Report of a friend who has been to Georgia

by francine Hardaway on August 14, 2008

The person who wrote this has been a friend of mine for almost thirty years, and is Canadian by origin, and thus a little more cosmopolitan than some of us.

"Thanks for the thoughtful blog.  […] and I visited Georgia in June 2006.  It is a pitifully poor country
as a result of various and ongoing Russian policies since the end of the Cold
War.  For 2 years, the entire country was denied electrical power by the
Russians because they would not dance to the Russian drummer.  This of
course was a catastrophe for the people.  Then Russia blockaded their main
exports, particularly wine.  As you visit the countryside and the
towns and villages you see no prosperity.  One of the most striking
pictures though is of Georgians destroying huge cold concrete Soviet housing
projects which are both bad memories and for the most part not habitable due to
poor construction.  There are few automobiles and agriculture is still laid
out in the long narrow strips with a house in the front on a road.  It
could be 200 years ago in many places.  I do not think we can afford to
fight a war with Russia in this location but I share your concern that not
drawing the line in the sand with a Fascist dictatorship might lead to much
worse consequences in the not too distant future. 

Interestingly, our trip
was with a group of Stanford professors who said that they believe that Russian
expansionism will be the most dangerous world issue in the 1st half of the 21st
century.  They predicted that Russia would move against is neighbors on the
pretense that it had to protect the Russian minorities which Stalin relocated to
all of these countries.  Looks like they might be right.  I do not
believe that Georgia is responsible for this fight.  I don’t think they are
suicidal plus there is already lots of intelligence showing cyber attacks on
Georgian computer systems in the days before the conflict started and massing of
Russian troops on the border.  We should ascribe no good intentions to
Vladimir Putin and his Fascist KGB buddies.

I know this man would not want his name all over the Internet, so I’ve removed it, but he’s someone who, even though I often disagree with him, I really respect.  And he has seen it with his own eyes.

Update: Another offline reply, this one from a very well-educated Brit living in the US:

My take: Georgia was upset that they could not bring South Osetia into
their sphere.  SO does not want to be part of Georgia preferring to
lean towards Russia.  Out of frustration they invaded and it appears
did major damage to property–heard one town was flattened and presume
civilians were killed.  This gave Russia an excuse to teach Georgia a
lesson.  It took Georgia years to get rid of Russian troops.  Russia
resents the expansion of the EU and NATO and Georgia wants to join NATO
and perhaps the EU.

Bottomline: Russia is out of sync with the direction of the 21st
century.  No longer do we try to bring areas under control through the
military rarher through trade and the hope for prosperity.  Hopefully
the US will begin to realize this more often.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

green card January 22, 2009 at 3:09 am

Is there any information about this subject in other languages?

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