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Medvedev Stokes Olympic Inferno over August War

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 24
The issue of the 08/08/08 Russian invasion of Georgia will not die down in Georgia. To a great extent this is due to information coming from outside of Georgia. First came the former US state secretary Condoleezza Rice's memoirs and their interpretation and comments. The slings and arrows over that had not fallen before another scandalous statement was made, this time by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. According to him, the August war succeeded in avoiding NATO enlargement. The Georgian leadership interpreted this as a confession of the fact that the war was started by Moscow to pursue its own ends.

During a meeting on November 21 with officers of the southern military district in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Medvedev stated that if Russia had not used force in August 2008 the world geopolitical configuration would now be completely different and NATO's borders would have broadened. Talking with the officers of the notorious 58th army, the same one that launched the attack on Georgia, Medvedev admitted that Russia is concerned about the appearance of the NATO alliance on its borders. Later he repeated the same ideas in Rostov and emphasized that through war with Georgia, Moscow managed to stop the West's expansion.

Of course this statement by the Russian leader caused much speculation in Georgia. The Georgian Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said that according to Medvedev’s words it could be concluded that from the 1990s Russia's aggressive politics as well as the 2008 August war had the very precise aim of preventing Georgia from integration into Euro Atlantic structures and to remove Georgia’s democratically elected leadership to stop current reforms in the country.

Georgia’s presidential spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze stated on November 22 that Medvedev’s words are yet another sign to the international community as to what the incentives are of Russia's aggression not only towards Georgia but towards Russia’s other neighbors as well.

FM Vashadze stated that the process of integration of Georgia into NATO has not slowed down. “Georgia’s drive towards NATO will end up with the desired result in the near future,” Vashadze said. Medvedev’s revelation gave ground to representatives of the ruling majority in Georgia to launch an attack on the opposition, which blames Saakashvili for starting the war and thus provoking Moscow to launch an invasion of Georgia. Some oppositionists, like Tina Khidasheli, have stated that Georgia did not start the war but that Saakashvili was trapped and thus allowed Russians to attack.

It is well known that a war is not started with singe shot and most people recognize this in the case of the August war. It is a fact that Russia had been preparing to launch a full scale attack on Georgia for quite some time. It was permanently provoking Georgia to start military activities. There were permanent shootings and the killing of peaceful citizens committed by either Russians or the separatist militias, but in August the Georgian leadership answered the Russian led provocations by bombarding Tskhinvali, which gave ground for Moscow to accuse Georgia of launching an unprovoked attack, labeling it as an aggressor.

At the time, Russian news ran evidently false reports about a Georgian genocide against the South Ossetian people. Medvedev's statements at least seem to have put to bed such scandalous nonsense. This war was not about protecting human rights, self-determination or other populist soundbites. This war was about geopolitics and the Russian government is finally admitting that.