The Sign Says: 'Russian Sphere of Influence'

NATO Representatives Tell Georgia: 'They Have Withdrawn'


[Le Temps, Switzerland]



Le Monde, France

Russia 'Dying' to Be What it Hates Most: A New America


"… an America which goes to war in Iraq without U.N. backing; An America that punishes Serbia; and an America that is godfather of the new state - Kosovo. … Russia has begun to imagine itself as a rising superpower confronting a declining America."


By Thorniké Gordadzé*



Translated By Sandrine Agoerges


August 21, 2008


France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a cabinet meeting in Moscow, as Russian forces pushed deep into Georgia, Aug. 11.


BBC VIDEO: President Vladimir Putin says West misguided - calling 'white, black, and black, white' and stuck in the Cold War, Aug. 11, 00:01:47 RealVideo

"We won't behave like monkeys, we won't imitate, we have our own house recipe!," said Vladimir Putin at a press conference last February, shortly before the Western countries recognized the independence of Kosovo. This enigmatic statement has continued to haunt policy makers and analysts in Europe, who sensed that the reply would come in the Caucuses. In searching for culprits, Georgia had all the traits of an ideal sinner. For a long time, it had been accumulating negative points: fiercely pro-Western; stubbornly seeking greater Euro-Atlantic integration; and it had opened more and more of its territory to create an energy corridor that deprived Gazprom  and its political offshoot - the Kremlin - of monopoly control over European supplies.


There were other candidates - the Baltic states and Ukraine - but the former had already been sheltered under the NATO umbrella, and the latter is too beg to be swallowed and digested with impunity at this stage.


The current war is not one between Georgians and their Ossetian minority, or even between Russia and Georgia for the control of South Ossetia. Between the figure of 2,000 civilian casualties in Ossetia brandished by Russian authorities and the fifty counted by investigators of Human Rights Watch, guess which is the most credible report? South Ossetia, governed for years by Russian officers, became a Russian enclave planted in the heart of an independent Georgia. Economically insignificant, demographically battered, Ossetia has become the most militarized area of the entire Soviet space: 2,500 armed men for every 35,000 residents.


On top of the money, weapons and political staff, Russia has, in record time, granted Russian citizenship to residents of the breakaway regions of Georgia, and with the wave of a magic wand, Ossetians and Abkhazians have become Russians. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt compared this rampant expansionist policy to the Nazi German policy toward the German-speaking populations of Czechoslovakia and Poland, and to that of Slobodan Milosevic toward the Serbian minorities of Bosnia and Croatia. The war was declared at this very moment, and not on August 7th.



Europe and the West as a whole allowed this to happen. Today, the same Westerners criticize Mikheil Saakachvli for taking his reckless first shot. A colder analysis will help untangle the fog that still surrounds the commencement of his operations. Was it a trap set by the Russians, who had hinted that the secessionists were beginning to grate on their nerves, a military blunder or simply the last straw after thousands of "volunteers" and Cossacks began to cross the Georgian border?


A serious and impartial investigation will tell. What is clear is that Russia was ready for war. The reason for the offensive against Georgia was aimed not only to humiliate the latter and its "too arrogant" president, but also and especially the West, particularly the United States. To hit where it hurts while limiting the risks: that was the purpose of Russian strategists.


Russia is dying with desire to be what it hates most - a new America. An America which goes to war in Iraq without U.N. backing; An America that punishes Serbia; and an America that is godfather of the new state - Kosovo. "Europe is part of the periphery" said a Russian MP. Russia has begun to imagine itself as a rising superpower confronting a declining America. The Russian media, entirely controlled by the Kremlin, has been feeding its readers with propaganda about new Russian grandeur.


Russian MP Serguei Markov, a political scientist attached to the Kremlin, said that the signal to begin military operations had been given personally by Dick Cheney, and that Russia was at war against America - the only rival worthy of the new rival Russian power. Nonetheless, as unilateral as its policies might be, the United States today retains more allies than Russia. In Iraq, the Americans have managed to assemble a coalition of more than thirty countries, while Moscow has trouble attracting the support of even its partners in the Commonwealth of independent states.





The Belarusian president [Alexander Lukashenko], outlawed by the international community, remained stoically silent for ten days and finally let approval escape his lips after receiving a summons to Sochi [there's a presidential guest house there], while Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been promised the sale of Iskander missiles as a price for his denunciation of U.S. policy against Russia. The later doesn't yet have the makings of America, and it never will not as long as its regular army loots Georgian military bases of clothing, radiators and sinks. It won't as long as its political leaders and diplomats change their views several times a day despite having put their signatures all over cease-fire agreements.



Russia's international isolation can only grow because, despite the more moderate tone of the Old Europe against him, the latter will slowly but surely revise its policies toward Moscow. The credibility of Russia as a powerful vector peace has been damaged. Despite the parallels between Saddam Hussein and Mikheil Saakachvili mentioned by Putin, Saakachvili will not soon appear before an international criminal court. The accusations of genocide raised by the Russians won't hold because of Chechnya. The military intervention in Georgia will always be a very bad remake of the intervention in Iraq; and Gori, although the hometown of one of the biggest dictators of the 20th century, will remain a poor Baghdad.


*Thorniké Gordadzé is head of the Caucuses Observatory at the French Institute of Anatolian Studies.






Rceczpospolita, Poland

Banish All 'Magical Thinking' Regarding the Russian Bear


Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

'Enormous Error' of President Bush's 'Georgian Protege'


Cotidianul, Romania

Georgia Can 'Kiss NATO Goodbye'


Financial Times Deutschland, Germany

Before Georgia - Its Europe that Needs Mediation


Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

Georgia: The Proxy War that Could Go Global


Le Figaro, France

Like that 'Retard' Fidel, Now We Have 'Frankenstein-Saakachvili'


Rue 89, France

East Europe Best Not Depend on 'Obsolete' NATO


Liberation, France

The Russian President 'Dictates His Peace' to Hapless Europe


Le Figaro, France

In South Ossetia, 'Kosovo Backfires'


Le Figaro, France

Between America and Russia, the E.U. is On the Front Line


Le Figaro, France

War in the Caucasus: Georgia 'Doesn’t Stand a Chance'


Kommersant, Russia

The Kremlin Offers 'an Ultimatum' to America









































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US August 27, 3:23am]