August 8 marks the 10th anniversary of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia. Let me remind readers that on this day, or rather, this night in 2008, the capital of the unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia and the barracks of Russian peacekeepers were shelled by Georgia.
After that, a column of armored vehicles moved towards Tskhinvali. Peacekeepers from Russia were in South Ossetia legally as part of mixed peacekeeping forces (from Georgia, South Ossetia, and Russia).
Russia consistently recognized the territorial integrity of Georgia, but demanded a peaceful solution to the conflict. Therefore, the attack on Russian peacekeepers and the killing by the Georgian military of Russian battalion soldiers (in an interview with General Khrulyov, commander of the 58th army, the figure of 37 people was given) caused indignation.
I remember well how in those days on the Don, volunteer groups of Cossacks were hurriedly formed – these very units were formed by representatives of the mountain peoples of the North Caucasus to go to war against the Georgians.
The cynicism of the Georgian leadership’s actions were compounded by the fact that the top leadership of Russia was not in Moscow at the time: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was participating in the opening of the Olympic games in Beijing, and President Medvedev was on vacation outside the capital. The opening of the Olympics – and the absence of top leaders – was undoubtedly taken into account by the authors of the invasion plan.
On August 8, 2018 the Russian newspaper Kommersant published a detailed interview with Sergei Ivanov, one of the most influential and literate Russian politicians, who served 25 years in intelligence. In the interview, it is said that in behind the scenes conversations, the then US Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice first assured Ivanov that Saakashvili would not opt for war. After Georgia attacked South Ossetia and was ignominiously defeated, Rice assured her Russian counterpart that “Saakashvili was off the leash.”
But it is obvious that Rice is a liar. The puppet president of the puppet country would not dare such a dangerous adventure without US support. In addition, military and technical assistance to the Georgian regime was provided by many Western countries and their allies.
For example, commandos of the Georgian army were trained by American specialists. Georgian commandos arrived to wage war in South Ossetia directly from Iraq, where they participated in the American occupation of the country. German, Turkish, French, Israeli instructors also participated in the training of Georgian troops.
Ukraine also became an accomplice in the military attack on Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population of South Ossetia. Ukrainian special forces and Ukrainian-manned Buk missile systems were sent alongside massive supplies of military equipment to Georgia — and this is not even the full extent of Ukraine’s “contribution.”
In September 2013, in my speech at a conference of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the war, I called the events of August 2008 not a war between Russia and Georgia, but a war between Russia and the vanguard of the West. Georgia was only the springboard of this attack on Russia, and the Saakashvili regime comprised merely obedient idiots and puppets.
Unfortunately, the lightning defeat of the Georgian and Western military group did not fully bring the Georgian leadership to learn the lesson not to repeat such adventures.
Today, August 9, in Georgia at the Vaziani grounds near Tbilisi, Georgian, US, UK, and Ukrainian troops are holding the “Noble Partner 2018” war games which are practicing scenarios for the “liberation of territories held by the enemy.” It is not at all hard to imagine that these “exercises” are aimed at Russia.
Moscow, in my opinion, is too gentle towards the current Georgian regime, allowing Georgia to export wines and mineral water to Russia, as well as about a million Georgian guest workers and criminals.
Russophobic and revanchist sentiments are still strong in Georgian society, and attacks on tourists from Russia (who number over 1 million people a year — one of the most important budget sources of this sparsely populated and super poor country) are evidence of this.
My prediction is that a new war in the Caucasus is very likely. Georgia is still being used as an obedient puppet against Russia.