Georgia/Russia news: 11 SEP 2008
NOTE: This is an informational compilation. GMF does not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly, the content contained herein.
New York Times (U.S.), Ellen Barry and Alan Cowell, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: "The leader of Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region, the focus of Russia's war with Georgia last month, offered conflicting versions Thursday of his country's relations with Moscow, first saying that he wanted to join Russia but then insisting that he favored independence, according to news reports €¦Although he did not give a timetable, Mr. Kokoity's declaration was the clearest public statement so far of South Ossetia's and Russia's intentions. He would not have spoken so unambiguously without direct Kremlin backing."
Financial Times (UK), Stefan Wagstyl, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: "Eduard Kokoity, president of the breakaway Georgian territory of South Ossetia, on Thursday pledged to unite with Russia by merging with its autonomous republic of North Ossetia."
Kommersant (RUS), Dmitry Sidorov and Alexander Gabuev, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives held hearings on the recent war in Georgia. During the debates high-ranking State Department and Pentagon officials actually admitted that it was Tbilisi that started the hostilities attacking South Ossetia. This said, Washington virtually acknowledged the chronology Russia regards real. However, it would be untimely for Moscow to triumph. American military and diplomats still consider Russia's reaction "disproportionate" calling on to counter the Kremlin's "imperial reach".
The Guardian (UK), Mark Tran, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: "South Ossetia does not want to become part of Russia, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said today, following a series of contradictory statements from Eduard Kokoity, the South Ossetian leader."
Kommersant (RUS), 11 Sep 2008
Summary: Israel has ordered to halt all sales of military equipment to Georgia, The Associated Press reported with reference to the sources with Israeli defense community.
Washington Post (U.S.), Ian James and Vladimir Isachenkov, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: "Two Russian strategic bombers landed in Venezuela on Wednesday as part of military maneuvers, President Hugo ChÃ¡vez said, welcoming the unprecedented deployment at a time of increasing tensions between Russia and the United States. Russian military analysts said it was the first time Russian strategic bombers have landed in the Western Hemisphere since the Cold War."
New York Times (U.S.), Judy Dempsey, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: "Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia warned Poland on Thursday that it was "playing a dangerous game" by agreeing to deploy part of the controversial American anti-ballistic missile shield on its territory."
The Moscow Times (RUS), Tim Wall , 11 Sep 2008
Summary: As Russian stock markets suffered a second straight disastrous day of trading Wednesday, President Dmitry Medvedev played down the drastic falls of recent months and pledged that the government would restore the markets to their levels at the beginning of the year.
Financial Times (UK), Rachel Morarjee, Charles Clover and Peter Garnham, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: "Russia is considering using money from its national wealth fund and pension fund to support financial markets where necessary in the future, Alexei Kudrin, finance minister said on Thursday as the country's stock market trod water despite government moves to bolster confidence."
Kommersant (RUS), Olga Allenova and Georgy Dvali, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: The Georgian Defense Ministry yesterday denied information published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that ministry representatives spoke against the actions of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in South Ossetia at a recent meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Nonetheless, that information bolstered the spirits of the Georgian opposition, which demanded Saakashvili's resignation. Kommersant decided to measure the depth of the internal division in Georgian society and the presidential prospects of opposition leaders.
The Economist (UK), Opinion, 11 Sep 2008
Summary: "The West still sells one thing that is not made in Russia: respectability. That matters to the class that Andrei Piontkovsky, a Russian commentator, calls "global kleptocrats". They want their businesses audited, lawyered and banked by blue-chip Western respectability-merchants. Dubai, Mumbai and Shanghai may offer that eventually, but not yet. Restricting the sale of respectability while the West still has some in stock would be a powerful sanction."
The Economist (UK), Anne-Marie Slaughter, 9 Sep 2008
Summary: "A bold Western response should have three components: letting the European Union take the lead, albeit with close coordination with the United States; splitting Russia off from its incipient partners in a global G5 (with China, India, Brazil and South Africa); and using networks of economic, religious, social and cultural actors below the surface of traditional geopolitics to bring home the true costs of Russia's actions."
The Russia Profile (RUS), Sergei Balashov, 10 Sep 2008
Summary: The recent crisis between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia has created speculation over possible further eruptions over the "frozen conflict" territories of the former Soviet Union, namely the regions of Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh. However, instead of continuing the recent trend in conflict resolution, rather than seeing them as a playground for grander, political pursuits between international powers, the troubled regions of the CIS need a new localized approach in solving their impending crises.
Die ZEIT Online (Germany), Joachim Fritz-Vannahme, 10 Sep 2008
Summary: Fritz-Vannahme argues that there are essentially now three new states in the Caucasus: €˜Core'-Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Although the EU officially resists the Russian attempt to divide the country, it has de facto accepted the change in the status quo: "The new map of the Caucasus is being drawn in Moscow. And not in Brussels, let alone in Washington."
POLICY INSTITUTE ANALYSIS
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (U.S.), Dmitri Trenin, 9 Sep 2008
Summary: "In responding to the Russia-Georgia crisis, punishing the Russians is an option that is frequently advocated in the West. However, in an Economist Debate, Dmitri Trenin argues that before taking such bold steps, the West should first determine what Russia wants and where it is heading. Additionally, It should use this present crisis to structure a security relationship in Europe that would both include Russia and reassure its wary neighbors."
American Enterprise Institute (U.S.), Leon Aron, 10 Sep 2008
Summary: "Russia's invasion and continued occupation of Georgia was the beginning of a disturbing turn in Russia's national security and foreign policy. The primary goal of Russian foreign policy is now its reemergence as a super power and control over its former Soviet neighbors. Countries seeking greater ties with the West are in danger of more direct Russian intervention. In particular, the Crimea is Ukraine's weak spot and may be Russia's next target."
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