Links, Russia-Georgia Conflict Edition, 8/28/2008

  • is very reliable, and often contains facts you don’t see reported anywhere else, but are vital to making a judgment of any sort. Sometimes a judgment is made in the mere reporting of facts, for example from their front page on this topic now: “Russian officials and Russian commentators magnified the significance of this conflict to a scale greatly exceeding Western perceptions. While the full extent of the fighting was unclear, Russian reports of thousands dead and massive destruction could not be reconciled with available annecdotal evidence of vastly less death and destruction. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, meeting with South Ossetia refugees who had fled across the border to the Russian city of Vladikavkaz, described Georgia’s actions as “complete genocide” – further raising the stakes of the contest. While Western commentators and officials tended to regard this conflict in isolation, Russian officials and commentators have been quick to link the affair to Kosovo independence, NATO enlargement, and American designs to contain Russia.”
  • Michael Totten’s report has a lot of background about Russian policy previously, so we can assess consistency of action: “They [Russia] tried that [creating ethnic conflict] in a number of countries. They tried it in the Baltic states, but the fuses were defused. Nothing much happened. They tried it in Ukraine. It has not happened yet, but it’s getting hotter. They tried it in Moldova. There it worked, and now we have Transnitria. They tried it in Armenia and Azerbaijan and it went beyond their wildest dreams and we ended up with a massive, massive war. And they tried it in two territories in Georgia, which I’ll talk about in a minute…”
  • Strobe Talbott debunks Russian claims that it is merely keeping the peace.
  • Yes, oil is at stake, and that makes this even more troubling and problematic.
  • What does this tell us about the state of democracy in Russia, btw?

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