Caucasus Crisis

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Kati » 09 Nov 2008 19:37

Georgia Attached First - UK Monitors

http://en.rian.ru/world/20081109/118209944.html

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Gerard » 09 Nov 2008 19:55


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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby gandharva » 18 Nov 2008 08:34

What really happened in South Ossetia?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/n ... 695956.stm

After gaining exclusive access to South Ossetia, Tim Whewell has discovered evidence Georgia may have committed war crimes in its attack on its breakaway region in August.

{How is it they can put Karadzic in the Hague, but not Saakashvili?? Does this documentary vindicate the BBC as being on the very frontline of the effort to discover and report the truth, or is this rather a belated attempt at reputation management so as to continue effectively ‘manufacturing consensus}

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 18 Nov 2008 15:27

Exactly Gandharva! Hypocrisy galore as practised by the west.ABM Missiles in Poland OK,but Russian missiles in Kaliningrad provocative.Here's more on NATO's little puppet ruler of Georgia and his gigantic misadventure in S.Ossetia.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 23110.html

Georgia's rearguard action over witness accounts challenging its account of war

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 18 Nov 2008 19:52

They should document all war crimes with sworn in-camera testimony, acceptable evidence with "western standards" to use it in future against western hypocrisy

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 20 Nov 2008 14:51

From UPI.com


Russia's Iskanders can take out U.S. BMD base in Poland

By ILYA KRAMNIK, UPI

MOSCOW, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Russia will not look on indifferently while the United States deploys the third positioning region of its anti-ballistic missile shield in Eastern Europe.

This was clear before and is clear now, after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has described ways in which Russia will respond to the challenge in his state-of-the-nation address on Nov. 5.


If countermeasures are necessary, Russia will deploy the Iskander theater missile system in its Kaliningrad oblast, or region. In addition, according to the Russian president, it also plans to use electronic countermeasures against the missile defense shield.

Medvedev's statement is easy to explain: Deployment of an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic is a direct threat to Russia's nuclear potential. The 10 American Ground-based Mid-course Interceptor missiles, planned for Poland, or even 50 such missiles, cannot, of course, parry a full-scale strike by the Russian Strategic Missile Forces and missile-carrying submarines.

However, the strategic importance of these interceptor missiles would increase were the United States to deliver a first nuclear strike against Russia.

In this scenario, interceptor missiles would have to take on the limited number of missiles surviving the first strike, which would allow the United States to hope for success and, for the first time since the 1950s, for a victory in a nuclear war.

Short-range, solid fuel Iskander theater missile systems long have been viewed as an answer to the possible appearance of elements of a U.S. anti-missile system in Eastern Europe. The range of the Iskander in its basic form is 180 miles. In the opinion of missile specialists, it can easily be extended to 300 miles and more, should Russia decide to tear up the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty.

In addition, the Iskander can be equipped with more than ballistic missiles. The system also can launch long-range cruise missiles -- R-500s already have been test-fired from the Iskander. Potentially, the range of a cruise-missile system can exceed 1,200 miles, making it possible to hit targets across Western Europe.


Iskander mobile launchers, deployed in Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad region and, potentially, in the former Soviet republic of Belarus, will be capable of delivering a sudden strike, including nuclear warheads, at most of Poland even in standard configuration.

Rapid deployment -- which takes a few minutes -- and the characteristics of the Iskander missile itself increase the probability of engaging targets, especially in view of the fact that the Iskanders' main targets -- the Ground-based Mid-course Interceptor missile launchers -- are fixed.

--

Poland Won't Lobby Obama on Missile Defense

Poland's foreign minister said yesterday that his country will wait for the Obama administration to make up its mind on basing missile defense interceptors in his country and will not lobby to have the project proceed.

Saying that the Warsaw government had agreed "out of friendship" to the Bush administration proposal to establish a U.S. base for 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski added: "We will tread carefully and wait until the new administration makes its decision."

The controversial European basing plan, which also involves placing a U.S. radar unit in the Czech Republic, is to be part of a broader missile defense system that the Bush administration has said is designed to intercept Iranian missiles aimed either at U.S. or European targets. Russia has voiced strong objections to the plan.

Sikorski's remarks, made during an appearance at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a bipartisan foreign policy organization, reflect the modification of a statement posted Nov. 8 on the Web site of Polish President Lech Kaczynski. The statement said that during Kaczynski's conversation congratulating Barack Obama, the president-elect said that "the missile defense project would continue."


In response, the Obama campaign released a statement saying that no commitment had been made. Instead, Obama foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough said, Obama "supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable."

Congress has delayed work on construction of the Polish missile site, awaiting in part the successful testing of the interceptor missile to be based there. That test is not scheduled to take place until 2010.

Sikorski said his government "would like to see the project continue" because it is evidence of U.S.-Polish cooperation.

He also said that the presence of U.S. bases in a foreign country creates a bilateral arrangement that "adds sinews" to any defense treaty, noting that Poland has been a member of NATO for almost 10 years and has nothing more than the promise of a conference center. "Everyone agrees," he said, "that countries that have U.S. soldiers on their territory do not get invaded."

Sikorski also called for NATO to revitalize its military arrangements in the wake of Russia's invasion of Georgia and its potential threat to Ukraine. "The post-Cold War order is being challenged," he said, adding that there is "a need to make the NATO guarantee valid again."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Nayak » 20 Nov 2008 14:56

Self-Edit :roll: :roll: :roll:
Last edited by Nayak on 20 Nov 2008 16:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 20 Nov 2008 16:52

Nayak, You are not allowed to browse from work. If you do, you run getting into unwanted risks. That's all I can tell you. If required, you can put me into your ignore list, so that you don't see my posts.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 23 Nov 2008 12:06

From UPI.com

Patriots vs. Iskanders vs. GBIs standoff in Central Europe

MOSCOW, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The deployment of Iskander short-range quasi-ballistic missiles and electronic countermeasures in the Kaliningrad region of Russia looks certain to produce a response from the United States.

Washington's first step will be to hand over Patriot PAC-3 ground-to-air anti-ballistic missile interceptor systems to Poland. An agreement to pass a Patriot battery -- 12 launchers -- with an ammunition load of 96 missiles to the Wojsko Polskie, or Polish army, already has been achieved.

However, Patriots do not guarantee the safety of Ground-based Mid-course Interceptor missile launchers, and to make them more secure the United States might reinforce Poland's air force with modern strike aircraft able to destroy Russia's Iskanders before they launch their missiles. U.S. Air Force units and formations are likely to be deployed in Poland directly.

Russia understands the likelihood of such a development of events. So, in addition to deploying Iskander missile systems and electronic countermeasures in the Kaliningrad region, it can strengthen its grouping of ground, air force and air defense troops in the area, both by bringing up existing units to scale and by sending in reserves from inside districts.

Undoubtedly, such an escalation will increase tensions in Eastern Europe. We are currently observing a reopening of the Cold War's European front, which has now moved several hundred kilometers eastward.

Russia started warning of the undesirability and danger of deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in Europe many years ago. Its statements gradually have intensified in expression, from regrets over the lack of a normal dialogue to a direct threat to suppress the system with force. The United States, meanwhile, has only chanted the mantra of the anti-Iranian purpose in its European missile shield. The question of "why a missile defense system cannot be deployed in Turkey" has never been completely answered.

To sum up, we have the following picture: An "anti-Iranian" missile defense system will be deployed in the next two to three years in an area clearly beyond the reach of Iran's existing and projected missiles, but very convenient for intercepting missiles launched from European Russia in a northern and a northwestern direction.

The immediate targets of this system are Russia's 28th, 54th, 60th and other Strategic Missile Divisions deployed west of the Urals. A simple look at the numbers shows that although there are several Topols and UR-100s for each American GBI interceptor, this ratio would only stand until the first nuclear strike.

The concern is that it could be tempting to initiate a strike when you have a system that protects against retaliation. It is only to be hoped that a new U.S. administration will hear Russia's case and agree to develop a mechanism of collective security in Europe. If not, development could be hard to predict.

--

(Ilya Kramnik is a military commentator for RIA Novosti. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.)

--

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby abhischekcc » 23 Nov 2008 13:04

gandharva wrote:What really happened in South Ossetia?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/n ... 695956.stm

After gaining exclusive access to South Ossetia, Tim Whewell has discovered evidence Georgia may have committed war crimes in its attack on its breakaway region in August.

{How is it they can put Karadzic in the Hague, but not Saakashvili?? Does this documentary vindicate the BBC as being on the very frontline of the effort to discover and report the truth, or is this rather a belated attempt at reputation management so as to continue effectively ‘manufacturing consensus}



Its the second option.

British propoganda machinery is past master at a technique which I call Trust-Banking. What they do is that they will speak the truth and give balanced opinion most of the times, and only in matters which are not critical.

But they will switch to 'News-speak mode' when a critical interest of Britain/US/west is involved. This technique was most evident during the Kosovo campaign.

In the case of Georgia, they have probably figured out that they cannot do much against a resurgent Russian military , so why not produce a face saving exit anyway.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 23 Nov 2008 21:06

This is very interesting and correct insight

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby svinayak » 23 Nov 2008 22:34

abhischekcc wrote:
gandharva wrote:What really happened in South Ossetia?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/n ... 695956.stm

After gaining exclusive access to South Ossetia, Tim Whewell has discovered evidence Georgia may have committed war crimes in its attack on its breakaway region in August.

{How is it they can put Karadzic in the Hague, but not Saakashvili?? Does this documentary vindicate the BBC as being on the very frontline of the effort to discover and report the truth, or is this rather a belated attempt at reputation management so as to continue effectively ‘manufacturing consensus}



Its the second option.

British propoganda machinery is past master at a technique which I call Trust-Banking. What they do is that they will speak the truth and give balanced opinion most of the times, and only in matters which are not critical.

But they will switch to 'News-speak mode' when a critical interest of Britain/US/west is involved. This technique was most evident during the Kosovo campaign.

In the case of Georgia, they have probably figured out that they cannot do much against a resurgent Russian military , so why not produce a face saving exit anyway.


This is known as the art of forked tongue. Milions of Indians because of so called balanced opinion trust BBC for decades when they are unaware of the fakeness of this balanced opinions.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 23 Nov 2008 23:22

This art of forked tongue only allowed Britain to rule over the world in 18th, 19th and some part of 20th century. They knew how to use the right mix of soft and hard power... something which Americans, Russians, French lack. However, thanks to Hitler, Britain burnt its fingers so badly in WW II that we were able to gain independence.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 25 Nov 2008 09:12

IMO, Russia should simply warn these tiny eastern EU nations that if they give access to hold US missile defense systems, then these nations would become Russia's first automatic choice for a first strike 'nuke targets'. This is the risk these nations like Poland, Czeck should run in the long run if they yield to US and have missile def systems installed in their land. Let the people of these nation understand the risks of what their govt actions carry. Either these nations should become friendly peaceful neighbours of Russia or become the enemies and nuke targets of Russia. Russia should warn and leave these nations people aware of the risks and high stakes involved if they go for missile defence installations with USA.

Russia ready to roll with Iskander deployment
From UPI.com
By MARTIN SIEFF, UPI.com Senior News Analyst Published: Nov. 24, 2008 at 12:35 PM
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The Russian armed forces are prepared to deploy their short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad province to target the proposed U.S. ballistic missile defense base to be built in Poland, right now, or whenever needed, Russia's top general warned Wednesday.

"As soon as the final decision is made by our supreme commander-in-chief, these missile systems will be deployed, wherever it is ordered," four-star General of the Army Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, told a Moscow news conference Wednesday, RIA Novosti reported.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned in his first state of the union address to the Russian people on Nov. 5 that he was prepared to order the highly accurate, low-flying and fast quasi-ballistic Iskander-M missiles (NATO designation SS-26 Stone) to be deployed in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland on the Baltic Sea coast, to "neutralize if necessary" the base for Ground-based Mid-course Interceptors that the United States is building in Poland.

The Bush administration has said the GBIs are necessary to protect the United States and Western Europe from the threat of a future possible attack by nuclear-armed Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles. But Russia claims the GBIs really would be targeted on Russian survivable second-strike nuclear missile deterrent weapons.

RIA Novosti said the latest Iskanders had a range of more than 300 miles, which would give them the capability to hit the GBI base location from within the Kaliningrad region.

Medvedev and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have shrugged off Bush administration efforts to offer proposals to address the Kremlin's concerns. But since the election of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Nov. 4, the Russians have been sending signals that they would be willing to open a new round of negotiations with the U.S. leader after he takes office in two months' time.

On Wednesday, Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, reiterated that Moscow would not field its Iskander-Ms in Kaliningrad unless the United States began putting GBIs into the Polish base, which has yet to be completed, RIA Novosti reported.

"This (Iskander deployment) is a response measure. The deployment will not start before the construction of a launcher in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic starts. Our neighbors in Europe should realize that," Gryzlov stated.

Gryzlov stated that he held talks Tuesday with Miloslav Vlcek, the speaker of the lower house of the Czech Parliament. The Czech government has agreed to host a U.S. radar base necessary to guide the GBI interceptors to their targets. But Gryzlov said Vlcek had agreed to put back any parliamentary debate in Prague on approving the radar base construction "at least until late January." Gryzlov commented that this postponement "inspires a certain optimism," RIA Novosti said.

On Friday, Vlcek expressed public skepticism that the BMD base in Poland will ever be built after Obama takes office in Washington.

The Russian news agency acknowledged that the relatively new Iskander missiles have yet to be operationally deployed and cleared for operational use, despite some successful test firings. It noted that some analysts have expressed doubts whether Russia can get five missile brigades armed with Iskanders up and running in Kaliningrad over the next four or five years because of production capacity problems in the Russian military-industrial complex.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 25 Nov 2008 09:27

Russian military to be fully rearmed by 2020
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20081119/118402887.html

MOSCOW, November 19 (RIA Novosti) - Around 80-100% of the Russian Armed Forces will be equipped with modern weapons and military hardware by 2018-2020, the Russian General Staff chief said on Wednesday.

"In the next 3-5 years we plan to equip 30% of the Armed Forces with advanced weapons and military hardware and to raise this figure to 80-100% by 2018-2020," Gen. of the Army Nikolai Makarov said.


He also said the command staff of Russia's Defense Ministry and the General Staff of the Armed Forces was also overstaffed and inefficient and failing to carry out its tasks effectively.

"The command staff, including the General Staff and Defense Ministry, is being reduced. The staff has grown to an unbelievable size and the functions and tasks it is supposed to fulfill are not being fulfilled," Gen. Makarov told journalists.

He also said the troop command system in Russia is out of date and should be streamlined.

Earlier Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said staffing levels at central headquarters and high-level command structures are expected to be slashed by 60% from 22,000 personnel to 8,500 by 2012 as part of sweeping military reforms.

Serdyukov announced the cuts to Russia's Armed Forces in October and said some 150,000 officer posts are expected to go by 2012. The minister said, by global standards, officers should comprise 7% to 20% of staffing levels, but at 32% the officer level in Russia's Armed Force was far too high.

Serdyukov said that there were currently more than 1,100 generals in the Russian military and around 200 of those posts needed to be abolished, while the number of junior officers should be increased.

In addition, he said more than 100,000 serving warrant officers are due to be discharged or absorbed into other ranks by the end of 2009.

Russia has already downsized its Armed Forces from Soviet-era levels of 4.5 million personnel to the current figure of about 1.2 million, which includes 310,000 officers. The latest reforms will see the military reduced to around 1.1 million.

The reforms will also include drastic changes to the structure of Russia's Armed Forces to ensure greater mobility and improve combat readiness.

Makarov explained the changes: "Two command chains will be eliminated: regiments and divisions as far as recent events (two Chechen campaigns and the August Caucasus conflict this year) have demonstrated, that our command system, created in the 1960s - army, division, regiment and battalion is so complex and heavy that at the present time we are unable to ensure quick decision making, that orders reach troops, interoperability and effective command."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 02 Dec 2008 12:03

Yushchenko,"about turn"!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 269729.ece

President Yushchenko seeks warmer links with Moscow as Nato hopes coolTony Halpin in Moscow and Michael Evans, Defence Editor
Ukraine is moving to soothe relations with Russia as Nato loses interest in offering rapid membership of the alliance.

The reappraisal comes amid debate in Kiev about the wisdom of antagonising the Kremlin, particularly after the confrontation between Russia and Georgia in the summer.

President Yushchenko of Ukraine has ordered a policy review in an effort to defuse tensions with Russia over his country’s pro-Western leanings. The shift is an acknowledgement that friction between Kiev and Moscow has made it harder for the European Union and Nato, particularly members such as Germany and France, to embrace Ukraine.

“The majority of Ukrainians understand that strain and antagonism on our eastern border hinder the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of our country,” Oleg Voloshin, a spokesman at the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow, said. “Now Kiev is disposed to intensify its dialogue with Russia to relieve her concerns over some priorities of Ukraine’s foreign policy.”

Ukraine begs Nato to ignore Russian pressure
Beauty and Beast fight as economy fails
Nato plays it cool over Georgia and Ukraine

It is a remarkable change of tone for Mr Yushchenko, who has raised fears about Russian aggression in Crimea. He had also accused Yuliya Tymoshenko, his rival and Orange Revolution ally, of “high treason” for failing to condemn the Russian intervention in South Ossetia and Georgia in August. Mrs Tymoshenko, the Prime Minister, is widely perceived to have softened her criticism of Moscow to reduce Kremlin opposition to her run for the presidency next year.

“Tymoshenko is a welcome guest in Moscow, unlike Yushchenko. He is not rejecting his previous pro-Western policy,” one official told The Times. “It is in our interests to show that being pro-Western is not the same as being anti-Russian.”

The new approach has emerged as Nato foreign ministers gather in Brussels today for a two-day meeting. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, backed Washington’s commitment to full membership for Ukraine and Georgia but confirmed that there remained “tactical differences” within the alliance over how this should be achieved. She made it clear that neither country was going to be invited this week into the membership action plan to begin the process.

Dr Rice added that the US would back the resumption of Nato links with Moscow four months after Russia invaded Georgia.

In an interview with The Times last month Mr Yushchenko appealed to Nato not to delay the offer of a membership plan. The war in Georgia and the collapse of the Orange Coalition in Ukraine, however, has left many member states unwilling to risk a reaction from the Kremlin.

President Saakashvili of Georgia insisted that the former Soviet republics still enjoyed strong support in Nato and said that he hoped progress could be made.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 07 Dec 2008 10:49

Russia rubs raw nerves in Ukraine
By Jeff Emanuel

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/12/ ... _ukra.html


In recent years, the Russian bear has bared his fangs at Ukraine as the grim season commemorating genocide-by-famine 75 years ago.

On November 22, the former "Soviet republic" of Ukraine observed the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holodomor, a genocide-by-famine perpetrated by Josef Stalin's Soviet government which left up to ten million Ukrainian men, women, and children dead due to forced starvation.

Punishing Enemies of Collectivism
In the fall of 1932, Stalin's Soviet Union was facing unrest caused by a shortage of food in the cities under his control. Rather than allow for the chance of a replay of 1917, when inner-city hunger helped the Bolsheviks instigate their successful communist revolution, Stalin turned his attention westward to the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine.


Driven by the dual goals of increasing Russia's grain stockpile to the point where it could not only feed its city-dwellers but also export food for profit, and of forcing the Ukrainian farming class to accept Soviet collectivism (something it had not yet done at this time, despite the imposition of a communist central government on the East European state), Stalin increased the amount of grain Ukraine was required to provide the USSR by 44%, a level too high for the Ukrainian farmers to meet and also be able to feed themselves.


Stalin sent a host of Communist Party officials, soldiers, and secret police to Ukraine to enforce on penalty of death the Soviet law stating that no grain or grain products - not even a loaf of bread - could be kept by the Ukrainian peasants for their own consumption until the entire requisition quota had been fulfilled.


Further, according to a Ukrainian historical website, "an internal passport system was implemented to restrict movements of Ukrainian peasants so that they could not travel in search of food. Ukrainian grain was collected and stored in grain elevators that were guarded by military units [and] NKVD secret police units while Ukrainians were starving in the immediate area."


From "Tragedy" to "Statistic"


The barbaric tactic worked all too well. Between 1932 and November 1933, the man who became infamous for, among other things, coining the phrase, "One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic" added nearly ten million innocents to his tab through starvation, while taking such plentiful fruits of their labors for his own use that "journalists," like New York Times writer and communist sympathizer Walter Duranty, easily swallowed and regurgitated that Soviet party line that the sheer amount of grain flowing into Moscow and out through port cities like Leningrad and Vladivostok meant that the claim of famine anywhere in the Soviet principate was patently absurd.


One writer at conservative weblog RedState.com described the ending of that year of barbarism:


As fall turned into winter in Ukraine in late 1933, good summer and fall weather had produced a bumper crop in Ukraine's ultra-fertile fields. By later in November, it continued to sit there and rot under the impending damp of winter - because there was no one to harvest it. Everyone who had planted the crops in the spring was dead - there was no one left alive to gather the harvest.


On November 28, 2006, after Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko ordered the release of thousands of KGB documents showing that the forced famine was perpetrated in part for the purpose of wiping out ethnic Ukrainians, that nation's Parliament declared the Holodomor - a Ukrainian term which, roughly translated, means "Death by Hunger" - a deliberate act of genocide by the USSR.


Different Century, Same Bully


While Ukrainians were somberly observing the 75th anniversary of the end of Stalin's forced famine, Russian chose to remind those in Ukraine and elsewhere of its continued desire to play a negative role in the affairs of its neighbors. This time, Moscow threatened to cut off the natural gas supply flowing through that gateway to Western Europe if the entirety of Ukraine's fuel-related debt to its former ruler, estimated at $2 billion, was not immediately settled.


The timing of the threat, which was likely every bit as accidental as President Dmitriy Medvedev's statement, made on the day Barack Obama was being elected President of the United States, that Russia was "prepared to place short-range missiles in the territory of Kaliningrad in response to U.S. plans for a missile-defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic," did not go unnoticed by its target audience.


"The unsubtle Kremlin gets no points for timing," wrote the editors of Ukraine's Kyiv Post on November 26. "The threat to cut off gas in the dead of winter came over the weekend that Ukrainians commemorated the Holodomor, the death by hunger of millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33. The Soviets lied about the Stalin-ordered famine and today's Russian leadership still belittles the epic crime."


Russia's Financial Crisis


On December 4, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated the threat, this time before an international television audience. The move comes as Russia is attempting to force its former vassals, Ukraine included, to transition from paying Soviet-era subsidized prices for natural gas to paying the full international rate.


"How can we leave in place the prices of the current year?" Putin asked, referring to the hardship being brought on Russia by the growing global economic crisis (and by the transcontinental state's decision to increase the percentage of its GDP being spent on the military by nearly 200% over the last year to fund its invasion of former satellite Georgia and to fund its efforts to reassert itself on the global stage as a counter to the U.S.).


"Then," according to an AFP report of Putin's address, "drawing on a Ukrainian colloquialism -- and speaking in Ukrainian -- Putin added: ‘Have you lost your mind?'"


A Threat with Precedent


"In the long march of history, progress is being made," the Kyiv Post's editors wrote. "Kremlin leaders in the early 20th century starved Ukrainian men, women and children to death. Their successors in the 21st century merely threaten to freeze Ukrainians to death."


Russia's threat to cut off heating fuel to Ukraine, where winter temperatures reach as low as -68° Fahrenheit as a matter of course, is not without precedent. In January 2006, Russia responded to Ukraine's refusal to pay a higher price for fuel by reducing the natural gas flowing through Ukraine to a level commensurate with Western Europe's paid allotment alone. Ukraine responded by siphoning gas to meet its own needs (though the government still officially denies that any siphoning ever took place), and, after some European leaders expressed concern about the amount of natural gas that was reaching their nations, Russia returned the flow of fuel to its full previous level.


A Desperate Desire for Relevance


The former Soviet capital has taken advantage of the state of flux in America's political leadership, and of outgoing President George W. Bush's unwillingness to make any further military commitments, to take a more active role both in the affairs of its neighbors and in those of Western nations. From providing weapons and nuclear aid to Iran, to running roughshod over former vassal state and current NATO applicant Georgia this August, to dispatching President Medvedev to meet with Fidel Castro in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, to conducting joint naval exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, Russia's leaders are working to regain the lost trust and rebuild the damaged nationalist pride of their subjects by asserting international relevance in the best way they know how: by intimidating neighbors and acting, despite their inability to actually be such, as a global counterbalance to the United States.


This year's dispute with Ukraine will likely be solved, as its 2006 predecessor was, with little or no physical harm done to Ukraine's population. Putin's threat, though, is yet another example of Russia's growing efforts to impose itself once again on the international stage in the way it has been doing so for centuries: through imperialism and intimidation.


"It seems that the closer a country is located to Russia, the worse Moscow's relations are with that nation," Russian radio host Yulia Latynina wrote in the December 3 Moscow Times. "The Kremlin wants to be on good terms with France and Germany, for example, but if any country that was once part of the Soviet empire tries to shed light on its own history, the Kremlin lashes out with angry reproaches that it is deliberately provoking a conflict."


While this will likely always be a hallmark of Russia's foreign policy, it is one which the civilized nations of the world - from Eastern Europe to the United States - have a duty to oppose in all cases where it manifests itself in acts of aggression, lest invasions of sovereign states like Georgia and the perpetration of barbaric tragedies like the 1932-33 Holodomor be allowed to occur once again.


Jeff Emanuel, a special operations military veteran, is a columnist, a combat journalist, and a director emeritus of conservative weblog RedState.com. An archive of his writings can be seen at JeffEmanuel.net.
14 Comments on "Russia rubs raw nerves in Ukraine"

prabir
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 07 Dec 2008 20:43

This year's dispute with Ukraine will likely be solved, as its 2006 predecessor was, with little or no physical harm done to Ukraine's population. Putin's threat, though, is yet another example of Russia's growing efforts to impose itself once again on the international stage in the way it has been doing so for centuries: through imperialism and intimidation.


Is this only Russian behavior, what about US behavior in other parts of the world ?

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Vick » 08 Dec 2008 01:27

Stalin's treatment of Ukraine in 1932 is eerily similar to the way Britain imposed the Bengal Famine of 1943. No wonder there's no love loss between Ukrainians and Russians.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby vsudhir » 09 Dec 2008 08:20

Vick wrote:Stalin's treatment of Ukraine in 1932 is eerily similar to the way Britain imposed the Bengal Famine of 1943. No wonder there's no love loss between Ukrainians and Russians.


Exactly what I was thinking.

And the Brits somehow escaped the bad rap. So much so that a sitting Indian PM praised the Brit empire (of sorts, admittedly, am taking something out of context, perhaps) and another unabashedly wanted to be a brit himself.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Igorr » 09 Dec 2008 13:56

The famine in South Russia was a part of 'ukrainisation' policy of the Ukrainian Communist Party. Stalin (Georgian) with other non-Russian leaders of USSR feared Russian politics in party. So they killed Russian Kirov and Bukharin and tried to divide Russian integrists. Those who died from famine in Ukraine were mostly Russians who didnt want to be writed as 'ukrainians' in documents. Also it was a policy against Russian Kazaks and non Russian Kazakhs (in Kazakhstan too), because they remained Russian monarchy sympatizers.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Johann » 11 Dec 2008 23:05

V Sudhir, Vick,

The Bengal famine, like the Irish famines, or the famines in the PRC under Mao was the result of a combination of callousness, bad planning, and environmental factors. They came from a lack of thought for the welfare of the common man.

What happened in the Ukraine was explicitly prosecuted by Stalin and the CPSU as a 'class war' against the small and medium farmers, ie the majority of the Ukrainian population.

Starvation was not a side effect - it was intended to punish and crush a class regarded as hostile, and should punishment fail to reform them it was intended to eliminate them.

Farmers for example who slaughtered their cattle, hid their grain rather than turned them over were rounded up and executed by the NKVD as traitors and 'saboteurs' working as agents for anti-Soviet forces.

Ukraine as the breadbasket of the Russian Empire and later Soviet Union suffered disproportionately in this class war because it had far more good agricultural land, and therefore far more small and medium farmers.

This was accompanied by the rounding up and execution of much of the Ukrainian intelligentsia deemed to be insuficiently supportive of the collectivisation 'struggle' and the war on the 'kulaks'.

In that sense while Ukrainians try to commemorate the disproportionately massive blow that Stalin's war represented, they should not make this an ethnic Ukrainians vs Russians thing - Igorr is right there.

However Stalin remains far more popular in Russia than anywhere else in the former Soviet Union - so to dismiss him as a Georgian isnt enough for reconciliation. As far as many Russians are concerned, Stalin made the USSR a superpower, and made Russia respected. This is in some ways like the PRC where despite bitterness over suffering under Mao, people like the fact that the world feared and respected China once Mao took power.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Dec 2008 15:51

Russia Issues New Warning to West
http://voanews.com/english/2008-12-10-voa29.cfm

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the West against seeking to advance its interests in former Soviet republics at the expense of Russia.

Lavrov told a group of foreign businessmen meeting in Moscow his country understands that the United States and Europe have legitimate interests in the region. But he said they should build ties through "legal, understandable and transparent methods," not what he called "behind the scenes meddling," which he said leads to crisis situations.

The Russian minister indirectly mentioned his country's August conflict with Georgia, and repeated Russia's opposition to U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe.

He said his country is counting on the future administration of Barack Obama to confirm pledges to cooperate with Russia in fighting common threats such as international terrorism and weapons proliferation.

Russia calls the U.S. missile plan a threat to its security.

U.S. officials say the proposal to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and radar guidance in the Czech Republic is aimed at protecting the European allies against threats from countries such as Iran.



Russia raps NATO over Georgia, Ukraine

Russia's ties with NATO will remain strained as long as Ukrainian and Georgian membership of the alliance remain on the agenda, its defence minister said in an interview published on Friday.

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/worl ... .asp?scr=1

The Kremlin accuses Washington of using NATO expansion -- in particular long-term plans to bring in ex-Soviet vassals Ukraine and Georgia -- to encircle Russia with hostile armies and draw new dividing lines in Europe.

"We stand for a serious, constructive dialogue with the alliance," Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told Finland's National Defence Journal.

"But if someone hopes we will compliantly watch a military armada being built at our borders, with our national security interests being ignored, then we will have to upset someone".

Serdyukov said Moscow was worried by "the stubborn persistence of some alliance members, in particular the United States, to drag Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, no matter what".

"We would like to know, for instance, whether you would feel worried if there was a person armed to the teeth standing at the door of your house, who would not say why he came or what he would do next, and only brandished a knife in front of your face," he added.

At a meeting of NATO foreign ministers earlier this month, Germany led resistance to U.S. plans to give Ukraine and Georgia a timetable for NATO membership. Washington, however, has urged NATO to encourage the two states to join the alliance one day.

"As we know, there is no consensus in the bloc's ranks on this issue (of Ukraine's and Georgia's membership)," Serdyukov said. "Nonetheless, it remains on the agenda."

NATO-Russia forum
The work of a NATO-Russia forum was suspended after Russia's five-day war with Georgia in August following Tbilisi's attempt to retake the rebel region of South Ossetia by force.

"As for Georgia ... one can hardly imagine a role for this country in ensuring collective Euro-Atlantic security, especially now, after its barbaric punitive operation in South Ossetia," Serdyukov said.

"Of course, such a state of things does not help building constructive foreign policy relations between Russia and NATO."

In a move welcomed in Europe, U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice has said she does not oppose "in principle" reviving contacts with Russia via the NATO-Russia Council set up to oversee the relationship.

But Serdyukov said that unless NATO was prepared to address Russia's concerns about expansion, Moscow had "something that can turn such hopes into illusions".

The minister said he was referring to President Dmitry Medvedev's order not to disband by 2010 three regiments of a nuclear missile division in central Russia.

Serdyukov reiterated that Russia could deploy Iskander tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region bordering European Union territory, if Washington pushed ahead with deploying elements of an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

"You must understand that all these measures are forced upon us," he added.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Dec 2008 16:00

Rise of Russia Divides Europe
http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS ... 0508024737

Russia continues its rise as a world power; Europe is facing a growing division between the old and the new Europe. The old Europe is led by the countries such as France, Germany and Italy which are very developed, stable and with strong democratic traditions. The new Europe consists of countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, Ukraine and Romania which are poor, unstable and without any strong democratic traditions. These countries are poorer and less developed than many third world countries and are in a unique category that can be most appropriately called the “Fourth World”.
The poor less developed and unstable Europe is led by the USA and the UK. As opposed to the third world countries, many of the fourth World European countries are most reactionary, anti communist, antisocialist and they align with the USA and the UK against the third world countries, Russia, China and the Islamic countries. Instead of joining the movement to bring a change in the World order and the outdated financial global institutions, these countries want to maintain the hegemony of the USA and the unipolar world.

However, the old and stable Europe wants a change from the unipolar world to a multipolar world and wants to reach an understanding with Russia. They understand that without compromises with Russia, Europe and the World can never be stable and peaceful.

Another conflict the fourth world countries of Europe are facing with the third world countries is on the issue of immigration. The poor and destitute Europeans from these countries want to migrate to the well off countries of Europe and compete with the people of the third world countries for the low paying and menial jobs. Whereas, many third world countries have improved job opportunities and some of them are even experiencing reverse migration, the fourth world countries of Europe show no sign of improvement and their economies are going from bad to worse. Last year, I saw many people from these countries doing jobs in England which were generally done by the people from the third world countries.

The developed Europe can clearly see the trends that the Russian power in the world is rising and the American influence is declining. America can no longer maintain the only Super Power status in the world. Russia is engaged in naval exercises in South America, upgrading its missile system and installing new missiles system right next to Poland and the Czech Republic.

The old Europe does not want to provoke a powerful Russia whose power it can not meet but the new Europe has unrealistic faith in the American power and keeps teasing and provoking Russia. Even the severe beating received by Georgia did not convince it that America may not risk a confrontation with Russia on its behalf. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are going ahead with the installation of the American missile system in their countries.

However, the old Europe has resisted the American pressure and continues to improve its relations with Russia. It does not want to risk its energy supply from Russia. The new gas pipeline will bypass Poland. Russia and Germany in their summit have decided a new route for the pipeline by passing Poland. The old divisions in Europe will be replaced by the new divisions, the countries such as France, Germany and Italy want to assert their independence from America, and the new Europe wants to perpetuate the American domination.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr. Sawraj Singh is Chairman of Washington State Network For Human Rights, and Chairman of Central Washington Coalition For Social Justice.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Dec 2008 16:05

Georgian war spurred Russian military reforms
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV – 3 days ago

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... wD94VULS00

MOSCOW (AP) — The war with Georgia highlighted problems plaguing Russia's armed forces and was the catalyst for the most sweeping military reforms in nearly half a century, Russia's top military officer said Wednesday.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, said the government had drafted plans to streamline and modernize the military before the war in August but speeded up the changes after it.

"The conflict with Georgia worked as a catalyst," Makarov said at a meeting with foreign military attaches. "In a way, it confirmed the reforms were necessary."

Georgia launched a missile barrage against the separatist region of South Ossetia on Aug. 7 in an attempt to regain control. Moscow responded by sending in troops and tanks, quickly routing the Georgian military and driving deep into Georgia.

Despite the quick victory, the military acknowledged the war revealed poor coordination between different branches of Russia's military and a shortage of modern communications equipment.

Military analysts said the outdated communications made it hard for officers to coordinate actions on the battlefield. Modern weapons like smart-bombs were scarce and Russian bombs and missiles often veered off-target and hit civilian areas.

Makarov said he personally talked to platoon and company commanders to better understand the problems they faced in the war.

The sweeping reforms announced by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in October envisaged cutting 200,000 of 355,000 military officers and disbanding nine of every ten army units by 2012.

Though downsized to 1.13 million troops from the 4 million-member Soviet Army, the Russian military had done little to reduce its number of officers, and many military units existed only on paper.

Makarov said reforms will cut the military down to 1 million, including around 150,000 officers, and create only fully combat ready units. The balky Soviet-era structure will be abolished, disbanding divisions and regiments in favor of more flexible brigades.

The reforms have drawn increasingly loud grumbling from the top military brass, and several senior generals who opposed them have lost their jobs. Some retired officers have called for Serdyukov to be prosecuted.

Makarov voiced confidence Wednesday the military will be able to conduct the reforms despite the global financial crisis and slumping oil prices that have sharply reduced government revenues.

He urged NATO to negotiate lower numbers of weapons in Europe as a condition for Russia to end its moratorium on compliance with the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. Moscow suspended its participation in the CFE last year.

Makarov also said Russia wants to negotiate a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States to replace the 1991 START I treaty that expires next fall.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 23 Jan 2009 09:27

From UPI.com

Russia, Israel failed to topple enemies despite winning battles
By MARTIN SIEFF, UPI Senior News AnalystPublished: Jan. 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Did Russia win or lose its five-day war in Georgia, and did Israel win or lose its three-week war in Gaza? The answers in both cases lie on the political and strategic levels, not in the areas of tactics and ground combat.

It may be argued that Russia failed and Israel succeeded, or that both nations failed in their longer-term strategic goals, because pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili continues to rule Georgia just as Hamas, the Iranian-backed Islamic Resistance Movement, continues to run Gaza.

Indeed, Israeli military losses in Gaza were far lighter, with only 13 killed, than Russian military casualties in Georgia, and Israel did not lose any expensive bombers or other aircraft as Russia did in the brief Caucasus conflict of last August.

There were, however, striking similarities between the two conflicts. Neither Georgia's leaders, nor those of Hamas, ever believed they would face the massive and sustained military offensive that hit them. Russia and Israel both enjoyed total tactical surprise when they launched their attacks.

The leaders of both Georgia and Hamas were dealt rude shocks. The Georgians imagined, indeed, that thanks to significant infusions of modern military equipment from the United States, they would be able to blunt any Russian ground attack. Instead, their military forces were almost contemptuously swept aside by the Russian army. Hamas similarly put up a negligible military performance against the Israeli army.

Both the Georgians and Hamas believed the larger power they were taunting and defying would never dare to attack them and that even if it did, international pressure and outrage would force it to a halt within days or even hours. But both Georgia and Hamas were quickly disillusioned of this fantasy.

There was nothing the 27-nation European Union and the United States could do to slow or halt the Russian military juggernaut until the Kremlin drew its own stop lines after sweeping through one-third of the mountainous, forested former Soviet republic in the Caucasus. Israeli ground forces operated with impunity in Gaza, and the huge wave of popular demonstrations across the Arab world that Hamas had expected never materialized.

Nevertheless, although Saakashvili survived the Russia onslaught against his country and the Hamas leadership survived in Gaza, their political prospects look very different.

Saakashvili in Georgia has just lost the one really powerful friend he had in the world, strongly pro-Georgian U.S. President George W. Bush. New U.S. President Barack Obama and his incoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, already have made clear they want to reduce tensions with Russia and negotiate a new arms control treaty within the next year to replace START, which runs out in December.

In such a political climate, Saakashvili knows the best he can hope for is survival. The Obama administration will not push to get Georgia admitted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as Bush unsuccessfully did. U.S. Undersecretary of State Daniel Fried, who was the enthusiastic Bush point man to embrace Georgia, will not retain his position in the new Obama administration.

Saakashvili therefore will continue to face a hostile and emboldened Russia. Hamas certainly will face a far more hostile and potentially dangerous leader in Israel if former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wins the Israeli general election on Feb. 10, as he is widely expected to, from Labor Party leader Ehud Barak and Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni, both of whom showed indecision and confusion, along with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in leading Israel in the Gaza operations.

However, Obama and Clinton in Washington can be counted on to act forcefully to rein in any future Israeli government, even a Likud one, whereas Bush gave the Israelis a free hand. That was why Olmert and his lieutenants pulled Israeli forces out of Gaza only days before Obama took office.

--

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 02 Feb 2009 17:54

Shakywilly on a sticky wicket as the opposition blame him for Georgia's post war woes.

http://www.euractiv.com/en/enlargement/ ... cle-179032

Russia to build naval base in Georgia

Georgia's opposition last week accused President Mikheil Saakashvili of leading the country to "catastrophe" and demanded his resignation. At the same time, media reported that Russia will start building a naval base in Georgia's separatist region of Abkhazia.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day conflict in August 2008, when Russian troops repelled a Georgian assault on the breakaway pro-Russian region of South Ossetia, which broke free from Tbilisi's rule in the early 1990s.

Russia recognised South Ossetia and Georgia's second breakaway region of Abkhazia as independent states. Russia has thousands of troops stationed in both regions.

Around 20,000 Georgian villagers remain displaced. Some are afraid to return to South Ossetia, while others have no homes to go to after they were razed by militias.

Economic growth in Georgia slowed dramatically after the war, just as the global financial crisis was about to take hold.

The leaders of around a dozen opposition parties, in a rare show of unity, issued a joint declaration on Thursday (29 January), calling on Saakashvili to quit and hold free and fair elections for president and parliament.

"Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, in their five years in power, have led the country to catastrophe," it read.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic are due in 2013. Saakashvili has ruled out early polls, brushing off opposition accusations that he walked into a war Georgia could not possibly win.

Russian media reported that Moscow is planning to start building a naval base this year in Georgia's Black Sea separatist region of Abkhazia, a step Tbilisi said would violate its sovereignty.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quoted an unnamed official at Russian naval headquarters as saying commanders planned to station vessels at the Abkhaz port of Ochamchire.

Russia's navy could not immediately be reached for comment, but an official with Abkhazia's separatist administration confirmed the plan for a Russian navy base at Ochamchire.

The Russian navy has one operational base abroad, in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol. Ukraine's government - which like Georgia's leaders is seeking NATO membership - has said it will not renew the lease on the base when it runs out in 2017.

"There is a plan to make such a base, but not as an alternative to Sevastapol. It is likely to be an infrastructure base for Russian military boats," Maxim Gunjia, the separatists' deputy foreign minister, told Reuters.


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