War starting in Georgia?

The former Soviet republic, that is. Their president, Saakashvili, has declared a nation-wide mobilization in order to fight insurgents in Southern Ossetia, a separatist region boardering Russia. Also: birth place of the most famous Georgian ever: Iosif Vissiaronovich Dzhugashvili - Stalin. Saakashvili accuses the Russians of openly supporting the southern Ossetians. There’d been trouble before but it looks like the altercations are getting out of hand today. Read some more here.

Anyway, I find this development, although long in the making, pretty disturbing. Russia flexing its muscles under a new president and asserting its power in the region is not a pretty sight.

So what are your thoughts. What do you think could be the implications

  • I wasn’t really sure whether or not to put it in MPSIMS - it’s not mundane, it might be pointless. There’s nothing to debate (yet) as far as I’m concerned but things might change so mods, please move around this thread all you like.

Does Georgia(The former Soviet republic, that is) still have Atomic weapons?

No, I don’t think so. The only non-Russia Soviet republic with atomic weapons was Ukraine, and they handed them all over early on in the 1990s, if I’m not mistaken.

Yeah, I have to say, things are not looking good in South Ossetia. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty tends to have more detailed English-language coverage than most places.

I used to live in Tbilisi (the Georgian capital). The country has at least 3 flash points: South Ossetia where today’s issue is, Abkhazia in the north west and Adjara in the south west. When we lived there, we were never much afraid of crime, but always wary of civil war.

Georgia has massive infrastructure problems and poorly-paid troops. The country is a bit like the Soviet union with a wide variety of ethnic identities that take priority over being Georgian. Russia has been supporting all the break-away regions for years and is certainly a problem in the region.

This could open up issues in north Ossetia and Ingushetia - not a place to take a holiday to right now. :frowning:

We still know a few people there, but so far things in Tbilisi are probably about as normal as normal ever is there.

Russian tanks enter South Ossetia.

I know this is the right forum. But still it seems a little blase to label news about a possibly upcoming war as “mundane and pointless”.

I hear you loud and clear. Not mundane, but certainly pointless.

One key issue is that for a long time, Russia has been granting (perhaps forcing) Russian citizenship to/upon many people in the break-away regions so now they have a justification to invade and “protect” Russian citizens. It is a huge quagmire and Russia will soon find itself embroiled in a conflict with multiple (as in 5 or 6) sides/factions.

I don’t know about forcing Russian citizenship on people who didn’t already have it (and if you have a source for that one, please do share), but Russia sure doesn’t make it easy to renounce Russian citizenship. Among other things, the application filing fee for renouncing Russian citizenship is $400 U.S. (sorry for link in Russian - even in what’s supposed to be the English-language section of the Russian Consulate site, the citizenship info is only in Russian). And that’s actually an improvement - a former co-worker of mine, a U.S. immigration lawyer who is a Russian citizen, had a hard time renewing her Russian passport a few years ago, and looked into renouncing her Russian citizenship once she naturalized in the U.S. She told me then it would cost her $1,000.

The application form (scroll down a bit) asks for everything but the kitchen sink, such as whether you have met your military service obligation - which is something MANY Russians get out of by paying bribes, etc.

The USSR actually did not keep very many nuclear weapons outside of Russia, and those it did - mostly in the Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan - were all out of there by late 1996, if I recall correctly. Moscow exerted very central control over nuclear release. The breakaway republics were universally disinterested in keeping any on their soil in any case - powerful though they may be, nuclear weapons are punishingly expensive to maintain and deploy, and unless you have a pressing need for them the diplomatic drawbacks are enormous as well.

I am basing this upon the stories I head about the situation in Abkhazia and to a lesser extent South Ossetia when I was living in Georgia. Many Russians have moved there, and citizenship was offered/encouraged to most anyone and people saw a way of getting out of Georgian citizenship (of course they would rather have “South Ossetian” citizenship). Russia seemed to be doing this as a pretext to annexing the northern regions of Georgia… a the time Chechnya was a real issue esp during the Moscow theatre massacre when times got real tense in Tbilisi.

Sorry if this is too off-track for the thread. A woman called a local(Ohio) radio talk show this morning on my way to work(about 9:00 EDT). She said, “I just saw a crawler on the tv that Russia has declared war on Geogia, and I wonder why Russia hates America. What did we do to Russia to deserve this?”

As Og is my witness, she had no idea that this was not about Russia vs. Atlanta. She was clueless.

We now return you to your regular broadcast.

I say its about time the georgians were put back in their place. Their geographical location precludes them from being a pro-western democracy, they are Russia’s buffer zone in case of a foreign invasion, and will continue to be just that as long as the oil and gas money keeps flowing.

Not as clueless as all that IMO - isn’t this the first Russia-US proxy war after the end of the Cold War?

A buffer zone against who - the Ottoman Empire?

And since whe does Russia need buffer zones? Russis IS one huge buffer zone! Adding more space to Russia is like shipping the proverbial coal to Newcastle; they already have more than enough as it is.

I say let the Georgians be a pro-western democracy if they want to be. There’s no reason why Russia’s rights should come before theirs.

Well, they always said that the South would rise again. They just didn’t know it’d be against something that far North.

So, the casualties have passed 1000 reported deaths and an unknown amount of injuries. If I’m getting this straight, Georgia ‘provoked’ this war by attacking South Ossetian seperatists who were plaguing homeland Georgia, following them into South Ossetian soil and in the process killing 10 Russian peacekeepers, including a medic.

Russia responded with tank columns, infantry, airplane-based bombing and artillery in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia and are now occupying it, fighting against chiefly Georgian military. Earlier today there was a cease-fire for four to five hours while civilians, women and children could evacuate Tskhinvali. I haven’t found a report about how and when it was broken, but apparently the fighting is again at full force.

So, the big questions;

  • What will Russia do with South Ossetia after this calms down? Annex it, occupy it indefinately or withdraw with a word in Georgia’s ear that next time, the tanks won’t stop rolling until they hit Tbilisi?

  • Will the US interfere? (Current word from the WHPS is “calm down and avoid conflict.”)

  • Will this escalate?

  • Is this staged, or genuine? (Have Russia been waiting eagerly for this?)

  • How will this affect Georgia’s EU/NATO application?

  • Will the EU and/or NATO do anything? If so, what? On whose side would/should they move in on?

  • Guku,
    Who’s glad he decided not to enroll for his military duty this year as his arse was slotted for Northern Border Patrol.

Missed the Edit window, but I thought it’s worth to mention that Russia has allegedly bombed two military airports in homeland Georgia out of existence, one of them less than 40km (16 miles) outside the capital. Also, the Georgian president used the terms “war” and “invasion” several times in a press conferece, in the context that Russia has declared war against Georgia. Heard this on the net radio, no cite yet outside of Norwegian online papers.

What I find funny (sad) is that I turn on CNN or Fox and all I see is coverage about an affair that happened years ago with someone who’s not even a presidential candidate. Nothing about one of the U.S.’ allies practically at war with our most recent major enemy.

I’m not saying its the ‘liberal’ media, but popular media in general.