Author and Copyright: © Onnik Krikorian
Onnik Krikorian's blog OneWorldMultimedia
The purchase of a Mistral-class ship would mark Russia's biggest arms purchase from abroad.
If Russia had had this kind of ship in its fleet, it could have moved more swiftly in the Black Sea during last year's war with Georgia, Moscow's naval commander Vladimir Vysotsky told Russian news agencies earlier this month.Instead of taking 26 hours to perform certain unnamed tasks, it would have taken the Russian Black Sea fleet 40 minutes with such a warship, Vysotsky said..."
|Unconstrained, Russia Eys More Georgian Territories|| || |
|September 29, 2009|
by Giorgi Kvelashvili
Arguably, an occupation and annexation of the Truso Valley, let alone of the entire Kazbegi district, is more difficult to justify than the naval control of Georgia’s Abkhazia coast, but given the all-powerful “ethnic” and “humanitarian” nature of the “problem” – as portrayed by the Kremlin – in the Kazbegi district, it would not be impossible for the Russians “to come to the rescue of ethnic Ossetians” once again.
Russia is apparently creating advantageous international conditions to overthrow the pro-Western Saakashvili government in order to complete the process of Georgia’s disintegration."
Mit Telefon- und Internetverbindungsdaten, wie sie seit der Umsetzung einer EU-Richtlinie auch in Deutschland gespeichert werden, lässt sich viel anfangen. Das führt nun die im südlichen Kaukasus gelegene ehemalige Sowjetrepublik Aserbaidschan vor Augen, in der Personen, die beim Schlager-Grand-Prix für das benachbarte Armenien stimmten, Besuch von der Polizei erhielten.
Weiter gehts bei Telepolis.
Friedhelm Weinberg (PLASTE):
"Bisher steht es nach Fahnen 3-0 für Europa. Mental herrscht noch ein eindeutiges Unentschieden. Wozu gehört Georgien denn nun eigentlich: Europa, Asien, Kaukasus? Alles nur post-sowjetischer Raum?
Wenn es Sarajevo wäre, dann würde man darüber sprechen, dass die Moschee, die katholische, die orthodoxe, die armenische Kirche und die Synagoge in unmittelbarer Nähe stehen; dass sich Schiiten und Sunniten die Moschee teilen und seit einiger Zeit auch auf den Vorhang verzichten, der sie trennte. Oder darüber, dass die Fensterbilder in der katholischen Kirche doch sehr orthodox inspiriert sind – die Heiligenscheine sind rund und golden -, also dass hier ein bisschen alles zusammenkommt und sich mit Eigenem, Georgischem, Kaukasischem vermischt.
Aber weg von Religion und Politik. Was wirklich zählt ist Gastfreundschaft. Die ist wirklich so wie der Reiseführer androht. Wenn die Mutter nach Verputzen eines Teigfladens androht, dass Zuhause weiter gegessen wird. Oder wenn die Tochter auf Nachfrageerlaubt, dass ich morgen auch mal was bezahlen darf (ich habe es aber vorher geschafft). Dann ist man wohl in Georgien. Dem Land, in dem Mama Vater heißt, sonst auch einiges auf dem Kopf steht, aber das Herz am richtigen Fleck ist.
Hier gehts zu den Fortsetzungen.
„Schmuggler mit autoritärem Regierungsstil“Politische Gegner werfen Kokoity nämlich vor, in der Vergangenheit, die schlecht bewachten Grenzen Südossetiens ausnutzend, einen regen Schmuggel vor allem mit Alkohol aufgebaut zu haben. Als Präsident pflegt er seit Jahren einen autoritären Regierungsstil, kritisiert Ex-Premier Oleg Tesijew.
| Zuletzt wurde dies bei den Wahlen zum Parlament deutlich: Dort gewann Kokoitys Partei deutlich, nachdem die Opposition von den Wahlen ausgeschlossen wurde. Nun hat der Präsident ein Taschenparlament, um die von ihm gewünschte Verfassungsänderung für eine dritte Amtszeit nach 2011 durchzusetzen.|
Kokoity-Clan hat das SagenViele in Moskau lebende Südosseten kritisieren die selbst für russische Verhältnisse enorme Korruption in der kleinen Kaukasusrepublik. Der Kokoity-Clan kontrolliert praktisch alle wichtigen Politikfelder und Wirtschaftszweige. Selbst Premier Bulazew wurde von Kokoity buchstäblich aus der Politik und dem Land gedrängt.
| Seit Monaten war Bulazew nicht mehr in Südossetien, ehe er nun wegen „gesundheitlicher Probleme“ zurücktreten musste. Bei einem Besuch von Russlands Präsident Medwedew kürzlich in Zchinwali fiel die Entscheidung, einen Nachfolger für Bulazew zu bestimmen."|
Der ganze Artikel findet sich hier.
"Der Teheran-Besuch des armenischen Präsidenten Sersch Sarkisjan Anfang des Jahres hat den Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen Armenien und dem Iran neue Impulse verliehen. Verhandelt wurde unter anderem über den Bau einer Pipeline vom iranischen Täbris bis zum armenischen Ort Ararat, heißt es im armenischen Energieministerium. Die Leitung könnte Armenien mit Erdölprodukten versorgen, was die Transportkosten und Preise auf dem armenischen Markt deutlich senken würde. Das Projekt ist auch deswegen von Bedeutung, weil es eine Alternative zu den bestehenden Benzin- und Diesellieferungen bietet. Bislang wird Armenien von einigen wenigen privaten Firmen mit Erdölprodukten beliefert.
Experten zufolge soll mit dem Bau der neuen Pipeline noch in diesem Sommer begonnen werden.
Der unabhängige armenische Wirtschaftsexperte Aleksandr Awanesow sagte der Deutschen Welle, sein Land sei gezwungen, eine Zusammenarbeit mit dem südlichen Nachbarn Iran einzugehen.
So sei erst vor kurzem die Gasleitung Iran-Armenien in Betrieb genommen worden, über die das Land bereits etwa sieben Millionen Kubikmeter Erdgas erhalten habe. Geprüft werde derzeit, ob bei einer Verlängerung dieser Pipeline in Zukunft auch Lieferungen turkmenischen Erdgases Richtung Armenien möglich wären. Noch in diesem Sommer werde mit dem Bau einer dritten Elektrizitätsleitung zwischen dem Iran und Armenien begonnen. "Das ist ein regionales Projekt, an dem sich auch GEORGIEN beteiligt", erläuterte Awanesow. Er fügte hinzu, verhandelt werde ferner über den Bau einer Eisenbahnlinie, die Armenien über iranisches Territorium sowohl mit den Ländern des Persischen Golfs als auch mit denen Zentralasiens verbinden würde.
Die Zusammenarbeit mit dem Iran werde die Qualität des armenischen Energienetzes verbessern und nicht zuletzt die Energiesicherheit des Landes erhöhen, meint Awanesow. Wichtig sei zudem, dass nach der Umsetzung der Projekte Armenien eine größere Rolle nicht nur in der Region, sondern vielleicht auch für EUROPA spielen könnte.
Ausweg aus der Isolation?
Armenien sucht damit eine engere Zusammenarbeit mit dem Iran in wichtigen Breichen wie Energie, Verkehr und Kommunikation, während gleichzeitig internationale Sanktionen gegen Teheran in Kraft sind.
Aufgrund des ungelösten Konfliktes um die Region Berg-Karabach dauert die Blockade Armeniens durch die Türkei und Aserbaidschan an. Auch die Probleme in den Beziehungen zwischen Georgien und Russland haben Auswirkungen auf Armenien. Das Land ist deshalb geografisch sehr isoliert. Es hat den Anschein, als suche Armenien nun zunehmend einen Zugang zur Außenwelt über den Iran."
Autor: Aschot Gasasjan / Markian Ostaptschuk
Redaktion: Birgit Görtz
Now, Moscow has taken aim at the only major international organisation with a solid track record in Georgia, the 56-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE has been in Georgia for more than 15 years: monitoring unstable areas in and around South Ossetia, promoting conflict resolution, supporting minority issues, helping lay the foundations for democracy and the rule of law, and criticizing electoral fraud. In South Ossetia it even facilitated economic rehabilitation projects between ethnic Georgians and Ossetians until the August war.
Last Month, OSCE member states met in Vienna to work on a Greek-sponsored compromise to keep the OSCE in Georgia, one of the final steps in thorny negotiations which have been going on since January. But Moscow shot down the Greek proposal, which had already been heavily amended to try to address Russian concerns, by preventing it from coming up for a vote.
There are several possible reasons why Russia wants the OSCE out of Georgia, one of the Organization's biggest and most important missions.
Moscow could be reluctant for the world to see what has gone on inside South Ossetia under its eight-month military "liberation" activities.
Russia's huge military might did not prevent South Ossetian militias from driving about 25,000 ethnic Georgians from their homes. In many cases local militias burned, looted, and even bulldozed villages as Russian troops stood by, in actions that Human Rights Watch has called "crimes against humanity" and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe termed "ethnic cleansing".
By closing the OSCE in Georgia, Russia also adds another front in its long-term diplomatic endeavour to undermine the efficiency of the OSCE as a whole. Since 1975, the Organization has helped promote European peace and security. But for years now, Moscow has been unhappy with the group's focus on human rights, media freedom and fair elections as the best way to encourage stability. Russia has used the political tools available to it as a member state to delay and obstruct the Organization's smooth functioning. Moscow has, for example, repeatedly delayed the passage of the OSCE's annual budget....
GEORGIA: TBILISI BEING FORTIFIED FOR "POSSIBLE" MILITARY STRIKE -- REPORT
Defensive fortifications are being set up around Tbilisi in anticipation of a possible military strike on the Georgian capital, according to a Georgian media report.
Rezonansi, an opposition-minded daily, claimed that in addition to Tbilisi, fortifications are being built near the administrative border with the breakaway region of Abkhazia, where Russia has troops stationed. Defense Ministry officials were not available to confirm or to deny the June 4 report.In interviews with the paper, independent military experts stated that defense measures are being taken to protect Tbilisi. "This step is correct and logical because occupying troops are stationed just a few kilometers away from the capital..."
"You have to change cultures, institutions, norms," said Larry Diamond, a scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. "It's a profound challenge. What you're talking about is changing the way people use power."
On May 10, 2005, a huge crowd assembled in Tbilisi's Freedom Square to see Bush. "You gathered here with nothing but roses and the power of your convictions, and you claimed your liberty," he declared. "Because of that, Georgia is today a beacon of liberty for this region and the world."
At the time, some Georgians were already accusing Saakashvili of monopolizing power and undermining Parliament, the courts, the news media and civil society. But criticism from the United States was expressed in private, when expressed at all.
When Saakashvili pushed through a constitutional amendment giving him the power to dismiss Parliament, for example, many supporters of the Rose Revolution objected. But U.S. officials were reluctant to take a position or even host a public debate on the subject, recalled David Usupashvili, an opposition leader who at the time was a Saakashvili ally and worked for a U.S. aid organization.
Lincoln Mitchell, a scholar at Columbia University who served as the National Democratic Institute's chief of party in Tbilisi, said the Bush administration equated support for Saakashvili, who studied law at Columbia, with support for democracy in Georgia.
"The relationship got personalized," he said, noting that Saakashvili named a highway after Bush and sent Georgian troops to Iraq. "The idea was don't make problems for the English-speaking leader who is our best ally in the region."
U.S. support for Saakashvili resulted in a sharp increase in foreign aid to the Georgian government. But funding for the advocacy groups that had been at the heart of the Rose Revolution dried up, forcing organizations to shut down programs that could monitor and challenge his decisions.
Civil society also suffered, because activists flocked to join the new government. If Western officials overlooked Saakashvili's autocratic drift, so did many of these reform-minded Georgians. Several top leaders of the current opposition worked with Saakashvili for years before quitting.
"We made compromises, telling ourselves that it wasn't so easy to achieve democracy overnight," said Georgi Chkheidze, a former chairman of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association who joined the Justice Ministry. "We waited too long to speak out."...
Nino Zuriashvili, a vivacious, hard-charging journalist, produces investigative reports most Georgians never see. "We offer them to television stations for free, but the national broadcasters won't air them," she said.
In the years before the Rose Revolution, the news media operated with few restrictions, and she worked for the Georgian version of "60 Minutes," a top-rated show on the country's top-rated television station, Rustavi-2. The independent broadcaster's support of the opposition helped put Saakashvili in power.
But Zuriashvili ran into problems soon afterward. Station managers squashed a report on the seizure of property from private businessmen by government officials, then refused to broadcast an expose on prosecutors forging evidence. When she confronted them, she learned the station had been sold to new owners who wanted to take it easy on the new government. They canceled her show, giving her a different job.
So she quit and started her own news organization, Monitor Studio, which relies on international aid groups for funding. She and two colleagues have produced 26 investigative video reports, the latest of which documents how the government pressured the owners of nearly a dozen TV stations, including Rustavi-2, to sell to businessmen friendly to Saakashvili.
But the media environment in Georgia defies a single, sweeping verdict. Conditions under Saakashvili have varied over time, and there are two local stations in Tbilisi now run by the opposition. Newspapers, too, are generally critical of Saakashvili.
The mixed picture has allowed Saakashvili to ridicule critics who accuse him of stifling the news media by pointing out that they often make their allegations on live talk shows broadcast across the nation.
"If somebody in the morning has some idea and is a public figure, it just takes six to eight hours before most of the country hears about it. You can't shut up anybody here," he said, denying any effort to transfer TV stations into friendly hands or dictate coverage. "You can argue that some TV stations are more pro-government and some are less and some are against us, but it's like that in every country."
Journalists say the problems with the media here fall short of direct censorship and require long-term solutions, such as programs to raise journalistic standards and encourage media independence. "In some ways, this quasi-democracy we have is much more dangerous than a dictatorship," said Nino Burjanadze, a top Rose Revolution leader who joined the opposition last year. "The issues are less straightforward and more difficult to explain to our friends."
The problems led the advocacy group Freedom House to remove Georgia from its list of electoral democracies this year. But the opposition has also fared poorly in elections because it has been unable to unite behind a substantive agenda beyond replacing Saakashvili.
Several parties refused to take the seats they won in the May elections. The boycott further divided the opposition, with those outside Parliament accusing those inside of acting as Saakashvili's puppets.
Ghia Nodia, a former minister of education, blamed the problem on immature political parties, including the ruling party, that see revolution as the primary means of winning power. "The problem is this very confrontational political culture," he said, noting that not a single president has completed a full term since the country declared independence after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Targamadze, the minority leader, said his Christian Democratic party is losing patience. "I'm trying to be a moderate, but if Saakashvili doesn't start real political reforms, we'll become more radical, too."
You can find the whole article here on SFGate, home of San Francisco Chronicle.
"South Ossetia, isolated and with its "independence" unrecognized by the international community, is in crisis. This may explain the constant bellicose statements coming from Tskhinvali: renewed military confrontation may seem the only way to end the unacceptable status quo, established by the August 12 ceasefire.
The belligerence of the separatists is actively supported by Moscow, which has its own reasons to detest the status quo. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced, "Russia is concerned about Georgian troop concentrations near the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia" (RIA-Novosti, January 16). EU assurances that there is no "troop concentration" are not accepted. This week the Russian permanent representative in the OSCE, Anvar Azimov, announced, "The Georgians are concentrating troops and heavy weapons, building new bases and checkpoints." Azimov accused the EU observers of impotence and illegally trying to move their operations into Abkhazia and South Ossetia (RIA-Novosti, February 11).
The ceasefire last August has left the strategically important Russian base in Armenia cut off with no overland military transit connections. The number of Russian soldiers in Armenia is limited to some 4000, but during 2006 and 2007 large amounts of heavy weapons and supplies were moved in under an agreement with Tbilisi from bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki (Georgia). At present there are some 200 Russian tanks, over 300 combat armored vehicles, 250 heavy guns and lots of other military equipment in Armenia - enough to fully arm a battle force of over 20,000 (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozrenie, August 20, 2004). Forces in Armenia can be swiftly expanded by bringing in manpower by air transport from Russia. Spares to maintain the armaments may also be shipped in by air, but if a credible overland military transit link is not established within a year or two, there will be no possibility to either replace or modernize equipment. The forces will consequently degrade, undermining Russia's commitment to defend its ally Armenia and Moscow's ambition to reestablish its dominance in the South Caucasus.
While snow covers the Caucasian mountain passes until May, a renewed war with Georgia is impossible. There is hope in Moscow that the Georgian opposition may still overthrow Mikheil Saakashvili's regime or that the Obama administration will somehow remove him. However, if by May, Saakashvili remains in power, a military push by Russia to oust him may be seriously contemplated. The constant ceasefire violations could escalate to involve Russian servicemen - constituting a public casus belli. The desire by the West to "reset" relations with Moscow, putting the Georgia issue aside, may be interpreted as a tacit recognition of Russia's right to use military force."
Read the full article at Jamestown Foundation.
Also read: Russia plans joint air-defense with Armenia (in German on RIA Novosti)
It's interesting to think further ahead. What if Georgia fell under the Kremlin's supremacy again? At least Abkhazia might very well try to gain true independence. (Remember the last elections, when Moscow's candidate was defeated?) For this case, they just established an air base in Abkhazia. The aim is not only to defend the Kremlin's interest in the South Caucasus region (mainly against Georgia), but also their stronghold in Abkhazia itself. This, too, explains why the Russian military has no interest in a peaceful settlement of the present conflicts around the two separatist regions of Georgia. Without the Abkhaz-Georgian antagonism, Sukhumi might rethink it's relationship with Moscow. (Among the population of Abkhazia, Russians are not as beloved as the official press tries to show us. Just think of the Olympic games at near-by Sotchi and astronomically rising real-estate prices in the northern cities of Abkhazia including Sukhumi and you get the picture.)
South-Ossetia, although poor, is still the biggest trump card in the hands of Putin and Medvedev. Firstly, because Russian tanks are stationed now only about 45 kilometers from Georgia's capital. Secondly, because South-Ossetia looks south to Georgia's weakest strategic point, that is the rather narrow East-West-connection (the "highway" running from Tbilisi to Batumi). Thirdly, continuing violations of the ceasefire-agreement create pressure on Saakashvili's government and an athmosphere of instability and unsureness, deterring investors and thwarting Georgia's ambitions on NATO-membership. And eventually, there is another option: By "proving" that an independent South-Ossetia could not defend itself against "aggressive" Georgia, it can graciously be admitted into the Russian Federation in a year or two.
The reference to Armenia and Russian troops stationed in Armenia might also give a clou to the (indirect) support of the Javakheti-movement of Armenians in Georgia, pressing for autonomy. Recent history has shown what "autonomy" for Georgia really means - the destruction of a multi-ethnic state, while on the other hand side the war against "bandits" and separatism in Chechnyia and elsewhere in the North Caucasus continues, accepted by the West as a "fight against terrorism" after 9/11.
What next will be accepted by the West, falsely assuming "common interests" with Putin and his camarilla?