Alexander Sedov (alek_morse) wrote,
Alexander Sedov

South Ossetia and the “Olympic” War / Южная Осетия и "Олимпийская" война

Я собирался написать о войне в Южной Осетии, но понял, что сумею высказаться только по-английски, так как английский язык - чужой и слова я буду подбирать тщательно и для аудитории, для которой всё придется разложить по полочкам, но не очень всё запутывая (впрочем, возможно, чуть позже я переводу текст "обратно" на русский). Вот, что получилось:

South Ossetia and the “Olympic” War


(c) Alexander SEDOV, 2008


Whether Russia is an empire or not, whether Putin wants to restore “Soviet Union” or not, – it’s no more than rhetoric, I think. Let’s agree that Russia is a big empire, Georgia is a small Caucasus empire, and United States of America are a global empire. At least, such was before The Summer Olympic Games of 2008.


Every empire, I think, able to install own rules and laws for another regions and countries, if it wants. You can differently value this fact, but US recognized the independence of Kosovo against the international rules. Ok, they gave the example of how a great superpower must to act.  So that to achieve these aims, a great superpower can bomb not only the military objects in another country, but also the objects of civil economic, bridges, TV offices etc. It was the lesson of 1999; I mean the air bombing of Yugoslavia. After it the World has been changed absolutely.


We see that firstly after the World War II it’s possibly to bomb European towns hiding behind by “rhetoric of law”. The interesting is the Russian society was against the first war in Chechniya in 1995-1996. But after the Yugoslavia precedent, the Pandorian box of “legitimacy of violence” (instead the logic of peace and negotiations) was opened. The second Chechniya war was absolutely different war as in sense in legitimacy as in psychological sense.

 …The interesting is that “small and democratic” Georgia being as small Caucasus empire mastered this lesson too. The all-out reactive bombing of Tskhinvalli (capital of South Ossetia) at night before the Beijing Olympics is very revealing example of new World order after Yugoslavia. The small Caucasus empire has relied on the global empire (USA), but another big empire (a.k.a. Russia) has decided to defend South Ossetia. Alas, Russia had too many reasons to do it, including the official agreements of peacemaking, the family ties between South and North Ossetia, and Russian citizenship of majority of the South-Ossetians. Finally, in this situation the demonstration of own weakness could be the extremely negative factor for Russia in Caucasus (and in the World too). Even worse than a local war conflict. Imagine, what would the North-Ossetians say if Russian government doesn’t suppress Georgian war attacks against civils in South Ossetia?  


Indeed, Georgian president Saakashvili understood these reasons very well. However, why he did it? I think he had two scenarios. First: the Georgian militaries quickly conquer the separatist region while US close own eyes on the violence against civil population during one day. It was the risky plan, but Georgia has the well equipping army, professional military US instructors, the well working propaganda machine… On the whole, the Western mass media will be on Georgian side, because if Russia will attack Georgia in response, it means that big “Evil empire” Russia attempts to subjugate “small and democratic” Georgia”. Plus – The Olympics must to distract the World’s attention.


By the way, in the first days of the “Olympic” war Georgian president given the TV-interviews having the European Union’s flag as background (why not flag of United States?). It was peculiar the nod to Europe, the attempt to get the cover-up of EU. Evidently that President Saakashvilli wanted to present Georgian acts as “the establishment of constitutional order” in separatist South Ossetia. By the way, in first hours of the war action (i.e. all-out reactive bombing of South Ossetia’s capital) the Georgian generals used this definition. It was the obvious hint to Russia on the war actions in Chechniya in 1999. Then Vladimir Putin used that definition.


As Georgian militaries would conquer the separatist region, president Saakashvili gets laurels of victor.  Probably, his name would come in history of Georgia as great integrator of own country. Another question is the Ossetins never resign themselves to new reality, but Saakashvili planed to solve this problem with European help – to do South Ossetia as the autonomy with wide jurisdictional status. The same status as for Kosovo inside Serbia… If Kosovo would be stay in Serbia. But we know that Europeans and United States called Kosovo as “the special case”.


The next step would be the entry of Georgian into NATO. So, Georgia would receive the powerful protector for the defence own territorial integrity, and the West would receive the reliable country-transistor of oil pipeline Nabucco.


It was the ideal plan, I think. But, in my view, Saakashvili’s administration has second scenario, not such successful, but quite realistic, though.


I suppose that Saakashvili assumes Russia can to retain South Ossetia in own orbit. Saakashvili knew about 58th Russian army near Russian-Georgian board, and if it would has been, president Saakashvili declares “the treacherous attack” of Russia against Georgia. Now president Saakashvili has the substantial argument in favour of the entry to NATO, because Russian “imperialism” is the dangerous of stability in Caucasus region. Georgian president could explain the loss of South Ossetia as a temporary one, and he would attempt transfer the crisis in an international stage to involve the mediators as EU, NATO, OSCE… maybe even USA. According to this plan, all sides of the conflict and all mediators must confirm the sovereign and the integrity of Georgia. So, South Ossetia would be recognized again as part of Georgia in juridical sense. As we see, it’s almost a win option for Saakashvili’s administarion, because, indeed, the OSCE or NATO’s peacemakers in South Ossetia are the guaranty of the impossible of the independence for this region – thank to the project of pipeline Nabucco, Georgia is true ally of the West.


As we see, on Georgia’s view, this scenario is realising now… Yet we see a lot of disgusting things which always arise on war, especially when a war conflict is based on ethnical-territorial claims. Yes, all sides get mixed up in this war, all sides are culpable. I just can list them:



because it has broken own promise of the truce and starts actively to bomb town Tskinvalli using the reactive rockets. It was the calculated act, one of the elements of the well deliberated plan. In duration last years, the military budget arose in several times. Saakashvilli understands that Georgia must solve own territorial problems before this December, when the countries of NATO can give “a green light” for entry of new members. Besides, since January of 2009 United States will be ruled by new President, but not G. W. Bush.


South Ossetia

the day before the war its president evaded from the negotiation with Georgia, in spite of the active intermediary efforts of Russia. It was clearly that Georgia was already to start the war, but it was necessary to find the peace solution.


Besides Georgia and South Ossetia both obviously were provoking one another – the exchanges of fires on the border line, and between Georgian and Ossetian villages.



it as the mediator delayed with solution of South Ossetia. It was clearly that South Ossetian leadership has not interest in an agreement with Georgia. Perhaps, it was necessary to change the president of South Ossetia.

Plus, it was clearly that Saakashvili prepares the military way of solution of the problem, so Russia could take own army in South Ossetia before several days. As I know, the week before the war Russia’s government started taking out the children from South Ossetia (not all, unfortunately). The situation was hot up. It’s clearly that Georgia would name this as “the aggression” and call to “World community”. But there were liability of Russia before Russian citizens (the majority of people in South Ossetia took citizenship of Russia).


More 20 hours after the start of the Georgian war campaign in South Ossetia, Russia’s government didn’t take the response military acts… while Georgia army was bombing the town.


United States of America and the rest West –

I know that at 8th of August Russia urgently convened United Nations Security Council, but the rest members did not display an interest in fates of the civils of Tskhinvalli. Although only one word of convict of Georgian war acts would be enough to the Georgian artillery stops. As we know, Georgia is the ally and the regional partner of United States. Alas, it was only the eve of “brilliant” Olympics weekend, and nobody from the West political leaders wants to stop the humanitarian catastrophe.


Interesting that George W. Bush seriously has interested of the events only after when US administration sensed a dangerous of the removal of president Saakashvilli under the pressure of Russia. In own speech of 11 of August, President Bush warned Russian leadership from the war acts in Georgian area, but he did say no a word of sympathy to thousands of the refugees who escaped from Tskhinvalli because the bombing of Georgian artillery. No word. I remember that sometimes President Bush uses the humanitarian rhetoric… It is another case. Alas, but there is not the common humanitarian norms in the modern World.


By the way, I have noticed that in these days the West leaders do not prefer emphasize that Georgian artillery did bombing of the capital of South Ossetia. They say: “Now it’s not such importantly…”


I suppose the US administration knew not only about the Saakashvilli’s idea of the war solution, but also about the day of the beginning of military operation. Perhaps, 8th of August was suggested by Bush’s administration, because the United States are very sensitively to any signs and symbols, and the commotion about Beijing Olympics could eclipse the Georgian war acts.


European Union –

Alas, no one of the leaders of European Union didn’t rebuke President Saakashvilli regarding the using the EU’s flag. Georgia even is not the candidate into members of European Union, but the European leaders have not noticed this detail. Would do you regard their silent as the sign of their consent of the war solution of separatist problem? I don’t think that European politicians knew and supported this Saakashvilli’s plan. But they displayed “the solidarity” and were silent.


Have they really not seen the reports on BBC World News in Thursday and Friday? Did they really not see the night Georgian all-out bombing of South Ossetia’s capital?



I clearly understand how many factors (political, geopolitical, economic etc) mixed up in this region: separatism, NATO, pipeline Nabucco, political ambitions etc. So, it’s real Molotov cocktail. However, I don’t see any signs of prudence of the global leaders. I have read in US press near 10-15 articles about this war conflict – and saw how much political and economic egoism there, not less than the same in Russian blogs by nationalists. (And how little unprejudiced valuations...) But the individual blogs are only private opinions; the articles in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, even in The New York Times are a public tribune!


Of course, I am more concerned about the situation in Russia. Fortunately, I have not noticed some unhealthy outbursts of patriotism/nationalism. People are more or less calm. The pro-government TV is more or less temperate for this situation. Yes, I see much propaganda stuff on Russian TV, basically in RTR and The First Channel. But without any hysteria. I would wish to Premier-Minister Vladimir Putin be less quick-tempered, and to President Dmitriy Medvedev not to copy Putin’s manners. And I wish the success to our diplomatists.


I never voted for Putin or Medvedev, and, I hope, I will not. My political preferences are democratic Yabloko Party. I would like the democratic forces to elaborate a common position about Georgian-South-Ossetia-Russia conflict. The most important, I suppose, it is humanitarian aspect of the conflict. It is necessary to care for South Ossetia’s refugees.

Tags: essay, politics

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened