Nytt

Har Gori falt? Det er uvisst. Men Zenaki har falt, langt utenfor Abkhazias grenser. En russisk general forsikret tidligere på dagen at russiske styrker ikke ville krysse inn i selve Georgia. Selv president Dmitrij Medvedev sa at Russland hadde nådd sine hovedmål – å sikre Sør-Ossetia.

Men Putin tenker annerledes. Han bryr seg ikke om at han gjør narr av landets president, som er den som har ansvar for utenrikspolitikk og forsvaret.

Putin er rasende, – på president George Bush og hans venn Mikhail Saakasjvili. Han kommer ikke til å høre på en president som lot amerikanske fly frakte 2.000 georgiske soldater hjem fra Irak, midt under en konflikt. Det er åpenbart at Putin betrakter det som en uvennlig handling, som fratar USA mulighet for innflytelse. Lillegutt Saakasjvili ønsker Putin å gjøre ting med som ikke passer seg på trykk. Han vil trolig bli presset til å gå av, og han bør være glad om han slipper fra det med livet. Slik er fiendskapen som stråler ut av Putins ord.

In turn, Putin criticized the United States for airlifting Georgian troops back home from Iraq on Sunday at Georgia’s request.

«It’s a pity that some of our partners instead of helping are in fact trying to get in the way,» Putin said at a Cabinet meeting. «I mean among other things the United States airlifting Georgia’s military contingent from Iraq effectively into the conflict zone.»

Putin’s comments reflected Russia’s growing irritation with Western condemnation.

«The scale of their cynicism causes surprise,» Putin said. «It’s the ability to cast white as black and black as white which is surprising, the ability to cast the aggressor as the victim and blame the victims for the consequences.»

Putin remarks also reflected deep anger at Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili.

«Of course, Saddam Hussein ought to have been hanged for destroying several Shiite villages,» Putin said. «And the incumbent Georgian leaders who razed ten Ossetian villages at once, who ran elderly people and children with tanks, who burned civilian alive in their sheds — these leaders must be taken under protection.»

Parallell

Saakasjvili ser ikke helt ut til å ha fattet hva han satte igang med sitt angrep på Sør-Ossetia fredag. Selv i dagens tale hvor han snakket om at Georgia blir invadert og muligens utslettet, var det som om han ikke helt forsto alvoret i situasjonen.

Men liksom Saakasjvili muligens faller for eget grep, kan Putin komme til å gjøre det samme, og hans fallhøyde er mye større.

Stadig flere verden rundt begynner nemlig å få øynene opp for hva Putin er i stand til, og de blir skremt av det de ser. Mannen har ikke hemninger.

Denis MacShane var Europa-minister under Tony Blair. Han oppsummerer alle tilfellene der Putin har vist at han ikke bryr seg om regler og anvender press, og endog vold.

Nor will this crisis remain on Russia’s south-eastern flank. Putin does not fully accept the sovereignty of the Baltic states, with sizeable Russian minorities who arrived there after Stalin snuffed out the independence of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania in 1939. Russia has already launched a cyber-war that shut down Estonia’s government and economic life for 24 hours. Putin has also demanded a Russian corridor across Lithuanian territory to the ex-Soviet enclave of Königsberg, where Kant wrote his theory of perpetual peace.

Now called Kaliningrad, the former Prussian city was host to an infamous meeting of Putin, Chirac and Schröder at which they mocked Tony Blair’s support for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. It was in Kaliningrad that Putin offered a job to Schröder as boss of the company building an oil pipeline in the Baltic to bypass the cheaper land route over Poland. Swedish diplomats worry that, once it is built, the Russians will exercise security oversight over the pipeline and turn the Baltic Sea into a zone of naval confrontation.

Geopolitisk katastrofe

Putin slapp katta ut av sekken da han sa at den største geopolitiske katastrofen i det 20. århundre var Sovjetunionens sammenbrudd. Det kan se ut som han er fast bestemt på å reversere fallet:

Russia has never accepted the loss of the old Soviet empire. Like British Right-wingers who dream of the days when the Union flag fluttered over parts of the world where English was spoken, the Russians still feel the loss of status when the end of communism forced the Kremlin to disgorge the Baltic states, Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia under Putin has energy wealth and thus the money to spend on arms and aggressive foreign policy. Moscow continues to bluster and threaten the Baltic states, has cut off energy supplies to countries it wants to lean on and, as Britain knows, has bullied the British Council, interfered in BP and Shell’s commercial operations, and even harassed the British ambassador when he went out to buy food for the embassy cat. And then there is the Litvinenko murder, where the response of Putin was to put the man Scotland Yard wanted to question into the Duma with the immunity of an MP.

At the UN, Russia sabotages efforts to solve the Kosovo problem and lined up with Mugabe. In other international bodies, the Russians refuse to co-operate except on their own terms. The most bizarre example is the Council of Europe, which admitted Russia as a member even though Russia refuses to accept the authority of the European Court of Human Rights. In the Council of Europe, Conservative MPs sit in the same group as Putin’s stooges, and Tory MPs even tried to install a Kremlin placeman as president last year.

Putin bryr seg ikke om at han ydmyker Medvedev. Hvor lenge skuespillet med en impotent president kan fortsette, er vanskelig å si. Det later ikke til å være avtalt spill når Putin åpen desavouerer hva Medvedev har sagt.

Two months ago, I asked Russia’s EU ambassador who was in charge of Russia’s foreign and defence policy. After a moment’s hesitation, he replied: «The constitutional position is clear. It is the president of Russia.» One can only feel sorry for the hapless Dimitri Medvedev, the placeman installed as president by Putin, who stepped down to the theoretically inferior position of prime minister. Like Stalin, who never had a grander title than general secretary of the Communist party, we now see a Russian voshd – chief – totally in charge. Poor Medvedev promised Russian support at the G8 for strong UN language on Zimbabwe, only to be disowned on his return to Moscow. Again today, Putin shows who is running Russia.

Putin er en farlig mann, også for Russland. Men han har mange mektige og rike KGB-folk og forretningsfolk med seg. Angrepet på Georgia handler også om penger. Petrodollar. De kan bare bli rikere når de tramper på internasjonal lov og rett, så hvordan kan noen tro at de vil stanse?

Georgia: We must unite to resist Russian aggression

By Denis MacShane

Medvedev: Operations in Georgia Almost Complete

Russia seizes Georgia base, opens 2nd front

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