Putin: US is re-arming Georgia
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, August 31
In his interview to the Russian daily newspaper, Kommersant on August 30, Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin cited Georgia's re-arming by the US as the reason for the August War in 2008. “It’s a fact that the re-arming of Georgia is still going on but I just wonder what the reason is. If there hadn’t been rearming two years ago, no aggression would have been caused and no blood lost…By the way I was telling our partners about it, among them some European friends, but every one kept silent,” Putin said recollecting the events of August 2008.
Admitting he does actually believe in the “reset policy” with the US, the Russian Prime Minister told Kommersant that he was even keen to follow the agreement. “First of all I would like to believe…Secondly – I want to establish [the policy] very much and thirdly – I can see how the approach of the new US administration has improved towards Russia. I feel as if Barak Obama is completely sincere about the issue. I can’t guess what he can or can’t do but I just want to see whether he will manage [to follow the agreement] or not. But he wants to do so,” said Putin self-confidently.
Analyst Irakli Aladashvili told The Messenger that there has never been any rearming of Georgia by the US; neither before nor after the August War. “Russia is doing its job – trying to avoid blame by accusing Georgia. The only weapon we received from the US was the arms training for the post Soviet countries which the US did to improve the skills of young soldiers before August 2008. The Georgian Government has also bought M4 Carbine officially from a private US company which the US administration opposed due to security issues. It would be good for Georgia if the US had provided us with arms but unfortunately Russia’s claims are all false,” Aladashvili told us adding that the US and the West are guilty of being unable to predict Russia's aggression towards Georgia in 2008. “The US and Europe may even have used Georgia as an experimental mouse to observe Russia’s policy and their military actions towards the country, so that they could witness the Russians' strategy and action plan from above,” stated the analyst.
Another analyst Soso Tsintsadze said that the Russian Prime Minister has just admitted that Georgia remains an important strategic centre for the US and West despite the denial of the whole Russian political elite. “The attractive reset policy between Russia and the US is heading towards its logical “death”. Putin, talking about his hopes on the fulfillment of the agreement, is still stressing several issues upon which the sides couldn’t agree: rearming Georgia and providing a defence system in Europe are examples of Russia’s annoyance. Thus the Russian PM’s statement is a kind of epitaph for the reset policy preceded by other official claims from the Russian administration,” the analyst said explaining the controversy surrounding Russia’s claims about Georgia's loss of importance for the rest of the world.
“If Georgia isn't important to the West, then why should Putin start talking about Georgia as a reason for disagreement over the reset policy, I wonder. There can’t be any accusations about the US rearming Georgia as the US still opposes such trade. We do actually need the air security…The outcome of the five-day war with Russia was successful for the aggressors exactly because of the insecurity of Georgian airspace. But Georgia still managed to destroy one helicopter per day which is an important achievement for us. These standard claims from the Russian authorities are nothing new for us but it’s a fact that the reset agreement is also turning into a failure due to such a small problem like Georgia,” Tsintsadze told The Messenger.