Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Under Russian Siege

Today it is 13 years since Georgian troops was evicted from Sokhumi, beaten by Abkhazian separatists, Russian Spetznaz troops, and Tchetchen terrorists lead by Basajev. It’s a day to remember the genocide in Abkhazia and the thousands of Georgian-Abkhazian refugees still living in Tbilisi and other places in Gerogia without any homes to return to. Maybe the memorial monument in front of the Georgian Parliament, reminding us of the 21 Tbilisians beaten to death with shuffles, and the thousands of others exposed to toxic gasses in a peaceful anti Soviet demonstration by Russian troops of April 1989, gives us a deeper and even more sinister back curtain to the recent development in the conflict between Russia and Georgia.

In the middle of Tbilisi the Headquarters of the Russian Troops in Trans-Caucasus are positioned well. Since the days before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian troops has been located all over the Georgia. Russia needs 4 years to pull 4000 troops out of Georgia, Putin says, and the process of withdrawal proceeds very slowly, after hard and neverending negotiations where the Russians demanded 11 years. Still the process doesn’t include the “peacekeeping” forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

When will UN understand what kind of “peacekeepers” they have put in charge in Abkhazia?
The Russian troops in Tbilisi stays. To have the “neighbors” soldiers placed in your capitol is called occupation. Further more, to have Russian peacekeeping forces in two breakaway-republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia also seems odd. Especially when Russian officials, yesterday Putin, states that Russia will support the break away republics in their attempt as soon as Kosovo is recognized officially. What Kosovo has to do with it, is a result of Russian logic not for mortal people to understand. The rethoric battle between Tbilisi-government and Russian officials now seems to escalate into a pre-war condition in Kodori Gorge region, from today named Upper Abkhazia, where the self appointed Abkhazian government hold military excercises close to the Georgian police in the region, stating that the Russian support in possible military actions is granted. A Russian general is in fact training the troops, and leads the “exercise”.

The Russians actively supports anti Georgian separatists
At the same time: From Moscow comes the message from separatist warlord Kvitsiani, which occupied Svaneti earlier this summer, but was driven away by Georgian police: “We will take back Kodori Gorge and fight the Georgian government”. Georgian intelligence has established that Kvitsiani is safe in Moscow and makes his broadcasts from a known address in the city. Finally Russians states that they will support. The daily Russian threats is supported by harassments of Georgians traveling through Russia. The Russian signing in Turky of an agreement recognizing Georgian territorial demands doesn’t seem to hold up in the daily bashing of Georgia defending their territory. The Cocoo’s nest in Tbilisi continues to be a symbol of Russian imperialism and unwillingness to accept Georgia as a souverign state.

But there’s more worms in the woodwork
Igor Giorgadze, an Georgian exile mulitimillionaire living in Russia; accused for treason and the attempted killing of Shjevardnadze in the nineties is on the move. He is wanted by Interpol, but lives protected in Russia. He is the man behind the Samartlianoba, the “justice” party. It is a pro-russian movement financed by him, and with an expressed goal to overthrow the Georgian Government. That is what he says on television in Moscow. In September 2006 there was mass arrests in Tbilisi, detaining members of this and other movements for conspiracy and an attempted armed plot against Saakashvili and the Georgian government.

Russian foreign politics ; the way of a former colonial power
For me it seems like Russia never really understood that it was only a part of the Soviet Union and therefore in no natural position to inherit the Soviet supremacy from the golden era. The sharpest knives in the Russian shelf, like Shirinowsky and foreign minister Lavrov, continue to condemn the free states in the former union, urging them not to resist Russian supremacy. “It’s for their own good”, the message is. To further underline this message, power lines suddenly collapses, and in mysterious ways Georgian mineral water and wine is found contaminated, and therefore cannot be imported to Russia. But there is also the same problem in Moldova with “contaminated” wine. Maybe it is due to the situation with the breakaway republic Transdniester, held by Russian supported separatists.

The Russian method
Now this “contamination-procedure” is by no means a single Georgian event. Norwegian salmon has also been found “contaminated”, strangely enough shortly after the Norwegian Coastguard tried to stop the Russian trawler Elektron fishing illegally in the Norwegian zone in the Barentssee. The result was that the crew on the trawler kidnapped two of the Norwegian coastguards inspectors boarding the vessel., and released them only after harboring in Murmansk. The Russians exercise their territorial rights in a more firm way, as the killing of the crew on a Japaneese trawler accused of fishing in Russian territorial waters this autumn shows. Anyway, to avoid conflict the Norwegian coastguard did not fire at the Russian trawler although it did not respond to the coastguards repetitive attempts to stop it peacefully. Now the Norwegian Coastguard reports that Elektron is back in Norwegian zone fishing illegally again. And that is during the trial against the captain, now taking place in Murmansk.

So what happened with the Norwegian salmon?
The salmon was controlled by both Sweedish, Danish and EU laboratories, and found to be clean. No contamination what so ever. Not that it mattered much for the Russians. They now conduct inspections on every single fishfarm in Norway. And the procedure is strict and takes time. There is of course expected full treatment of the inspectors, including food and drinks at each plant.

This is foreign politics, peacekeeping and diplomacy The Russian way.

Georgian Online Magazine, 2004-2006:
Washington Post, 2004-2006:
Russian Online Magazines, 2004-2006: and
Norwegian Broadcasting, 2006
Aftenposten 2006. Norway


Anonymous Sexy Sadie said...

Dagny Juel bodde i den der by en gang i tiden. ;)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Writer'n said...

Det er helt korrekt. Hun ble til opg med skutt og begravd der. Hvis du går inn på mine websider vil du se et bilde av hennes grav i Tbilisi. Jeg har vært der..heheh. Klikk på bildet av regissøren Olga Zghenti og gå inn på intervjuet med henne.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:25:00 pm  
Blogger Rapho said...

Hi Eistein,
very often I read your blog. Don't sorry when I don't write a comment.
The last articels are very special for me. I think we have a lot in common.
Regards, Rapho.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 12:07:00 am  
Blogger Rapho said...

It shout mean (w)orry not (s)orry ;-)


Saturday, September 30, 2006 1:02:00 am  
Anonymous Writer'n said...

Not to worry, Rapho...
Thank you for your kind words! It is always stimulating to receive feedback on an article. I don't expect coments, because it really isn't much to comment on. But it is very nice when I get one:-)

Thanks Rapho!

Saturday, September 30, 2006 2:02:00 am  
Blogger E.T. said...

It seems like you are Russophobia.
You call fighters for self-determination "separatists". Nut you should not forget every nation has right to independence. Only thing which makes Abkhazians ineligible for independence to you is that Russia supports them. Who has Soviet-like behavior is Georgia not Russia. Georgia denies people of Abkhazia freedom. You should not forget that.

Sunday, October 08, 2006 7:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Writer'n said...

In Abkhazia the "independence" was achieved by etnic cleansing. The Georgian population was driven away by Basajevs separatists supported by Russian SPETZNAZ troops. Independence won that way is nothing I will support. Russia has also signed a treaty recognizing Georgias territorial demands.

Sunday, October 08, 2006 7:46:00 pm  
Blogger E.T. said...

You do not know the history. Abkhazia has declared its independence before so called "ethnic cleansing". Georgian Neo-stalinist rulers did not accept that. So the war has begun. As a result of the war, many people are displaced. Yes there were many atrocities committed by both sides. But accusing only Abkhazians is too much. How about Kosovo. Are not many Serbians victims of "ethnic cleansing." Still West supports Kosovo independence.

Sunday, October 08, 2006 7:51:00 pm  
Blogger E.T. said...

Thank you giving me the opportunity of commenting and replying me comment. Maybe I am little bit biased toward Abkhazia, because I am from another freedom-loving, tiny country, Mongolia. Also there is a reason to be biased against Georgia. My family is a victim of Stalin and Beria.
But I recommend you to read a discussion.
They discuss the issue form the viewpoints of both sides.

Sunday, October 08, 2006 8:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Writer'n said...

E.T:: I like people with different opinions to reply to my posts. And you being biased is of course the same as me being biased. That's a good start of any debate. So to the point: Abkhazia

The US, EU, UN, and OSCE recognize Abkhazia as an integral and autonome part of Georgia, but the Abkhaz separatist government consider Abkhazia a sovereign country.

The Russians wants to incorporate this region into Russia. During the war in the early 1990's, Russian authorities supplied significant military and financial aid to the separatist side. Since the beginning of the war, Russia has politically and militarily contributed in the creation of the separatist movement in Abkhazia. So the question is not about independence, but to be incorporated into another country. That is imperialism, and the Gerogian view this as a hostile attack on their country, allthough Abkhazia is autonom as a republic. To further fuel the situation, having Russian UN peacekeepers in the region is regarded as a big conflict of interests. Now the same things happens in South Ossetia. No wonder the Gerogians react and wants to maintain their country intact from Russian imperialism.

Sunday, October 08, 2006 8:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Writer'n said...

E.T..the link does not work. Can you please check it and repost?

Sunday, October 08, 2006 8:44:00 pm  
Blogger E.T. said...

I do not think there is no danger of Russia incorporating Abkhazia.
If West supports Abkhazia, they do not have to rely on Russia. So Russian influence in Caucasus will decrease. Russia wants the conflict to prolong, so they keep their influence.
I think Abkhazians hate Georgia more than Russians. Originally Abkhazia was independent rebublic of Soviet U like Georgia. Stalin annexed it into Georgia.

You said foreign countries consider
Abkhazia part of Georgia. So they consider Kosovo as part of Serbia at this moment. What do you think about Kosovo. Why US and EU ahve right to decide Abkhazian people should live under their hated neighbor Georgia.

Monday, October 09, 2006 5:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Writer'n said...

ET: I think you are wrong in a few points here. The Abkhazians have been issued Russian passports allready. Then you have some historical mistakes about Stalin. I will also briefly give you the history of Abkhazia and Georgia.

First: Georgia was annexed by Russia in 1801, then independent from 1918 to 1921 when it was implemented in the Soviet Uninon. Josef Stalin, was the leader and dictator of the Soviet Union from about 1928 to his death in 1953. So Stalin did not annex Georgia. Not that is matters much. It is no point in regarding him as anything other than a dictator in the same cathegory as the Austrian born Hitler.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918 in the midst of the Russian Civil War. The parliamentary election was won by the Georgian Social-Democratic Party, considered to be a Party of Mensheviks, and its leader, Noe Zhordania, became the prime minister. In 1918-1919 Georgian general Mazniashvili led a Georgian attack against White Army led by Moiseev and Denikin in order to claim the Black Sea coastline from Tuapse to Sochi and Adler for independent Georgia. In February 1921 Georgia was attacked by the Red Army, and incorporated into the Soviet Union.

Then to The Kingdom of Abkhazia:

In 978, the Bagratid prince Bagrat occupied the Abkhazian throne with the help of his adoptive father David III of Tao. In 1008, Bagrat succeeded on the death of his natural father Gurgen as the King of Kings of the Georgians. Thus, these two kingdoms unified through dynastic succession, in practice laying the foundation to the unified Georgian monarchy, officially styled then as the Kingdom of the Abkhazians and Georgians.In the 11th century the Seljuk Turks invaded the country . In Georgia, it was only Abkhazia and mountainous areas of Svanetia, Racha and Khevi-Khevsureti which remained out of Seljuk control. By the end of 1099 David IV of Georgia put most of Georgian lands except Tbilisi and Ereti under his effective control having Abkhazia and Svanetia as his reliable rear bases. In 1105–1124 Georgian armies under King David liberated the rest of Georgia from the Turks. Then the Kingdom was destroyed by the Mongols in 1236. Thereafter, different local rulers fought for their independence from the central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. From the 16th century, the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire conquered the eastern and western regions of Georgia. In 1801 Tsar Paul I of Russia incorporated Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire.
In the summer of 1805 Russian troops on the river Askerani near Zagam defeated the Persian army and saved Tbilisi from conquest.In 1810, after a brief war, the western Georgian kingdom of Imereti was annexed by Tsar Alexander I of Russia. The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler Solomon II died in exile in 1815. From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars against Turkey and Iran, several territories were annexed to Georgia. These areas (Batumi, Artvin, Akhaltsikhe, Poti, and Abkhazia) now represent a large part of the territory of Georgia. The principality of Guria was abolished in 1828, and that of Samegrelo (Mingrelia) in 1857. The region of Svaneti was annexed in 1857.

I see no paralell to Kosovo

Monday, October 09, 2006 7:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the writer of this blogg does not see the commonalities between Abkhazia and Kosovo, and indeed other conflicts in the post-Soviet space, because he refuses to discuss the history of Abkhaz-Georgian from 1917. Fact is that both under the so-called "Democratic Republic" of the Mensheviks, as well as under the Georgian SSR, the cultural and political autonomy of Abkhazia was repeatedly assaulted, and Abkhazia actively sought assimilated into Georgia proper. Under the first constitution for the "democratic" republic of Georgia established in 1918, the former Russian imperial subject of Abkhazia was incorporated forcibly into the new Georgian nation state, without the consent of the majority of Abkhazians. For this reason, many Abkhazians initially welcomed the invading Bolsheviks as liberators. However, despite initially making Abkhazia a constituent republic of the USSR with considerable autonomy, the Georgian bolsheviks would later show themselves to be much worse for the Abkhaz than the Mensheviks, not only by decreasing Abkhazias autonomous status from that of Union Republic to an Autonomous Republic within Georgia by the Commissar Josef Stalin in 1931, (as e.t correcty pointed out in his previous post) but also because they embarked on a process of "georgification" of Abkhazia from the mid 1930s onwards. This campain was carried out with the full approval of the Georgian Josef Stalin in Moscow, and was led localy by his Georgian (or rather Mingrelian) deputy Lavrenti Beria. As part of this scheme, large numbers of non-Abkhazian, espescially Mingrelians and Georgians were moved to Abkhazia en masse in order to upset the demographic balance of the region, and Abkhaz language, culture and social cohesion was effectively supressed by outlawing Abkhaz-language schools and by asassinating or inprisoning members of the local elites. Finally, plans were also drawn up to deport the whole Abkhaz poplulation to Central-Asia, as with other Caucasian nationalities, but but for various reasons, this did not come to pass. It was not untill the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 that things were to improve in Abkhazia, with the status of the Abkhaz language being reafirmed, as well as the granting of substanial autonomy and representation within Georgian governmental structures. However, the Georgian-Abkhaz relationship would again take a turn for the worse as the Soviet Union was breaking up towards the end of the 1980s, and the Abkhazia became the target for virulent Georgian nationalism. Georgian nationalists such as Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Merab Kostava and Giorgi Chanturia openly called for an end to the privileges and autonomy the Abkhaz had enjoyed since the death of Stalin, using among other things fabricated materials by the pseudo-historian Pavle Ingoroqva to "substantiate" their clams. The most outrageous of these claims was that Abkhazians had only been present in Abkhazia since the 17th century, and that they therefore could be considered "guests" on "Georgian land" All this culiminated in the events of 1992, when Georgian nationalist Government under Shevardnadze effectively abolished Abkhaz autonomy by rehabilitating the constitution of the Georgian Democratic Republic of the 1920s, as well as the attempted the establishment of a department of Tbilisi State University in Sukhum, widely seen by Abkhazians as a move by the central authorites to undermine their own local institutions. The events of the war that resulted need not be unduly reported here , but it is worth mentioning that the initial stages of the attack by Georgia on Abkhazia saw widespread mass killings and "ethnic cleasing" perpetrated by Georgian and pro-Georgian forces against the Abkhaz and other nationalities of Abkhazia, the nature of which is totaly comparable to the Serbian transgressions in Kosovo in 1999 This, in additon to parallels in the imperial origins of both the Georgian and the Serbian nation states, the structure and practices of autonomy within Yugoslavia and the Georgian SSR under socialism, along with the longstanding supression of Abkhaz identity and nationhood which I believe has no parallel in Kosovo, I think fully validates a comparison of the two conflicts.

Monday, October 15, 2007 1:18:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for your invocation of the history of the Abkhaz and Georgian, this has absolutely no relevance to the present political situation, as the feudal Georgia and Georgia as a modern nation state, both under the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks are two radically different political setups. Consequently, it does not follow that Abkazia as a feudal subject of Georgia should automatically become a part of the modern nation state of Georgia. This especially, as I have noted earlier, because Abkhazia as a region was forcibly incorporated into the Georgian nation state by the Menshevik government after the collapse of the Russian Empire, a move which can hardly be characterised as any other than and act of imperialism on the behalf of Georgia.

As for your comments about the Abkhaz-Russian relationship of present day I have to agree with e.t, that it is not so much the Russian policies that are dragging Abkhazia closer to Russia, but rather the policies of the international commuity and Georgia itself towards Abkhazia that are pushing the Abkhaz into the arms of the Russians. Since Abkhazia is totaly isolated economically, and denied diplomatic and political recognition, the Abkhaz have in fact no other choice than to accept the of the only state willing to support their country, and that is Russia. This situation could indeed have been very different, had not the international community been so inflexible in it's insistence on preserving the territorial integrity of Georgia, the priciple of which it has been more than willing to flaunt in the parallel case of Kosovo.

Monday, October 15, 2007 2:05:00 am  
Anonymous Writer'n said...

I am not wrong assuming you also posted in my Guestbook? Please read my answer there.

Monday, October 15, 2007 1:25:00 pm  

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