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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Current Events > Russia, Central Asia, and The Caucasus > South Ossetian Conflict

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South Ossetian Conflict Discuss the conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia.

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  #1  
Old 05 May 09, 07:56
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Georgia coup plot quashed

Apparently, the Georgian authorities have successfully prevented a coup plot by one of their armoured units.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8033366.stm

Looks bizarre to me. I know a little about Georgian politics, but nothing about the military - but surely the last people to be engaging in a "pro-Russian" coup attempt would be the military?

Is this just Saakashvili trying to distract attention from the increasing pressure from the oppositino parties?
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  #2  
Old 05 May 09, 10:54
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Saakashvili changes his former defence ministers almost daily-- there were like 4 ministers over last 2 years, and whenever a minister was sacked he was immediately accused of Russia ties, and joined the opposition. I think turnover was high at the generals level as well.

Also, the country looks really divided -- or else the opposition wouldn't gather that much people for street protests and rallies. In such circumstances, some batallion-level commanders would really be confused what true loyalty to their people and their oath meant. Especially if the unit were given orders to contain the opposition rallies, for example. This

The allegations of Russia-backed coup look ridiculous to me, in particular because the anti-Saakashvili opposition is anything but pro-Russian. It is just an attempt to stain the opposition.

E.g. Reuters reports:
Quote:
Military experts in Tbilisi suggested the rebellion could be linked with plans to use troops to end weeks of opposition road blocks that have paralyzed Tbilisi, and that some officers had refused to participate.

"This chimes with what we are hearing from military sources," a senior Western diplomat said.
http://www.reuters.com/article/world...5441QM20090505
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Old 06 May 09, 14:55
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1. The opposition hasn't managed to get that many people to the streets or to rallies. It is very far from a rose revolution and it does look like the government has sufficient support among the population. At most the demos brought out around 60 000 demonstrators and that has dropped to a mere few thousand in more recent demos (at least as far as I am aware). Getting a few thousand demonstrators against government from a population of four million in the midst of an economic crises shouldn't be a problem in any democratic country.

2. Shevarnadze's regime held on for quite some time and no doubt people who'd like a return to autocracy exist in Georgia. I understand the officer in question held some cushy position during Shevarnadze's reign.

3. While this coup doesn't seem to have seriously threatened Georgia, it is another dent in its public image. Moscow has been spending a lot of money to do just that. Perhaps an indication of this money having some effect is the recent trend in news articles to claim Georgia lost SO and Abkhazia last August as opposed to some 18 years ago which is the reality.

4. While I don't know and don't particularly care whether Moscow was behind this particular botched coup attempt, it is a certainty that Moscow is doing all it can to destabilize Georgia. Throwing a bit of money here and there fits the MO.

5. Why on earth should Saakashvili use troops to quell protests now, after he burned his hands doing that the last time around (and he now has considerably less goodwill all around) and when it is absolutely clear the protests are a minor nuisance and no serious threat to Saakashvili personally or Georgia as a country.

6. I personally welcome all kinds of peaceful protests. So cheers to those exercising their right of free speech in Georgia!

Last edited by pp(est); 06 May 09 at 14:58..
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Old 06 May 09, 15:00
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I just recently heard that Georgian police is using rubber bullets... Haven´t had it confirmed yet.

Edit: http://en.rian.ru/world/20090506/121471157-print.html
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Last edited by Erkki; 06 May 09 at 15:05..
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Old 06 May 09, 15:03
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Here is a other interesting thing: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/05...at-wasnt-.html
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Old 06 May 09, 17:10
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Actually, the more I think of it, I didn't see a coup. Looked more like theater. Some tank battalion commander said "we are having a coup", then quickly got himself arrested. The brave Saakashvili came at once and rescued Motherland Georgia. And they lived happily thereafter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pp(est) View Post
1. The opposition hasn't managed to get that many people to the streets or to rallies. It is very far from a rose revolution and it does look like the government has sufficient support among the population. At most the demos brought out around 60 000 demonstrators and that has dropped to a mere few thousand in more recent demos (at least as far as I am aware). Getting a few thousand demonstrators against government from a population of four million in the midst of an economic crises shouldn't be a problem in any democratic country.
60k is not that many people?
Even several thousand for weekly protests for like several months in a row is nothing? any other examples of such protests in other countries, then, please?

Quote:
2. Shevarnadze's regime held on for quite some time and no doubt people who'd like a return to autocracy exist in Georgia. I understand the officer in question held some cushy position during Shevarnadze's reign.
What the hell has Shevarnadze to do with it? there doesn't look to be any more autocratic faction in Georgia than Saakashvili himself.
A link to show Shevarnadze ties, please?
And even if confirmed -- do you mean all officers should have been fired 3 years ago? and replaced with 23-year old US law school graduates, probably? (the defence minister, probably one of the former ones, I lost track of them)

The only reasoning that would make any sense (though not that much) is the one I gave a Reuters quote for -- that the battalion was given orders to do something with the protests. Ah wait, another order likely to provoke disobedience with a sensible commander would be "go and finally take South Ossetia"

Quote:

5. Why on earth should Saakashvili use troops to quell protests now, after he burned his hands doing that the last time around (and he now has considerably less goodwill all around) and when it is absolutely clear the protests are a minor nuisance and no serious threat to Saakashvili personally or Georgia as a country.
For the same reason he has long reverted to autocratic methods (it's not just last year's protests; try actually to read what opposition accuses him in) -- to stay in power.

Quote:
6. I personally welcome all kinds of peaceful protests. So cheers to those exercising their right of free speech in Georgia!
Cheers.

EDIT: Erkki, thanks for the links!
So, it seems it was no theater, but really a disobedience related to the planned blockade of the highway by the opposition. That also explains why it was about a tank battalion (and not some police unit), and why the officers surrendered so quickly -- in demonstration that they didn't mean to be traitors to their country, just wanted to avoid bloodshed.

Last edited by xiong; 06 May 09 at 17:22..
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Old 06 May 09, 17:22
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Your most welcome Xiong!

Reading a little more on the issue I find that it has some similaritys with 1991, what we have seen migth just be the start of things. Time will show us.
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Old 07 May 09, 08:52
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Here is a little more on the issue of a "Russian staged coup"

Quote:
The Kremlin denied any involvement. Grigori Karasin, the Deputy Foreign Minister, said: “Instead of dialogue inside the country, the Georgian leadership is trying to accuse Russia of totally insane things.” Nato expressed its unease, warning Russia and Georgia not to make political capital out of war games that involve 1,000 troops from member and partner countries.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6229551.ece
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Old 07 May 09, 15:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xiong View Post
60k is not that many people?
Even several thousand for weekly protests for like several months in a row is nothing? any other examples of such protests in other countries, then, please?
Its not nothing, but it is not really a threat either. Besides it seems I exaggerated - it was not several thousands but several hundreds.

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What the hell has Shevarnadze to do with it? there doesn't look to be any more autocratic faction in Georgia than Saakashvili himself.
Shevarnadze sure was more autocratic. Saakshvili has clearly mellowed too. If you remember, last time he faced demos he didn't like, he did the Putin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xiong View Post
A link to show Shevarnadze ties, please?
Do your own googling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xiong View Post
And even if confirmed -- do you mean all officers should have been fired 3 years ago?
no

Quote:
Originally Posted by xiong View Post
For the same reason he has long reverted to autocratic methods (it's not just last year's protests; try actually to read what opposition accuses him in) -- to stay in power.
staying in power until his term runs out is not autocracy - it is democracy. However I won't say he is squeaky clean and I have no worries about him. We should be careful not to issue him a blank check for support - the mistake done with Yeltsin. Saakashvili as a person is not important - what is important is that Georgia remains on the path of democracy. I wouldn't mind if Saakashvili resigned to help this cause (if it would help it).
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