Georgia/Russia news: 10 SEP 2008

NOTE: This is an informational compilation. GMF does not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly, the content contained herein.

 

NEWS

 

Russian troops dismantle west Georgia checkpoints

Reuters, Lasha Berulava, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: “Russian soldiers were dismantling checkpoints in western Georgia on Wednesday, a Georgian official and a Reuters witness said, two days after Moscow pledged to pull back forces from deep inside its neighbor €¦ It also pledged to pull out within a week from the area around Poti, a small oil and dry grain shipment port. Its actions there will be seen by the West as a key test of Russia’s promises.”

 

Georgia police officer slain near Russian checkpoint

International Herald Tribune, Dan Bilefsky, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: “The shooting occurred just two days after Russia agreed to withdraw its forces from positions in western Georgia, and it threatened to aggravate the fragile peace following the five-day war that broke out last month when Russia and Georgia clashed in the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which has had the support of Russia.”

 

Medvedev fails to halt Russian market slide

Financial Times (UK), Rachel Morarjee and Peter Garnham, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: “Russia’s stock market tumbled to a fresh two-year low on Wednesday despite an attempt by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other officials to shore up the market with promises of government support. Mr Medvedev said on Wednesday that the 45 percent slump in Russian stocks since May is temporary, and the government has the power to bring them back to levels seen at the start of the year.”

 

Freshly Recognized

Kommersant (RUS), Vladimir Solovyev, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: Russia established diplomatic relations with Tskhinvali and Sukhumi yesterday. In the near future, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will sign intergovernmental agreements on friendship and cooperation with the leaders of the two freshly recognized republics. Among other things, the agreements propose the placement of Russian military bases on the territories of the republics.

 

Italy upsets US over Georgia

Financial Times (UK), Guy Dinmore, 9 Sep 2008

Summary: “Once a favoured ally rewarded for his support of the US invasion of Iraq, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s centre-right prime minister, has evolved into a serious irritant for the Bush administration in handling Russia’s invasion of Georgia €¦ According to European diplomats, Bush administration hawks view with suspicion Mr Berlusconi’s close personal ties to the Russian leader and worry about Italy’s presidency of the G8 from January.”

 

U.S. Intelligence Sees It Russia’s Way

Kommersant (RUS), 10 Sep 2008

Summary: American intelligence confirms that the latest military actions in South Ossetia were started by Georgia and Russia’s position in the conflict was correct, says Republican California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. He said the situation reminded him of the Bay of Tonkin incident, which the U.S. used as a pretext for beginning the war in Vietnam.

 

Russia’s Recognition of Georgian Areas Raises Hopes of Its Own Separatists

New York Times (U.S.), Ellen Barry, 9 Sep 2008

Summary: “Tatarstan is a long way from South Ossetia €¦Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, both have given rise to separatist movements. And when President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia formally recognized the breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations two weeks ago, activists in Kazan, the Tatar capital, took notice.”

 

Russland fordert Waffenembargo gegen Georgien

FAZ.NET, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: Russia has called for an arms embargo against Georgia at the UN Security Council. The aim is to prohibit member states from selling arms and military equipment to Georgia and to decline to provide military help, advice or training. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitali Churkin called the initiative an important political signal even if it had few chances of being implemented.

 

Saakashvili Signed It

Kommersant (RUS), Alexander Gabuev and Georgy Dvali, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: Monday night, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili signed addenda to the Medvedev-Sarkozy peace plan, which the EU delegation had brought him from Moscow. However, Tbilisi interprets the document so that international monitors are eligible to reside not only in the buffer zone round South Ossetia and Abkhazia but also in the territories of the two republics. Nicolas Sarkozy spoke in favor of this position on behalf of the EU. Meanwhile Russian Foreign Office Chief Sergey Lavrov assured Kommersant it is only Russia’s troops that will provide security in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

 

NATO Takes Count in Georgia

Kommersant (RUS), Georgy Dvali, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: A group of NATO experts has arrived in Tbilisi. Kommersant has learned that they will evaluate the losses to the Georgian military infrastructure in its recent conflict with Russia. The alliance is taking inventory before providing Georgia with aid. A decision on the volume and nature of that aid will be made at the visiting session of the NATO council that will be held in Tbilisi next week.

 

Georgian strife causes political rifts

Politico (U.S.), David Rogers, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: “The fallout from Russia’s conflict with Georgia is producing an unusual split in American politics – not between the parties so much as between the presidential candidates and their colleagues in Congress. It’s as if the rhetorical pressure on Russia is being left to the campaign trail while back in the Capitol, there is more caution about extending U.S. commitments.”

 

US Trade Secretary Cancels Nicaragua Trip Amid Recognition Row

Ria Novosti (RUS), 10 Sep 2008

Summary: The U.S. trade secretary has cancelled a visit to Nicaragua citing a change in”circumstances” just days after the Central American country recognized Georgia’s breakaway regions, the U.S. envoy told local media.

 

Saakashvili muss Antworten geben

Financial Times Deutschland (GER), Nils Kreimeier und Eva Weikert, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: After the war with Russia part of the political elite in Georgia is turning against President Saakashvili. The former Speaker of the Parliament, Nino Burjanadze, who is viewed as a potential successor of Saakashvili by the West demands internal Georgian inquiries about the start of the war with Russia.

 

COMMENTARY

 

Can Nato partners stop dithering on Russia?

The Times (UK), Bronwen Maddox, 9 Sep 2008

Summary: “Should Nato now revert to its original model: an alliance against a hostile Russia? That is what several countries in Eastern and Central Europe now want. They won’t – and shouldn’t – get a response in the very tangible and archaic form that some want. Nato is not about to revert to its incarnation as an organisation that strings forces along the Russian border. It can’t afford to, and that would be extravagantly provocative to Russia, without much real value in return.”

 

 

Russian Army’s Weakness Exposed During the War in Georgia

The Ria Novosti (RUS), 9 Sep 2008

 

Summary: On September 10, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is scheduled to address the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to inform the deputies about current military development and various problems. Serdyukov will probably have to explain why the Russian Army lacked modern weapons during the recent peace enforcement operation in Georgia.

 

Prospects for a legal block on ethnic cleansing are slim

Financial Times (UK), Quentin Peel, 10 Sep 2008

Summary: “Small wonder that Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, looked pleased with himself when he met Nicolas Sarkozy, his French counterpart, at Meiendorf castle, a neo-Gothic state residence outside Moscow, this week. The deal they negotiated to finalise the ceasefire between Russia and Georgia seems to have been precisely what Moscow always wanted.”

 

A Lovers’ Quarel

The Russian Profile (RUS), Roland Oliphant and Yekaterina Novozhilova, 8 Sep 2008

Summary: U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Kiev on Thursday, on a tour directed at strengthening Washington’s support for its allies in the former Soviet Union. However, for Ukraine’s president, discussing his country’s security and route to becoming a NATO member has been less of a pressing issue in recent days. The collapse of Ukraine’s ruling parliamentary coalition means that Viktor Yushchenko and former ally Yulia Tymoshenko will renew their political rivalry and tussle for power once again, using their own specific means.