Streetwise Professor

May 20, 2011

Medvedev Makes a Fool of Himself–and Obama

Filed under: History,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 7:15 pm

I won’t comment much about Obama’s speech on the Middle East, except to say that it was a stitched together mess that will likely have the opposite of the intended effect.  Even those typically fairly well-disposed towards Obama are having a difficult time saying anything positive about it: this is one example.

But the foreign policy focus of the last few days combined with recent events in Russia made me think about the “Reset” with Russia.  This was one of Obama’s early, signature foreign policy initiatives, and at the time but especially in retrospect it was a harbinger of the unrealism at the heart of his putatively Realist foreign policy.

Those clever folks in the Obama foreign policy team thought that they could manipulate the duumvirate, and in particular work with Medvedev the Modernizer.  Medvedev and Obama have had a veritable bromance, for instance being burger buddies at Five Guys. Administration people made clunky attempts to portray Medvedev as the future, and Putin as a relic of the past.  They put their chips on building a relationship with the president in the hope that he would prevail over Putin.

This was a sucker bet from the outset, given the clear dominance of Putin in the Russian political landscape.  It is now an utter embarrassment given that Medvedev has gone from being perceived as someone with only a slight chance of supplanting Putin, to an object of disdain and mockery.

Medvedev’s much hyped press conference at Skolkovo was a disaster that has unleashed a torrent of criticism and outright ridicule, and is widely reckoned to be the death knell of his political ambitions.  The Economist asks what the point was.  Time is scathing:

It was impossible to pinpoint the exact moment of the transformation, but by the time Russian President Dmitri Medvedev left the podium after his first big press conference on Wednesday, he had morphed into a lame duck. The problem was not so much that he failed to state his plans for re-election next year, but, as some members of his own circle now admit, the President seemed to be courting a constituency of just one man — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who will alone decide whether Medvedev stays or goes.

Some Russian commentors were equally dismissive:

His unprofessional performance added to the overall commotion and silliness of the event. Medvedev was clearly agitated by the challenge, constantly losing his breath during the first half of the conference, apparently caused by public speech stress. Time and again Medvedev had fits of seemingly uncontrollable giggling when answering questions, also apparently caused by public speech stress. The Kremlin press service announced “the president was pleased by his performance at the conference” (RIA Novosti, May 18). Officially approved observers were bewildered by the uninspiring performance. Known critics of the regime posted angry comments about Medvedev on the Internet demonstrating his utter inability to reform or lead Russia (RIA Novosti, www.newsru.com, May 18).

It seems Putin in 2007 wisely chose Medvedev as his “successor” or a de facto figurehead president. Medvedev, who this week demonstrated the absence of his leadership capabilities and charisma—a lack of intelligence and integrity—will hardly ever be able to effectively lead Russia in a time of change. Many Russians and foreigners who believed that Medvedev—the young and progressive president—will actually modernize, Westernize and liberalize Russia may forget their dreams. Medvedev’s constant chatter about “modernization,” with little or nothing being done, may only cause the Russian populace to begin to hate the term, as the word “democracy” became a popular curse after the unfair and lawless reforms of the 1990’s. Former Kremlin insider Gleb Pavlovsky believes Medvedev’s dismal press conference performance was intended to appeal to Putin to gain endorsement for a second presidential term (Vedomosti, May 19). This is a popular version in Moscow—Medvedev was doing his best to be seen as an incompetent and harmless political nobody for Putin to allow him six more years as a figurehead in the Kremlin.

Ouch.

And Foggy Bottom and the White House–the one on the Potomac, not the Moskva–should be feeling the pain.  The alternative scenarios: (a) Medvedev is shoved aside by Putin, or (b) Putin keeps Medvedev like an organ grinder keeps his monkey or a ventriloquist keeps his dummy.  Either way, the entire basis of the Reset collapses.

It would probably be best for the US if (a) occurs.  For if Putin chooses door (b), it is quite possible that the fantasists in the State Department and the White House will continue to delude themselves that they can build a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia through Medvedev, and make deals and concessions in the hope of building the Reset, whereas even they would have to concede to the reality of Putin’s domination and the futility of the Reset under option (a).  Thus, (b) would let Putin to continue to manipulate the United States by exploiting its delusions.

The manipulative potential is one factor that may lead Putin to choose (b).  But domestic political considerations will almost certainly prove decisive.

In the US, the Reset has largely faded from view.  Obama has moved on to other things.  But it should not be forgotten because it provides a very dispiriting example of his foreign policy judgment–or more properly, the lack thereof–and that of his entire foreign policy cadre.

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28 Comments »

  1. The problem with your argument is that you imply the whole Reset was based on Medvedev asserting himself in the Putvedev tandem. It was never about that, all hype and quotes you can pull from the Economist and Time aside. It was about the political relationship between Washington and Moscow finally catching up with the financial. In other words, follow the money.

    The turning point was not 08/08/08 when as U.S. ally attacked Russian peacekeepers, fought what he tried to turn into a full-fledged proxy war against Moscow, and lost, with Darth Cheney asking White House aides about U.S. military options to intervene (talk about provocatsey! Too bad Cheney won’t record in his memoir an adult taking him aside and saying, “Mr VP, are you f%$^ing nuts?”).

    Rather it was when Russia announced that it didn’t have any bonds in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, only short term paper, just over a year after the Deputy Secretary of Treasury went to Moscow and, according to Russian media, asked the Kremlin’s sovereign wealth fund to keep investing in U.S. Treasuries and agency backed securities in summer 2007. There’s your turning point, when Oceania decided it couldn’t fight Eastasia and Eurasia both at once and settled on better relations with both. Just remember Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia, at least at SWP.

    Comment by Mr. X — May 20, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  2. This is hilarious. The Tsar demands increase in fresh population output:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC38XWTjP14

    A squadron of numbered babushkas from a “Nashi” clone for elderlies descended on Moscow metro wearing “Something wrong? Bear a child!” slogans.

    Comment by Ivan — May 21, 2011 @ 1:35 am

  3. “08/08/08 when as U.S. ally attacked Russian peacekeepers”. Thranslation into proper English: “defended themselves from Russian invasion”.

    Comment by Ivan — May 21, 2011 @ 1:38 am

  4. Ivan Ivan Ivan, you can be in denial all you want, but that requires you to argue with a Republican Congressman from Orange County and former Reaganaut, Dana Rohrbacher, who saw the House Intel Committee brief you didn’t see about the Georgians preparations. Last April he said unequivocally the Georgians started it and the Russians finished it. It also requires you to deny, ignore, and obfuscate what Der Spiegel and other upstanding German media outlets reported — that the Georgians started it. You and SWP must instead stay in the Anglo-America-Georgian media bubble, and pretend that everything else the rest of the world reported was rubbish. And that the Germans are wholly owned by Gazprom or some such to explain their distressing tendency not to want to follow Washington and London into perpetual war for perpetual peace in Libya, Georgia, et al.

    Now, why Darth Cheney was asking if we had the military option on the table, and why no one — at least no one on the record — since then has come out and said they asked him if he was nuts for starting WWIII for Saakashvili, I leave to your imagination. At least the General Peter Jackson came out publically with the same statement he made to Gen. Wesley Clark who wanted him to fire on a group of Russians headed for Pristina airport in 1999 (notice the pattern here Ivan? If Russia had intervened, bombed and invaded four or five countries in the past thirteen years, your claim might have some credibility)

    In any case, the proprietor of this web site claimed there would never be any blowback for putting military bases all around Russia — or for that matter, near China’s more sensitive border in Xinjiang (ah, but of course all the pressure on any Central Asian government must come from evil Muscovy, heaven forbid that Beijing wanted our guys out of Kyrgizstan!).

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/us-iran-escalation-iran-arrests-30-us-spies-it-builds-venezuelan-missile-base-america-sends-

    But now the time for Oceania to have some proxy bases on its own doorstep/backyard is at hand. Get ready for those ChiCom military bases in Venezuela!

    Of course there’s absolutely no relationship between this and playing games with Eurasia and Eastasia. It’s just Iran, after all. And don’t listen to that crazy Ron Paul.

    And Phobie/crazy Ekaterina from New York, before you weigh in here, just remember that Russia is now lending to America, not the other way around.

    Comment by Mr. X — May 21, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  5. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,652512,00.html
    Spiegel on 2009 EU report

    Here’s a big hunk of Der Spiegel for you and the Professor, just in case you think no serious Western media outlet takes Russia’s claims seriously. But of course, say the Germans are in the tank for the Kremlin, what else can you say?

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,578273,00.html
    Spiegel in Sept. 2008 after the initial pro-Georgian PR blitz fell apart

    Comment by Mr. X — May 21, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  6. Is that the same Dan Rohrbacher that staunchly defended the Taliban until 9/11/01?

    Is that the same Der Spiegel that uses houses flattened by hurricanes to support the claim that the US is a Third World country with Third World infrastructure? Der Spiegel is nothing more than an anti-American anti-capitalism rag.

    Maybe your sources are not entirely unimpeachable.

    Comment by pahoben — May 21, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  7. Also considering your thesis the use of Mr. X as a screen name is inconsistent with the history of the cold war. Mr anti-X would be more in the spirit.

    Comment by pahoben — May 21, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

  8. The best I’ve seen on the interwebz thus far:

    “Having listened to Medvedev, I ended up with an impression of a man who got onto a tram, took a deep breath, about to say something, then for some reason held his breath, braced himself and accidentally farted at the same time. But where he rode this tram remained unknown.”

    Putin had Yeltsin to make him look good. Perhaps, a similar strategy is at work here. OTOH, has Medvedev really been that bad? He does appear goofy at times (as in most of the time), but what has Putin done since 2004? And Putin himself looked like the guy who wandered in off the street looking for a bathroom, and yet somehow ends up chairing a government meeting. “Appointee” stamped all over him. Not to mention his famous disappearing act whenever the poop hit the fan. It’s only during his second term that he became the smug self-assured camera whore that he is now. Yes, he managed to accumulate major political capital… only to do absolutely nothing with it, except enrich his school friends, university buddies, Judo trainer, etc… His conservationism may have slowed the slide, but not stopped it. The facade has been spruced up, but hiding the rot is only getting harder. Medvedev is of course a disappointment. Formally wielding enormous power, but does nothing with it. (Still more than Putin though).

    Comment by So? — May 21, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  9. X,X,X,

    I frankly don’t give a rat’s ass what secret “brief” Congressman Rohrbacher may have seen or what nonsense that Moscow correspondent of Spiegel may have written. I have seen sufficient (and publicly available) evidence that the invasion had been carefully planned by Moscow and Russian tanks had been rolling on Georgian territory before Georgia responded militarily. You may propagandize your “Gleiwitz incident” all you want, just don’t be too surprised when you find yourself on gallows in Nuremberg.

    Comment by Ivan — May 21, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

  10. The General Staff was moving office that day and could only be reached via some staff officer’s cell phone. Doesn’t appear to be very planned to me. No-one is allowed to draw a single breath without the Dark One’s permission. And he was in Beijing. Oh I know, Russian Orcs are evil AND incompetent. But really, “Ivan”?

    Comment by So? — May 22, 2011 @ 12:01 am

  11. So?,
    > Oh I know, Russian Orcs are evil AND incompetent

    Your knowledge is correct but incomplete. Here is how de Custine described the missing part a while ago:

    “They would be quite content to be in effect more awful and barbaric than they actually are, if only others could thereby be made to believe them better and more civilized.”

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Marquis_de_Custine

    Comment by Ivan — May 22, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  12. Anybody who doesn’t agree with me is a Nazi Bolshevik propagandist.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — May 22, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  13. “Anybody who doesn’t agree with me is a Nazi Bolshevik propagandist.” Yes. That fairly well sums up Ivan.

    And at the risk of sounding like crazy Ekaterina/Phobie, where’s the link to proof that Rohrbacher was the Taliban’s best buddy, well, ever? Because he posed with some mujahadeen in Afghanistan back in the 80s? SWP Russophobes say the darndest things!

    And pahoben, in fairness to Der Spiegel, some parts of Louisiana, east LA and the Tex-Mex border are pretty Third World. But no big country, whether Russia, China, Brazil or the U.S. can have alles in ordung all over its territory.

    There’s no sweeping the Gen. Jackson thing under the rug. He said it. Which establishes the pattern. Let’s see if we can shoot up some Russian peacekeepers and see how Muscovy responds, and use that to justify buying some more big budget MIC war toys.

    It happened in 1999 and 2008 appeared to have been an attempt at a reprise. Except it didn’t get McCain reelected and didn’t end well for Misha the Tie Eater either, who was hoping to play the victim card and get into NATO. Too bad the Germans don’t want to die for him, anymore than the Brave Sir Robin Georgian Army which bravely ran away. Because if they thought it was a noble war for national defense, they would have stood, fought and died. But they didn’t.

    Comment by Mr. X — May 22, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  14. Oh, I’m sure there are no warriors nobler and braver than those of the 1st Soviet Keyboardier Brigade. Yet this does not change the stubborn fact that Russia was the aggressor who invaded Georgia in 2008.

    Comment by Ivan — May 23, 2011 @ 1:38 am

  15. Yet this does not change the stubborn fact that Georgia made her own bed 20 short years ago.
    http://www.scrapsofmoscow.org/2011/05/conflict-cables-georgia-and.html

    Comment by So? — May 23, 2011 @ 1:49 am

  16. If you only knew how foolishly you label out of ideological prejudice. There really is an objective world that lies outide of political prejudices. I am in no way an ideologue to be labeled a Russophobe.

    As for Rohrbacher-I admit that I did not personally hear him make these statements and that maybe he was routinely misquoted but I belive it is reasonable that he made statements such as the following-

    in 1996 he told the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs that Taliban leaders are “not terrorists or revolutionaries” and that their “takeover of Afghanistan would be a positive development” for the U.S.

    On April 11, 2001, Rohrabacher traveled to Qatar and met with Taliban leader Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil…wanted Rohrabacher to help increase U.S. aid to it, at the time already more than $100 million annually. Rohrabacher told Middle Eastern news media that the meeting had been “frank and open” and that the Taliban leaders were “thoughtful and inquisitive” as well as “flexible.”

    As for Der Spiegel and Third World infrastructure-It is so funny this coming from a German sources since in the not too distant past the last electro mechnical switches were eliminated from the German telephone system. Der Spiegel is an ideological rag.

    Life in Moscow is not representative of life in Russia as far as quality of life-you should go live in a small town (nearly any small town) in Western Siberia for a couple of years to better understand pervasive poor infrastructure. Nothing compares to real experience as a test bed for political philosophy.

    Comment by pahoben — May 23, 2011 @ 7:20 am

  17. Maybe making a fool of Obama is not a bad thing after all, from the Russian point of view, in case he really wanted to manipulate the Russian president and prime minister. I disagree with the notion that he also made a fool of himself. Did SWP really expect that the incumbent president of Russia was stupid enough to concede Russian national interests under the influence of Obama’s magic? The days of Yeltsin the Drunkard have gone. Hopefully forever. So who now made a fool of himself? Obama’s realism is the direct result of the fact that “Oceania cannot fight Eurasia and Eastasia at the same time”, as was rightly pointed out earlier. Building “a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia” requires realistic understanding of what Russia perceives as its vital interests. That’s where Obama needs reality check.

    Comment by Mike A. — May 23, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  18. The readers, unfamiliar with the 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict in S. Ossetia, can find out the truth as to who started this war in the European Commission’s authoritative report and in the Western media’s coverage thereof:

    http://www.ceiig.ch/Report.html

    The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia

    There is the question of whether the use of force by Georgia in South Ossetia, beginning with the shelling of Tskhinvali during the night of 7/8 August 2008, was justifiable under international law. It was not.

    There was no ongoing armed attack by Russia before the start of the Georgian operation. Georgian claims of a large-scale presence of Russian armed forces in South Ossetia prior to the Georgian offensive on 7/8 August could not be substantiated by the Mission.

    There seems to be little doubt that if the Russian peacekeepers were attacked, Russia had the right to defend them using military means proportionate to the attack. Hence the Russian use of force for defensive purposes during the first phase of the conflict would be legal.
    ———————————————

    Washington Post

    Probe Finds Georgia Violated Law, Provoked War With Russia

    An independent inquiry ordered by the European Union has concluded that Georgia violated international law and triggered last year’s war with Russia by attacking the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

    “None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack lend it a valid explanation,”

    The European investigation is considered the most authoritative and independent inquiry into the causes of the war to date.

    BBC:

    Georgia ‘started unjustified war’

    AFP:

    Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s standing in Western capitals has been dealt a major blow by a European report blaming his government for starting a war with Russia

    Financial Times:

    Georgia fired first shots in war – report

    “So both sides were found guilty? Yes. But the verdict is much more damning for Tbilisi than for Moscow. “Georgia invested much effort trying to prove that Russia moved first, invading Georgian territory in South Ossetia in the days before Georgia shelled Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s capital. The report rejects this claim.”

    AP:
    EU report: Georgian attack started war with Russia

    Independent:

    Georgia started it and Russia continued it – to excess

    The EU’s long-awaited report on the Russia-Georgia war has produced a nuanced verdict, but one that finds Georgia at least as culpable as Russia, and probably more so.

    Reuters:

    EU-backed report finds Georgian assault started 2008 war

    Comment by Ostap Bender — May 23, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

  19. Those unfamiliar with the history of Holodomor can find authoritative articles by Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty in New York Times stating there was no famine in USSR. Or they can find books by serious researchers stating otherwise. Fortunately, the lies of Tagliavini Report were exposed much sooner than those of the New York Times. Not that this kind of embarrassment has ever stopped Soviet propaganda.

    Comment by Ivan — May 24, 2011 @ 12:27 am

  20. Oh Gostapo, try reading the whole thing, oh thats right, you have not finished your remedial reading classes 😉

    For example Thus the question of who was responsible for the 2008 August armed conflict cannot be
    focused solely on the night from 7 to 8 August and the Georgian offensive against Tskhinvali.
    It has to include a broader run-up to the conflict, a longer process comprising mutual
    accusations, military threats, violent incidents in conflict zones, acts of a great power’s
    coercive policy toward an insubordinate neighbour, this neighbour’s unrealistically
    accelerated policy of reintegration and presenting its Western-oriented foreign and security
    policies as “fleeing the Russian Empire”.

    And At the time of the writing of the Report, the Mission was not in a position to consider the
    Georgian claim concerning a large-scale Russian military incursion into South Ossetia before
    8 August 2008 as substantiated. However, there are a number of reports and publications,
    including of Russian origin, indicating the provision by the Russian side of training and
    military equipment to South Ossetian and Abkhaz forces prior to the August 2008 conflict.
    They also indicated an influx of irregular forces from the territory of the Russian Federation
    to South Ossetia in early August as well as the presence of some Russian forces in South
    Ossetia, apart from the Russian PKF battalion, prior to 14.30 hours on 8 August 2008.
    Also, it seems that the Russian air force started its operations against Georgian targets,
    including those outside South Ossetian administrative boundaries, already in the morning of
    8 August, i.e. prior to the time given in the Russian official information

    To a certain extent, it might be artificial to separate the
    different conflicts as they are closely intertwined. Yet, for the sake of clarity in assessing the
    responsibilities of the respective parties, it is advisable to distinguish the three armed
    conflicts.
    Generally, the beginning of the armed conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia is dated at
    7 August 2008 at 23.35, the open hostilities between Georgia and Russia are considered to
    have started on 8 August 2008 and the bombardment of the upper Kodori Valley by Abkhaz
    forces started on 9 August
    In fact, however, a violent conflict had already been going on .
    before in South Ossetia. In previous years, tensions had been constantly rising, involving
    more and more open clashes between Georgian security forces and the militia of the
    breakaway territories.

    an attack by Georgian forces on Russian peacekeepers deployed in Georgia – if
    not in self-defence against a Russian attack (which was, as discussed above, not present) –
    equals an attack on Russian territory which is apt to trigger Russia’s right to self-defence.
    However, as stated above, the fact of the Georgian attack on the Russian peacekeepers’ basis
    could not be definitely confirmed by the mission.

    As an act of self-defence against the attack on the Russian military bases, the only admissible
    objective of the Russian reaction was to eliminate the Georgian threat for its own
    peacekeepers. The expulsion of the Georgian forces from South Ossetia, and the defence of
    South Ossetia as a whole was not a legitimate objective for Russia, because Russia could not
    rely on collective self-defence in favour of South Ossetia, as will be shown below. The
    admissible Russian objective was therefore limited.
    The military reaction of Russia went beyond the repulsion of the Georgian armed attack on
    the Russian bases and was thus not necessary. Russia mainly targeted military objectives, and
    at least some of the targeted military objectives were related to the Georgian attack in South
    Ossetia. Nevertheless, Russian military support for the use of force by Abkhazia against
    Georgia cannot be justified in this context. The bombing of large parts of the upper Kodori
    Valley was in no relation to any potential threat for the Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia(see below). The same applies to the posting of the ships in the Black Sea. An impartial
    observer, putting himself in the place of Russia, would not have qualified the Russian reaction
    as reasonably related to the objective of halting the Georgian attack on the Russian
    peacekeepers stationed in South Ossetia.
    The means employed by Russia were not in a reasonable relationship to the only permissible
    objective, which was to eliminate the threat for Russian peacekeepers. In any case, much of
    the destruction (see Chapter 5 “Military Events in 2008”) after the conclusion of the ceasefire
    agreement is not justifiable by any means. According to international law, the Russian
    military action taken as a whole was therefore neither necessary nor proportionate to protect
    Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia

    IV. No justification of Russian use of force as fulfilment of the peacekeeping mission
    Russia claimed that both the peacekeeping units and the further reinforcing units “continued
    to carry out their peacekeeping mission until the European Union Monitoring Mission was
    deployed in accordance with the “Medvedev-Sarkozy” agreements (…).”
    173
    As explained above, peacekeeping units are defensive in nature. They have to be neutral and
    must not take sides with either of the conflicting parties. They are normally equipped only
    with light weapons for self-defence; their number is clearly limited.
    According to the 1992 Sochi Agreement, the Russian peacekeepers were a part of joint forces
    “under” the Control Commission (Art. 3(3)). The Joint Control Commission’s task was “to
    exercise control over the implementation of ceasefire, withdrawal of armed formations,
    disbanding of forces of self-defence and to maintain the regime of security in the region.”
    (Art. 3 (1) of the Sochi Agreement). “In case of violation of provisions of this Agreement, the
    Control Commission shall carry out investigation of relevant circumstances and undertake
    urgent measures aimed at restoration of peace and order and non-admission of similar
    violations in the future.” (Art. 5).
    These provisions show that any unilateral support for one of the conflicting parties cannot be
    justified as a peacekeeping mission. Furthermore, it is not possible to combine a peacekeeping
    task and a military action based on self-defence. The status of a victim of an armed attack is
    incompatible with the neutral status of a peacekeeper. Whoever is drawn into a conflict can nolonger act as peacekeeper.
    174
    The peacekeeping mission was limited to a small number of
    lightly armed troops which could not be reinforced or replaced by heavily armed “fresh
    reinforcement units”. Greater use of force was not only against the spirit of the Sochi
    Agreement, but also against the very idea of peacekeeping.
    Conclusion: Russia could not justify its use of force as a mere reinforcement and fulfilment
    of its peacekeeping mission.

    Learn to read kapo

    Comment by Andrew — May 24, 2011 @ 6:43 am

  21. IOTW, Georgia started it, and the Russians should have taken notes and lodged a protest.

    Comment by So? — May 24, 2011 @ 7:01 am

  22. As opposed to the Russians carrying out ethnic cleansing of Georgians, cluster bombing of civilian targets in Gori and several other towns, the bombing of factories, the burning of Borjomi national park etc.

    And, So?, in case you are too moronic to read (and you obviously are) the report states all sides are to blame.

    Comment by Andrew — May 24, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  23. all sides are to blame…
    Now we are making progress.

    Comment by So? — May 24, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  24. To be fair to Andy in Tblisi (how’s that tear gas smell blowing in the wind there?), he could be forgiven for feeling a bit betrayed since those same media outlets Ostap Bender cited chapter and verse from all parroted the Georgian line the first few days after the conflict, when U.S. talk radio was full of Ralph Peters types saying Russian tanks would be rolling into Talinn or Warsaw next.

    Comment by Mr. X — May 26, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  25. @Mr. X: Thanks for the heads up:

    http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/2364_may_27_2011/2364_eto.html

    Two die in police crackdown

    Two died and dozens of people were injured after police dispersed protest rally organized by Public Assembly on Rustaveli Avenue shortly after midnight of 25th of May.

    Police used teargas, rubber bullets and water cannons to break up protesters outside the Parliament

    Before the planned military parade began on May 26 President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili made a special statement regarding the using of force against protest rally participants and highlighted that recent protest’s scenario had been written in Russia. “During the recent days, with a scenario written outside Georgia, there was taking place an attempt of thwarting the 20th anniversary of Georgia’s Independence, of thwarting today’s parade, of sabotage and of triggering mass unrests.”
    ———————————————

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/25/georgia-protest-idUSLDE74O26120110525

    Georgia police fire tear gas, rubber bullets at protesters

    Opposition groups have called, during several days of protests in the capital, for Saakashvili to quit and for early elections. Opponents accuse him of monopolising power since the 2003 “Rose Revolution” that ousted the post-Soviet old guard in the Caucasus state, where pipelines carry Caspian oil to the West.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — May 27, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  26. Oh yes, the “peaceful protesters” lie.

    If you count protesters armed with clubs, metal bars, and having containers filled with petrol to be peaceful, thats your problem. They had also been attacking local residents cars etc.

    Both of those who were killed were policemen for that matter.

    I know you are retarded Gostapo, but come on….

    Burjanadze is deeply unpopular in Georgia, mostly because people rightly perceive her as a tool of Russian’s chief thug, Vladimir Putin. Georgian’s democratically elected president, Mikheil Saakashvili, has a high approval rating and just won democratic municipal elections last spring.
    While the opposition is weak and divided, they are participating in the government, trying to build up their parties. The protesters, in contrast, are an element of the radical opposition, trying to win through violence what they couldn’t win at the ballot box. And many of these protesters seem to have loyalties to Georgia’s primary enemy, Russia. Indeed, there is evidence that the instigators behind these protests is the Kremlin, which is primarily aiming at bringing down their democratic neighbors.
    Indeed, it’s becoming pretty clear that Burjanadze isn’t simply working alone – she seems to have been colluding with the Russkies. Time magazine reports:

    It became worse for Burjanadze when police released an audio recording on Thursday, apparently from a tapped phone conversation, to support the claims of her collusion with Moscow. In the undated tape, she and her son allegedly discuss plans for a revolution, agreeing that an “Egypt scenario” in Georgia would be worth the death of 100 or even 500 people. “The land of every nation that achieved something is watered with blood,” her son Anzor Bitsadze apparently says in the recording, whose authenticity Burjanadze does not deny. “The society is divided. They are divided concerning Russia too,” Burjanadze says later in the tape. “Fifty percent do not see [Russia] as an enemy at all … Everyone supports a close relationship with Russia.”

    The truth is, protesters have been going at it for days, the first of which they were able to do so unmolested by police. But that changed when the protesters tried to block the National Day parade on the main square: They were asked to move the protest, but refused. It was precisely the confrontation the protesters wanted.

    There is bad video of cops beating handcuffed protesters. Police got a little carried away beating on some of the people—but nothing too bad considering it’s a bunch of lunatics with clubs who refused police orders to disperse.

    But this is not Russia. In Georgia, where the rule of law is respected, the cops are going to be investigated – then probably fired and could end up doing jail time themselves.

    Some will surely try to place Georgian opposition and protesters in with the Arab Spring—probably under the assumption that all protests that draw blood look alike. Squishy Europeans and the Obama administration will probably use this as another excuse not to support the Georgians as fully as we should.

    But Georgia isn’t a tyranny. In a democracy, unlike Putin’s Russia, that’s how things work—warts and all.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/democracy-victim-hit-and-run-russia_571585.html?page=2

    So lets see, someone who is attempting to overthrow the government by inviting in foreign forces, advocating the killing of fellow citizens, and the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government will always get bender boys vote.

    Meanwhile, Russian police beat peaceful marchers at a Moscow parade (no wonder Bender boy lives in the USA)

    http://www.rferl.org/content/gay_rights_event_planned_despite_moscow_ban/24207779.html

    Comment by Andrew — May 30, 2011 @ 12:29 am

  27. And this from the BBC

    Damien McGuinness
    BBC News, Tbilisi
    It was clear from the outset that the protest on Wednesday would end in bloodshed.
    About half of the people gathered on the steps of parliament were masked men armed with metal poles or heavy sticks. We saw some sharpening the ends of the sticks with knives.
    The authorities told the protestors they would have to move at midnight to make way for Thursday’s celebrations. The demonstrators refused and 2,000 riot police officers moved in, breaking up the crowd with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.
    The authorities’ heavy-handed approach will be used by the president’s critics to undermine his credibility but opposition leaders will see their credibility weakened even more.
    One of those killed was run over by a jeep in the convoy taking away Nino Burdzhanadze, the leader of the protest movement. Many Georgians accuse her of whipping up violence to destabilise the country.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13554828

    Comment by Andrew — May 30, 2011 @ 12:31 am

  28. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1641861.php/Amnesty-Georgia-must-probe-excessive-force-against-demonstrators

    Amnesty: Georgia must probe “excessive force” against demonstrators

    The international human rights group Amnesty International urged Georgia on Friday to investigate official violence against anti-government protesters in the wake of a bloody street riot that killed two police officers.

    Amnesty charged that, during a Thursday demonstration, Georgian police clubbed unarmed and non-violent demonstrators and fired rubber bullets and tear gas at bystanders and journalists.

    ‘There must be a thorough investigation into these incidents, which must also examine the instructions issued to individual officers on the ground,’ Amnesty said.

    The European Union and Russia issued separate declarations Thursday accusing the Saakashvili regime of undermining freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — May 31, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

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