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The Ossetian Conflic


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Big Dan Said:

Why then are you giving an opinion on this topic? All Governments are the same to you........ one is no better then the other. Any point that you make is invalid because in your mind they are all the same. Why do you keep wasting our time? You just want to stir up trouble. Then, when somebody calls you out on your rediculous claims you call them a "Redneck." Unlike you the "pacifist", your name calling does not anger me in the least. I think it is a joke. Like you Big Dan. :hysterical: LOL.

Are you still ready to take me to war.................. :duel: You better be careful, I am a BIG BAD AMERICAN REDNECK :lol::lol::lol: Your a laugh a minute Big Dan.

You just wont give in will you?

Give it a rest, I destroyed your argument completely, I made you all look mugs.

My claims are not ridiculous they are facts.

Just who are you anyway, drunk, plante51, or some other moron on here for an arguement? Or a wind up?

So no more name calling on my part, my factual argument destroyed all your posts, perion, and on that note goodby, see you in another post maybe.

Regards, Danny

PS and thanks to all involved in this wind up, very entertaining I must say, you really got me this time, 10 out of 10 for effort.

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Hi all,

sorry, i have to interrupt here. can anyone show me a native american? a race that used to populate almost the entire northern hemisphere-gone. a few thousand remain? a picture on a football helmet? reservation: it's not just a table at a restaurant.

know anyone who is "part-cherokee"? or "part-choctaw" or "part-pueblo"? i know bunches. where's the whole ones?

I thought so beatbo! :P

Can you show me a pure Celt?Mori?Persian?No?Now please show me somewhere an indigenous people still rule their lands?Ireland?Nope.North America,South?

So do you now where "Rus" comes from?It was from the Vikings(!) exploring the Russia.

Again? :blink: Can't you people talk about the subject at hand?!? :rolleyes:


Difference is KB, boatbo has done his homework and you haven't, Ireland is still populated by the Irish, same people who went there after the iceage, the original inhabitance, pure Celts. I can show you millions of pure Celts, from Scottland, Ireland, Wales and Brittany, all alive and well because England didn't commit great acts of genocide on them.

Whereas the Red Indians were subjected to genocide by your government, you broke your treaties with the Indian before the ink was even dry, then you purportrated war on them, you took their lands away unlawfully and you tried to wipe them of the face of the world. You are unique in modern history, you go around saying that Russia/USSR are monsters when you are no better. When do you intend to do the honourable and lawful thing and give the land back and pay punitive damages to the Indian people for annihalating their ancestors, answer? Never.

The Rus were Vikings but they became the gentry of Russia they did not commit genocide on the Russian people.

You seem to have taken offence at me for attacking your governments actions both in the past and now, you shouldn't be offended by this if what I say is the truth and the facts are observed. I think I have proved my points both factualy and truthfully but you and certain others on here wont back down and say that you were wrong, and I am right, a great American trait in my book as your government keeps showing us. Maybe it's in your genes or something.

Now the subject in hand is the current conflict in Georgia, I have sorted that out for you in previous post so you should be totally informed about that by now. Lets get back on topic and stop all this pointless bickering.

Regards, Danny

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Give it a rest, I destroyed your argument completely, I made you all look mugs.

Sorry pal, you don't get to decide who wins a particular argument, thats up to each reader to decide for themselves. :rolleyes:

IMO you are being unnecessarily combative. Just state your point of view and let the cards fall where they may, like the rest of us.

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I have to admit that the current situation is reawakening the old cold war feelings in me. I had hoped those days were gone.

Oh no, don't be like that, come on, we all had much more fun back then. Reminiscing about the Cold War is like slipping onto the well-worn vinyl seat of the first car you ever owned in 1974...lot's of memories

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Oh no, don't be like that, come on, we all had much more fun back then. Reminiscing about the Cold War is like slipping onto the well-worn vinyl seat of the first car you ever owned in 1974...lot's of memories

I can remember, in the 60's, sitting outside looking toward Milwaukee and Chicago watching for the mushroom clouds I expected at any time. Stop, drop and cover. What a load of bs.

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Reminiscing about the Cold War is like slipping onto the well-worn vinyl seat of the first car you ever owned in 1974...lot's of memories


updated 2 hours, 23 minutes ago

IGOETI, Georgia - Russian forces appeared to begin fulfilling a promise Friday to pull back from positions deep inside Georgia.

No Russian forces could be seen Friday afternoon in and around Igoeti, which had been their closest position to Georgia's capital Tbilisi. A Russian armored column also was seen moving away from a base in western Georgia and a Georgian official said that forces were leaving the key central city of Gori.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other officials have said Russian forces would pull back to Moscow-backed separatist regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as surrounding security zones, by day's end Friday.

Under a cease-fire deal, Russian forces are to pull back to positions they held before intense fighting broke out Aug. 7 in South Ossetia.

Russia says it will keep troops in South Ossetia — where Russia had a peacekeeping contingent for more than a decade — and in a buffer zone in Georgia proper around the region's border.

Continued military presence?

But earlier Friday there were still signs of preparations for a continued Russian military presence in other areas of Georgia.

Red Cross vehicles, mine-clearing jeeps and trucks carrying peaches were seen heading into Gori early Friday. Russian military helicopters buzzed overhead as military trucks shuttled in and out of Gori past the checkpoint, where Russian flags were flapping in the wind.

Further west, near a base at the key Black Sea port of Poti, Russian troops were seen digging large trenches near a bridge that provides the only access to the city. Five trucks, several armored personnel carriers and a helicopter were parked nearby. Another Russian position was seen in a wooded area outside the city.

A top Russian general said earlier it could be 10 days before the bulk of the troops is gone, and the mixed signals from Moscow left Georgians guessing about Russia's intentions nearly a week after a cease-fire deal.

That suggested Russian soldiers could still be holding territory in Georgia up to the end of August.

"The information I have is that if they're leaving it is at a snail's pace," said Gen. John Craddock, commander of U.S. European Command, as he ended a two-day assessment trip in Georgia. "It is far too little and far too slow."

Strains in relations between Russia and the West showed no improvement. NATO, Moscow's Cold War foe, said Russia had halted military cooperation with the alliance, underscoring the growing division in a Europe that had seemed destined for unity after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Western leaders remained adamant that Russia remove its troops and do it quickly.


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Conflicting reports coming out of Georgia:

Russia Says It Is Pulling Out of Georgia, but Troops Remain

Published: August 22, 2008

TBILISI, Georgia —Russia insisted on Friday that it was sticking to its self-imposed deadline to remove troops from Georgia today, and some units were on the move, but other Russian forces continued to dig in, according to reports.

Russian soldiers withdrawing toward Russia stopped near the village of Dzhava in South Ossetia, Georgia, on Friday.

Russian troops could be seen heading north toward South Ossetia from the central Georgian city of Gori, and main checkpoints around Gori had been dismantled. Georgian radio said Russian troops were also pulling out of Zugdidi, in the west near Abkhazia, the other breakaway region in Georgia.

But Russian military forces were conducting checks on the main east-west highway, in what effectively remained an economic blockade of the capital, Tbilisi, and the rest of the country.


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Ahahaha!! Thank you Marolyn!! WTH?! The website I had found listed Australia amongst many others that are not....dumb me, belieiving what I read. :)

i couldn't rattle them all off either... just knew i had never met an australian here...

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Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Aug.'08 / 10:50

Georgia felt there was only a low probability of a massive Russian invasion, Batu Kutelia, the Georgian deputy defense minister, said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“We did not prepare for this kind of eventuality,” he was quoted by the Financial Times. “I didn't think it likely that a member of the UN Security Council and the OSCE would react like this.”

He said, according to the Financial Times, that Georgia had made the decision to seize the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali despite the fact that its forces did not have enough anti-tank and air defenses to protect themselves against the possibility of serious resistance.

Kutelia, however, also claimed that the Georgian troops moved into the South Ossetia only after the Russian military hardware crossed into the region from the Russia’s North Ossetian Republic.


Saakashvili said in a response that it was Russia which sent its troops to Georgia and Tbilisi just had to react. He also pointed out that Georgia had been telling the world about, what he said was, Russia’s preparations for invasion into Georgia for months.


updated 12 minutes ago

TSKHINVALI, Georgia - When Georgian rockets began falling on this sleepy capital of the breakaway province of South Ossetia, Zemfira Tibilova and her neighbors ran to a century-old brick synagogue.

During four days of fighting in the town, she said, four dozen Orthodox Christians hid in the building's dark basement with little food and water.

"These holy walls protected us," said Tibilova, 60. "God is still present here."When the Georgian army launched an offensive late on Aug. 7 seeking to regain control of the region, about 50 people on Tskhinvali's Shaumian Street — mostly women and children and several elderly men — grabbed all the bread and water they could carry and took refuge in the synagogue.

It has largely stood empty since nearly all of Tskhinvali's 2,000 Jews fled in 1991 during a war in which South Ossetians won de facto self rule, although the building is occasionally used by a Christian group.

All but 17 of South Ossetia's Jews left during the earlier conflict, mostly going to Israel or Russia, and all but one of those fled during the recent war, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee says. The one remaining Jew, a 71-year-old woman, apparently sought shelter elsewhere.

Terrified silence

At one point during the fighting, the adults huddling in the basement had to cup their hands around the mouths of terrified children to keep them quiet when Georgian troops arrived on a tank and walked up to the synagogue, they said. The soldiers moved on without going inside.

Limited to the few supplies they brought with them, the refugees endured excruciating thirst and hunger while agonizing over the sounds of war outside, but all survived.

About a block away, a line of houses was reduced to splinters and cinders by rocket fire. A rocket exploded in the synagogue's yard, shattering some windows but leaving the structure intact. The fragments of the exploded shell still lay on the ground Friday.

"Only God helped us survive these four nights of hell and suffering," said Angelina Valiyeva, a 44-year-old border official, who huddled in the basement with her son, Garik, 9.

"I tried to support my mom and didn't cry," said Garik, whose father was killed in the fighting.


Aug 2, 2008

SUKHUMI, Georgia—The last of 400 Russian soldiers sent by Moscow to repair a railway in Georgia's rebel region of Abkhazia began to pull out on Wednesday, ending a deployment which angered Tbilisi and its Western allies.


BY DAVE MARCUS | dave.marcus@newsday.com

August 20, 2008

A brother and sister from Middle Island, visiting their grandmother in Tbilisi, Georgia, found themselves stranded as war raged around them this month.


The children arrived in the Georgian capital on July 11 and were enchanted by the fresh food, the music and culture, he said.

Then, three weeks into their trip, Georgian and Russian troops suddenly started battling. At the time, George, Kate and their relatives were visiting in the countryside. Their father called and asked the relatives to get the children back to Tbilisi, which he assumed would be safer.

The family has an unusual perspective on Georgian-Russian tensions, which have brewed for decades. Dzhordzhadze was born and raised in Georgia; his wife, Irina Jorjadze, is Russian.

"We are really careful about talking about politics," Jorjadze said.

"We are peaceful citizens of our countries," her husband said. "To talk politics is stupid and makes no sense."


Two killed, three injured in resort explosion

Georgia denies preparing for war accusation

TBILISI: Georgia does not want war in its breakaway region of South Ossetia, President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Thursday after Russia accused Tbilisi of triggering overnight clashes with rebels and preparing for war. The South Ossetian authorities earlier said 18 people were wounded in what it described as heavy overnight artillery bombardment of the breakaway capital Tskhinvali and surrounding villages. "Confrontation is not in Georgia''s interests and I hope and I''m sure that the continuation of confrontation is not in Russia''s interests either," Saakashvili told journalists in televised comments in the town of Gori near South Ossetia.

Last updated on Friday 8/8/2008


Posted on: Wednesday, 30 July 2008, 21:00 CDT

TBILISI. July 30 (Interfax) - Maria Mamarova, 17, a resident of the village of Sagarejo, eastern Georgia tripped a mine on the territory of a former Russian technical base.


Georgian president suffers cyberattack

By Tom Espiner, ZDNet UK

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 10:46 AM

The Web site of the Georgian president was the subject of a distributed-denial-of-service attack over the weekend.

The attack, which is believed by some experts to have been politically motivated, began on Saturday, according to a blog post by Steven Adair, a Shadowserver security volunteer.

"For over 24 hours the Web site of President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia... has been rendered unavailable due to a multi-pronged distributed-denial-of-service attack," wrote Adair on Sunday. "Shadowserver has observed at least one Web-based command and control server taking aim at the Web site, hitting it with a variety of simultaneous attacks."


Several security vendors said that forces in Russia could have been involved, pointing to recent political tensions between the two countries.

On the ThreatExpert blog, researcher Sergei Shevchenko said the hack attack had been preceded earlier this month by the Russian airforce deliberately flying planes over the troubled Georgian region of South Ossetia, without permission from the Georgians. The Russians stated they had done this to "cool hot heads" in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

Arbor Networks's chief analyst, Jose Nazario, pointed to political tension in another region of Georgia, Abkhazia, as well as tensions in South Ossetia, as being possible catalysts to the attack.

"This attack appears to have a political motivation," wrote Nazario in a blog post. "One of the messages in the floods (HTTP, SYN, ICMP) reads 'win+love+in+Rusia'. Tensions between Russia and Georgia appear to be running high lately."

Russia was blamed for cyberattacks last April against another of its neighbors, Estonia.


S.Ossetia threatens Georgia with irrigation cut-off

15:32 | 31/ 07/ 2008

MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - South Ossetia, one of Georgia's breakaway provinces, warned on Thursday that it could block irrigation canals leading to central Georgia if Tbilisi refuses to re-start water supplies to the region's capital.

Local authorities have given Georgia until 12:00 GMT to meet their demand.

Main water supplies have been completely cut off from the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, for a month. An inspection by collective peacekeeping forces and an OSCE representative on July 26 found that water was being tapped in Georgian villages. Although the Georgian side pledged to remove all illegal pipe tapping devices by July 28, Tskhinvali said the water shortage had only worsened.


South Ossetia has been seeking international recognition since an armed conflict with Tbilisi that left hundreds dead in 1991-1992. Georgian authorities want to bring the secessionist republic back under their control, and have accused Russia, which has peacekeepers in the area, along with Georgian and South Ossetian troops, of encouraging separatist elements.


Medieval and early modern period

The Ossetians are originally descendants of the Alans, a Sarmatian tribe. They became Christians during the early Middle Ages, under Georgian and Byzantine influences. Under Mongol rule, they were pushed out of their medieval homeland south of the Don River in present-day Russia and part migrated towards and over the Caucasus mountains, to Georgia where they formed three distinct territorial entities. Digor in the west came under the influence of the neighboring Kabard people, who introduced Islam. Tualläg in the south became what is now South Ossetia, part of the historical Georgian principality of Samachablo where Ossetians found refuge from Mongol invaders. Iron in the north became what is now North Ossetia, under Russian rule from 1767. Most Ossetians are now Christian (approximately 61%); there is also a significant Muslim minority.

South Ossetia under Russia and the Soviet Union

Former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast is grey. It is officially divided by Georgian authorities between different administrative units.The modern-day South Ossetia was annexed by Russia in 1801, along with Georgia proper, and absorbed into the Russian Empire. Following the Russian Revolution, South Ossetia became a part of the Menshevik Georgian Democratic Republic, while the north became a part of the Terek Soviet Republic. The area saw a series of Ossetian rebellions during which claims for independence were made. The Georgian government accused Ossetians of cooperating with Bolsheviks. According to Ossetian sources about 5,000 Ossetians were killed and more than 13,000 subsequently died from hunger and epidemics.

The Soviet Georgian government established by the Russian 11th Red Army in 1921 created the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (i.e., province) in April 1922. Although the Ossetians had their own language (Ossetian), Russian and Georgian were administrative/state languages. Under the rule of Georgia's government during Soviet times, it enjoyed some degree of autonomy including speaking the Ossetian language and teaching it in schools.




The territory of modern-day Georgia has been continuously inhabited since the early Stone Age. The classic period saw the rise of the early Georgian states of Colchis and Iberia. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC.


The Middle Ages

The Georgian Kingdom reached its zenith in the 12th to early 13th centuries. This period has been widely termed as Georgia's Golden Age or Georgian Renaissance during the reign of David the Builder and Queen Tamar.


The revival of the Georgian Kingdom was short-lived however, in 1226 Tblisi was captured by Mingburnu and the Kingdom was eventually subjugated by the Mongols in 1236 (see Mongol invasions of Georgia). Thereafter, different local rulers fought for their independence from central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. Georgia was subjected, between 1386 and 1404, to several disastrous invasions by Timur. Neighbouring kingdoms exploited the situation and from the 16th century, the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire subjugated the eastern and western regions of Georgia, respectively.


Georgia in the Russian Empire

In 1783, Russia and the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, according to which Kartli-Kakheti received protection by Russia. This, however, did not prevent Tbilisi from being sacked by the Persians in 1795.


After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918 in the midst of the Russian Civil War.


Soviet annexation

In February 1921 Georgia was attacked by the Red Army. The Georgian army was defeated and the Social-Democrat government fled the country. On February 25, 1921 the Red Army entered capital Tbilisi and installed a Moscow directed communist government, led by Georgian Bolshevik Filipp Makharadze. Nevertheless the Soviet rule was firmly established only after a 1924 revolt was brutally suppressed.


Georgia in World War II

From 1941 to 1945, during World War II, almost 700,000 Georgians fought as Red Army soldiers against Nazi Germany. (A number also fought on the German side.) About 350,000 Georgians died in the battlefields of the Eastern Front. During this period the Chechen, Ingush, Karachay and the Balkarian peoples from the Northern Caucasus, were deported to Siberia and Central Asia for alleged collaboration with the Nazis, and their respective autonomous republics were abolished. The Georgian SSR was briefly granted some of their territory until 1957.

The Dissidential movement for restoration of Georgian statehood started to gain popularity in the 1960s.[29] Among the Georgian dissidents, two of the most prominent activists were Merab Kostava and Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Dissidents were heavily persecuted by Soviet government, and their activities were harshly suppressed.



On April 9, 1989, a peaceful demonstration in the Georgian capital Tbilisi ended in a massacre in which several people were killed by Soviet troops.


Restoration of independence

On April 9, 1991, shortly before the collapse of the USSR, Georgia declared independence.


Recent years

In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the November 2 parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shevardnadze's ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004.

Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms was launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities. The new government's efforts to reassert Georgian authority in the southwestern autonomous republic of Ajaria led to a major crisis early in 2004. Success in Ajaria encouraged Saakashvili to intensify his efforts, but without success, in the breakaway South Ossetia. These events along with accusations of Georgian involvement in the Second Chechen War, resulted in a severe deterioration of relations with Russia, fueled also by Russia's open assistance and support to the two secessionists areas.



Nina Akhmeteli 8/22/08

For four days, 68-year-old Meri Basishvili trudged through the woods of South Ossetia to make it from her home in Kurta, an ethnic Georgian village there, to relative safety in the nearby Russian-occupied city of Gori.

"We thought that it would calm down after some time, but then they [marauders] stole everything from my neighbor’s house and burnt it. Along with four others, I decided to run," recounted Basishvili, who is now living in a shelter for Internally Displaced Persons in Tbilisi. "t was impossible to stay there."

Basishvili says that she passed numerous dead bodies on her way through the woods; their stench, mixed with the smell of smoke from nearby burning villages, left an indelible impression. "None of the dead were in military uniform. All of them were civilians, and there was no one to bury them," she told EurasiaNet. "But my bull saved me because when we were stopped by some men who were Chechens or Cossacks they just patted it and let us go."

Stories of torture, rape and brutal murders abound in the schools and government buildings where over 100,000 displaced persons from throughout Georgia now live. Many do not have any information about the husbands, parents or relatives who stayed behind in areas now under Russian and separatist control.


The United States should appoint Rodney King as an ambassador to this region, and maybe suggest alpha wave relaxation therapy for everyone.

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BY DAVE MARCUS | dave.marcus@newsday.com

August 20, 2008

The family has an unusual perspective on Georgian-Russian tensions, which have brewed for decades. Dzhordzhadze was born and raised in Georgia; his wife, Irina Jorjadze, is Russian.

"We are really careful about talking about politics," Jorjadze said.

"We are peaceful citizens of our countries," her husband said. "To talk politics is stupid and makes no sense."


Imperial Russia


Catherine the Great took Crimea from the Ottoman Turks in 1783 and also established protectorship over Georgia, giving Russia access to the Black Sea coast from two sides. In 1787 the 58 year old empress travelled from St Petersburg to Crimea, with a retinue of 2,300 people. She was met by 12,000 Tatar horsemen in ceremonial dress who escorted her to the Khan's Palace at Bakhchisarai. A stone plaque was placed there to commemorate the occasion and can still be seen today. From there she travelled to Sevastopol, where she met Prince Potemkin, her governor-general (later rewarded with the title Prince of Tavrida) and saw the Black Sea fleet at anchor. She then travelled on to Akh-Mechet (present-day Simferopol), Stariy Krim and Feodosia. Catherine was too shrewd a politician to be indulging in tourism, although her letters suggest that she enjoyed much of the journey. She was here to make a point - that Crimea was now part of the great Russian empire. From the Khan's Palace she wrote: "This acquisition means an end to fear of the Tatars...This thought gives me great consolation, and I lie down to sleep today, having seen with my own eyes, that far from causing harm, it has been of the greatest advantage to my empire".

But soon afterwards the Ottoman Empire again declared war on Russia, and it took four years before the Turks capitulated after a series of naval defeats at the hands of the Black Sea fleet, and accepted the reality of Crimea's transfer from the Ottoman to the Russian empire.

Catherine then set about consolidating her new acquisition. She realised that the only way that Russia would hold on to Crimea in the long term was to change the population balance in favour of those sympathetic to the Russian cause. Not only Russians, but also substantial numbers of Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Armenians, and Germans were encouraged by Catherine to settle in Crimea, a process which continued into the 19th century. Some Tatars emigrated to Turkey, although most stayed. By 1863, the immigrants outnumbered the Tatar population.


Biden Statement on Georgia Trip

BIDEN Issues Statement Upon Return from Georgia

Washington, DC – Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) returned from a visit to the Republic of Georgia today. During his visit, he met with Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili; Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze; Georgian Parliamentary Speaker David Bakradze; U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft and spoke via phone with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Upon his return, Chairman Biden issued the following statement:

“During my time in Georgia, I surveyed the human and geopolitical consequences of the conflict there firsthand. I visited a facility where some of the tens of thousands of Georgians who have fled the fighting are seeking refuge, unsure about whether they will ever return to their homes. On the tarmac of Tbilisi’s airport, I consulted with the dedicated U.S. Air Force personnel who are bringing urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the region. I spent many hours in talks with Georgia’s President, Prime Minister, Parliamentary Speaker, and other national leaders discussing how Georgia and the West should respond to this crisis. And I conferred extensively with U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft and, via phone, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about how the United States should meet this challenge.

“I left the country convinced that Russia’s invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant events to occur in Europe since the end of communism. The claims of Georgian atrocities that provided the pretext for Russia’s invasion are rapidly being disproved by international observers, and the continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region. The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region. The outcome there will determine whether we realize the grand ambition of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.

“Russia must make good on President Medvedev’s commitment to immediately withdraw Russian troops to their positions before the current fighting began. We also need a truly independent and international peacekeeping force in Georgia’s conflict regions. And we must help the people of Georgia to rebuild their country and preserve its democratic institutions.

“When Congress reconvenes, I intend to work with the Administration to seek Congressional approval for $1 billion in emergency assistance for Georgia, with a substantial down payment on that aid to be included in the Congress’ next supplemental spending bill. This money will help the people of Georgia recover from the damage that has been inflicted on their economy and send a clear message that the United States will not abandon this young democracy. I hope this $1 billion commitment will be matched by others in the international community.

“I have long sought to help Russia realize its extraordinary potential as a force for progress in the international community, and have supported legislative efforts intended to forge a more constructive relationship with the Kremlin. But Russia’s actions in Georgia will have consequences.

“Russia’s actions have already erased the possibility of advancing legislative efforts to promote U.S.-Russian partnership in the current Congress, including an agreement to allow for increased collaboration with Russia on nuclear energy production and the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which currently blocks the country’s integration into the World Trade Organization. Russia’s failure to keep its word and withdraw troops from Georgia risks the country’s standing as part of the international community. That is not the future the United States or Europe want – but it is the future Russia may get if it does not stand down its forces and live up to its commitments.”


Russian military vehicles prepare to board a military ship near Sukhumi, capital of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia. Russia has begun withdrawing its forces from Georgia, but Russian troops started to dig new positions around the Black Sea port of Poti, 20 miles south of Abkhazia and outside the security zone, where Russian peacekeeping forces are allowed to stay on Georgian soil.

(Vladimit Popov / Associated Press)

August 23, 2008


A resident of the Georgian city of Gori walks through the rubble of his apartment building. Analysts say the peace proposal leaves no doubt that Russia won the military conflict.


Russian peacekeeper Robinzon Guzitayev embraces his neighbour Nasyrat Byibyilayeva who returned to Tskhinvali, the main city of Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia. Tskhinvali was the site of some of the fiercest fighting between the Georgian army and South Ossetian rebels backed by Russian troops.


A Georgian woman walks through a bombed-out home in the village of Ruisi, Georgia.


An administrator waves the Georgian flag from a window in Gori's City Hall after Russian troops left the city. Though Russian troops have left, the city is being picked over by Georgian security forces for mines, booby traps and cluster bombs.


A woman weeps in a burned-out building in the village of Karaleti just north of Gori, Georgia. Many buildings in the village were damaged in recent fighting.


A building in the Georgian village of Karaleti just north of Gori.


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Valery Gergiyev, a famous Ossetian, conducts the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre orchestra in the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali.


The principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev, has led a concert in Tskhinvali. The performance was staged next to the destroyed parliament building in the bombed-out capital of South Ossetia.

Valery Gergiev: I wish everyone peace and insight

Renowned throughout the arts world, Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and Ossetian by birth Valery Gergiev shares his thoughts and opinions on the events in South Ossetia with Yana Litvinova in an interview for BBC Russian.

BBC: Valery Abisalovich, you were born in Moscow, but grew up in Vladikavkaz. What is your view of what occurred in South Ossetia and Georgia?

Valery Gergiev: It was a huge tragedy, especially for South Ossetia. Two thousand people is an enormous loss. With regard to Russia's reaction, for me it was belated, but ultimately, perhaps, the arrival of Russian forces saved the lives of yet another two or three thousand who had taken refuge by hiding in cellars there. This attempt to destroy utterly everything in South Ossetia, it seems, was planned, and the fact that it happened at the same time as the opening of the Olympic Games... Maybe this is no coincidence, but I am neither a politician nor a journalist whose job it is to delve to the bottom of these matters.

One thing I do know. When 1000-1200 people are killed, many of them peacefully asleep in their beds, the world cannot shut its eyes to the fact. If this was previously hushed up, then now journalists can come to Tskhinvali and see with their own eyes. I have many relatives in South Ossetia. I haven't lost anyone close, but some of my friends have lost five people in the same family. Five, in one family, who had stayed, who couldn't leave!

This tragedy is on a huge scale... Russia has done everything possible to save the survivors from utter destruction. Today the future of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is of the moment. And how to help people so that they feel protected from a similar tragedy in the future, well, that is the role that Russia is trying to perform.

BBC: You did a great deal after the tragedy in Beslan, promoting peace in the Caucasus in numerous ways. What is it specifically that people in the arts world can do? After all, nations will always understand one another in the end, won't they?

V. G.: I have many friends both in Georgia and among the Georgian people. If we make immediate attempts to calm or even reconcile the various peoples, then we will be branded traitors - in the best-case scenario... And so right now, it would seem, we have to look at what will happen in the future, what will happen to the survivors: how they will be helped, so that they have water in their homes, so that they sleep peacefully in their own beds.

Of course, we will be working, where the possibility arises, in particular for children, so that they see the world in less horrifying and terrifying colours. They have to understand that because of misguided and criminal actions by certain politicians they have had to suffer in the earliest years of their lives. They have to see a different truth, the truth that there are people who will always be there to help them. I am one such person, it could probably be said.

I wouldn't like to think of these events as a purely Ossetian tragedy. Any Georgian who has died as a result of this tragedy is also a source of deep grief. But, it seems to me, there should be no forgiveness for those few people, or perhaps for the one person, who gave the order to start such an operation ... of destruction.

BBC: What else can people in the arts do in such a situation? Just charity events, or when passions become less strained, perhaps, then talks with politicians on a higher level? You have contacts in high places throughout the world... You are known practically everywhere, and people take note of your opinion.

V. G.: I am already of such an age and enjoy such a status that I am equally at ease when speaking to Condoleezza Rice, my good acquaintance, or George Bush whom we have received at the Mariinsky Theatre, or John McCain, whom I have met several times. But none of that is important right now. What is important is if we can assist those hundreds of thousands of people in Georgia and Ossetia work out a plan, albeit somewhat tenuous to start off with, so that they stop striving towards further war and thinking only of revenge, because this can only result in fresh victims.

If such a possibility arises - in Russia, Europe or America - I will naturally speak about things for which I have a deep conviction. Today, if I had not known about the events the first night they occurred, I would not risk my reputation. Today we cannot be silent over this: President Saakashvili speaks of how it was Russia that bombed Tskhinvali. But there are witnesses to the tragedy...

BBC: Are you sure that we can talk of the possibility of a peaceful scenario? Can such a scenario be found when the desires and interests of the people of the Caucasus are so exceedingly different?

V. G.: Here we should make direct note of the fact that the governments in Russia and Georgia are very different, in terms of their notions of what running a country is, their actions and their proclamations. You can't imagine Medvedev or Putin's reaction being similar to that of Saakashvili. Well, what can Medvedev say today to explain Russia's reaction, he has already explained it: genocide that had to be stopped immediately...

Today, knowing our political leaders, I can say that they are extremely balanced people. And it appears that in Georgia, ultimately, successful policy can only be based on balanced, objective and, I would go so far as to say, judicious decisions. As to whether Saakashvili is up to that I can say nothing.

All I wish for is for the peoples of Georgia and Russia to know peace and insight, because it is still possible that there are many blunders to come. The main thing is that it is not the President of Georgia who will die, but rather, yet again, young people, soldiers, children, the elderly and women. This cannot be allowed to happen.


There's something happening here

What it is ain't exactly clear

There's a man with a gun over there

Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn

Nobody's right if everybody's wrong

Young people speaking their minds

Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat

A thousand people in the street

Singing songs and carrying signs

Mostly say, hooray for our side

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep

Into your life it will creep

It starts when you're always afraid

You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Stop, hey, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Stop, now, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

Stop, children, what's that sound

Everybody look what's going down

-Buffalo Springfield

For What It's Worth - Robert Plant

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Really?? To have Alla Pugacheva finally win the Eurovision Song Contest??


In all honesty - we've supported Georgia, fine. Georgia invaded South Ossetia, not so fine. Russia came into assist Ossetia, fine. Russia went into Georgia, not so fine. It's a fine line of balance and that's one of the reasons that I am SO excited about Obama because he IS going to deal with these things in a new way - with diplomacy. If I were living in Russia and I saw the US surrounding my territory (as in Poland, Georgia, etc) I wouldn't trust us either! I don't blame them for being nervous. I do believe they overreacted by going into Georgia though. However, we need to deal with all of this in a diplomatic way and the US and Russia need to gain some trust between each other. We are both very powerful entities and if we work TOGETHER instead of against each other there may be a good shot of saving and improving the world as we know it.

My 2 cents...off my soapbox now :)

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Hi all,

The United Nations, European Union, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Council of the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and all other countries in the world recognize South Ossetia as part of Georgia. However, the de facto republic governed by the secessionist government held a second independence referendum[2] on November 12, 2006, after its first referendum in 1992 was not recognized by the international community as valid.[3] According to the Tskhinvali election authorities, the referendum turned out a majority for independence from Georgia where 99% of South Ossetian voters supported independence and the turnout for the vote was 95%[4] and the referendum was monitored by a team of 34 international observers from Germany, Austria, Poland, Sweden and other countries at 78 polling stations.[5] However, it was not recognized internationally by the UN, European Union, OSCE, NATO and the Russian Federation, given the lack of ethnic Georgian participation and the legality of such referendum without recognition from the central government in Tbilisi.[6] The European Union, OSCE and NATO condemned the referendum.

So even the Russian Federation did not reconize it,....what does that tell you?


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