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.