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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Georgia Whips Russia, so Russia Turns on Estonia

The Telegraph reports that mighty Georgia has brought big bully Russia to its knees, proving that all that is required in dealing with Russia is a firm, resolute hand (as is the case with all bullies). HOORAY FOR GEORGIA! The world must take a lesson here and apply it to all aspects of its Russia policy.


Russia blinked first in its four-month spat with Georgia yesterday, agreeing to restore diplomatic relations with its neighbour.

In an embarrassing climbdown that will bring cheer to leaders across Europe, President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian ambassador to return to Tbilisi.

The Kremlin's security council admitted that sanctions imposed against Georgia after a vitriolic diplomatic dispute last year were not working. Kremlin officials last night suggested that a land and air embargo imposed on Georgia could be lifted within the next few days, which would be welcomed by President Mikhail Saakashvili. The dispute was sparked by Georgia's arrest and expulsion of four Russian officers on spying charges last September. The row escalated to the point that relations between the two countries sank to their lowest since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Russia imposed a raft of sanctions, closed the border and deported more than 1,000 Georgians living there. The heavy-handed response was seen as an attempt to strangle Georgia's economy and depose Mr Saakashvili. The dispute was fuelled by Moscow's suspicions that the Georgian president was developing pro-Western leanings. Ever since he was swept to power by the 2003 Rose Revolution, Mr Saakashvili has tried to loosen the Kremlin's grip on his country, even applying for Nato membership. When Gazprom, Russia's state-owned energy giant, doubled gas prices at the beginning of the year, Georgia's economy showed a resilience that the Kremlin did not expect. "The impact on the Georgian economy was not nearly so drastic as those who designed this policy hoped it would be," said Georgia's deputy foreign minister, Valeri Chechelashvili. "The damage to the economy was only in the region of about $150 million [£76 million], while GDP still grew at over seven per cent."

Worse still for the Kremlin, Georgia increasingly began to show that its dependence on Russia was actually shrinking. Exporters found new markets, while the Georgian government looked to buy its gas from Azerbaijan and encouraged other countries in the region to band together against Russian bullying. Mr Saakashvili emerged stronger too as his people forgot about the wrangling and corruption allegations tarnishing his government and rallied around the president. Russia's surprise retreat comes as Mr Putin prepares to host Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, over the weekend. Mrs Merkel, who was furious when a Russian spat over energy prices with Belarus earlier this month briefly cut off oil supplies to Germany, could find her counterpart in a surprisingly emollient mood. Egged on by hard-liners in his administration, Mr Putin has used energy as a political weapon to subdue recalcitrant ex-Soviet neighbours, like Ukraine, for pursuing a pro-Western course, and Belarus, for standing in the way of Gazprom's determination to control pipelines bound for Europe. But Russia's assertiveness is now beginning to look like a foreign policy debacle by alienating former allies and prompting Europe to begin looking for alternative sources of energy to reduce its dependency on Moscow.

But did Russia learn anything from the experience? Not yet. As RIA Novosti reported, it issued a "warning" to little Estonia that it better not dare to touch any Soviet memorials in the country, which Estonians view as symbols of their rape and torture at the hands of Soviet imperialist occupiers:

Moscow has issued its first official warning to Estonia amid an escalating row over the possible demolition of Soviet war memorials in the ex-Soviet Baltic state. Estonia's parliament adopted a law last week paving the way for the dismantling of Soviet-era war memorials and the reburial of the remains of Soviet soldiers who died fighting German invaders during the Second World War, but who are seen by many Estonians as former occupiers. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Estonia's ambassador to Russia, Marina Kaljurand, who was told that in spite of protests from Moscow, Estonia was continuing attempts to form a legal basis for disinterring Soviet soldiers and destructing monuments, and that such moves could harm bilateral relations. "The implementation of these plans is fraught with serious consequences for Russian-Estonian relations," the ministry said in a statement. The controversial bill, which was passed in its first reading in November 2006, resulted from a dispute over a Monument to a Soviet Liberator in central Tallinn, which authorities want removed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Soviet war memorials in Estonia should remain where they are. "We must insist that the monuments remain in place," he said, adding that the move was a disgrace, and had nothing to do with preserving historical accuracy. "The task is to prevent a repetition of the lessons of World War II," he said. "We hope common sense will prevail and an understanding will be reached in order to avert the desecration of monuments to liberators." The State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, is considering a draft resolution on severing contacts with the political forces that initiated and passed the law. The Russian leadership has repeatedly called the European Union's attention to attempts by Estonia, which declared its independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and joined NATO and the EU in 2004, to glorify Nazi Germany, including with parades by former Nazi SS fighters. Moscow has also harshly criticized Estonia's discriminatory policies with respect to ethnic Russians who moved to the republic following its annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940 and their descendents. Many members of Estonia's Russian community are denied citizenship and employment rights, and cannot receive an education in their native language. Amnesty International has condemned the situation in the Baltic country, and called on its leadership to respect the rights of ethnic Russians.

This is the hallmark of Russian society: No matter how many times you make a stupid mistake, no matter how much you suffer or humliate yourself as a result, the thing to do is just keep making it.

The sign directs the bear to the right direction,
on the path away from the hunters.
The bear says: "If you don't mind, I think I'll go my own way."


sashal said...

the hallmarks of american establishment: No matter how many times you make a stupid mistake, no matter how much you suffer or humliate yourself as a result, the thing to do is just keep making it.

La Russophobe said...

the hallmark of the blind russian nationalists: no matter how many times you fail, even as your nation's population dwindles to zero and your economy falls to one-tenth that of the U.S., just go on claiming that America is a bigger failure than you. After all, that tactic worked so well for the Soviets, didn't it? "We will bury you!"

sashal said...

O'k kindergarten. Where did I say that America is a bigger failure. Typical right-wing nut job distortionism.
Check this post on our freedoms from P.Krugman:

There’s something happening here, and what it is seems completely clear: the Bush administration is trying to protect itself by purging independent-minded prosecutors. …

… Since the middle of last month, the Bush administration has pushed out at least four U.S. attorneys, and possibly as many as seven, without explanation. The list includes Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney for San Diego, who successfully prosecuted Duke Cunningham, a Republican congressman, on major corruption charges. The top F.B.I. official in San Diego told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Ms. Lam’s dismissal would undermine multiple continuing investigations.

In Senate testimony yesterday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to say how many other attorneys have been asked to resign, calling it a “personnel matter.”

U.S. attorneys usually are appointed at the beginning of a president’s term and serve for that term. it is not normal to replace U.S. attorneys in the middle of a term except in cases of gross misconduct. I don’t know if the current rash of mid-term firings is unprecedented, but if there is a precedent I haven’t found it.

For a long time the administration nonetheless seemed untouchable, protected both by Republican control of Congress and by its ability to justify anything and everything as necessary for the war on terror. Now, however, the investigations are closing in on the Oval Office. The latest news is that J. Steven Griles, the former deputy secretary of the Interior Department and the poster child for the administration’s systematic policy of putting foxes in charge of henhouses, is finally facing possible indictment.

And the purge of U.S. attorneys looks like a pre-emptive strike against the gathering forces of justice.

it isn’t necessarily scandalous for a U.S. attorney to be forced to resign. Incoming administrations often ask all or most of their predecessors’ U.S. attorneys to resign. But mid-term firings for no clear reason do look suspicious. And the Bush Administration, through the Patriot Act, has found a way to circumvent the constitutional requirement that U.S. attorneys be confirmed by the Senate. President Bush can appoint “interim” attorneys with no limit on how long the “interim” period will be. So if he doesn’t get around to sending the nominations to the Senate in the next couple of years — well, he’s busy. Got brush to cut, you know.

La Russophobe said...


Let me see if I understand: You're proving that you didn't say America was a bigger failure than Russia by quoting from an article attacking America. Right?

Or were you simply saying that America and Russia are equally big failures? If so:

(a) Is that an excuse for Russia to ignore its problems and cease to exist as a nation? Is it just fine for Russians to become extinct as long as Americans do too?

(b) Do you really think an average annual income of $36,000 is equal to that of $3,600? Is a population of 300 million equal and growing to 140 million and falling?

Or do you admit that America is more successful than Russia? If so, why do you bring up America in the first place?

PS: All further attempts to spam this blog will be deleted like your last one. You're just wasting your time although you're amusing us to no end.

sashal said...

I am not defending Russia and zillion of problems she faces: corruption, crime, totalitarianism etc.
i just don't understand your obsession with Russia, when clearly the world faces much more danger from the Bush administration , Utopian war-mongering neoconservatives and Cheney's ideas on executive power.
Now imagine powerful and "successful" USA gradually loosing her freedoms, becoming more and more like USSR and with huge military power trying to dominate the world. Do you like this picture?

Oh ,BTW, that article was not attacking America it was attacking Bush administration, unless Bush is America in your understanding

PS on your PS: trying to censor the replies is not becoming to the one who is so vigorously fighting for somebody else's freedoms

La Russophobe said...


Let me see if I understand: You're proving that you didn't say America was a bigger failure than Russia by quoting from an article attacking Bush. Right?

Your notion that Bush is more dangerous than Putin is ignorant nonsense, showing that you lack even the most basic understanding of how the Russian and American presidencies differ. Bush lacks the imperial power that Putin has (Bush is totally subservient to the Congress, whereas the Duma is a rubber stamp) and his power in American will end for sure in two years. Can you say the same for Putin? The American people just placed the opposition party in charge of Congress. Will Russia ever do so to challenge Putin? If you'd prefer to live in Putin's Russia than in Bush's America, you are truly demented and we hope your dream comes true. Meanwhile, everyone with horse sense is fleeing Russia while America has long line of people waiting to get in.

If you believe that Bush is evil, then you should attack Americans for electing him, just as we attack Russians for choosing Putin.

If you consider spam to be a "reply" or "comment" on a post you are gravely mistaken. Your response to our article from New American was spam, pure and simple, and all such efforts will be deleted. It was no different than someone attempting to place advertisement on this blog in the form of a comment. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the blog, much less the post. If you want to attack America, there are many places in the blogosphere where you can do so. This blog is about Russia.

sashal said...

that's why I am here ,not in retched country-Russia. And I am aware of the limitations of the congress specifically the ones which was rubber stamping Bush for the last 6 years(one party rule, I should not say how dangerous it is-take a look at Russia), that is the reason I do not want USA to become like USSR.
And I really like your blog, otherwise I would not be posting here and using your material to show my friends and relatives. I just don't like the premise of many of your ideas that everything Russian is bad..

PS: Please note, I was quite polite, and not ones called you stupid or idiot...

La Russophobe said...

If I'm part of the "American establishment" then you did, in fact, call me stupid.