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Russian Media Jingoism

rbkdaily081208.gifOur favorite pro-government news outlet RBK Daily strikes again. Well known for their enthusiastic, yet often clumsy, support of the government propaganda line, this latest piece of jingoistic saber-rattling is reminiscent of the sort of stuff that paragon of high-standards journalism, Joseph Pulitzer, published back in the day to justify the Spanish-American War (it worked, didn’t it…?). Makes your hair stand on end. See some previous translations from RBK here and here. War of destruction In the conflict with Georgia Russia is going to have to go all the way Yesterday reports from South Ossetia brought some clarity into the contradictory picture of the war. It became clear that Tskhinval [sic], about the taking of which the Russian mass information media had been reporting two days in a row, was completely occupied only on Sunday. However, there is a danger that at this the Russian troops will stop, allowing the Georgian army to once again carry out a regrouping on the commanding heights and descend on the Tskhinvalian «cauldron». As of Sunday night, there had been no order to throw back the adversary in the direction of Tbilisi, the sole imperative in this situation. Reports about Russian aviation strikes on military bases, runways and ports in Georgia are coming in the main from Georgian sources and, unfortunately, could turn out to be a great exaggeration. Unfortunately — because if the infrastructure of Georgia is not demolished, Russia risks losing the war. If this happens, the powers of the country can forget about a worthy place on the international arena and the support of their own population.

The war had been going almost a week already, but there are still more questions in it than answers. It is unclear why there is still no clear order to the troops to push back the adversary deep into the country. “There is little information, but, judging by everything, we fear the negative reaction of the international community”, supposes head of the Center for the analysis of strategies and technologies Ruslan Pukhov. A second possible reason — the state of the Russian army. “The North Caucasian Military District (NCMD) is considered to be the most combat-capable in Russia, and now is clearly not the year 1994, but even today our troops are not in the best form. One has to give Saakashvili his due: his army is well armed and trained, Georgia is in the number of the first in the world with respect to military expenditures per capital”, reminds the military expert.Objectively in the eyes of the West the genocide of ossetia [uncapitalized sic] carried out by Georgia gives Moscow more formal grounds to consolidate its military presence beyond the Great Caucasus Range, and for western mass information media it will be more difficult to ignore these grounds. But the declarations of Russian official persons bear witness that in the information war with the West Russia does not have its own technologies: just the same old references to the impotent SecCoun of the UNO [United Nations Security Council], to the openly hostile OSCE and EU, calls for an “international” trial of Saakashvili — as if though someone else in the world, besides the Ossetians and the Russians, has the moral right to judge this person. Nor is optimism increased by the unreadiness of Moscow to confirm the fact of bombings of military and transport infrastructure deep in Georgia, and the variety of voices with the ships of the Black Sea Fleet: at first they are off Abkhazia, then on an incursion of Novorossiysk.It is obvious that locking in a Russian military presence in South Ossetia can not be the objective of the war. “One has to go all the way — annihilate the takeoff/landing strips of all aerodromes, including civilian ones, all key railway junctions, turn off for Georgia the gas and electricity, 70% of which Georgia gets from the «Inguri GES» [hydroelectric power station] situated in Abkhazia, completely take out of commission the ports in Poti, Batumi, the oil loading terminal in Supse, railroads leading to Azerbaijan and Turkey”, chafes an RBK daily source in the NCMD. “Tanks with the support of aviation, rocket-launching artillery and infantry must push back the Georgian army far beyond the bounds of South Ossetia, landing troops have to land in Abkhazia and Adjaria and with the support of ships of the BSF develop an advance from the other side. The finale must be the taking of Tbilisi and arrest of Saakashvili, for whose head a reward of 10 mln doll. should be set. This does not exist, and it is not a fact that it will”. “The USA in Yugoslavia graphically showed what needs to be done in such a situation”, agrees Mr. Pukhov. “It is not understandable why television and cellular communications are still working in Georgia. I hope that Russia will come to a decision to create at least a buffer zone of 10—15 km around South Ossetia, which will be controlled not only from the air, but also by infantry forces”.RBK daily’s army source fears that Russian troops, dug in on the smoking ruins of Tskinval, will get sucked into a many-years’ sluggish positional shootout with an endless resupply of weaponry, which will not end if the Georgian infrastructure is not destroyed. In the meantime, such a kind of locking in of the status quo would be of a strength equivalent to defeat. Now the whole world is attentively observing Russia’s actions. A war that she could not not have gotten involved in, — this is a test not only of combat capability, but also of life-capability. The blood of thousands of killed Ossetians will either lock in the results of the collapse of the USSR for good, or will become the starting line of a new history. “Russia is ready to rip Saakashvili and the Georgian executioners to shreds”, president of South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity said yesterday. “This is expressed in the wild congregations of Russian volunteers on the border with South Ossetia. Russia has not experienced such a strong popular mobilization and indignation for a long time already. Now on the crossing points there have formed queues and not all who desire will be able to take part in combat operations”.Viktor Yadukha, 11.08.2008