Russian soldiers told Georgia is their enemy
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 18Russian soldiers in Georgia's occupied region of South Ossetia have been given special leaflets bearing the heading “Soldier, know your enemy!", Georgian internet source IPN reported on May 17, citing Russian media sources.
The leaflets consist of information on the present condition of the Georgian military, its combat experience and the training programmes Georgian soldiers have undertaken. It lists the facts that Georgian units have trained by NATO instructors, they use modern American and Turkish military equipment and have gained experience in Afghanistan as strengths of the Georgian Army, but state that its weaknesses are a lack of moral-psychological readiness, inappropriate military discipline and its level of desertions. "After 2001, Georgia radically changed its political course and looked to Europe, something which has negatively reflected on Georgian-Russian relations. Georgia’s latest attempt to become part of NATO, has imposed a further breach in relations. Despite the fact that after the 2008 war the United States and Europe did not show any benevolence towards Georgia, the Georgian Government continues on its chosen course and conducts an anti-Russian policy,” the leaflets say.
The Georgian Government has called the issuing of the leaflets a provocation. "This is one more provocative step by Russian officials against Georgia; I am not surprised by such leaflets. We have already chosen our way, which is towards modernisation and development. A developed and democratic Georgia is not in Russia's interests and it is trying its best to hinder this process. Russian officials tried to use Georgian politicians like Nino Burjanadze (leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, former Parliament Speaker) and Zurab Noghaideli (leader of Movement for Fair Georgia, former PM) for their own ends but their attempts failed as their supporters did not gain Georgian citizens' trust. They then tried to use Georgian Diaspora representatives, but this attempt was also unsuccessful. All these things are attempts at provocation. If someone is irritated by Georgia's course, it is their problem, not ours, and we will respond to their provocations by continuing to move towards the democratic world,” MP Nugzar Tsiklauri told The Messenger.
Military analyst Irakli Aladashvili told The Messenger, "I had already received this information, but it should be checked again. Giving such leaflets to soldiers is not a Russian invented method, as Germany and the Soviet Union did the same to alert their soldiers about their enemy and increase their courage. Georgia has not used such a method, I don't know why.
"As to the content of these leaflets, everyone has his own opinion concerning the pros and cons of the Georgian Army. It has been mentioned that such leaflets were also given to Russian soldiers before the August war in 2008 and therefore some people consider their distribution a hint of possible further Russian aggression. To my mind, the leaflets are designed to encourage Russian soldiers and don't hint at further aggression. There have been several instances of Russian soldiers deserting from bases in the Georgian occupied regions, as many Russian soldiers do not like being there at all,” Aladashvili said.