Monday, September 29, 2008

Former Insider Lashes Out at Authorities

From (not a translation)

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Sep.'08 / 21:25

Erosi Kitsmarishvili, a person who once owned Rustavi 2 TV and was President Saakashvili’s administration insider, said a political force that would be an alternative to the current “discredited authorities” should be established.

Kitsmarishvili served as Georgia’s ambassador in Moscow, before he was recalled in July. Kitsmarishvili, who has never been a career diplomat, was dismissed by the Foreign Ministry in mid-September. He was the President’s close ally and was Saakashvili’s key strategist ahead of the January 5 snap presidential elections.

Kitsmarishvili used a newspaper interview published on September 29 in the largest-selling Georgian weekly Kviris Palitra, to unleash criticism of his former allies for as he put it a failure to avert war with Russia and also for degenerating level of democracy and freedom of media. He said that level of democracy was higher in the last years of Eduard Shevardnadze’s presidency, than it was now.

“People like me should no longer be part of this government; they should be opponents of these authorities with which the resource of relation has been exhausted,” Kitsmarishvili said.

“There are many interesting persons both within and outside the current authorities,” he continued, but did not specify the names. “We should create an alternative to these authorities. That is my position, because today we have discredited authorities.”

He said that this alternative was needed in order to restore political balance in the country and to create kind of a checks-and-balances system.

“I will be one of them who will implement this; the current reality [that has emerged after the August war with Russia] will help this process, as well as the political forces – which are in the process of establishment and part of them has already established themselves,” he said.

Kitsmarishvili said that the war could have been averted if President Saakashvili had listened to senior western diplomats and if he had not gone into the Russian trap.

“I, as the last ambassador of Georgia to Russia, want to stress that the Georgian authorities did not take into account the position of top diplomats regarding the conflict resolution issues,” Kitsmarishvili said. “Hence, I, who stood aside these authorities, despite numerous disagreements want to announce that there is no place for me to stay with the Saakashvili’s government… and I distance myself from him [President Saakashvili].”

He also said that planned “public activities,” but added he was not ready at this point to specify details of his future plans.

When speaking about the August war, Kitsmarishvili recalled Georgia’s UN ambassador Irakli Alasania’s efforts to push for the peace plan with Abkhazia.

“In case of implementation of this plan, we could have averted bloody scenario of events,” Kitsmarishvili said.

Also in this context he mentioned that ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze; Irakli Alasania and “the Georgian diplomats” in general “have not been listened” by the senior decision-makers in the Georgian authorities.

He also suggested that “little chances” would have still remained for averting the war if Burjanadze was the Parliamentary Chairperson.

Kitsmarishvili is a founder of the Rustavi 2 television. He gained significant political weight – although he never was an acting politician - after the 2003 Rose Revolution as his television station sided with then opposition leaders and played key role in those developments back in November, 2003. He said that next day after ex-president Shevardnadze stepped down on November 23, Mikheil Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze, Zurab Zhvania and he met and distributed powers and responsibilities in post-revolution Georgia. Kitsmarishvili has claimed that his role – as a participant of the Rose Revolution “project,” as he called it - was to oversee observance of the verbal agreement reached between the leaders.

Kitsmarishvili had to give up the television stations, supposedly, after disagreements with Zurab Zhvania, the late Prime Minister.

In the newspaper interview, Kitsmarishvili acknowledged having disagreements with Zhvania and even said: “we have parted ways as enemies.” He also said that he did not believe Zhvania’s death in February, 2005 was just an accident; “It was a murder,” he said, but did no elaborate further on the matter.

Kitsmarishvili’s criticism of the Saakashvili’s administration comes two weeks after the same newspaper published an interview with ex-Prime Minister Zurab Nogaidlei, who also under the pretext of the August war lashed out at his former allies. Nino Burjanadze, the ex-parliamentary speaker, stopped short of directly accusing the authorities for the August war, but said she had “tough questions” which needed answers from the government.

Giga Bokeria, a deputy foreign minister, and an influential figure within the administration, hinted that losing of official posts was the reason behind the critical remarks of former allies.

“It is strange that such criticism coincides as usually with the fact of losing bureaucratic posts,” he said in an interview with the Kviris Palitra also published on September 29. He declined to comment why Kitsmarishvili was dismissed.

Kitsmarishvili, meanwhile, has claimed that before quitting the Saakashvili’s administration, he had been offered a new post – which he refused to specify – but declined.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ombudsman Speaks Out

From (not translated by me):

Ombudsman Speaks Out
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Sep.'08 / 12:10

Georgia is not "ruled correctly" and it is necessary to replace the existing "authoritarianism" with real democracy in order to save the country, Georgian Public Defender Sozar Subari said in a statement issued on September 25.

"We reiterate our readiness for cooperation and open dialogue in order to change the existing authoritarian system with democratic governance, as well as to establish the rule of law in the country," Subari said. "To achieve this, we should employ all forms of peaceful protest to persuade the government."

The public defender also speaks about the August events and the human rights situation.

"Despite the president's promise to dedicate his presidency to the re-unification of Georgia, now the Ksani Gorge – now known as Akhalgori district – the Kodori Gorge, Didi and Patara Liakhvi Gorges and Prone Gorge have been added to the list of lost territories," the statement reads.

Subari blamed authoritarian governance for this development.

"New disasters are to be expected in the event of a continuation of authoritarianism," the public defender said. "The Russian model of authoritarian governance in Georgia, which envisages a unilateral and forceful settlement of problems inside and outside the country, is a fifth column responsible for Georgia's failure."

“The government that is locked within it, which listens only to itself and respects only its own judgment, has lost the capacity for proper decision-making; Russia took advantage of this and has executed its long plotted perfidious plan of conquering our territories. Our country and its people have fallen prey to these processes,” the statement reads.

It also said that the authorities, who lost the August war, are only thinking about the PR side of things.

“Even if there had been the smallest ground for optimism for the government - as if human casualties, loss of more territories, burned villages and a new wave of IDPs counted as a victory for the authorities - accelerating the process of unifiying the country and its prosperity, wisdom and common sense require that shouts of “we won”, concerts and celebrations should be postponed until at least even the contours of this victory are visible,” the public defender said.

He said that under current conditions the only way out is “to face the truth“ and to analyze what has happened in reality.

“Intolerance of different opinions, a tunnel vision, the side-lining of the law and permanent complacency have become the rule of life of the current system of governance. The culture of listening to different opinions, discussions, disputes and dialogue has been lost even among the authorities themselves,” Subari said. “The authorities are not interested in understanding what people think about them; they want that people constantly listen to their speeches about what the authorities think about themselves.”

“Georgia is not the property of the government; it belongs to each citizen,” he said. “At this time, silence and inactivity is equal to a crime.”

“Root” Democratic Reforms

The public defender said that under current conditions the only way out of the situation was to carry out “root [and branch]” democratic reforms, instead of making “pseudo-democratic” changes. Subari also said that a new wave of democratic reforms announced by President Saakashvili aims “at painting facades.”

He stressed that the democratic freedoms and human rights situation had worsened in the country; there are no courts, different opinions are persecuted, no fair elections are held, property rights are violated, so-called “elite corruption” is in place; no freedom of assembly or freedom to demonstrate is provided for; TV stations are completely controlled by the authorities; “all power is concentrated in the hands of the president and several leaders;” intimidation of citizens has become a lever in the hands of the authorities.

“It is especially cynical that all this happens under the banner and on behalf of democracy,” he said.

Subari also said that the authorities had “silence[d] the information space” and replaced it with “propaganda.”

“As a result, instead of receiving actual information, from dawn to dusk we are doomed to listen to the propaganda that “Misha is cool”, everything is fine, that we won and that Georgia will soon blossom,” he said.

In order to achieve “irreversible democracy," the public defender urged the authorities:

• To immediately stop persecution of people with different opinions;
• To set up fair and independent courts;
• To establish the rule of law;
• To provide freedom of speech and expression; to abolish state control over TV stations; to prevent state interference in media activities;
• To develop a fair elections code; to create the environment necessary for holding free and fair elections;
• To create a free and competitive political environment;
• To de-politicize law enforcement agencies and the Prosecutor’s Office;
• To provide checks and balances between various governmental branches; to distribute presidential power;
• To grant real functions to local self-governance bodies;
• To introduce the principle of government responsibility and accountability to society; freedom and accessibility of public information for each citizen;
• To ensure the inviolability of property rights;
• To create a stable, free, competitive business environment;
• To ensure freedom of assembly and association, and the right to protest;

Simultaneously, in a message to friendly countries and international community, the Georgian public defender noted that “Georgian people do not deserve an authoritarian regime… Georgia is ready for democracy.”

“Help us in [developing] democracy! Help us in persuading the authorities that declarations of the attributes and principles of democracy only on paper, while [at the same time] establishing an authoritarian system in reality, will lead the country towards catastrophe,” Subari said.

[See the Opposition reaction here]

Saturday, September 6, 2008

EU against US fleet in Black Sea

ЕС - против флота США в Чёрном море

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner has voiced opposition to the presence of a US fleet in the Black Sea. At a press conference in Avignon summarizing the results of an informal meeting of heads of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of EU member nations, he said that the presence of the US fleet in this region "serves no purpose. We need to defuse the situation," specifying that the crisis "can only be resolved politically, not by war ships."

Commenting on Vice-President Dick Cheney's announcement that the US would allocate $1 billion to Georgia, Kouchner said: "I am happy for this, but what does this change? We are also giving a lot of money for restoration (of Georgia); we're not competing." Story from Bloomberg.

US plans to establish military bases in Georgia

США планируют создание военных баз в Грузии

The US is planning to establish permanent naval bases on the coast of Georgia. Currently, there are intense negotiations between the US, Georgia, and Turkey concerning the future presence of war ships in Poti and Batumi.

According to Georgian sources, the bases will be designed for quick response. Another purpose for the bases is to provide security for the energy corridor, which crosses Georgian territory. However, Turkey's position on this issue is not yet clear as it is afraid of the Russia reaction.

After the crisis surrounding South Ossetia developed, 7 NATO war ships entered the Black Sea. Just yesterday, the flagship of the 6 vessel US fleet the "Mount Whitney" docked at the port in Poti.

Burjanadze Says Warned Saakashvili Over S. Ossetia

The following is taken from

Nino Burjanadze, the former parliamentary speaker, said it was too early to say if the crisis could have been avoided.

“I need serious analysis. I need answers to the questions,” she said in an interview with Reuters on September 5 after speaking at Columbia University in New York.

When asked what would happen if it does turn out to have been avoidable, she said: “In this case, I don't wish to be in the place of the government.”

“I can say it's very difficult to imagine a good position for the president of a country that has such big problems,” Burjanadze said. “I don't think that he feels himself comfortable and well or stronger than he was before.”

“However, we, the Georgian people, do not consider the government as victims only and, of course, the time will come for a sober assessment of what went wrong in Georgia.”

She said that she had met with President Saakashvili “few days before the crisis.”

“I expressed my views and my vision. I was sure that Russia will attack if there will be any kind of military action from the Georgian side, and I saw that Russia wanted to provoke Georgia.”

“I always thought there is no military solution for Ossetia and Abkhazia because Russia will fight, Russia will send troops, Russia will send arms, Russia will send aircraft.”

“I understood that it's a real disaster for my country,” she added.

[A little background, Burjanadze was once a very popular politician. She rose to power with Saakashvili and was seen as his closest ally. However, she shocked Georgia when she decided against running for re-election in the Parliamentary elections last May. It looks like she had seen the writing on the wall.]

Friday, September 5, 2008

Leonid Grach: Yushchenko knew of Georgia's plan to attack South Ossetia

Леонид Грач: Ющенко заранее знал о планах нападения Грузии на Южную Осетию

"Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko knew that Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili had plans to attack South Ossetia several days in advance, and even discouraged the Georgian president from making such a move; however, he himself has not admitted to this. Therefore, Yushchenko is complicit in the genocide which occurred in South Ossetia." The statement was made on September 4 during a round table discussion on the topic "Ukraine's Role in the Recent Events in the Caucasus" by member of the Ukrainian Communist Party Leonid Grach, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

At the same time, the politician stated that the Yushchenko administration is trying to hide the truth of the events in South Ossetia. "When the war first broke out, the people could get the truth, a departure from the usual disinformation. There were dozens of cameras and not even enough seats for journalists in the hall. But as soon as we tried to call things by their own names and say the truth, there number of journalists dwindled to half of the number here at this 'round table'. This is just yet another example of the ruling party, led by Viktor Yushchenko, preventing the truth from reaching Ukrainian citizens," noted Grach.

Nicaragua officially recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Никарагуа официально признала независимость Абхазии и Южной Осетии

Nicaragua has become the first country after Russia to officially recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Today, September 5, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega released an official decree recognizing the independence of these republics, reports the Associated Press.

Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 26.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Georgian Opposition: ‘Time for Tough Question has Come’

The following is taken from USAID-funded

‘Time for Tough Question has Come’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 4 Sep.'08 / 19:06

Open letter calls for public debate;
Usupashvili: Saakashvili fell into Russian trap;
Targamadze: special commission should study mistakes.

Some public and civil society figures, as well some politicians, have said that the time has come to ask tough questions of the authorities about what led to war and to the subsequent grave results for the country.

An open letter, published by the Georgian daily Rezonansi on September 4 and signed by over eighty individuals and organizations, has called for the launch of a public debate on recent developments.

The letter, signed by representatives of human rights groups, academic circles, journalists and some public figures, says that “for a broad public debate on the problem” it is necessary “to set the Georgian Public Broadcaster free of the authorities’ censorship.”

“Extensive propaganda is currently underway, blaming the catastrophic consequences [of the conflict] on everyone – an aggressive Russia, an ignorant West (which, it is claimed, ignored the Georgian leaders’ warnings); the opposition; Russian spies, etc. – everyone, but not the authorities themselves,” the letter reads.

Then it lists some questions, which the signatories say, should be answered by the authorities, including, why it happened that the Georgian side “despite the U.S. administration’s warnings, fell into the Russian trap.”

The letter blames the Georgian authorities for “the catastrophic consequences” and says that “the authorities, which have in fact prepared the ground for these consequences through its non-professionalism and anti-democracy, are now claiming that what has happened was impossible to prevent.”

The signatories of the open letter include, among others, the Georgian Academy, an opposition-leaning, non-governmental group uniting actors and some intelligentsia figures; the Human Rights Centre; the Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights; the Equality Institute; and the investigative reporting group Studio Reporter.

Also on September 4, MP Giorgi Targamadze, the chairman of the Christian-Democratic Party and the leader of the parliamentary minority, said “the time has come to launch a debate and [make] decisions – without hysteria – about what has happened.”

“To make appropriate conclusions and draw lessons, it will be essential to create a special parliamentary commission to scrupulously investigate mistakes made at political, strategic, tactical, and operational levels,” Targamadze said in a statement.

He also said that Russia had been gradually preparing the ground for an invasion of Georgia, but he also partially put the blame on the Georgian authorities, saying that their rhetoric and policies had been “designed to finally reintegrate the Tskhinvali region into Georgia by using force.” Targamadze added that it was now “hard to prove that Georgia didn’t start the war.”

Targamadze also said that Georgia’s western partners should “not allow the government of Georgia to use a so-called ‘iron hand’ policy against the opposition.”

Echoing some other opposition politicians, Targamadze said that President Saakashvili’s proposal for an anti-crisis group with the involvement of opposition parties would only be effective if it worked on broader “democratization” issues and not just on overseeing the distribution of humanitarian aid for the victims of the conflict.

Meanwhile, Davit Usupashvili, the leader of the opposition Republican Party, said in a newspaper interview, published on September 4, that he was sure President Saakashvili had “[fallen] into a Russian trap.”

“It seems to me that Saakashvili was misled by someone telling him that the Russians would not intervene in Tskhinvali on condition that we would stop our active measures in respect of Abkhazia,” he told the daily Rezonansi. “That is my impression, because otherwise it is unclear how it was possible to fall into this trap if there were no guarantees that the Russians would not intervene.”

Usupashvili also said that “the time has come to ask questions and to find out the truth.”

“But it should in no way be interpreted as a demand for the immediate resignation of the government,” he added. “It may be even worse to raise the issue of a change in leadership in the near future.”

Speaking in Parliament on September 3, Nika Rurua, a senior lawmaker from the ruling party, said that recent developments needed to be thoroughly investigated “professionally, without any political stage show.” “That should in no way be part of some political populism,” MP Rurua, who is the deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for defense and security, said.

He was in particular speaking about the military aspects of recent events.

MP Rurua said the extent of the damage inflicted on Georgia’s defense capabilities and military infrastructure would be made public soon. Reforms, necessary due to shortfalls revealed by the conflict, would also be publicly outlined, he said.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia accused of espionage and attempting to overthrow government

Цотне Гамсахурдия обвиняется в шпионаже и попытке госпереворота

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, middle son of the first president of Georgia [Zviad Gamsakhurdia], has been charged on two counts: according to clause 314 of the Georgian Criminal Code ("Espionage") and clause 135 ("Plotting with the aim to overthrow a legitimate power"). The charges were announced by the accused's defense attorney Keti Bekauri, reports "Kavkaz-Press."

According to Bekauri, Gamsakhurdia is already talking, having refused his right to silence. "He denies the charges and will not plead guilty," said the attorney. Gamsakhurdia was arrested the evening of September 3 at the Tbilisi airport, returning via Baku from Moscow where he has been living these last years. Gamsakhurdia has been under investigation since November 2007. Back then, the General Prosecutor of Georgia accused him of attempting to organize a coup and of communicating with Russian special services. Gamsakhurdia is accused of spying for Russia.

Earlier, on August 22, after the active phase of the military operation in South Ossetia had already ended, the United Opposition warned that Georgian authorities might soon begin once again to search for internal enemies. The worries were brought out by a statement made by Saakashvili's wife Sandra Roelofs in which she said that "the opposition protests in November 2007 were financed by Russia."

One of the leaders of the United Opposition, secretary for the party "Movement for a United Georgia" Eka Beselia stated that the Georgian authorities would soon begin to search for internal enemies and any artificial link between the Georgian opposition and the Russian special services. "This is an attempt by the authorties to find an escape from the current situation, to overcome the crisis. It will be necessary for the authorities to find internal enemies, but I am absolutely sure that it won't be successful, just as it wasn't in November when they even made films about Russian agents in the Georgian opposition," she noted.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Dear Readers,

I hope my blog has been a useful tool for those looking to find alternative sources of information on this summer's Russo-Georgian conflict. Over 95% of my translations came from Russian sources, but that is only because so little of the Russian perspective of this complicated war made it into the Western media. If the reverse were true--that is, only the Russian side was being told, and not Georgia's--then I can assure you 95% of these translations would have come from Georgian sources.

I lived in Georgia for almost 9 months over 2007-08 and care too much about this little country to see it destroyed by its president; sadly, the Western media has been complicit in helping Saakashvili do so by being all to eager to repeat his version of events without giving so much as a mention to Russia's. Fortunately, that is beginning to change. Today, this article ran in the New York Times (be sure to read the whole thing).

In this day and age of instant communication, where information is at our fingertips, we may believe that the truth is immediately accessible. But in reality, this flood of information is not very helpful if it is all coming from one source, in this case, Georgia's president.

One of the greatest lessons we should take from this is that language is and will remain a barrier. If we as Americans wish to continue to play the lead role in international affairs, then it is vital for us to speak the languages of the countries we decide to work so intimately with. When we so arrogantly expect foreign leaders to know English, we make ourselves vulnerable to people like Saakashvili. We literally hear only what we want to hear.

This is my notice that beginning today, I will no longer be translating at the rate I have been doing so. Today I leave for California to visit relatives, and later in the month, I will be returning to Chicago to resume studies at the University of Chicago. I hope to continue to translate one or two articles a day, but there will certainly be days without activity. I hope that my need will diminish as the Western media begins to be more balanced in its coverage. My wish is that my blog will remain as a historical record to the events before, during, and after the Russo-Georgian War of 2008.

Ryan Erickson

Georgian special forces team disarmed in South Ossetia

В Южной Осетии разоружена группа грузинского спецназа

Georgia continues to carry out provocations in South Ossetia. According to the president of the republic Eduard Kokoity, a Georgian special forces team was recently disarmed by divisions of the Ministry of Defense. "They were going to carry out a diversionary strike in the village of Аrtseu [Арцеу] under the guise of being Georgian policemen," stated Kokoity.

The president also noted that the leadership of the republic was not indifferent to the fate of the Georgians who are still living in South Ossetia. "We will do everything in order for them to live in security. Humanitarian aid is being sent to the Lenigori region today. There we are discussing pension ssues, restoration issues, and the function of Georgian schools. Georgian children will learn in the Georgian language," stated Kokoity.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Medvedev calls on US to reevaluate its relations with Saakashvili's administration

Медведев призвал США переоценить отношения с режимом Саакашвили

Sochi, 2 Sep -- RIA Novosti

It's time for the US to reevaluate its relations with the current Georgian administration, following aggressions which left more than 1,000 people dead, stated Dmitry Medvedev in an interview with the Italian television company RAI.

Georgia launched an offensive in South Ossetia, after which Russia was forced to enter the conflict zone to reinforce its peacekeepers. On August 12, the end of operation "Enforced Peace" in Georgia was declared.

"I believe that in light of these events, it is time for our American partners to reevaluate their relations with the current administration, especially since it has put Georgia in a difficult situation, destabilized conditions, and unleashed aggressions, as a result of which many people died," said the Russian president.

Political Scientist: Outcome of EU Summit creates possibility for renewed Georgian aggression

Политолог: итоги саммита ЕС создают возможность для повторения грузинской агрессии

The fact that there was no mention of Georgian aggression in a resolution passed by yesterday's emergency EU Summit creates the possibility for a recurrence of what has happened. The opinion was expressed by Gleb Pavlovsky, president of the Effective Policy Fund, at a round table discussion in Moscow on September 2, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

According to the political scientist, the outcome of the recent EU summit is double-edged. "On the one hand, Europe has managed to avoid absolute American dictatorship. Poland and the Baltic States couldn't impose their own position on the EU and have temporarily receded. On the other hand, nowhere was Georgia's aggression mentioned. All the world can see that this paves the way for a replay of events," notes Pavlovsky.

Pavlovsky believes that Russia should draw all possible conclusions from what has happened, including military conclusions. "Europe's request for Russia to withdraw Russian armies from the security zone on Georgian territory would create a real risk for a recurrence," the expert asserts.

"We have made greater concessions to Europe. In fact, it was only the request of President Sarkozy that prevented the real outcome of operation 'Enforced Peace'--the arrest of Saakashvili as the main perpetrator of the war. This was a serious compromise which we now regret," believes Gleb Pavlovsky.

Sukhumi and Moscow to sign agreement on Russian bases in Abkhazia after two weeks

Сухум и Москва подпишут договор о российских базах в Абхазии через две недели

Sukhumi and Moscow plan to sign an agreement in two weeks on the establishment of a Russian military base on Abkhazian territory. The statement was made by Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh at a press conference, reports an IA Regnum correspondent. According to Bagapsh, the Abkhazian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently drawing up the documents. The President of Abkhazia assigned responsibility for events in the Caucasus to those Western countries which armed Georgia.


According to this RIA Novosti story (in English), Abkhazia does not plan to establish Russian military bases as previously reported.

Russian MFA disturbed by activity of Georgian forces on South Ossetian border

МИД РФ обеспокоен активностью грузинских силовиков на границе с Южной Осетией

The Russian General Staff is describing conditions in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone as relatively calm; however, it is impossible to say the same for the situation in South Ossetia. The statement was made today, September 2, at a Moscow briefing by Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Andrei Nesterenko. He noted that activity had been observed among the Georgian forces and that the command of the Georgian Armed Forces continues to restore the fighting capacity of its divisions.

Based on reports from troops on the ground, Nesterenko spoke of an incident last night that took place not far from a peacekeeping post in the Karaleti region. As Nesterenko explained, Georgian forces carried out provocative actions directed against the Russian peacekeepers. He assumed that the incident was specially organized. The representative believes that such actions do not help to stabilize the situation in the region.

Nesterenko also commented on the escalating situation regarding a fleet of NATO war ships off the coast of Georgia. Three of the vessels are American, and one each belong to Poland, Spain, and Germany. He reminded journalists that, according to an international agreement, only three Black Sea NATO countries--Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria--have the right to deploy as many ships as they wish to other Black Sea nations, as they are coastal states.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Russian soldiers block humanitarian aid

რუსმა ჯარისკაცებმა ჰუმანიტარული ტვირთი არ გაატარეს

Russian soldiers did not allow passage of humanitarian through a checkpoint near Karaleti, Shida Kartli administrators tell "Interpressnews."

The shipments were destined for Georgian villages, among them the remaining residents of Patara [Lesser] Liakhvi Gorge. Shida Kartli governor Lado Vardzelashvili made the Russian blockade known at today's "Live Chain" mass demonstration.

Interpressnews [Georgian news agency]

Georgia withdraws from Joint Control Commission for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution

Грузия выходит из Смешанной контрольной комиссии по урегулированию грузино-осетинского конфликта

"Georgia is withdrawing from the Joint Control Commission (JCC) for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution and requests the immediate withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from the territory of the former South-Ossetian autonomous oblast." According to an IA Regnum correspondent, the announcement was made in a statement released the evening of September 1 by Georgian State Minister for Reintegration Issues Temur Iakobashvili.

"In accordance with the resolutions passed by the Parliament of Georgia on July 18, 2006 'Concerning the peacekeeping forces deployed on Georgian territory' and on August 28, 2008 'Concerning the occupation of Georgian territory by the Russian Federation,' as well as with item 3 of Order of the Georgian Government No.552 signed on August 29, 2008, the State Minister for Reintegration Issues has been authorized to declare that Georgia is withdrawing from the Joint Control Commission for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution, created according to the June 24, 1992 agreement 'concerning the principles of resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict'," says the State Minister in the release.

"The aforementioned decisions were made after the Russian Federation, by its own hostile actions, disregarded all the peacemaking documents, which had been accepted at a bilateral level and within the limits of the CIS. Accordingly, the Georgian MFA has carried out procedures for the unilateral termination of the agreement 'Concerning the principles of resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict' of June 24, 1992," the statement notes.

"After this, the Joint Control Commission for Georgian-Ossetian Conflict Resolution ceases to exist, and all protocols and agreements made in the framework of the JCC have lost their validity; the mandate of the JCC has been abolished, and therefore, the immediate termination of the so-called 'peacekeeping operation' in the former South Ossetian oblast and the immediate withdrawal of divisions of the Russian army from Georgian territory should follow," the statement reads.

"At the same time, the government of Georgia states that it remains committed to the positions outlined by the president of France in the ceasefire agreement, which are presented in the corresponding letter from Nicolas Sarkozy and enclosed explanations," emphasizes Iakobashvili.

Russian MFA: Rearming of Georgia has begun

МИД РФ: перевооружение Грузии началось

Official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrei Nesterenko said today that Russia has evidence that Georgia has begun to rearm.

"The restoration of Georgia's military which suffered during the conflict," emphasized the diplomat, "is happening under the guise of humanitarian aid. There is the suspicion that the aid may not be intended solely for civilians, but also for the military, and it will go towards restoring the weakened armed forces."

"Therefore, we have expressed the necessity to consider imposing an embargo on shipments of arms to Georgia," added Nesterenko.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov proposed such an embargo today.

"In order to prevent a relapse of violence in the region, Russia will continue to take measures to punish the guilty, so that this regime [of Saakashvili] will never again do harm," said the minister, speaking before students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, "First of all, it would be wise to impose an embargo on arms shipments to this regime, until a new administration transforms Georgia into a normal state." Lavrov reminded listeners that it was precisely this military aid, which the US rendered to Georgia, "which encouraged the irresponsible and unpredictable regime of Saakashvili."

According to Nesterenko, "Russian peacekeeping forces are now undertaking additional security measures."

"For this purpose, the buffer zone around South Ossetia is being provided with Russian peacekeeping posts with a total personnel of up to 500 persons," he said, quotes ITAR-TASS.

US to continue to aid Georgia financially

США продолжат оказывать Грузии финансовую помощь

The US "will continue to provide Georgia with significant financial and political support." The statement was made today in Brussels by US Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Matthew Bryza in an interview with Georgian journalists which was later broadcast on the Tbilisi television company Rustavi-2.

"The US condemns the actions of Russia in relation to Georgia and the invasion of Georgian territory by Russian armies. The US will continue to provide Georgia with significant financial and political support," noted Bryza.

Responding to a question on "what decision will the EU make on Russia," he said: "I don't know what decision the EU will make concerning Russia. That is the prerogative of the leaders of EU member countries. But I do know that the EU will provide Georgia with significant economic and political aid, and that is very important for the development of the country," quotes ITAR-TASS.

Human Rights Watch: Georgia used cluster bombs against South Ossetia

Грузия использовала против Южной Осетии кассетные бомбы: Human Rights Watch

The international organization Human Rights Watch has determined that Georgia used cluster bombs against South Ossetia. As the Associated Free Press reports, the statement was made by representative of HRW Bonnie Docherty. Earlier, Russia was blamed for using cluster bombs; however, the representative of the General Staff of the Russian Federation has denied these allegations.

Russian MFA: Sending war ships to unstable region won't bring calm

Направление вооруженных кораблей в нестабильный регион не внесёт спокойствия - МИД РФ

The deployment of military forces to unstable regions does not bring any calm and does not help find a solution to the problem which we have here. The opinion was expressed by official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrei Nesterenko on September 1, at a Moscow press conference, commenting on the presence of a fleet of NATO ships in the Black Sea, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

Nesterenko said that sending ships armed with formidable weapons to the region cannot be considered as a stabilizing measure. "If the ships leave, it will be interpreted as an effort to de-escalate the situation, but the gathering of armed forces is always unequivocally contrary to resolving issues surrounding stabilization," said Nesterenko.

Currently, there are around 10 naval vessels from NATO member countries on the Black Sea.

Russian MFA: US rendered military assistance to Georgia during war in South Ossetia

МИД РФ: США оказывало Грузии военное содействие во время войны в Южной Осетии

Official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrei Nesterenko refused to comment on a report by Deputy Chief of the General staff of the Russian Armed Forces Anatoly Nogovitsyn that an American passport was found in the South Ossetian war zone. As an IA Regnum correspondent reports, at a Moscow briefing held today, September 1, Nesterenko emphasized that this question belongs to the representatives of the General Staff.

Speaking of concrete military support from the US for Georgia during the war, Nesterenko stated that for the time being, there is only the instance of 2,000 Georgian soldiers transferred from Iraq to Georgia by US military transport aircraft. However, Nesterenko also reminded journalists that the US administration considers Georgia as one of its allies and rendered it various types of military assistance, from equipping its armies to providing training.