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Kavkaz 2009

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 2
On June 29 Russia began the full scale military exercises Kavkaz 2009, which will last until July 6. On that date US President Barack Obama is arriving is Moscow. The exercises will be held simultaneously in the Russian North Caucasus and the Georgian territories currently occupied by Russia. They are designed to demonstrate Russia’s might to Georgia and the entire world. They also carry the threat of being the basis from which to unleash a second military assault against Georgia.

The Russian media and propaganda machine boast of the number of soldiers involved in the exercises, and it is impressive. Officially 8,500 servicemen, 200 tanks, 450 armed vehicles and 250 artillery units will be in action. Presumably with infrastructure and logistics added many more people will actually be involved. In the light of such impressive figures it looks and sounds even more ridiculous that Moscow almost created an international scandal when exercises were held in Georgia under the aegis of NATO. There was no military equipment involved in these exercises at all, no hardware, no artillery, no tanks. Kavkaz 2009 will be full scale military trainings and not theoretical exercises like the ones held here by NATO, as Russian political analyst Alexander Khramchikhin has stated.

The Kremlin is flexing its muscles to try and achieve different goals. Firstly it is seeking to address the complicated situation in the Russian North Caucasus, meaning the continued terrorist acts in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya, where attacks against Russian-backed local officials takes place include an attack on the Ingush President. It is also trying to impress and put pressure on US President Barack Obama on his first visit to Moscow. The manouevres will be a hint that Russia will not make any concessions and therefore Obama should not bother demanding anything which would make Russia retreat from its ‘sphere of special interest’, which Moscow claims all the former Soviet Republics are.

The third aim of the Kremlin, which we hope will not be followed through but should be mentioned anyway, is to threaten Georgia with a second possible attack. The Kremlin is continually brainwashing its population with anti-Georgian rhetoric and making the most ridiculous and absurd allegations for PR purposes, such as “Georgia rattles its arms and the purpose of these exercises is to take preventative measures against possible Georgian military aggression.” The Commander of the Russian Army Headquarters, General Nikolay Makarov, has stated with the utmost seriousness and arrogance that Georgia’s current leadership has not given up the idea of resolving its Abkhazian and South Ossetian problems by force. “A new military adventure is possible, today the Georgian Army is as well equipped as last year when Saakashvili attacked South Ossetia,” says Makarov, expecting people to believe him. Of course the best way to defend is to attack, as Russian Generals know, and this is why General Makarov put the blames for the crime Moscow committed on Tbilisi.

Of course not a single sane person could believe that Georgia is planning to attack the separatist regions, which in reality are now extensions of Russia. Georgia’s leaders possibly have made many mistakes but they are not crazy. Only an idiot could dream now of attacking Russia.

It is clear to everybody who knows at least a little of Russia’s politics and history that Russia occupied Georgian territory last year, and its forces were there under different guises well before August 8. The Russian invasion started earlier. So the trainings Russia is conducting are aggressive ones, and if US President Obama is not categorical enough to stop any possible aggression Moscow will read such conduct as a green light for new aggression. “The Obama-Medvedev meeting will greatly determine how Russia will behave towards Georgia and the entire post-Soviet space,” states Russian expert Oleg Panfilov.

Georgian state officials regard the Russian exercises as a dangerous provocation. MP Davit Darchiashvili thinks that they are being held to create panic in Georgia on the one hand and drag Georgia into military provocations in the other. MP Goka Gabashvili states that the only way to withstand Russian provocation is to maintain stability in the country and ensure Georgia’s allies hold firm positions. Unfortunately however there is no stability in the country. Confrontation continues and Russian tanks are just 40 kilometres from Tbilisi, and show no signs of going home.