Truthful western voices about South Ossetia and Abkhazia

I’m glad there are quite a few much more realistic voices appearing in western alternative media, like open democracy. It’s good to see, there are alternatives to the much promoted old-fashioned realpolitik, that leads us all back to XIX century.

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On the second full day of the Georgia-Russia war of 8-12 August 2008, Russian patrol-boats operating off the Black Sea shore of Abkhazia sank four Georgian vessels apparently intent on landing in the territory. The identity of these vessels is not yet clear, but it is interesting to note that a published list of military equipment in the possession of the Georgian government – equipment largely supplied over many years by Tbilisi’s western friends – includes a ship called the General Mazniashvili.

Why interesting? Because General Mazniashvili (aka Mazniev) is best known for his role in spreading “fire and sword” through Abkhazia and South Ossetia on behalf of Georgia’s Menshevik government of 1918-21. The naming of the ship is a revealing indicator of current official Georgian sentiment about a figure central to the pitiless effort ninety years ago to establish control over these two areas. It is also a reminder to Abkhazians and South Ossetians that their hard-won freedom from Georgian rule in the brutal wars of the early 1990s is part of a longer history of defence of their integrity that deserves the world’s attention, understanding and respect.

These peoples, and not just the Georgians – or Russians, or Americans, or anyone else involved in the latest war in the region – have their own history, many of whose artefacts have been deliberately pulverised in this generation (see Thomas de Waal, “Abkhazia’s archive: fire of war, ashes of history” [20 October 2006]). The lesson of the short war of August 2008 is that their Abkhazian and South Ossetian voices must be heard and their own choices must be included in any decisions about their future if the cycle of conflict – of which 1918-21 and 1991-93 are but two episodes – is going to be broken rather than repeated.

continues http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/abkhazia-and-south-ossetia-heart-of-conflict-key-to-solution

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or this one

The embers of the five-day war between Georgia and Russia of 8-12 August 2008 are not quite extinguished, but the ceasefire agreement skilfully negotiated by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and agreed with his counterparts Dmitri Medvedev (Russia) and Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgia) gives hope for an end to this intense, destructive and tragic conflict.

Donald Rayfield is emeritus professor of the school of modern languages, Queen Mary University of London. Among his books is Stalin and his Hangmen (Random House, 2005), which has appeared in five other languages. He is editor-in-chief of the Comprehensive Georgian-English Dictionary (Garnett Press, 2006), a work of 1,440,000 entries and nearly 1,800 pages in two volumes

Also by Donald Rayfield in openDemocracy:

“Georgia and Russia: with you, without you” (3 October 2006)

“Russia vs Georgia: a war of perceptions” (24 August 2007)

More broadly, when the citizens displaced and wounded by the war have been able to regain a modicum of security and humanitarian relief in rebuilding their shattered lives, the space must be made for a thoroughgoing investigation into its background, causes and lessons. It may be appropriate at this early stage to offer some preliminary notes to this larger project.

Much of the media reporting of the “short and nasty war” has been strong and detailed, with a good dose of scepticism in questioning the tendentious (and often downright mendacious) versions of events relayed by Russian and Georgians spokespersons alike. This is in contrast to the lack of attention among commentators to the essential task of exploring the roots of the conflict; indeed, a lot of the opinion-flood persists in ignoring completely the local and regional factors in favour of an instant resort to high geopolitics, as if South Ossetia and Abkhazia – which lie at the heart of what has happened – do not in themselves even exist.

continues: http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-georgia-russia-conflict-lost-territory-found-nation

3 thoughts on “Truthful western voices about South Ossetia and Abkhazia

  1. Truth about war in Ossetia that is overlooked by BBC and CNN

    At 7 p.m. on August 8, the day when Olympics started, worldwide community heard from CNN and BBC news that Russian tanks invaded Georgia and that Russia started war with Georgia.

    That the war had begun 16 hours earlier by Georgian president Sukashvili’s order these media preferred to pass over in silence.

    But you have the right to know truth. That’s how this really happened:

    According to old tradition of Olympic Games’ eve everyone was looking for peace and quiet. On August 7, Georgian and South Ossetian officials agreed to observe a ceasefire and hold debates in attempt to solve their long-term conflict peacefully.

    August 8, 00:06
    Just hours later, six minutes past midnight on August 8, inhabitants of Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, peacefully sleeping in their beds, heard dreadful whizz of incoming rockets. The hell followed soon… Without any declaration Georgian forces launched massive shelling of Tskhinvali with all available means, including heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems GRAD. In this massacre, in just several hours, the whole city was ruined: 2,000 human lives wasted and 85% of all buildings demolished. Georgian military expedition, called “Clean field”, yielded its first fruits…

    August 8, 03:00
    Georgian army occupied five Ossetian villages, burning them to ashes.

    August 8, 03:30
    Georgian tanks started attack on Tskhinvali. Ossetian militia stood up to the enemy but could not keep back 30-times outnumbering Georgian forces. Many basements where Ossetins tried to escape shelling were showered with grenades. At the very same time, Georgian “peacekeepers”, serving in South Ossetia, launched unexampled attack on their yesterday’s colleagues, Russian peacekeepers, managing to kill at least 10 of them.

    August 8, 04:33
    Russia called for UN Security Council meeting to put a stop to Georgian military aggression and seize fire. No decision was delivered at neither this nor several following meetings.

    August 8, 09:00
    Russian Prime Minister Putin informed President Bush that Georgia launched war against Ossetia. Mr. Bush answered that “nobody wanted this war”.

    Ossetia was praying for help. It was already obvious that “clean field” meant nothing else but ethnical cleansing. In these circumstances, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia would defend Russian citizens who constitute 90% of South Ossetia population.

    August 8, 16:00
    Russian forces overstepped mountain pass and made their way toward perishing Ossetins. That was exactly the moment when CNN and BBC finally “noticed” the war and broadcasted their «Russians invaded Georgia» scenes. Sukashvili announced that Russia invaded Georgia and held back that he started this horrible bloodshed himself.

    Before midnight, Russian and Ossetian forces kicked aggressors out of Ossetian capital. Survived citizens started to leave basements to escape the city. In the next couple days around 30,000 refugees fled to Russia.

    Failed Georgian assault turned to informational blackout and devilish propaganda. It’s time when so much depends on your personal position! I believe that there will be journalists who can give objective picture of these events. I believe in people of peace who will regard an attempt of massive extermination of small nation as genocide (3% of South Ossetins and 0.3% of all Ossetins worldwide were killed in just one night on August 8; fascists have never achieved that efficiency in exterminating Jewish people even when Auschwitz and Treblinka were working at full capacity). I believe in a world community that will view Sukashvili’s inhuman orders as war crime and an outrage on humanity. I believe in you, thinking person, able to confront with facts, person who will not follow barefaced propaganda of politicized and deeply corrupt media, person able to recognize truth!

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