Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The following is my translation (from the original Georgian) of Burjanadze's interview with Georgian newspaper Asaval-Dasavali published in the August 10 issue.
Last August, Saakashvili asked to meet with you a few days before the war. Did he ask you for your opinon on any issues?
Yes, I did meet with Saakashvili on August 3, 2008. Apparently, he had already taken a decisive step and wanted to see what my reaction would be! This was the first time that he had asked to see me after my depature from the government. At that time, tensions were high in the country and that's why I agreed to meet with Saakashvili.
I remember it perfectly. On August 3, a Sunday, at 5 o'clock I entered the residence. We talked for almost an hour and twenty minutes, and I told him very clearly that a war with Russia would only end in catastrophe for Georgia. I told him that there was no question that Putin would get involved in this war and that there was no question that Georgia would lose this war!
Who else attended the meeting?
No one, we were alone.
And what did Saakashvili tell you?
He said that we would take Tskhinvali in one night, that's when I told him that things wouldn't turn out the way he planned and also that the capture of Tskhinvali would not solve the problem! I also told him that even if we get South Ossetia back by military means, we would lose Abkhazia for good, and Saakashvili agreed with me!
During this meeting, Saakashvili also promised me that he would not start a war and that he would not be drawn into any military operation, but...
Besides this meeting, I remember other meetings at the very same Avlabari residence, at his Tserovani residence, and in his office where I often had very heated debates with Saakashvili and his inner circle. They would flex their muscles and say that the Russians have rusty tanks, that we would win the war, that we would crush them and advance all the way to Moscow!
We know that there was a military operation in Samachablo [a region that now lies entirely in South Ossetia], but why did we lose Kodori Gorge [aka Kodori Valley, now part of Abkhazia]? How do you explain the surrender of Kodori?
Just now, on August 7, I was listening to Saakashvili's statement where he said he was planning on going to Kodori Gorge, but that had he gone, he wouldn't have had a phone and wouldn't have been able to call foreign countries. What century does he think this is? What about satellite phones? Or does the president only use landlines? Either he was lying or he was once again demonstrating his unprofessionalism.
The abandonment of Kodori Gorge was planned! No one could have taken Kodori Gorge. It didn't remain part of Georgia's jurisidiction after the war in the 90s by chance. Kodori is a naturally impregnable fortress and no one could have bombed it!
The order to abandon Kodori was a criminal one and whoever gave that order should be sent to prison. I am convinced that the time will come!
It doesn't matter if it will happen in a year from now, or in ten, Burjanadze or someone else will be in power, and whoever was responsible for the surrender of Kodori Gorge will be sent to prison.
Someone must be held responsible for this war! Someone must be held responsible for our boys who ran half-naked from Kodori while we were out standing on Rustaveli, singing, and not telling the people that at this very moment we were losing Kodori Gorge!
This is a mockery which can never be forgiven! When this man asks for forgiveness, God will not forgive him!
[Note: this is not the first time that Burjanadze has referred to this meeting before the war. She mentioned it in an interview just a few weeks after the war.]
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Нино Бурджанадзе: Саакашвили уверял, что захватит Цхинвали за одну ночь
[You can also read the translation from the original Georgian here.]
One of the leaders of the Georgian opposition, ex-Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze, told the Tbilisi daily newspaper "Asaval-Dasavali" that Mikheil Saakashvili shared his war plan with her on August 3. "He said that we would take Tskhinvali in one night," said Burjanadze.
Burjanadze formally resigned from her position on April 28, 2008. Her meeting with Saakashvili in August was the first since the two leaders of the "Rose Revolution" had separated. At that time, Burjanadze had not gone over to the opposition since she still wished to consult with her former ally.
"We met at his residence on August 3, on Sunday, at 5 pm. We talked for close to an hour and twenty minutes," recalls Burjanadze. "I told him that a war with Russia would only end in catastrophe for Georgia. Saakashvili still believed that we would take Tskhinvali in one night. I replied that that wouldn't happen. Secondly, that the capture of Tskhinvali does not mean a resolution to our problems. I also told him that even if we get South Ossetia back by military means, we would lose Abkhazia for good. Saakashvili acknowledged this."
Burjanadze recalled several more conversations and arguments with the president and his inner circle: "They said that the Russians have rusty tanks, that we would win the war, that we would crush them and advance all the way to Moscow."
The interview turned to the topic of scandal. Burjanadze told of how the Georgian secret service controlled the meeting of opposition leaders with US vice president Joseph Biden.
"I have no doubts that the meeting was recorded," she said. "All diplomats in Georgia know that their phones are tapped, that their movements are traced. I know that one diplomat of high rank, upon discovering that he was being followed, filed a protest against deputy minister of foreign affairs Giga Bokeria."
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Саакашвили надеется пережить острый экономический кризис за счет оплаченных силовых провокаций - депутат Госдумы РФ
Georgia's armed provocations are just another way for Mikheil Saakashvili to ask for money from the international community, first and foremost, from the US, believes Ruslan Kondratov, member of the Committee for International Affairs of the Russian State Duma. According to an IA Regnum correspondent, on August 5, Kondratov stated that he was certain that in the next few days, the situation at the Georgian-Abkhazian border could become very complicated. "Today, South Ossetia closed its border with Georgia, and the Ossetian's fear is quite justified--after last year's monstrous demarche, any kind of provocation can be expected from Saakashvili, including the use of military force. Now, the Georgian president needs to increase his political weight, and the anniversary of the military conflict in the Caucasus region is a serious occasion," noted the parliamentarian.
"In addition, Georgia is in the midst of an economic crisis, and armed provocations against South Ossetia and Russia are another way for Saakashvili to ask for money from the international community, first and foremost, the US," said the Duma deputy. "Tbilisi understands that if they can get the Russian army to use force against Georgia, this could be a trump card in their foreign policy game. Therefore, the main task of our border forces is not to permit such events to unfold. Nevertheless, since the end of July, South Ossetia and Georgia have reported provocations on the border," said Kondratov.
South Ossetia closed its border with Georgia. The Leader of the republic, Eduard Kokoity, explained that the move was necessary as provocations from Tbilisi have increased in the last few days.
In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov characterized Saakashvili's request that American observers be included in the EU Mission as an attempt to destabilize the situation in the South Caucasus and to provoke a conflict between the US and Russia.
Южная Осетия закрыла границу с Грузией
Early this morning, South Ossetia closed its border with Georgia. The Leader of the republic, Eduard Kokoity, explained that the move was necessary as provocations from Tbilisi have increased in the last few days.
Patrols have been reinforced, as has the 4th Russian Military Base, which is deployed in South Ossetia. Members of the Air Force and the Air Defense of the Northern Caucasus Military District have been placed on high alert.
According to the Ministry of Defense, "the Russian armed forces will stop any possible agression from Tbilisi in its infancy."