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Preparing for war?

By Messenger staff
Friday, November 28
Russia continues building up its military forces on Georgian territory. In fact it has made two military strongholds out of the two occupied regions of Georgia which it declared and has recognized as “sovereign states.”

Shooting people, abusing the rights of the Georgian population, forcing them to leave their homes and other violations have become permanent features of life in and around the conflict zones. The Russian armed forces are perpetually reinforced from the North. With the separatists they are fixing “borders” between the breakaway regions and the rest of Georgia. Moscow’s leaders don’t hide their attitude towards Georgia and openly threaten Tbilisi with a repetition of the August aggression on an increased scale. The Russian Defence Minister recently shook his fist at Georgia while on visit to Turkey.

The Kremlin feels quite comfortable with the EU position, which is euphoric about having removed Russia from the Buffer Zones created by Moscow for bargaining reasons, whilst ignoring repeated violations of the EU’s own agreements. Russia is satisfied with not allowing EU monitors into the occupied territories, and being allowed to get away with this. The return to the pre war status quo demanded by the ceasefire document has not been observed until now, and thus is ignored one of the most vital elements of the Sarkozy-brokered plan, which Medvedev also signed.

There are many signs that Moscow might try to provoke yet another war against Tbilisi to achieve a greater victory. Russian military expert Pavel Felgengauer, in his interview with a Georgian newspaper recently, did not exclude such a development. His comment is very convincing because he was the one who predicted a couple of months before the August war almost the exact dates of the confrontation between Moscow and Tbilisi. The resumption of this is permanently speculated upon in the Russian media.

It looks now as if Russia feels free to do whatever it wants in the Caucasus. Distressingly enough, the West seems to accept this situation. It forgave Russia for its violation of international laws and attempt to reshuffle Europe’s borders. So, why not carry on? After all, there is still a great deal to forgive.

The next step Moscow wants to take is to change the current Georgian administration. It will try to do so by creating destabilization and confrontation inside Georgia. The ideal time to do this is winter and early spring, as climatic and social problems become acute during this period and nobody starts an invasion in winter, as Russia remembers what it did to Napoleon. An attack on Georgia could be made after April if there is no change of administration by then. The excuse for invasion could be provoked at any time in either of the Russian-occupied territories, this being one reason they were occupied to begin with.

Winning a new war is in Russia’s interests for different reasons: it would deflect attention from economic crises, ethnic unrest and problems in the North Caucasus and anticipated changes in Russia’s leadership and further strengthen the totalitarian regime in the country. One” good,” heroic war would solve many problems for His Majesty Tsar Vladimir, whose name, not coincidentally, means ‘possess the world.’ Russia’s wish to change the Georgian Government coincides with that of the opposition, but it should not be said that the opposition is thereby serving the Russians. The opposition has demanded the resignation of the Rose Leadership for years, and has never proposed that the country should lose its independence or have a puppet pro-Kremlin Government.

Today the feeling of frustration towards the West’s inadequate response to Moscow has created a kind of vacuum in Georgian society. This might be filled with pro-Russian sentiments, or at least the desire to strike a balance between Russia and the West, as neither has repaid the hope and trust once placed in them. If the West retreats and goes on compromising with Russia, will people start asking why Georgia does not do the same?