• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Georgia and the Russian invasions/annexations/Lebensraum (2008 & 2015)

Some of the latest.....

DPA, Euronews.net"The Russian army now appears to have firm control of South Ossetia’s capital"

Agence France Presse"Georgia Is Completely Withdrawing Armed Forces from South Ossetia"

Reuters"Russian navy arrives at Georgia sea border"
Agence France Presse"Russia denies imposing naval blockade on Georgia"

Reuters"Russia, Georgia agree to evacuate refugees"

And, not too far away, "Abkhazia pres proposes proclaiming mobilisation in republic" and "Abkhazia sends army to drive out Georgian troops"

Ralph Peters article.


AS I write, Russian tanks grind into a brave and isolated democratic state.

Assuming that the world's attention would focus on Beijing, Moscow stage-managed an elaborate act of aggression against Georgia.

But the world has changed since Soviet tanks rolled unchallenged into Afghanistan at Christmastime 29 years ago. Global communications now spotlight aggression instantly.

Yesterday, the world didn't watch the Olympic opening ceremonies (the Chinese must be furious at the Russians). Instead, we saw images of Soviet - sorry, I meant Russian - aircraft pounding Georgian territory as Russian armor rolled over the Caucasus Mountains.

The Kremlin is determined to break Georgia's will - and keep the feisty republic out of NATO.

Russia, you see, still believes it's entitled to all of its former empire. And, tragically, "Old Europe" is back: Yesterday, Germany and other nervous European states bought the Russian line that Georgia is the aggressor. Wouldn't want to anger Moscow . . .

The background: When a fellow officer and I drove through the region in 1991, Georgian patriots and Russian "peacekeepers" were already facing off. As the USSR collapsed, its security services leapt to foment separatist (pro-Moscow) movements in the newly independent states. In Georgia's case, that meant instigating rebellions in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and - unsuccessfully - Adjaria (the Caucasus is a crazy quilt of obscure identities). If Georgians insisted on independence, the Kremlin intended to dissect the country.

But then Russia found itself bogged down in a series of botched wars in Chechnya as its military rotted and the Yeltsin government floundered.

Now, however, the petrodollar-powered Russia of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his straight man, President Dmitri Medvedev, is swaggering - and determined to punish Georgia, to make it an example to other defiant neighbors.

What just happened? The Kremlin decided it was time to act, since Georgia was only growing stronger under its democratically elected government. Although NATO has been hemming and hawing about admitting Georgia, the Russians didn't want to take any chances. (Just last month, 1,000 US troops were in Georgia for an exercise.)

Calculating that the media and world leaders would be partying in Beijing, the Russians ordered North Ossetian militiamen, backed by Russian "peacekeepers" and mercenaries, to provoke the Georgians earlier this month.

Weary of the Russian presence on their soil, the Georgians took the bait. President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered his US-trained military to respond.

That was the excuse the Kremlin wanted. Immediately, a tank brigade from Russia's 58th Army (the butchers of Chechnya) crossed the international border into Poland - sorry, I meant Georgia.
How do I know that the Russians set a trap? Simple: Given the wretched state of Russian military readiness, that brigade could never have shot out of its motor pool on short notice. The Russians obviously "task-organized" the force in advance to make sure it would have working tanks with competent crews.

Otherwise, broken-down vehicles would've lined those mountain roads.

The Russians planned it. And they hope to push it to the limit.

What happens next? This is a fight between a very small David and a very large Goliath. That said, the Russians may be surprised at how fiercely the Georgians defend their homeland. At least two, and possibly four, Russian jets have been shot down while attacking Georgian bases close to the capital city, Tbilisi.

As of last night, the Georgians had retaken Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital. I'd bet American veterans helped Georgia with contingency planning for just such a situation (it worked in Bosnia).

Meanwhile, hundreds of civilians and dozens of militiamen, Kremlin-funded mercenaries and Russian "peacekeepers" have been killed, along with tens of Georgian troops. This fighting is serious. And, unless Moscow pulls out all the stops, its forces just might take a surprise beating.

The Russian view: If I were a Russian staff planner (and sober), I wouldn't expect to drive all the way to the Georgian capital - that would be too much for the West to stomach (although Russia's greatest strength today is that it doesn't care about world opinion).

My objective would be to retake Tskhinvali, then strike due south to cut Georgia's lifelines to the world - the strategic highway, parallel rail line and international pipeline that connect Georgia's eastern interior with its western ports.

(Incidentally, such an offensive would take the Kremlin's tanks to the aptly named city of Gori, birthplace of Josef Stalin.)

If the Russian invaders can sever those links, they'll cut Georgia in half. Control of that road-rail-pipeline complex would not only bring the Georgian economy to a standstill - it would also allow the Kremlin's other clients in Abkhazia, on the Black Sea, to renew their attempt to devour Georgian territory.

Russian generals have always been good planners. The problems crop up in the execution.

And the Russians have several vulnerabilities:

* They have only a single route over the rugged Caucasus range. If Georgian commandos interdict it, the Russians will feel the supply pinch quickly. And any major Russian military operations need to be wrapped up before autumn snows close the passes - if there isn't a cease-fire sooner.

* The Russians also need a local airfield to sustain their efforts - that could lure them closer to Georgia's capital.

* Finally, the Russian army still relies on brute force - sophisticated combat operations are not its specialty.

We don't know how this will develop. A Russian humiliation? A Kremlin success as the world wrings its hands but looks away? A destructive, bloody standoff?

The only thing that's 100 percent clear is which side we should be on.

Ralph Peters' latest book, "Looking For Trouble," takes readers through Georgia.
tomahawk6 said:
* Finally, the Russian army still relies on brute force - sophisticated combat operations are not its specialty.

Hmm....quite the simplification.  The Germans actually still believe (some of them) that they lost WW2 due to Russian numerical superiority.  Unfortunately (for them), The Red Army was quite successful in conducting complex operations at levels not seen since.  Operations URANUS and BAGRATION are but two operations that were both complex and sophisticated.  Just curious, does Ralph Peters have an axe to grind?

PS: I realise that the Russian army of today is not the Soviet Army of 1942-1944.  Still, it seems as though some prejudices haven't died.

And in case Ralph Peters forgot something, but military action is by definition "brute force".  Just as the Taliban what kind of "force" we use on them in firefights...
I think Peters point of reference is Chehcnya where you must agree the Russians used a rather heavy hand in places like Grozny.
But the heavy hand is what is known and expected....

Russia, while capable of sophisticated operations and planning, does not, unlike the US, cloud it's goals with niceties.....Just get the job done, pretty can wait until after....whereas, the west tends to get bogged down in what the rest of the world is going to think of them afterwards....everything must be justified
Gap: I think you hit the nail on the head.  The Russians have always understood that if military force is to be used, it must be decisive.  No holds barred, as it were.  It may not always work for them in the long run, but you're right, it's what's expected.
the news feeds have been an interesting look at Russia's post communist army. I remember jokes from the 90's "Russian army will work for food" and things like that but I don't think anybody is laughing now. They still have quite a force. What really surprises me is that the price of gas hasn't shot up. when I heard of the hostilities I immediately headed for the gas station. And on top of that they bombed pipelines. With the proximity to Iran and how close they are to war this thing could get interesting.

meni0n said:
oligarch, I'm sure Russia 'accidently' had tanks ready to roll in at the border to defend the poor 'separatists' of SO.And the video and pictures of the  bombing of Gori is a huge propaganda on behalf of the Western world to show how Russia is truly evil. Don't forget, Russia is the only country in the world to recognize SO. I'm sure they're just innocent peacekeepers out to do good in the world. ::)

Bombing of Gori? 20 Civilians were killed in Gori by Russian fire. Gori is also where much of the Georgian illegal "Grad" artillery was positioned. If the Russians acted like Georgians in this conflict, they would mobilize their Smerch systems and level Gori. I say this because the Georgians used Grads to bomb Tsihinvali and the Georgians leveled it to the ground, killing what now seemes to be over 2000 peaceful individuals. If you would like to see videos of what the Ossetian capital looks like after Georgian 'democratic' and strategic fire, please feel free to give me your e-mail address and I'll send them.
Why not post a link?.....or somehow are you the only one with these videos?

While your at it, could you provide proof of your claims?
I see plenty of pictures of dead Georgian civilians but nothing really from SO. So if Russia is just protecting innocent SO people, why are they attacking Georgia in Abkhazia?

Here is a good read on why this has happend:

A bit of "the spent casing's still haven't cooled off yet" analysis....

Strategy Page:  "To no one's surprise, the  Russians drove back a Georgian attempt to regain control of South Ossetia. There were several hundred military and civilian casualties. The fighting apparently began when some South Ossetia militiamen fired across the border at Georgian troops. This escalated to a Georgian invasion, and a Russian reinforcement of its peacekeepers, and the expulsion of the Georgian troops. All in the space of a week...."

Sunday Times (UK):  "....In South Ossetia, Russia is drawing a confrontation line in the sand. If Georgia joins Nato, Moscow is saying, there is no way that South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be part of it...."

Agence France Presse:  "....Though it was Georgia that launched the initial attack on South Ossetia and then withdrew under heavy Russian fire, it is also Georgia - whose quest to join NATO, supported by the U.S., and which rankles the Kremlin - that is being portrayed as the victim in the conflict, analysts said...."

More on links...
oligarch said:
If you would like to see videos of what the Ossetian capital looks like after Georgian 'democratic' and strategic fire, please feel free to give me your e-mail address and I'll send them.

So what does Grozny look like now? 
Russia is more concerned about gains and objectives during conflict than avoiding collateral damage.  As has been shown during recent history, civilians being killed is an acceptable bi-product of fighting to them, and has zero bearing on how operations are conducted.

Some US military response should wake the Russians up and get them to back off.
tomahawk6 said:
Some US military response should wake the Russians up and get them to back off.

Wouldn't US support be more appropriate at first, I mean we are dealing with a Nuclear power here.
Talk alone isnt going to get the Russians to back off,there is alot more at stake than just Georgia.All of eastern europe is at risk and perhaps western europe as well. The US cannot afford to appear weak or Putin will expand his little empire one small state at a time.
I doubt the US will get involved in a large capacity. It wouldn't be a good idea especially since they are too busy with the Middle East and the prospect of Iran. The timing of the election and Iran just couldn't be a better time. It would be best for Russia to bring the Georgian leader to justice for the shelling of that regional capital city and then everything should calm down. Send him off to the Hague. This is Russia's backyard and it's for them to deal with. Putin wouldn't be able to get away with trying to take over half of Europe anyways.
The incongruous said:
Wouldn't US support be more appropriate at first, I mean we are dealing with a Nuclear power here.

That and we're already swamped with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US military is already stretched almost as far as possible. Until that's done with I can't see us being in a good position to do anything like that.

I think we've got to give all of the support we can, but if this starts to become the same as the situation with pre-WW2 Germany then the stick would be an option that would be seriously thought about.
uncle-midget-boyd said:
So what does Grozny look like now?   

Looks like a pretty clean city and quite peaceful. They actually held an international film festival there a few months back. You've never been?


no footage/pictures of Georgian bombing of Tshinivali.... oh really??????

"The Western media has portrayed the Russian as solely responsible for the deaths of civilians, yet at the same time the Western media has acknowledged (confirmed by the BBC) that most of the civilian casualties at the outset were the result of the Georgian ground and air attacks.

Based on Russian and Western sources, the initial death toll in South Ossetia was at least 1,400 (BBC) mostly civilians.  "Georgian casualty figures ranged from 82 dead, including 37 civilians, to a figure of around 130 dead.... A Russian air strike on Gori, a Georgian town near South Ossetia, left 60 people dead, many of them civilians, Georgia says." (BBC, August 9, 2008). Russian sources place the number of civilian deaths on South Ossetia at 2000."(Michel Chossudovsky, professor of economics at U of Ottawa, 2008)

The reason all you see is footage of bombed Gori is because that is all your media will show you. There was one misfire in Gori, 20 people dead! Just to put that in perspective, during NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, which I'm certain you support, NATO CONFIRMED casualties were over 2500; in actual fact, the death toll is likely double that. So why are we flipping out on Russia for 20 deaths (according to Russian sources) or 60 deaths according to Georgian sources. The real number is likely somewhere in the middle.
1) 2000 dead BY THE HAND OF GEORGIA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4tvUrIQe0U
2) 2000 dead: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/09/georgia.russia2
3) Georgia bombs Tshinvali before Russia gets involved, in Russian. Feel free to bablefish: http://lenta.ru/news/2008/08/08/violence/
4) Selected timeline from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_South_Ossetia_War#August_7_.E2.80.93_August_8:_Georgian_involvement)
1) Beginning late on 1 August, intense fighting began between Georgian troops and paramilitary soldiers of South Ossetia causing the deaths of six people and the injuries of twenty-one others. Each side accused the other of commencing the fighting. On 3 August, the Russian government allowed South Ossetians to begin evacuation into Russia, which resulted in twenty bus-loads of refugees leaving the region on the first day.
2) On August 4, five battalions of Russian 58th Army were moved to the vicinity of Roki Tunnel that links South Ossetia with North Ossetia (for those of you who will undoubetdly ask, this is INSIDE Russia)
3) http://www.interfax.com/3/417133/news.aspx
4) Before Russian involvement, the Georgian Army crossed the border of South Ossetia on the early hours of August 8, 2008 after overnight bombardment of Tskhinvali by heavy artillery (howitzers), 122 mm multiple-launch rocket systems "Grad", and large-caliber mortars. Tanks and APC supported by artillery launched a thrust towards Tskhinvali. These are confirmable FACTS, not opinions. I don't know why I should have to back up what is common knowledge everywhere outside of North America. The fact is, from the begining of Saakashvili's presidency he was told that any aggression against Ossetia or Abkhazia will be met with a strong reaction by the Russian Federation. Further, the Russian federation was there to ensure that neither Georgia nor South Ossetia break the peace. Georgia broke the peace, and Vitali Churkin merely requested that all Georgian forces be REMOVED FROM SOUTH OSSETIA and that Georgia signs an agreement about the non-use of violence in the region. If Russia was a destabilizing country, why would it call for Georgia to sign this document in the weeks leading up to the conflict? A further and more interesting question would be the following one: if Georgia really did not intend to invade South Ossetia, why would it refuse to sign this agreement?

5) Somebody requested pictures of the aftermath of the Georgian shelling of Tsihinvali? Here are just a few...
a) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/09/ossetia/4_Jpg.htm
b) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/09/ossetia/12_Jpg.htm
c) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/09/ossetia/5_Jpg.htm (a burned Georgian tank... may I ask what it was doing in Tsihinvali?)
d) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/09/ossetia/2_Jpg.htm
e) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/08/ossetia2/111_Jpg.htm
f) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/08/ossetia2/222_Jpg.htm (firing of Grad upon a city, which is not a very accurate weapon if you know anything about it)
g) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/08/ossetia2/8_Jpg.htm
h) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/08/ossetia2/10_Jpg.htm
i) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/08/ossetia2/11_Jpg.htm
j) http://lenta.ru/photo/2008/08/08/ossetia2/12_Jpg.htm

Here is a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJkwYeo738s

I want to say thanks for those who understand that Russia is not the aggressor here. If anything, this war is not in the best interests of Russia because it further destabilizes the situation for the Olympics, advances Ukrain's NATO bid (which is why i suspect the US pushed Georgia into this war), among other things I will not go into at this point. The people that think anything to do with Russia is evil right of the bad infuriate me, and I see some occasionally on this forum. This kind of thinking is what starts wars, it does not end them.

If you want a first hand point of view on the subject, try to find the latest UNSC meeting and watch it in its entirety. I did without translation on a paysite, but I'm sure the text of Vataly Churkin's speech can be found somewhere on the net. I completely agree with every word put forth by him in this speech, and urge those who feel strongly on the issue one way or another to at least see this information. Even if you choose to disagree, you will get to at least be able to say that you have seen both sides of the story.

I'll post more tommorow morning if I am up to it. Good night.
oligarch said:
Looks like a pretty clean city and quite peaceful. They actually held an international film festival there a few months back. You've never been?
Okay then, I'll dumb it down a bit so you can't dodge around the question you knew I was asking.
What did Grozny look like in the days and weeks following the Russian assault?

Here's an article snip from 99 when the Russians went back to Chechnya:

(12/6/99) --- While war rages in Chechnya's lowlands, up to 20,000 civilians in mountainous Shatoi district are trapped under constant bombardment from Russia forces. There are no safe exit routes for the civilians to flee.

"Russian forces have bombed Shatoi for weeks now, and the situation for civilians is desperate," said Holly Cartner, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia division. "The risk of more civilian casualties is enormous." 

Don't try to pull off any "Russia is innocent and too noble to bomb civilians." It won't work here. The people here know too much to actually believe that.

Here's downtown Grozny, by the way.



From the sounds of this clip it's going to get worse before it gets better in that region.

Interesting note that the south Ossetian's fled to Russia instead of deeper into Georgia. Perhaps i am reading something into this that isn't there though... Either way a bad deal for the innocent people trapped in the middle of this political mess.