Putin reveals prior preparation for 2008 August War
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, August 10
The General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces had prepared a plan on how to repel a possible attack of Georgian troops on South Ossetia a year before the 2008 August War, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on August 8.
During a joint news conference with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, Putin was asked whether Russia had an action plan “in the case that Georgia launched an attack against South Ossetia.”
In response, Putin underscored that the existence of such a plan was not secret and that Russia was carrying out its actions based on the previously created plan during the war period.
“The plan was prepared by the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in late 2006 or at the beginning of 2007. It was approved by me and agreed on by me. Moreover, in the framework of the plan, South Ossetian militants were being trained,” Putin said.
The Russian President also emphasized that the trained militants expressed unimaginable braveness and “defended their land from Georgians” until the arrival of the Russian soldiers.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry and the president immediately responded to the statement.
According to the special statement made by the MFA, Putin’s statements confirms Georgia’s long-standing position that Russia’s armed incursion into Georgia in August 2008 constituted a premeditated act of aggression against a sovereign nation.
“The statement also echoes a statement made in November 2011 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev that the military aggression was intended to counter Georgia's NATO ambitions, and thus our country’s sovereign choice to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community,” the MFA statement reads.
The statement also touched upon the fact that Russia trained militants of the Tskhinvali regime to fight Georgia's armed forces. “This fact highlights that Russia had for years been flouting its obligations as a supposed peacekeeper in Tskhinvali. These actions directly contravened Russia’s commitments in various peace agreements, while blatantly violating Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” the MFA stated.
Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, has called Putin’s statement as recognition and named those reasons why Russia launched war against Georgia.
“We carried out such successful reforms in 2005-2006 that Russia would have to state that those changes are worthy. No one could imagine that corruption might be defeated and such successful police reforms might be carried out in a post-Soviet state,” Saakashvili stated.
Saakashvili also emphasized that Russians could not defeat Georgia with their economic embargo or their provocations. The president also underscored that it should be clear to all which side launched the war.
Based on political analyst Zurab Abashidze, these kinds of statements from the Russian side indicate that the reason behind the war was not based on the defense of an ally.
“The Russians have already stated that disturbing Georgian’s path to NATO, and maintaining a leading role in the Caucasus were the reasons for the war. These statements directly contradict Russian’s previous explanation for the war when they suggested that they did it to protect an ally people,” the analyst told The Messenger.
As analyst Demur Giorkhelidze told The Messenger, those statements made by Russian and Georgian Presidents do not change the situation at all.
“The fact that Russia or any big country has its attitudes and scenarios concerning various situations is not secret. What might be changed by Putin’s statement? We all had means not to let the August tragedy happen. War rhetoric is very dangerous and might create illusions,” Giorkhelidze stated.
The analyst feels that the Georgian government acted based on incorrect views during the pre- war period. “If the Georgian government did not discuss this development of events as it occurred on August 8 as one of the possible scenarios, professionalism of according structures can be set under the question mark,” the analyst mentioned.
Giorkhelidze also stated that it has no importance which side made the first shot as discussing the issue shadows catastrophic outcomes of the war.
“Four years later and neither political forces nor society discuss or analyze a future action plan, or how the country can find its way out from the hardest problems. Moreover, the marking of August events looked to some like a TV show… that is very dangerous as well,” the analyst said.