- Posted August 25, 2008 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Russian invasion of Georgia - How it happened!
This article is aimed for people that don’t understand how the conflict between Georgia and Russia erupted. I know It is impossible to make most of the Russians change their minds they are being told that they “saved the day” and feel really happy and proud. But what was the reality of war.
WHO STARTED WHAT?
Well the basic outline is in this great article by a top Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer:
Let me just remind you the facts:
As soon as Mr.Putin became the president of Russian federation Russia gave away it's passports in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and "Samachablo" region (South Ossetia), thus creating "Russian citizens" Sure it was completely unlawful and this action could not have met any international civilised norms.
I will not even list all the provocations that Russian special services were committing in Georgia... like the Bombing of financial police regional HQ in Gori. Or like the spy scandal between Georgia and Russia, during which Russian "GRU" officers were arrested in Georgia and later on handed over by Red Cross to Russia.
There were numerous such cases and it's useless to go listing them all now...
Putin has stated that the recognition of the Kosovo's independence would be followed by serious asymmetric measures including military. (Despite the obvious complete difference in the Georgian conflicts: read the "ETHNIC CLEANSING" section.)
To the stated above the Putin's statement over "Polish missile defence systems" that US was planning to put in that country has added fuel with Putin stating yet again that "asymmetric actions including military" would be taken as a response.
In April NATO has refused to grant MAP (Membership Action Plan) to Ukraine and Georgia and stated that the "Both Ukraine and Georgia will become members one day and that the issue of "MAP" would have been revisited in December 2008."
This basically meant that Russia had to do something before December or Georgia could get MAP a last step before actual membership in the NATO bloc. Well it did... something horrible.
Among the last actions done by Putin as a president(but not a ruler) of Russia was lifting sanctions on Georgia's sepparatists and establishing direct govermental links with them. Thus breaking the agreements of the CIS.
• Russia was long in preparation of this assault as many provocations including Bombing Georgia villages by Russian planes (Tsitelubani incident) and downing the Georgian drone over Abkhazian autonomy.
• AntiGeorgian sentiment and war propaganda in Russian media reached new heights just prior Russian invasion.
•In May 2008, Russian paratroopers were sent to reinforce the “peacekeepers” in Abkhazia, violating all agreements.
(Few weeks before Russian invasion, it was vividly portrayed in the Russian media)
• Russian railway military has entered to Abkhazia to fix the railway paths… Russia claimed “humanitarian” reasons, but a week after they finished their reparation and pulled out from Abkhazia Russian tanks started to movie by that military railroad and a war has begun.
• Just few days before Russian invasion, Russia’s 58th army held its large scale military exercises. “Caucasus 2008 – Peace enforcement” every soldier had a propaganda paper with “How Russia Would Enforce Peace To Georgia” – This was before any war.
This was in few km from the Georgian border, just outside the "Roki" tunnel.
• Russia started evacuating majority of civilians from Tskinvali region(South Ossetia) three weeks prior Russian invasion, this was campaigned in the Russian media as all the above too.
• Russian minister of foreign affairs Lavrov told Con. Rice in the private conversation that “Saakashvili must go” and the rhetoric in the UN only added up to the Russian planned aggression to try to simulate “Serbia’s split” conditions for it’s news audience, only the situation was and is quite the opposite… It’s the Georgians who were displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia not anyone else.
• Georgian web sited were under cyber attack starting from a week before Russian invasion and war.
• Russian military airplanes numerously violated Georgian airspace, including a day before Condolisa Rice arrival to Tbilisi… about -7-8 days before Russian invasion. But unlike in all such violations in the past this was the fist time Russian side has admitted that it was Russim airplanes, usually they were stating that it was all "Georgian paranoia"
The separatist side (Russian FSB and special services) started massive artillery assault of Georgian village "TAMARASHENI" to the north from Tskinvali. All the Georgian attempts to contact Russian side failed. Marat Kulahmetov the Russian "peacekeepers" general has stated that the "separatists have gone crazy and do not listen to anyone"
After four hours of continues shelling of Georgian villages Tamarasheni and Ergneti Georgian president ordered defence minister to send a small number of troops to Tskinvali to stop the shelling of Georgian population. Later as Russian Tanks started to move more Georgian forces had to enter the conflict zone.
About 40 minutes after that Putin has stated over 2000 dead(That was proved to be completley wrong by HRW, later) and invaded Georgia from a "Roki" tunnel where all this time Russian 58th army was waiting for it's time.
Later the number of dead have been proved false by Human Rights Watch group (at the spot) and concluded that this was a mere excuse for the invasion of the sovereign country.
• Georgia was largely unprepared for the Russian attack, 2000 elite troops (out of total 27.000) soldiers were in Iraq, who were called back after Russian invasion has begun.
Not to mention that if Georgia considered attack on Tskinvali the winter would have been the best timing for that as the snow makes the passage to “Roki” tunnel impassable for heavy Russian armor. At the same time for Russia the August would have been the best time for a quick war with Georgia and it’s clear that Putin expected that Georgian government and president would flee the country as the Russians would appoint someone from their circle, some ethnic Georgian maybe. The same that happened during Russian invasion of Democratic Republic Of Georgia in 1921.
Also during August the majority of world’s leaders and officials are on holidays not to mention the Olympics that would ideally cover the news of Russian Blitzkrieg. It would have to be finished, before the news would even break out.
Russian journalist Ulia Latinia also has some interesting words about this conflict here:
http://georgiandaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6550&Itemid=65 (This interview is in Russian)
As does the Georgian president on the events that have led to this conflict:
JUST LOOK AT THE MAP, ONCE:
As I can clearly see, because of the constant information propaganda in Russian news sources many Russians believe that Georgia has invaded Russia and I have heard thought that Georgia wanted to conquer Russian territory… Very foolish, but it’s what you get when you trust all your media to KGB.
The tunnel that was built between Russia and Georgia, “Roki” tunnel is the ONLY physical border that was built in late 1980s.
ETHNIC CLEANSING: (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Who is a war criminal:
Before 1993 – over 85% of the population in Abkhazia were ethnic Georgians!
Before 1994 – over 92% of population in South Ossetia were ethnic Georgians!
After brutal ethnic cleansing by Russian military, Chechens (including Shamil Basaev), north Caucasian criminals and Cossacks the population
Has be reduced to 4% and 35% respectively.
After last August 2008 Russian invasion the ethnic Georgian population has been reduced to 0% in both Georgian regions.
This my friends is called ethnic cleansing and it’s a horrible crime!
WHAT HAPPENDED DURING THE LAST RUSSIAN INVASION--->
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT:
RUSSIA’S “REASON” FOR INVASION:
Just before the Russian invasion kicked into an active phase Putin claimed 2000 civilian deaths. This was proved very suspiciously exaggerated by the Human Rights Watch group that has been to Tskinvali. Later Russia and HRW confirmed only 44 deaths in the Tskinvali. You may think, but 44 deaths is still too high and I agree, BUT Russia was shelling Tskinvali for two days and bombing it using heavy artillery and aviation, until Georgian troops were ordered to pull out by Georgian government.
As for the destruction here is the satellite image of the destruction after war:
PLEASE NOTE THAT ERGNETI AND TAMARASHENI WERE MOSTLY GEORGIAN POPULATED VILLAGES, that have been razed to the ground by Russian forces.
Today the Russian military was destroying any left Georgian civil houses in the aria. “Russian Peacemaking” in progress.
The destruction by Russian military of civil infrastructure and national parks and forests are completely ununderstandable:
On 15 August 2008, Russian helicopters were observed flying low over the Borjomi-Tsemi forest dropping incendiary devices. In the prevailing dry conditions, forest fires rapidly spread. These images, collected by UNOSAT, show the extent of the fires, the area burnt, and the resulting smoke plume. http://georgiandaily.com/repository/Borjomi%20-%20intentionally%20set%20fires.pdf
Russia has used the cluster bombs (that are banned in the most country's of the world) that have caused death for civilians. http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/08/14/georgi19625.htm
This all not to mention all the destruction and death that was cause but Russian invasion in Gori, Senaki, Zugdidi, Tskinvali, Poti and many small villages in Georgia.
History is a complex thing, especially anywhere close to Russia; Russia has quite big record of distortion of historical facts and propaganda that changed the understanding and views on the past.
So the basic thing we should start with is that there NEVER was “North” nor “South” Ossetia’s. Only republic “Alaniya” on the territory of North Ossetia. Russia renamed the republic “Alaniya” into North Ossetia. South Ossetia(In Georgian “Shida Kartli” – “Inner Georgia”) got it’s ONLY border with Russia as soon as Shevardnadze constructed a “Roki” tunnel that connected Russia with (South Ossetia)Georgia.(Huge mistake!)
Is an complete oxymoron, no fact’s ONLY propaganda that is endorsed by Kremlin.
In the Reporters without borders world index Russia scores among the lowest in the world and there are very serious reasons for that. The complete lack of free media and total control of the media by Kremlin.
As the Gross media propaganda war during this invasion:
Not to mention that Russia just did not show anything about bombardments of civil targets in Georgia and many sights in Gori, Poti or Senaki were shown as Tskinvali and sign’s of “Georgian aggression”.
RUSSIAN ARMY AND A REASON FOR A NATIONAL PRIDE:
While most of Russians got their share of pride for “liberating peacekeepers and the population” as was given in the Russian media.
The truth is the contrary, Russian solders and Chechen mercenaries and North Caucasian bandits and criminals were looting EVERYTHING from the population with Georgian passports. (Many ethnic Ossetians and Russians with Georgian passports got robbed too)
When Russians solders occupied one of the Georgian bases they made a cell phone video in which they stated that they “live like complete bums compared to Georgian soldiers” They stole worn army boots and uniforms and even took used TOILET’S… (I saw this on TV myself… funny thought)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dCARseF7yc (That is one of my favourites)
and many many more cases… still proud? Maybe…
Russian embassy in Tbilisi was sunk in the “gifts” from Georgian people… used old toilets and other rubbish that Russians solders were stealing…
MDEVEDEV POSING, SIMLING:
While Medvedev was posing and smiling, Russians soldiers were looting and killing civilians, and razing Georgian villages to the ground, inside INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED TERRITORY OF GEORGIA. ALL OF THE UN RESOLUTIONS HAVE CALLED FOR RESPECT OF GEORGIANT TERITORIAL INTERGIRTY.
In fact there are up to four times MORE OSSETIANS living in other parts of Georgia, other than “South Ossetia” including in Borjomi region and Kaheti region… so why noone hates them there? Why many Ossetians still live in Tbilisi?? Because that has NOTHINHG to do with them, it’s all Kremlin and sick imperialistic nature of the Putins Russian regime.
I understand it is impossible to wake ordinary Russians, you look at your glorious news media of “liberation” and feel undeservedly proud.
The choice is easy it’s much more comforting to be proud than ashamed. I understand that you want to believe in good and you are told that all this is done for a noble cause, sure this is a simple lie of people you gave and trusted EVERYTHING you have. Your media, civil society freedoms and all the rest of your country. You are a herd of people that are being told by the government and you have no other choice but to believe. A very dangerous path for your nations future. Georgia is a small country, only 3,5 million people… next time your risks will be significantly higher and yes the world will still keep buying your oil, but your only “real” friends will be Hugo Chávez and the president of Syria… good luck with them.