My Notes

Category: War

What really happened in South Ossetia? - Tim Whewell, BBC

Как теперь освещают ситуацию некоторые западные журналисты. Познавательно!

Видео с русскими субтитрами:

Georgia: a danger to itself and Transcaucasian stability

An ultimate article about Georgian problem by George Hewitt.

As the USSR was moving towards collapse, its final census (1989) counted 3,787,393 ‘Georgians’ in Soviet Georgia. The quotation-marks indicate my doubts about the legitimacy of the decision taken around 1930 so to classify speakers of the four Kartvelian languages (Georgian, Mingrelian, Laz, Svan). But, even if one accepts this categorisation, ‘Georgians’ only constituted 70.1% of the then-population. With a patchwork of ethnicities (including Armenians, Russians, Azerbaijanis, Ossetians, Greeks and Abkhazians), many living in compact (and even borderland) areas, the state was a perfect candidate for federalisation. But, instead of contemplating such a political structure for independent Georgia, the path fatefully chosen by those opposing communist-rule was that of nationalism, which quickly descended into ugly denunciation of (inter alia) the fertility-rates and lack of knowledge of Georgian among non-Kartvelians, coupled with widescale questioning of their rights to live on ‘Georgian’ soil. Particular resentment was felt towards the Abkhazians and South Ossetians, as they possessed eponymous administrative entities within this small republic. The powers granted by the Soviet constitution to autonomous republics (such as Abkhazia and Ajaria [Ach’ara], both inside Georgia but with ethnic Georgians of Muslim persuasion constituting the population of the latter) or autonomous districts (such as S. Ossetia) were restricted, rendering their ‘autonomy’ somewhat fictional. Nevertheless the nationalists wanted them abolished, whilst the S. Ossetians and Abkhazians set about forming their own national forums (respectively, Adaemon Nykhas and Aydgylara) to defend their ethno-regional interests (and, indeed, security) in the face of threats and very real dangers. Thus was the groundwork laid for downward spirals to war in both regions, and the Russians played no part in these purely Georgian-choreographed scenarios; verbal lashings across the Georgian media from late 1988 became concrete as of summer 1989.

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Seumas Milne, The truth about South Ossetia

So now they tell us. Two months after the brief but bloody war in the Caucasus which was overwhelmingly blamed on Russia by western politicians and media at the time, a serious investigation by the BBC has uncovered a very different story.

Not only does the report by Tim Whewell – aired this week on Newsnight and on Radio 4's File on Four - find strong evidence confirming western-backed Georgia as the aggressor on the night of August 7. It also assembles powerful testimony of wide-ranging war crimes carried out by the Georgian army in its attack on the contested region of South Ossetia.

They include the targeting of apartment block basements – where civilians were taking refuge – with tank shells and Grad rockets, the indiscriminate bombardment of residential districts and the deliberate killing of civilians, including those fleeing the South Ossetian capital of Tskinvali.
The carefully balanced report – which also details evidence of ethnic cleansing by South Ossetian paramilitaries – cuts the ground from beneath later Georgian claims that its attack on South Ossetia followed the start of a Russian invasion the previous night.

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Перевод на русский язык:

Tina Kandelaki: From Georgia with loathing

The television star Tina Kandelaki might be expected to feel aggrieved about Russian action in Georgia, her native country. Not a bit of it. Moscow's media has more freedom, she says, and her President, Mikheil Saakashvili, will go down in history as Mikheil the Destroyer, she tells Shaun Walker.

The Independent, GB




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