Russia demands return of Soldier that Georgia says defected to them

Russia Today

Russia to Georgia: Return our kidnapped soldier

Moscow is demanding that Georgia releases a Russian army junior sergeant, who was captured in the Akhalgori district of South Ossetia and taken to Tbilisi, according to the Russian military.

Georgia, however, insists junior sergeant Aleksandr Glukhov fled his army unit due to unbearable conditions of service and applied to the Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, for asylum.

The Russian soldier’s appeal to Georgia’s president was recorded and after that shown on local TV and posted on the Internet.

Junior sergeant Glukhov proved Georgia’s claims that Russia was preparing for the August war in South Ossetia beforehand. He said he was moved to Tskhinval back in July to dig trenches and create other fortifications. He was transferred to Akhalgori on December 1.    

“The conditions there were awful. We had no bath. There was not enough food and it was very bad. A lot of military equipment was stationed there with us – tanks, infantry combat vehicles, ‘Grad’ multiple launch systems, aimed in the direction of the Georgian villages. That’s why I request the President of Georgia keep me in Tbilisi,” Aleksandr Glukhov said.

Tbilisi is going to consider the pledge thoroughly after Glukhov undertakes a course of psychological and medical rehabilitation.  

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defence Ministry spokesman, Colonel Aleksandr Drobyshevsky, called Georgia’s claims a provocation. He said: “Glukhov could only make such statements under moral or physical pressure”. 

Following Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia in August, relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have been tense. In August, Russia recognised the independence of the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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Russian PM Medvedev. “Georgia’s attack on Russia was our 9/11”

Russia Today

Georgia’s attack was Russia’s 9/11 – Medvedev

Foreign political experts continue traveling across Russia – talking with the country’s top officials. From Chechnya to Rostov-on-Don, then to Sochi – now the Valdai Discussion club has shifted to Moscow to meet President Dmitry Medvedev. Speaking about the conflict in South Ossetia and its consequences, Medvedev has said that Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia on August 8, 2008, was the same to Russia what 9/11 was to the U.S.

“To us, August 8 is what 9/11 was to the U.S. This analogy has become popular; I think some of you have referred to it,” Medvedev said. “I think it is absolutely correct – at least, as far as the situation in Russia is concerned. Because of 9/11, the U.S. and the mankind in general learned a number of important lessons. I’d like the world to learn the lessons of August 8 as well.”

This year the members of the club have met amid the rift in Russia’s relations with the west, and one of the key questions for the gathering has been whether it is temporary or it will turn into something more permanent.

After the crisis in South Ossetia many western officials have called for punishing Russia.

And Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has certainly chilled diplomatic ties.

“Relations are not ruined. I think the west has partly accepted the independence of Abkhazia and south Ossetia, though not officially, but they will not risk a WW3 because of these territories,” said Aleksandr Rahr from the German Council on Foreign Relations.

But Dmitry Medvedev seems to be under no illusions. As someone once said there are no permanent enemies or friends, but there are permanent interests. 

“Russia does have zones where it has certain interests. It makes no sense to deny this. Sometimes it is even harmful. Our partners in the international community say the same thing about their interests. Naturally, we will protect our interests, but most importantly, we will protect our citizens,” Medvedev said.

Dmitry Medvedev’s message was that a unipolar world system has proved inefficient, and the bipolar system has no prospects as well – so the system has to be changed.

“The recent events in the Caucasus have displayed what illusions people have from the post-Soviet period – illusions about the world being just, the current security system based on the existing distribution of the political resources being optimal and preserving balance among the main players on the international arena. There is nothing of the kind. Unfortunately, the security of the world today requires a serious intervention by all constructive forces,” Medvedev said.

Meanwhile, not isolation but a financial crisis is the threat that is named by experts. Russian stock markets underwent a sharp decline after the crisis.

“What’s been revealed about Russian economy in the last three or four months is that it is more risky and vulnerable than people have thought four or five months ago,” said Andrew Kuchins, Director of the Russia and Eurasia Programme of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

The Russian President has asked for the situation not to be dramatised.

“Russia’s position in the world, its role in the world distribution of labour, its geographical characteristics and its intellectual potential are such that Russia will always have a high investment capacity. It will take an iron curtain to destroy this potential. But even in the Soviet times people invested in Russia,” Medvedev said.

U.S. officials urged for ways to be found to bypass Russian energy routes, forgetting one main thing – if you’ve got energy for sale, you need somebody to buy it, says Jonathan Steele, columnist from the Guardian.

And while in Europe they’re looking to diversify energy suppliers, Russia is looking to diversify consumers.

”Sometimes, I find it funny to read that Russians have not enough gas, even to supply it to Europeans. We know that it’s not true. We understand that Russia is the biggest gas power. If we realise that there’s a big market in the east, we’ll introduce new deposits. You shouldn’t have doubts about that,” the Russian President said.

The discussions lasted for more than two hours. But the sensations were left off-camera.

Russian Media uses US politicans to make its case about Georgia

Georgian Conflict update. Targeting Georgia’s oil pipeline

Deliberate attack

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WWII breaks out in North Carolina man’s Basement

Black Sea confrontation building

Several videos
Ukraine tells Russia it must give 72 hour warning before any ship leaves its harbors
Russia’s Black Sea Flagship arrives in Georgian waters
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Star Wars vs Tsar Wars

 Russian Video thrown in for Context

STRATEGY PAGE

Tsar Wars Versus Star Wars


by Austin Bay
August 26, 2008

As the Russo-Georgian War’s August gunfire slips into a murky September ceasefire, the Pentagon reports that the Russians “are still not living up to the terms of the ceasefire agreement.”

So, what does Russia want?

The question intentionally echoes, “So what did Stalin want?” — which historian John Lewis Gaddis asked then answered in his award-winning book “The Cold War: A New History.” Gaddis argued Joseph Stalin wanted “security for himself, his regime, his country and his ideology, in precisely that order.”

These goals would also resonate in an “Old History” of Russia — call it Tsar Wars, with Ivan the Terrible as the featured personality.

Personalizing Russia 2008 as Vladimir Putin strikes me as a stretch. Putin runs an oligarchy, not a totalitarian dictatorship, but Putin is clearly at the nucleus of the oligarchy, with ex-KGB pals, friendly billionaires and useful mafiya in close orbits. But dub the pals and billionaires “new royalty,” and Putin might be an emerging “pop Tsar” — a savvy 21st century autocrat leveraging Russian nationalist demands. Orchestrating a domestically popular military ventures fits this frame.

Gaddis titled the first chapter of his new history “The Return of Fear.” Ivan the Terrible and Stalin subscribed to Machiavelli’s advice in “The Prince”: It “is much safer to be feared than loved.” The Russo-Georgia War does not revive the Cold War. However, reviving fear is most certainly a Russian aim.

NATO and the European Union didn’t quail when Russia insisted that Kosovo’s unilateral independence was a “redline issue” for the Kremlin. Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili certainly didn’t fear Russian power when troubles began in early August — violent troubles in South Ossetia that may have been a Russian trap.

The Kremlin says toppling Saakashvili is a goal. For now, Saakashvili remains in power, and he has secured a global reputation for pugnacity. Russian troops, however, remain in Georgian ports — thus pugnacity remains in peril.

Over time, fear can erode. In August 1968, 40 years ago, Russian tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia to crush Alexander Dubcek’s “Prague Spring” democratic movement. The Soviet empire chained Eastern Europeans for another 21 years — a generation. A generation of frightened Georgians may serve Russia’s interests.

Fear, however, can stiffen opposition. Ukraine, for example, has harshly criticized Russia’s invasion and publicly supported Georgia. Poland’s decision to deploy American ground-based interceptor (GBI) anti-ballistic missiles has been in the works for years. The GBIs are designed to thwart a “shot from the ayatollah direction” (e.g., Iran), not Russia. But after the Russian offensive, Poland also received Patriot PAC-3 missiles, which can counter shorter-range Russian missile systems. Tsar Wars met Star Wars, and at least in Poland and in the near term, Star Wars won, despite a Russian threat to attack Poland with nuclear weapons.

As for politically discrediting the European Union and NATO, Moscow may have had some success. “Fractured” describes the EU’s political response to the Russian offensive. Core EU countries — meaning those in Western Europe who rely on Russian oil and gas — are once again reluctant defenders of democracy.

Kremlin recognition on Aug. 26 of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states certainly damns nine years of EU and NATO diplomacy regarding Kosovo. In a column two weeks ago, I suggested Moscow would “invoke its interpretation of The Kosovo Precedent,” and Moscow has done it.

Russians argue that Kosovo’s spring 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia gives separatism resulting from invasion to protect an ethnic minority a political imprimatur. If protecting Kosovar Albanians elicits a NATO attack, in South Ossetia and other regions on Russia’s border, Russia’s “version of Kosovo” holds sway.

That may not be everything Russia wants — but at the moment it is a diplomatic point Russia has made with bullets.