Sunday, August 10, 2008

Russian Journalist Julia Latynina: "South Ossetia Crisis Could Be Russia's Chance To Defeat Siloviki"

Russian journalist Yulia Latynina (Born 6-16-66) [Latynina articles in Russian here]

UPDATE: Vladimir Socor--"The Goals Behind Moscow's Proxy Offensive in South Ossetia" (8-8-08)

"...[T]here is no way the regime in South Ossetia can be in any sense called "separatist." Who there is a separatist? The head of the local KGB, Anatoly Baranov, used to head the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Russian Republic of Mordovia. The head of the South Ossetian Interior Ministry, Mikhail Mindzayev, served in the Interior Ministry of Russia's North Ossetia. The South Ossetian "defense minister," Vasily Lunev, used to be military commissar in Perm Oblast, and the secretary of South Ossetia's Security Council, Anatoly Barankevich, is a former deputy military commissar of Stavropol Krai. So who exactly is a separatist in this government? South Ossetian "prime minister" Yury Morozov?"--Yulia Latynina

"Novaya gazeta" columnist and Ekho Moskvy radio host Yulia Latynina has written an article titled: "South Ossetia Crisis Could Be Russia's Chance To Defeat Siloviki" (8-8-08); English and Russian:

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has handed his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, a victory over the "siloviki" in Russia. And if Medvedev is able to take advantage of the fruits of this victory, the consequences will be significant not so much for Tbilisi as for Moscow.

So, why is this a victory over the siloviki -- those in the Russian ruling elite with close ties to the state security organs? Because there is no way the regime in South Ossetia can be in any sense called "separatist." Who there is a separatist? The head of the local KGB, Anatoly Baranov, used to head the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Russian Republic of Mordovia. The head of the South Ossetian Interior Ministry, Mikhail Mindzayev, served in the Interior Ministry of Russia's North Ossetia. The South Ossetian "defense minister," Vasily Lunev, used to be military commissar in Perm Oblast, and the secretary of South Ossetia's Security Council, Anatoly Barankevich, is a former deputy military commissar of Stavropol Krai. So who exactly is a separatist in this government? South Ossetian "prime minister" Yury Morozov?

However, alas, I also cannot say this regime is "pro-Russian." On the contrary, all the recent actions of Eduard Kokoity, the leader of the breakaway South Ossetian government, have run counter to the interests of Russia in the Caucasus -- beginning with his embarrassing Russia in the eyes of the international community and ending with his ratcheting up the tensions in the very region where Russia might begin to come undone. South Ossetia is not a territory, not a country, not a regime. It is a joint venture of siloviki generals and Ossetian bandits for making money in a conflict with Georgia. For me, the most surprising thing in this entire story is the complete lack of any strategic goals on the part of the South Ossetians.

As soon as Russia tamped down the war in Abkhazia, tensions in South Ossetia started rising. South Ossetian forces start shelling Georgian villages, and as soon as Georgia returns fire, the airwaves are filled with accusations of "Georgian aggression." No one pays attention to the fact that when this happens, Kokoity is not on the front lines or visiting the injured in a hospital -- he's 1,000 kilometers away in Abkhazia, apparently offering the Russian siloviki his people as hostages, as another card to be played to inflame the situation and make a few more dollars.

Again -- nothing that is going on in South Ossetia makes any sense from the point of view of strategy. It only makes sense as a means of making money. And we aren't talking about small sums. Running a gas pipeline through the mountains from Russia -- a precaution in case Georgia decides to cut off the 70,000 residents -- cost $570 million. And then there is the secret budget Russia has allotted for the struggle -- estimated at somewhere around $800 million. And don't forget the pensions and wages for state-sector workers, who officially number some 80,000 but whose actual numbers are not more than 30,000.

'Terrorist State'

Whenever someone starts telling us about shelling in Tskhinvali, it is important to keep in mind exactly what Tskhinvali is. It is not a city somewhere in the middle of a republic that is being fired upon by saboteurs. On three sides, Tskhinvali is surrounded by Georgian villages. The edge of Tskhinvali is a military outpost. South Ossetian forces fire from there into the Georgian villages, and the Georgians respond with fire of their own. To help keep Georgian fire from hitting civilians in the city, all the South Ossetians would have to do is move their military base forward a couple hundred meters.

But, of course, it is a fundamental principle of terrorists the world over -- set up firing points in civilian areas and then when your enemy fires on you, you gleefully parade the bodies of your own children in front of the television cameras. Kokoity's terrorists are following this same principle. If South Ossetia can in any way be considered a state, it must be considered a terrorist state. [See full text]

1 Comments:

Anonymous www.hennyjellema.nl said...

What I don't understand is the simple fact that nobody ever pointed to Poetin that living in a small country ( Switzerland, Monaco, Luxenburg, Denmark, The Netherlands, Luxenburg and so fort ... ) is far more attractive and comfortable than living in a big one like Russia. So why Poetin wants to have it big?

4:30 AM  

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