The five-day war in Russian media
Today is the 100th day in office for Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, and the Russian media runs overviews of the accomplishments of the period. They have been summed up by Izvestia as"at the end of the 100-day period, Putin's dream is finally achieved: unity in two. The President and the Prime Minister act as a genuine team." Sergey Lavrov's statement, in response to President Bush's, was published by all Russian media, and so is Mikheil Saakashvili's statement announcing American troops to help take over the seaports and airports, immediately rebuked by Bush. The Russian media continues to write extensively about the"Georgian invasion," and to present interviews and analysis that criticize Saakashvili and the United States. Both Ossetian and Abkhaz officials are interviewed, and they have reiterated the two provinces' desires to definitively part ways with Georgia.
One of the most important pieces of news is that the General prosecutor's office of Russia has started an investigation on the "genocide" in South Ossetia, saying that Saakashvili might be charged with genocide against Russian citizens. Izvestia runs a long article about foreign soldiers being part of the Georgian troops that entered Tsinvali. As one recounts:"I can firmly state that one of the Georgian tanks brought in Asian-looking soldiers. I can definitely say they were all on drugs. In the pockets of all Georgian soldiers, with no exception, syringes with morphine, both used and new, were found." Civil society participation in political life takes place in times of war, as well. Kommersant announces that the Civic Chamber will initiate an information campaign to promote in the Western countries the Russian point of view on the activities in South Ossetia. As part of this, the members of the Civic Chamber will travel in groups to Tsinvali, Gori, and Tbilisi. The Civic Chamber will"get involved in the media war." Komsomolskaya Pravda publishes an interview with Eduard Shevardnadze:"No, Saakashvili and I never talk. Had he come for my advice, he would have learned what needed to be done. Had he sought my advice, we could have avoided the bloodshed.
We entered Tsinvali to fight with peaceful civilians. Is this possible? I have always said: first you need to decide why and where you go. What problems will occur on the way there. And only after that you may take the road You are wrong in saying that Saakashvili had guarantees from the U.S. Listen to what Bush said. He is sending very clear messages that Georgians have acted on their own €¦I believe Russia will not try to remove Saakashvili from power. Why would they do so? Let's say they get rid of this president. Another comes. Where are the guarantees that he would act as Russia wants?...The fact that Saakashvilli announces he will withdraw Georgia from CIS is a very bad news. If our country will demonstrate the will to join NATO, and not leave CIS, there would be a chance to stay balanced in a gradually worsening international situation. If this chance does not exist €¦" Novaya Gazeta continues to publish articles very critical of the Kremlin. One of today's reads:"It is very clear that this war was not spontaneous, and that our government was planning it since April. By August, most of the ships of the Black Sea fleet were ready for action, their personnel was ready as well, they have all been part of the training 'Caucasus 2008' that ended on August 2, when forces of police and army had a last training right at the borders with Georgia. At the same time, by the beginning of August, Abkhaz Railway department has finished fitting the railways that were then used to bring in tanks, heavy equipment, and materials for about 10,000 soldiers, deployed without any official reason in Western Georgia.
Clearly, these railroads were not use for 'humanitarian purposes,' as Moscow officially calls its operations. Governmental propaganda also prepared people, permanently bringing into the public attention the detestable behavior of the Georgians, and U.S. and Western support for this."
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