have Russian passports. Some emailers have argued that this means that the breakaway province might as well be part of Russia. Funnily enough, some of these emailers are the same people who argued the complete opposite when I pointed out that 90% of Kosovo's population was ethnic Albanian, so why should the province become part of Serbia?

3: I don't see how Russia's invasion of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia can be called a 'liberation' by the same people who said the UN's arrival in Kosovo to stop the bloodshed was an 'unwarranted, illegal occupation.' I don't see how they can justify Russia killing thousands of civilians in bombing raids as 'within their rights' and yet criticise Bill Clinton for bombing Belgrade during the Bosnian crisis. Are these people really so blind as to not see the similarities?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

dude, i so don't get this Facebook thing. i had a wild hair. so i started one!! wooohooo! thanks for the message. i tried responding but it wuldn't let me! damn it all!