Russian Opposition on the War in Georgia – Official Statement

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The United Civil Front, the Russian opposition party led by Garry Kasparov, has released an official statement on the unfolding events between Russia and Georgia (below).

At the present moment, the websites of several opposition groups in Russia, including the United Civil Front, are facing massive Denial of Service (DOS) attacks, and were offline. A spokeswoman from the group in St. Petersburg told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that she feared the shut-down may be connected with the fact that the sites host “objective information about what is happening today in South Ossetia and Georgia.”

Statement By the United Civil Front – War in Georgia


Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s military adventure in South Ossetia became possible as result of longstanding mediocre and two-faced politics of the Russian leadership in the Caucasus when taken as a whole, and relations with Georgia in particular. Politics not based on the principles of international law does not serve the true interests of the Russian people and can in no way work to resolve national-territorial conflicts in this region.

Extending political and material support to quasi-criminal separatist regimes over a period of many years; providing Russian citizenship to residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on a large scale; publicly using pejorative imperial rhetoric in regard to official Tbilisi; the cynical kindling of anti-Georgian hysteria within Russia –the Kremlin coupled all these questionable and entirely unacceptable means with an absence of a sensible and reasoned strategy in the region. Having frozen for a long time in a state of post-war anarchy, the unrecognized republics, nourished by Moscow, became an natural objective of Tbilisi’s aggressive politics –and meanwhile, Russia never verbally disputed Georgia’s territorial integrity, which only spurred the local [Georgian] “hawks.” It must be noticed that instances of relatively successful assertion of one’s positions in territorial disputes preclude any kind of ambiguity: Armenia never recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan, and Israel consistently considers the Golan Heights as its territory. Incidentally, the governments of these countries rely on broad public support and are accountable to their own people. To the contrary, the Putin-Medvedev regime enacts its own, unconventional foreign policy decisions, to put it mildly, in a strictly voluntary way: with a wave of the commanding hand, the Kremlin writes off multi-billion [ruble] debts to by-no-means impoverished Iraq, Algeria and Libya; forfeits a part of its indigenous territory to China; acquires more than questionable friends in distant parts of the world and aggressively seeks out enemies in neighboring states, with which it is connected historically and spiritually. As result, our government has ended up in a ring of unfriendly countries, and in a state of open military conflict with one of them.

Today, it is short-sighted to concentrate solely on criticism of Saakashvili. To demand an immediate cease-fire and start of talks is correct, but insufficient. If we want to eliminate the risk of repeating similar tragic situations in the future, the Russian authority must bear responsibility for its actions before its citizens. As a first step, the president and prime-minister would do well to explain why the government is issuing tens of thousands of Russian passports in the territory of a neighboring country, with which we maintain normal diplomatic relations? Why are the key posts in the South Ossetian government and security services occupied by career Russian civil servants and military personnel? Why, after an attack on Russian peacekeepers by the superior forces of the opponent in Tskhinvali, did the official establishment stand in a state of stupor for several hours, and didn’t rush to provide military assistance? What does the Kremlin want to achieve by escalating the conflict with Georgia and expanding the theater of military operations?

It is impossible to imagine that Putin or Medvedev would stoop to such clarifications: this would fully contradict the order of mutual relations between the authorities and citizens in Russia. However, citizens must learn to put such questions before the authorities, or otherwise the unaccountable rulers will time and time again make mistakes that the humble “subjects” will have to pay for. With the most expensive price at that – the price of human lives.

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