Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 50816
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2022/06/30 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
6/30    

2008/8/8-13 [Politics/Domestic/Election, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:50816 Activity:nil
8/8     Russia invades Georgia
        http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4486208.ece
        \_ Welcome back Soviets, we missed you.
        \_ They picked the luckiest day to invade!
        \_ Anyone have any idea what's really going on here?  Georgia wants
           to join Nato and be west aligned, so Russia has been supporting
           some rebel/seperatist groups?  These groups are Russian citizens
           or what?  I don't really get that part.  Georgia just made a major
           offensive against a seperatist group and crushed them, so Russia
           is rolling in the tanks?
           \_ There's a population of ethnic Russians in that region of Georgia
              who want to break away and join Russia. Mind you, given Russia's
              opposition to Kosovar independence and Chechnyan separatists,
              the irony is appalling.
              \_ Just curious, was that population of ethnic Russians shipped
                 there by the soviets?  They did that with some areas.
                 \_ Turns out (on closer viewing) that the separatists are a
                    different ethnic population from Russia and Georgia. As
                    usual, the BBC has an excellent primer on the region:
                    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3261059.stm
2022/06/30 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
6/30    

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www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4486208.ece
CLASSIFIEDS From Times Online August 8, 2008 Georgia says Russian tanks mean 'war' in South Ossetia You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player. Video: Russian tanks roll in Russia sent troops and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles into the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia today, vowing to protect its citizens in a move described by Tbilisi's pro-Western Government as an act of war. A South Ossetian rebel minister said that more than 1,000 people had been killed in overnight shelling of the city of Tskhinvali, the separatist capital which Georgia claimed today to have captured. In probably the most serious regional crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, at least 50 Russian tanks - and possibly many more - rumbled through the Roki tunnel, which cuts through the Caucasus mountains separating South Ossetia from the Russian province of North Ossetia. Video: Russian tanks roll in The Russian incursion came after Georgian forces moved to regain control of the region that broke away along with rebel Abkhazia in the 1990s. Russia backs the separatists in both provinces and has its own peacekeeping forces there. "One hundred and fifty Russian tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles have entered South Ossetia," President Saakashvili of Georgia told reporters in Tbilisi. "This is a clear intrusion on another country's territory. We have Russian tanks on our territory, jets on our territory in broad daylight." Mr Saakashvili added that Georgian forces had downed two Russian jet fighters over Georgian territory. Georgia mobilised its reservists yesterday and launched a massive offensive overnight. Fighting raged today around the city of Tskhinvali, the regional capital, as Georgian troops backed by tanks and warplanes pounded separatist forces, Eduard Kokoity, the South Ossetian rebel leader, said that there were "hundreds of dead civilians" in the city. His Nationalities Minister, Teimuraz Kasaev, put the number at "more than a thousand". A senior Russian military commander said parts of Russia's 58th army were approaching the rebel capital. "We cannot allow the deaths of our countrymen to go unpunished. The guilty parties will receive the punishment they deserve," President Medvedev told a meeting of his security council in the Kremlin. "I am obliged to protect the lives and dignity of Russian citizens, no matter where they are located." Mr Medvedev's predecessor, Vladimir Putin, now Prime Minister, warned on a visit to Beijing, where he attended the Olympic opening ceremony, that the Georgian action would bring "retaliatory measures". Both Nato and the White House appealed for an end to the fighting as international diplomacy went into overdrive and Mr Putin discussed the crisis with President Bush at a gathering ahead of the Olympic ceremony. A US official said that 100 American military trainers working in Georgia were all safe. The International Committee of the Red Cross called for the establishment of a "humanitarian corridor" through South Ossetia. South Ossetian officials said that much of Tskhinvali had been destroyed in the Georgian offensive. A Reuters correspondent some two miles from the city said that the roar of warplanes and the explosions of heavy shells was deafening and many houses were ablaze. The area is of strategic importance, largely because of the BTC oil pipeline, which runs through central Georgia just south of the breakaway region. The pipeline - which features in the 1999 James Bond film The World is Not Enough - pumps around one per cent of global crude supplies from the Caspian to the Turkish port of Ceyhan for export to Western Europe but is already closed because of an attack in Turkey last week by the Kurdish separatist organisation PKK. Mr Saakashvili, a US-educated lawyer who succeeded Eduard Shevardnadze in 2004 and has since tried to align it more closely to the West, compared the Russian action with the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and appealed to the outside world to intervene. "Russia is fighting a war with us in our own territory," he told CNN as Russian armour rolled into South Ossetia. It's about America, its values: we are a freedom-loving nation that is right now under attack." Tensions between Georgia and Russia have been rising over the last few months over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Georgia accuses Russia of fermenting trouble in both regions and supporting the separatist governments as a way to put pressure on Georgia and foil its attempts to join Nato. Russia has given out passports to a majority of South Ossetians and Abkhazians. Have your say Russian Philosophy : 1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back. Joseph, London , UK I can't believe Bush is trying to start ww3. Look how he is in peaceful China, all the while planning conquest. I sure hope freedom loving Russia stands up to America this time. That argument sounds pretty stupid today doesn't Tyler, Springfield, USA Not our fault... We forget that the United States actually saved Russia from the Nazis. The US was shipping tanks and other military devices to protect Russia. It may have been in our common interest but none the less. We have saved the world once, and we will do it again if it is necessary. William, Los Angeles, USA It's just a well planned offensive against Georgia, and the main fault is Russian imperialism, which has provoked the Georgian attack. All these "saving citizen" affairs are well known for me as a Lithuanian. It's just a handle to incurse Georgia Simon, Vilnius, Lithuania In Soviet Union Ossetia was divided only because the Big Caucasian ridge was often impassable in winter: North Ossetia was a part of Russia and south Ossetia was a part of Georgia. The border was only a formality, but after the disintegration of the USSR it became real state border. Alex, Riga, Russia is the aggressor and will do anything to prevent Georgia from joining Nato and bring peace to South Ossetia & Abkhazia. Georgia has the right to bring South Ossetia & Abkhazia back under the control of the Georgian goverment. Billy R Fillmore Jr, Meriden, Connecticut, USA Bush hasn't taken one single drop of oil from Iraq like many people argued. Rob Jones, Tennessee, USA Russia should retaliate with all its military power against this crazy georgian regime Mark Day, London, Looks like another resource war to me. Rob, Glasgow, I am saddened by all the messages which seem to think the US is some how responsible for this. I will put America's record up against Russia's any day of the week. Some of you in england should talk to your grandparents. I am afraid we will all have to pick a side soon enough. Sean , Owensboro, USA It's just an easy start for Russia's crusade to the middle east- They'll take as much as they can get away with- It may not seem important to American's now, but wait and see- this will have an effect on world affairs down the road. Bree, Minnesota, USA Perhaps we should have though of the horrible precedent we were creating when we allowed and encouraged Kosovo to withdraw from Serbia and change the international borders of that country. Why don't the South Ossetians where Russians are an overwhelming majority have the same rights as the Kosovars Michael, Washington, USA Balkan history repeats itself. paul, birmingham, uk If only Barack Obama were President of the United States of America, he would merely need to raise his hands, walk through the battlegrounds and all fighting would immediately cease. Frank, Orlando, USA I missed the UN approval of Russia moving on its peacekeeping mission. alexander, New York, US "So why don't the Russians be big boys and take on the US instead of Georgia? Dan Rather, USA So , why do USA always invade weaker countries? In this case Georgia is the aggressor against a country who do want to be apart of Georgia. Like Kosovo did not want to be a part of Serbia Gerry, Hereford, UK As long as Sherman isn't involved, Atlanta should be okay. Jorge, Yippsalanti, MI The fact is, that Russia doesn't want an independent, Weestern oriented Georgia so it can keep its monopoly on gas to Europe (so freeze in the dark when the time comes al...
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Printable version Regions and territories: Abkhazia map Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia in 1999, but Tbilisi continues to regard it as a breakaway region. Situated in the north-western corner of Georgia with the Black Sea to the south-west and the Caucasus mountains and Russia to the north-east, Abkhazia was once known as a prime holiday destination for the Soviet elite. Abkhazia's battle for independence from Georgia since the collapse of the USSR has reduced the economy to ruins. The only things to thrive are the atmosphere of instability and Russo-Georgian rivalry for influence. Media Once part of the ancient Greek and Roman empires, Abkhazia adopted Christianity in the sixth century. With the rise of the Ottoman empire 500 years later, Islam gained increasing influence. At-A-GLANCE Sukhumi on the Black Sea Broke away from Georgia in 1992-1993 war De-facto independence not recognised internationally Ceasefire in force, Russian peacekeepers in place Georgia says Russian troops propping up separatist state Georgian offer of autonomy within federal state rejected by Abkhazia The ethnic Abkhaz people have close historical, linguistic and cultural ties with the peoples of the Russian North Caucasus which put up fierce resistance to Moscow's expansionism in the first half of the 19th century. Abkhazia was incorporated into the Russian empire in 1810 as a protectorate and finally annexed in 1864. Many Abkhaz fled and many Russians and Georgians arrived in the years which followed. After the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Abkhazia gained a measure of autonomy until Stalin, who liked to holiday there, incorporated it into Georgia in 1931. It was still called an autonomous republic but there was very little sign of genuine autonomy while Stalin was alive. Georgian became the official language and the Abkhaz language and cultural rights were repressed. The repression eased substantially after Khrushchev came to power in the Kremlin. When Georgia became independent, supporters of a break with Tbilisi in favour of independence and closer ties with Russia became more vociferous. Tension rose and in 1992 Georgia sent troops to enforce the status quo. In late 1993, they were driven out amidst fierce fighting. Abkhazia adopted a new constitution in 1994 and formally declared independence in 1999. It has never been recognised by a single country and the price has been high indeed. An economic embargo remains in force and Abkhazia is isolated in just about every sense of the word except from Russia which maintains a border crossing and has re-opened the railway line to Sukhumi. Moscow has further infuriated Tbilisi by making it easy for people in Abkhazia to gain Russian citizenship. Russian role Georgia insists, and many observers tend not to disagree, that Russia supported the campaign to expel Georgian forces in 1993. Incongruously, the Abkhaz forces also had help from Chechen fighters, their traditional Caucasus allies and at the same time the sworn enemies of Moscow. Street fighting Violence flared in 1993 The rivalries became still more complex in 2001 when the Kremlin accused Tbilisi of allowing Chechen fighters to take refuge from Russian forces in the Pankisi Gorge, home of their kinspeople, the Kists. Anyone criticised by Russia is likely to rise in Chechen estimation. Moscow agreed in 1999 to the closure of its base at Gudauta in the conflict zone, pledging that henceforth it would be for the sole use of peacekeepers. Georgia still alleges that it is used to offer military support to pro-independence forces and, because it says it has been unable to gain access to inspect it, still expresses doubts about whether the base is genuinely used purely for peacekeeping purposes. The fragile peace is maintained by UN military observers and CIS, in effect Russian, peacekeepers. The UN patrols the buffer zone which keeps the Abkhaz and Georgian sides apart. There are sporadic shootings and kidnappings with the potential for violent explosion never far beneath the surface. The strategic Kodori gorge is the only part of Abkhazia over which Georgia retains partial control. Tbilisi sent forces there in summer 2006 to disarm a rebel group. There was fury in Sukhumi when it also announced plans to set up what it described as a "legitimate government" of Abkhazia there. Abkhazia, turning increasingly towards Moscow, insists there can be no settlement until Georgia recognises its independence, something which Tbilisi has sworn it will never do. There is no sign that a way out of this volatile impasse will soon be found. Media President: Sergei Bagapsh Sergei Bagapsh was elected president in January 2005. The vote was a rerun of the previous October's election which was surrounded by controversy, with allegations of widespread irregularities. Sergei Bagapsh Sergei Bagapsh: His election victory followed months of political turmoil At that time, a divided Abkhaz electoral commission declared Mr Bagapsh the winner over the Kremlin-backed candidate, Raul Khadzhimba. This brought turmoil, with the Supreme Court first upholding Mr Bagapsh but changing its mind after supporters of Mr Khadzhimba rampaged through the court building. In the end, Mr Bagapsh and Mr Khadzhimba, both strong supporters of Abkhaz independence, agreed to campaign on a joint ticket in the January 2005 rerun, with Mr Bagapsh standing as president and Mr Khadzhimba as vice president. Mr Bagapsh has said that relations with Tbilisi must be sorted out through negotiations between "two sovereign states". He pledges to build integration with Russia and rules out compromise with the Georgian authorities on sovereignty. Mr Bagapsh was Abkhaz prime minister between 1997 and 2001. Vice President Khadzhimba was prime minister until immediately after the October 2004 elections. Leaders * Media The Abkhaz authorities operate a TV and radio network and publish newspapers in both Abkhaz and Russian. There are several private and opposition Russian-language newspapers. Newspaper and magazine publishing is hindered by a lack of money and the scarcity of paper and printing facilities. Georgian TV and radio stations can be received across much of Abkhazia and the main Russian TV networks are rebroadcast in the territory. Advertise with us BBC MMVIII The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.