It's time Russia to stop practicing self-flagellation
12/07/2010 10:45
Gocha Gvaramia
"The Club of exsperts", exspert

After the Prime Minister and de facto president of Russia Vladimir Putin responded to the statements made by U.S. Secretary of State Clinton in Tbilisi on July 5th with "the Internationale" Russian political circles started to actively sing along with the first person in Russia. It seems that Russian officials wanted their positions not to go beyond Putin's remarks. As they say, they combined business with pleasure. After all, who knows what this "lawlessness" will result in the future.

Generally, in such cases, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes the first official statement on behalf of the state. And then, this Russian governmental body practically is the last among those who "expressed their pretenses towards the words of Clinton".

But what strikes the most is comments of the Department of Press and Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia in connection with the statements of U.S. State Secretary Clinton made in Tbilisi July 5th, 2010, in which, pointing to international law, the Foreign Ministry demonstrated its ignorance and, therefore, neglect of this very law.

Let's start with the first paragraph "the international law determines occupation as a temporary stay of the troops of one state on the territory of another during the state of war between them. At that power in the occupied territory is held by the military command of the occupying state," the statement says.

In the beginning we must say that all the above is indeed written in the international law. However, we should consider the real situation.

For this we have to ask some questions and answer them. Well, let's start then:

- Are Georgia and Russia in the state of war today?
- Today Georgia and Russia are really at war, but not since August of 2008, as it is accepted to think today, but since the beginning of the 90s of the last century. To confirm this it is enough to say that official units of different types of forces, including landing assault units of the Russian Defense Ministry directly participated in military actions against sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia on the side of the separatist forces.

- What are phases of state of war?
- When two states are at war, there are two phases of this state. One is active phase when military actions are happening and there is another one - inactive phase when hostilities are ceased and negotiations are under way. The current situation indicates to the second phase.

- Is it always the case that power in the occupied territory is held by military command of the occupying State?
- Based on the answers to the second question, it is not always necessary that the occupied territory to be ruled by the military command of the occupying State. In this case, it is enough to place command of its puppets at the helm of it. Let's draw parallels. During the Second World War in the occupied territories that were situated deep into the land and away from the front lines, the Nazi military command used to choose governing contingent of settlements out of those locals who were loyal to the Third Reich. The same contingent was used to recruit local Polizei while "Arians" themselves controlled and coordinated their activities. These areas were used to build military bases. The Nazis themselves directly governed only in the frontline areas. Exactly the same policy was pursued by the Soviet empire in countries that it "liberated" from the "capitalist tyranny ". What we have today in the territories of Georgia occupied by Russia is an almost identical situation, no different from that of the Second World War. The depth of the occupied territories is ruled by the puppet of the Kremlin while the area around the perimeter of the dividing lines of confrontation is fully controlled by the Russian military.

- Nationals of which countries are now in power in the occupied territories?
- Answering this question, we practically complement the previous answer. Today, the regime in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region is ruled by citizens of Russia "protection" of which Russian troops were seeking when they entered the Georgian territory. However, one not unimportant question arises here. How it came that and according to which international law there appeared so many Russian citizens in the territories of Georgia (breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region) that at the time even Russia considered to be the territory of Georgia?! The answer is simple – in order to achieve its goal of occupation of the separatists regions with their subsequent incorporation into Russia the latter long before 2008 started to conduct a mass passportization of local population thus violating all international norms and international law.

But as they say, let's move on. Further Foreign Ministry announced in its statement that as it turns out "there is not even one Russian military on the territory of Georgia. There are Russian military contingents, but they are on the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that seceded from Georgia as a result of aggression unleashed by the Saakashvili regime. At that there are democratically-formed legislative, executive and judicial authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as active political parties".

Let us continue to consider the "masterpiece" the Foreign Ministry of Russia in question- answer mode:

- Are Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region territories of Georgia and whether or not Russian soldiers are on the territory of Georgia?
- Even not so educated person will answer unequivocally – yes - with regards to both questions. In addition, according to international law to which ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia so intently appeals the territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region are considered inseparable parts of Georgia, and there are no other concepts in the international practice. In addition, until Georgia itself does not recognize these territories as independent international law considers them an integral part of Georgia. Hence the answer to the second part of the question - Russian forces are unlawfully deployed on the territory of Georgia, particularly in that part of it that are called the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District.

- When did actual separation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region happen from the rest of Georgia, and generally was there "aggression" on the part of Saakashvili "regime"?
- Only an ignorant person can argue that breakaway regions separated from Georgia after the events of August 2008. Back in the nineties of the last century nearly two-thirds of the local population, among whom nearly 80% were ethnic Georgians, were evicted and forced from these territories. And after the end of active military actions and having conducted "Referendum" (this issue will be discussed below) independence was declared based on "will of the majority of the local population". As to "aggression" by the "Saakashvili regime" the Russian Foreign Ministry finds itself in an uncomfortable situation again. Before the August events Russia itself recognized the territory of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region as inseparable parts of Georgia, had supported territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as Russia had stated more than once, then how can the country be the aggressor in its own territory? In addition, according to the same international law, an aggressor can only be a foreign country. As to war actions, the matter is quite different from the way that the Russian side insists they are. There is so much written and said about this that a week will not be enough to process all the existing material. Let us say one thing. If indeed it was Georgia that began hostilities in the Tskhinvali region, then why was it then that a week or two earlier local population were transported in buses and in masses and mostly forcefully out of the territory controlled by Kokoity to North Ossetia. And the Georgian side, setting up all kinds of entertainment activities, did not even think to transport people to safe areas? Why were there Russian military units without mandates of peacekeeping force in this territory before the outbreak of hostilities were? Why were there on the territory of the Tskhinvali region a day or two prior to this a specially designed group of military reporters of all major Russian media, particularly television with pre-prepared materials "about Georgian atrocities"? Why did Russian investigation team fail to prove "mass extermination" of Ossetians by Georgians? Who destroyed and bombed Tskhinvali using "Grad" bombs, if the video material clearly shows that when representatives of the Georgian Interior Ministry entered practical deserted city it was intact, and only glass was broken in some office buildings. But when the same soldiers retreated and were forced to leave Tskhinvali, the town was already in ruins? So it seems that Georgians bombed and forced themselves out of Tskhinvali?! How does all this resemble to the famous words of a former Russian Defense Minister of the nineties Pavel Grachev, when he said that Georgians repainted their aircrafts in Russian markings and bombed Sukhumi themselves. And another question. If Russia stood up for its citizens in Tskhinvali region in response to "aggression of "Saakashvili regime", then what was a pretext for entering of Russian troops into Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region and Upper Abkhazia, when there were not the slightest military maneuver in this direction? So who is the aggressor?

- What is a democratically-formed "own legislative, executive and judicial authorities"?
- There is an interesting thing here. It turns out that there is a "Saakashvili regime" in Georgia while the occupied territories boast with "democratically-formed own legislative, executive and judicial authorities." And where is the concept of international law? It is probably worth reminding the Russian Foreign Ministry that formation of governmental structures of the state through democratic means implies participation of majority of the population in the process. If Russi, due to their lack of knowledge, which us very unlikely by the way, implies all kinds of referendums and elections held in the breakaway, and now already occupied territories under international law they are unlawful. And that was recorded each time by all international organizations and not recognized by the international community. So, what democratically-formed "own legislative, executive and judicial authorities" in the occupied territories are we are talking about?

All the above makes the last paragraph of the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry, which states that "Russian troops and bases on the territories of the two republics are deployed there on the basis of bilateral intergovernmental agreements, in full accordance with international law" just ridiculous. There is no sense in discussing it – it is so absurd. And anyway, it's time Russia to stop practicing self-flagellation.

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