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Thread: Georgia's South Ossetia Conflict - Political Commentary

  1. #281
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    Default Morphing to "buffer zone - no fly zone"

    Not my usual media outlet, but some more in-depth coverage of the continued Russian legal offensive.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008
    01:34 Mecca time, 22:34 GMT
    Russia builds Ossetia 'buffer zone'
    Russian troops are fortifying a "buffer zone" around the disputed South Ossetia region with eight military posts and a ban on Georgian aircraft, a senior Russian commander has said. Russia will also maintain a military presence around Abkhazia, another separatist region in the west of Georgia, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy head of Russia's general staff said in a televised news conference in Moscow on Wednesday.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/eu...346769471.html

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008
    03:31 Mecca time, 00:31 GMT
    Russia rejects UN draft resolution
    Russia has rejected a UN Security Council draft resolution demanding full compliance with the Georgia ceasefire, saying the text did not fully reflect a peace plan agreed to on Sunday.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/eu...733542234.html

    The full text of the Russian draft UN resolution seems simply to incorporate the text of the cease-fire agreement reported a while ago by the NY Times. So, there seems to have been some "interpretative" spin of the as-signed agreement by our side. Unfortunately, word games do not work well against a prepared adversary.

    TEXT-Russian draft Security Council resolution on Georgia
    REUTERS
    Reuters North American News Service
    Aug 20, 2008 14:42 EST
    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Following is the full text of a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Georgia circulated by Russia to council members Wednesday.
    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=307562

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    Default Remember The Prague Spring?

    It is the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact USSR led invasion of Czechoslovakia, which ended the Prague Spring, a human face to socialism. BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting some repeats of the news reporting, although I've yet to see any commentary in the main press / TV.

    Note the similarities: small nation decides on a course of action and big neighbour disagrees. Uses force to end small nation's actions.

    The 1968 invasion is one of my first political / history events that I followed and flew back from a holiday listening to live radio reports (when not in the air).

    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Concur.

    From my admittedly limited open source views, I find the operation to be on about a par with the US mission to Grenada, coupled with the ability to have done the kind of extended train up that the US had prior to DS. I do not find the outcome to be too impressive. I do note that they did a real good job of knowing what the key nodes were and how to set themselves up to be able to respond to counter measures AKA Terrain IPB). IOW the OPPLAN seemed well done and the execution was what one might expect of a unit that was basicaly doing an end of training cycle FTX. To draw the conclusion that the Russian military is really a world class power is a little beyond the premises' strength I think.
    The Georgia-Grenada comparison has been put out in quite a few places lately, and it seems to be an accurate enough one. Still, it seems strange to compare the Mexican standoff between Cuban construction workers and the Rangers and the 82nd at Point Salines airfield to the Russian occupation of much of Georgia. At least the US disposed of the matter in only 3 days; the Russians are, for the moment at least, still stuck outside Tblisi. Though certainly no one is laughing.

    One of the things that has really struck me when viewing pictures and videos of Russian troops has been the great preponderance of Motorised Infantry; not surprisingly given that it was elements of a MRD that hit the Georgians in South Ossetia. But Georgian claims that they took out 40 Russian tanks (out of a reported total of some 90, with 150 APCs/IFVs) mostly north of T-town don't seem implausible, even if the Georgians still cracked in the end. Now, whether that count is more or less accurate, and whether or not the "tanks" really were tanks and not a combination of all manner of AFVs, it still seems likely that the Russians took a bit of a beating themselves in the early stages.

    Even if the Russians do mostly withdraw, it seems unlikely that they'll settle for anything less than seeking to install a client-government, at least, in the long run in Georgia. It seems difficult to imagine Georgia being able to successfully resist such pressure over the long haul.
    Last edited by Norfolk; 08-21-2008 at 10:42 PM.

  4. #284
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    The Georgia-Grenada comparison has been put out in quite a few places lately, and it seems to be an accurate enough one. Still, it seems strange to compare the Mexican standoff between Cuban construction workers and the Rangers and the 82nd at Point Salines airfield to the Russian occupation of much of Georgia. At least the US disposed of the matter in only 3 days; the Russians are, for the moment at least, still stuck outside Tblisi. Though certainly no one is laughing.
    I'd like to see some links to the other sources making the Grenada comparison if possible.

    You've sort of made my point in your next few sentences. It took the the 82d's DRB and the 22d MAU/MEU about 3 days to disarm a bunch of Cuban construction workers on a 132 Sq. mi. island. It took less than a division-sized force of the Russian Army about the same time to slash through a breakaway province of 1500 sq. mi.
    I recognize differences in the force composition (light infantry/airborne vs mech infantry/armor) and the terrain of the two AO(an island versus versus a single mountain road through a tunnel) but I see the point of the two ops as being rather similar--a need to squirt a little testosterone after some period of feeling emasculated by other events in the world (Beirut Marine Barracks bombing for the US and Bosnia, among other recent events, for Russia.)

    BTW, some folks have commented on the proximity of the event to the Olympics. Anyone happen to note how many medals Russians are taking home from China? As of this AM, they have 53 (16 gold) to the US's 100 (30 gold)and China's 83 (46 gold). Is diversion of the world's attention from this poor showing part of the determinant for the operation's timimg?
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Sure hope not

    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    BTW, some folks have commented on the proximity of the event to the Olympics. Anyone happen to note how many medals Russians are taking home from China? As of this AM, they have 53 (16 gold) to the US's 100 (30 gold)and China's 83 (46 gold). Is diversion of the world's attention from this poor showing part of the determinant for the operation's timimg?
    If we're back to going to war to decide disagreements / avoid embarrassment I guess The Romans Empire is already back.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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    Default Georgia "Buffer Zone" Updated

    Russia to keep 500 troops in Georgia buffer zone
    REUTERS
    Reuters North American News Service
    Aug 21, 2008 07:29 EST

    SOCHI, Russia, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Russia intends to keep 500 troops in a security zone surrounding Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

    "Tomorrow, 8 checkpoints will be established in the security zone in which 500 peacekeepers will be deployed, no more than that," Lavrov told reporters. "Other peacekeepers will be moved to South Ossetia, while other troops will be moved to Russia."

    Lavrov did not specify how many troops Russia planned to keep in South Ossetia.

    "I want to state this clearly and unequivocally that Russia is carrying out in full the six principles agreed between Medvedev and Sarkozy," he said. .....
    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=308583

    And, from the other side of the issue.

    Saakashvili says West must make Russia quit Georgia
    REUTERS
    Reuters North American News Service
    Aug 21, 2008 15:37 EST

    PARIS, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The European Union and the United States should act to make Russian forces leave Georgia and stop further expansionism, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told a French newspaper on Thursday.
    ....
    Saakashvili criticised the French-brokered ceasefire as "ambiguous and unclear" and said it left the Russians the room to do as they wanted on the ground.

    "The result is that we now have to depend on the goodwill of Russia. The only forces on the ground are Russian. All we can do is make declarations," he said.....
    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=309399

    Hope is not a strategy. S's bottom line assessment is realistic given the totality of circumstances.

    PS: "Hope" comment is not directed vs. Ron's discussion above. It is generally a comment on S's request to West, etc.
    Last edited by jmm99; 08-22-2008 at 05:00 PM. Reason: add PS

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    I'd like to see some links to the other sources making the Grenada comparison if possible.

    You've sort of made my point in your next few sentences. It took the the 82d's DRB and the 22d MAU/MEU about 3 days to disarm a bunch of Cuban construction workers on a 132 Sq. mi. island. It took less than a division-sized force of the Russian Army about the same time to slash through a breakaway province of 1500 sq. mi.
    I recognize differences in the force composition (light infantry/airborne vs mech infantry/armor) and the terrain of the two AO(an island versus versus a single mountain road through a tunnel) but I see the point of the two ops as being rather similar--a need to squirt a little testosterone after some period of feeling emasculated by other events in the world (Beirut Marine Barracks bombing for the US and Bosnia, among other recent events, for Russia.)
    Here be, wm (I'll just add my disclaimer here that I don't recommend some of them, for obvious reasons):

    http://atlanticreview.org/archives/1...n-Georgia.html

    http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarp...7-46d900ce3973

    http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDispla...%20WORTHINGTON

    http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2.../16/georgia-5/

    http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2008-08-13.asp

    http://www.deanesmay.com/2008/08/10/...-on-our-minds/

    Edited to Add:

    No disagreement on your take, Wayne, especially in the Grenada-Georgia comparison.

    Besides the traditional Russian penchant for brute force at the tactical level, the thing that stands out most about the Russian invasion is the also traditional Russian emphasis on the Operational level of war; wielding a sledgehammer at the tactical level, while playing a cello (or at least a respectable violin) at the operational level. The Russians still know how to wire and channel all that brute force into an effective campaign - even if the Georgian Government remains in place, at least for the time being.
    Last edited by Norfolk; 08-22-2008 at 09:23 PM.

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    Default Status Quo Post ?

    Russia Stages a Substantial Withdrawal
    Georgian, Foreign Officials Dispute Assertion of Compliance With Cease-Fire
    By Jonathan Finer
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Saturday, August 23, 2008; A01
    GORI, Georgia, Aug. 22 -- Russia pulled troops and armored vehicles out of vast swaths of seized territory and ended its 10-day occupation of this Georgian city Friday, but Georgian and foreign officials disputed Russia's claim that it had complied with the terms of a recent cease-fire agreement. .....
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...200580_pf.html

    Georgia buffer checkpoints "permanent" - Russia
    REUTERS
    Reuters North American News Service
    Aug 22, 2008 04:58 EST
    MOSCOW, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Russian military checkpoints being built in the area adjacent to Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia will be permanent, a senior Russian military official said on Friday. .....
    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=310168

    US: Russia has not complied with Georgia ceasefire
    Jeremy Pelofsky
    Reuters North American News Service
    Aug 22, 2008 15:21 EST
    CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - Russia has not pulled its troops out of Georgia, the United States said Friday, rejecting Moscow's declaration that it has fulfilled a pledge to withdraw under a French-brokered ceasefire agreement. ...
    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=311017

    Russia's first Georgia move legitimate: U.S. envoy
    Reuters
    August 22, 2008 at 6:33 AM EDT
    MOSCOW — The U.S. ambassador to Moscow, in a rare U.S. comment endorsing Russia's initial moves in Georgia, described the Kremlin's first military response as legitimate after Russian troops came under attack. .....
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl.../International

    ----------------------------------------
    Some decent Turkish coverage

    Zaman
    Aug 23, 2008
    US warship sails through straits, Russia suspicious
    The guided missile destroyer USS McFaul passed through the Dardanelles and the Bosporus on Friday.
    In a move likely to heat up tensions between the United States and Russia over a conflict in the troubled Caucasus, a US Navy warship sailed through the Turkish Straits yesterday to take relief supplies to Georgia. .....
    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...1006&bolum=102

    Turkish Daily News
    Turkey insists US did not seek authorization
    Friday, August 22, 2008
    ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
    Turkey insists that the United States had not sought authorization for the passage of two U.S. military hospital ships “Mercy” and “Comfort” through the straits to dispatch humanitarian aid to war-hit Georgia. ...
    http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/a...enewsid=113355

    -----------------------------------------
    Still would like a graphic (or full text) of the as-signed Russian-Georgian agreement, but here is the AP update....

    Provisions of the Georgia-Russia truce agreement
    By The Associated Press
    Fri Aug 22, 3:46 PM ET
    Provisions of the agreement reached between Georgia and Russia to end fighting in Georgia. Text is according to the Kremlin following the Aug. 13 announcement of the agreement. Below the text is explanation of Russian plans for a withdrawal and "additional security measures" allowed under point 5. .....
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080822/...a_truce_glance

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    Default Railway mined ?

    Remember the 3 fat pigs -- Russian gas, electricity and rail ? Estonia's rail connections were also mysteriously "turned off" following a bout with the Motherland, but thankfully not mined with UXO

    ... a train carrying fuel has exploded after hitting a mine near Gori, Georgia's interior ministry said.

    Interior ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said there had been several explosions near an abandoned Georgian military base where the Russian troops, on leaving Gori, had left a stockpile of munitions taken from the Georgian army.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Remember the 3 fat pigs -- Russian gas, electricity and rail ? Estonia's rail connections were also mysteriously "turned off" following a bout with the Motherland, but thankfully not mined with UXO
    Given that the USS McFaul had just made port at Poti, the western terminus for this rail line and the port for oil transshipment from that rail line, should we conclude that someone is trying to make a statement that merely gaining access to the port is not enough to guarantee the flow of oil?
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  11. #291
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Given that the USS McFaul had just made port at Poti, the western terminus for this rail line and the port for oil transshipment from that rail line, should we conclude that someone is trying to make a statement that merely gaining access to the port is not enough to guarantee the flow of oil?
    Hey Wayne !
    Oh Yeah, intrigue and espionage at sea... glad I joined the Army

    From Mcfaul's site - Mission: To conduct prompt and sustained combat operations at sea in support of national interests
    Is the the whole kit and caboodle just about oil and pipelines ? Could someone - theoretically speaking - turn off the pipes at the harbor

    Jeez, talk about sand paperin' a tiger's Alpha
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    Default Poti, no doubt, is one of the foci ...

    in the evolving story. Poti has a long history, which included the presence of significant Russian Black Sea Fleet elements until late 1998.

    On October 9, 1993, a war-torn Georgia had to legalize the Russian military presence in the country, and lease, among other military facilities, the Poti base to the Russian navy. However, Georgia continued, though fruitlessly, to claim the vessels formerly stationed at Poti as a part of a tripartite Russo-Ukrainian-Georgian dispute over the Soviet Black Sea Fleet shares.[14] By September 1998, the Russian military personnel had been withdrawn from Poti to then-Russian base at Batumi under a Russo-Georgian agreement signed earlier that year.[15]
    [14] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Newsline. Vol. 1, No. 42, Part I, 30 May 1997.
    [15] Georgian Border Guards pressure Russian counterparts to leave. RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 172 Part I, 7 (September 1998).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poti

    While Poti became a depressed area post-1991, cracking an UAE invesrtment deal in May 2008 (hmm....) gave some future promise.

    Arab Times, Kuwait
    Georgia lures Arab investors to build 'Black Sea Dubai'
    POTI, Georgia, May 18, 2008 (AFP) - The port city of Poti has long symbolised Georgia's collapse, but President Mikheil Saakashvili sees potential for a Black Sea Dubai in its crumbling buildings and pot-holed streets -- and Arab investors are listening. ....
    http://www.arabtimesonline.com/clien...=17042&ccid=18

    Re: Poti, Abkhazia's proximity makes that area more important to Russia's Black Sea policy than South Ossetia (whose major import is as a salient to cut Georgia in two).

    One might also keep in mind that Batumi to the south also has an autonomous history with Russian military links.

    Batumi was also host to the Russian 12th Military Base. Following the Rose Revolution, the central government pushed for the removal of these forces, and in 2005 an agreement with Moscow was reached. According to the agreement, the process of withdrawal was planned to be completed in a course of 2008, but the Batumi base was officially handed over to Georgia on November 13, 2007, ahead of planned schedule.[2]
    [2] Russia Hands Over Batumi Military Base to Georgia. Civil Georgia, Tbilisi. 2007-11-13.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batumi

    Finally, despite its limited lead, the following article from Bloomberg updates a number of different facets in the on-going Georgian political story.

    Protesters Chant `Russians Go Home' at Georgian Port (Update5)
    By Helena Bedwell and Maria Levitov
    Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Hundreds of Georgians chanted ``Russians go home'' at the Black Sea port of Poti today to protest checkpoints set up by Russian troops manning armored personnel carriers. ....
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...o&refer=europe

    PS: Had problems with Arab Times link from this page (works fine from Google). Same story at

    http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.co...&news_id=33994
    Last edited by jmm99; 08-24-2008 at 06:41 PM. Reason: Add PS & correct link

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    The day before Georgia introduced forces into its breakaway region of South Ossetia, there were 48 Russian journalists there, one of the clearest indications yet that Moscow not only knew Tbilisi was planning to introduce forces into that breakaway region but also was planning its own military response and wanted to ensure both were extensively covered.
    Said Tsarnayev, a Chechen freelance photographer with Reuters, told RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service that he had gone to South Ossetia to take nature pictures and that he was surprised to find what RFE/RL’s Brian Whitmore yesterday said was “a virtual army of Russian journalists at his hotel”
    http://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/...ositioned.html

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    Default Good article by Goble

    Hei K,

    Seems the Russians were well prepared on the civil front (withdrawal of non-combatants, agitprop in place, etc.). Leaving aside the military aspect (which others have discussed), I've never discounted their capabilities for deception, disinformation and political infiltration.

    Tying into Goble's before picture at Tskhinvali, is an after picture in one of today's CSM's leads:

    Behind checkpoints, a look at Russian actions in Georgia
    Our correspondent describes a tour led by Kremlin press attaché SashaMechevsky through Russian-controlled villages and the South Ossetian capitalof Tskhinvali.
    By Paul Rimple
    from the August 25, 2008 edition
    Since agreeing to a cease-fire deal with Georgia Aug. 15, Russia has been under close scrutiny. Is it pulling troops out or not? Is it protecting smoldering villages or pillaging them?

    Moscow has frequently said one thing while eyewitnesses have reported another during the conflict. Even after Friday's withdrawal, US officials said Russia – which left troops at military checkpoints ringing South Ossetia – had not gone far enough. Georgia blamed the weekend explosion of a train carrying crude oil on a Russian-planted land mine.

    As someone who has lived in and reported from Georgia for six years, I knew how rumors could fly around here. I wanted to see for myself what Russia was doing. ....
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0825/p07s02-woeu.html

    This article links to three other CSM articles which might be of interest.

    Another view of the same guided tour from McClatchy:

    Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2008
    Russians give tour of Georgia, but try not to show too much
    By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers

    KARALETI, Georgia — Russian Col. Igor Konoshenko looked at the building that had been burned by looters — who'd entered the town earlier this month after Russian troops drove through — and quickly tried to shift the reporters' attention elsewhere.

    "The other buildings are fine, look at them," he said, waving his hand assertively.

    That sort of redirection was typical of a seven-and-a-half-hour tour that the Russians conducted Sunday for reporters in the occupied countryside of Georgia. ....
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/50479.html

    Some of the comments to the McClatchy article are real pieces of work - LOL !

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    Uhm, only problem there is that fighting started on August 1. So Russian journalists being there on August 7 would not be unusual, it would be a case of journalists rushing to the nearest hot-spot in hopes of scooping each other (and Russian journalists because, well, nobody outside of Russia and Georgia really cared if Ossetian and Georgian forces were sniping and shelling each other, and certainly you would not see Georgian journalists in Tskhinvali!). If the Russian journalists were there *before* August 1, that would be unusual... but thus far we have no indication of that.

    In other words, if you want to prove a conspiracy theory whereby Russia chose the time that Georgia invaded, this won't do it. Not to mention that it greatly mis-states the role of the Russian government in the Russian press. Russia is not the former Soviet Union, and the Russian press isn't a branch of the government. The Russian press is not a free press by any means -- media outlets that report things not beloved by the government find themselves charged with "extremism" and shut down, so they tend to self-censor very well, and as with the U.S. many major media outlets are owned by government supporters -- but a government official can't just say "Report on this or you go to the gulag" like back during Soviet days. All they can do is issue press releases and hold press conferences, just like here in the USA. If the U.S. government held a press conference and said that Mexican Army snipers were shooting across the border at El Paso and killing Americans, and that Mexican artillery had fired on a few houses near the border, you'd see the same stampede of American reporters to El Paso. But this doesn't mean the U.S. government controls the U.S. press. It just means that reporters stampede to where there's a story.

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    badtux wrote:

    In other words, if you want to prove a conspiracy theory whereby Russia chose the time that Georgia invaded, this won't do it. Not to mention that it greatly mis-states the role of the Russian government in the Russian press. Russia is not the former Soviet Union, and the Russian press isn't a branch of the government. The Russian press is not a free press by any means -- media outlets that report things not beloved by the government find themselves charged with "extremism" and shut down, so they tend to self-censor very well, and as with the U.S. many major media outlets are owned by government supporters -- but a government official can't just say "Report on this or you go to the gulag" like back during Soviet days.
    What firm is the owner of biggest TV companies? Gazprom media. Who is the owner of the firm? Bank Rossija. Who are the owners of the bank? 2 brothers, who are friends of Putin from the middle of 90s. How the state bacame owner of Gazprom? Too long story. Who is the owner of English language Russia Today? Russian state structures. How does Presidential administration give direct orders to TV? Just read Russian free newspapers. This show is really manipulated. Belive me. Plus there is intensive narrative building. You can't underestimate this. To fight terrorists or states, in the end this is all the same. It is all about belief and narratives.

    To illustrate little bit this thinking I suggest you to look at this table that is originally from Russian business daily "Vedomosti".

    http://www.compromat.ru/main/putin/image/kovalchuki.gif

    If you can read Russian, then in the beginning of August this article was published by Russian "Newsweek."

    http://www.compromat.ru/main/prismi/tvcenz.htm

    Conspiracy theories started already couple months ago. For example. During 10 days in may Jamestown reported.

    ANNEXATION AND MILITARIZATION OF ABKHAZIA CONTINUE APACE
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373020

    RUSSIA REINFORCES FORCES IN ABKHAZIA AS A POSSIBILITY OF ARMED CONFLICT LOOMS
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373024

    RUSSIA DOUBLING ITS TROOPS IN GEORGIA’S ABKHAZIA REGION
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373028

    RUSSIA’S STRANGE “PEACEKEEPING” OPERATION IN ABKHAZIA
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373029

    INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS PASSIVE AS RUSSIA MOVES TROOPS INTO ABKHAZIA
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373032

    THE WEST RESPONDS WEAKLY TO RUSSIAN CHALLENGES IN GEORGIA: PART I
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373036

    THE WEST CAN RESPOND MORE EFFECTIVELY TO RUSSIA'S ASSAULT ON GEORGIA: PART II
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373040

    THE WEST CAN RESPOND MORE EFFECTIVELY TO RUSSIA'S ASSAULT ON GEORGIA: PART III
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373044

    WILL PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV’S FIRST CRISIS BE GEORGIA?
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373050
    Last edited by kaur; 08-25-2008 at 07:23 PM.

  17. #297
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badtux View Post
    Uhm, only problem there is that fighting started on August 1. So Russian journalists being there on August 7 would not be unusual, it would be a case of journalists rushing to the nearest hot-spot in hopes of scooping each other (and Russian journalists because, well, nobody outside of Russia and Georgia really cared if Ossetian and Georgian forces were sniping and shelling each other, and certainly you would not see Georgian journalists in Tskhinvali!). If the Russian journalists were there *before* August 1, that would be unusual... but thus far we have no indication of that.

    In other words, if you want to prove a conspiracy theory whereby Russia chose the time that Georgia invaded, this won't do it.
    I'll just say that Russian antics are certainly not limited to prepositioning journalists in this region. Kaur has mucho time there and here, and, I have at least 13 years of proof to back that statement.

    Additionally, I previously asked you to introduce yourself here, and I think sufficient time has passed. Please do take the time to do said.

    EDIT:
    RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS USED AS CHANNEL FOR TBILISI-MOSCOW CONTACTS
    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Last week Georgia and its breakaway province of Abkhazia were close to a war that would surely have involved Russia.
    Regards, Stan
    Last edited by Stan; 08-25-2008 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Link !
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaur View Post
    What firm is the owner of biggest TV companies? Gazprom media. Who is
    What firms are the owner of the biggest TV news companies in the USA? GE (NBC/MSNBC), the nation's largest defense contractor. News Corporation(Fox News), run by a media mogul with immense political clout and widely credited with being the voice of the current administration. Time-Warner (CNN), which has a long history of conservative pro-government reporting dating back to the days of the oligarch Henry Luce.

    The biggest difference between the two occur with smaller media outlets. Here in the United States, smaller outlets such as McClatchy feel comfortable, within limits, of doing reporting that the government doesn't like (I say "within limits" because they also face the problem of losing major advertisers if they go beyond what the oligarchs who own those advertisers are comfortable supporting). In Russia, there are a variety of mechanisms in place to make sure that reporters and editors self-censor. Go too far and the Putin Youth invade your offices and trash the place, someone kills you, or the State jails you for "extremism". So the State can and does punish you in Russia if you cover stories in a way the government disagrees with. But once again, there is no direct way for the government to order smaller outlets to cover any particular story.

    And indeed, no such direct way is necessary. As I pointed out, if you had someone shooting U.S. citizens in the streets you would see a rush of U.S. reporters there just as if you had someone shooting Russian citizens in the streets you'd see a rush of Russian reporters there. No "orders" on the part of the government are needed to see to that, just self-interest on the part of reporters who want to rush to get the next scoop for their newspapers. The difference between Russia and the former Soviet Union is that today's Russian government (as with the U.S. government) understands that self-interest is a better way to control the press as compared to direct state control, as vs. the Soviet Union, where direct state control was imposed upon all press. The difference between Russia and the USA is that Russia will impose indirect or direct state sanction if something is reported that the Russian government does not want reported, while the US government does not have that ability at present. That is why the US has a free press while Russia does not.

    In any event, this is a big divergence from the original point, which was that if shooting started on August 1 you would naturally expect reporters to be on the scene by August 7. It's just that I have friends in Russia (one of whom is a personal friend of Mark Ames of Exile.ru fame) who are familiar with the system there, and I have more than a little experience with the system here, so it frustrates me when people make statements that clearly are at odds with the facts, such as implying that there's no difference between the Russian media today and the Soviet media during Brezhnev's time. That simply is not true. As with the USA, in today's Russia direct government control "ordering" reporters to a region is not necessary to insure coverage of stories that the government wants covered. Simple self-interest -- editors not wanting to get "scooped" by other publications -- is enough.
    Last edited by badtux; 08-25-2008 at 08:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I'll just say that Russian antics are certainly not limited to prepositioning journalists in this region.
    Indeed. That is a given.

    Additionally, I previously asked you to introduce yourself here, and I think sufficient time has passed. Please do take the time to do said.
    I started to do so. Unfortunately there are limits on what I can say that came into play when I started to do so, and the results were... unsatisfying. A non-disclosure disclosure is somewhat less than useful. I will continue to think of a way that I can give an idea of what I am doing without divulging information that is not to be divulged for reasons I can't say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by badtux View Post
    Indeed. That is a given.



    I started to do so. Unfortunately there are limits on what I can say that came into play when I started to do so, and the results were... unsatisfying. A non-disclosure disclosure is somewhat less than useful. I will continue to think of a way that I can give an idea of what I am doing without divulging information that is not to be divulged for reasons I can't say.
    Perhaps, but it's still helpful for those you're conversing with to have at least a basic idea of your interests and (when possible) a bit of background. Otherwise it's all too easy to come off as a troll or agitator (which isn't to say that's what you're doing...but to point out the reasoning behind such introductions). You'll notice that even some of our more prolific posters have pretty brief intros.
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