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August 18, 2008

The Glorious Deeds of the Russian Military

President Medvedev gave out medals today for service in the war in Georgia. His description of the conflict bears little resemblance to reality.

"Thank you for standing in the way of those who brought destruction and death to the people of the republic," he said, apparently referring to South Ossetia — the Russian-backed separatist region at the heart of the conflict, which erupted amid a Georgian offensive Aug. 7.

"You were the last hope of innocent people and your bravery saved lives," Medvedev said.

It was unclear what specific role the 30 soldiers and officers he decorated had played.

"I am sure that such a well-done, effective and peacemaking operation aimed at protecting our citizens and other people will be among the most glorious deeds of the Russian military," Medvedev said.

But hey, at least some Russian soldiers got to feel good about themselves. It's probably not much fun to work for a guy who gives out leave or die orders. I think the displacement of ethnic Georgians was always part of the plan:

“The soldiers told us they had an order from Putin - leave or be killed.” Manana Dioshvili showed no emotion as she described how Russian troops forced her to flee her home. Her former neighbours nodded in agreement, huddled together in a kindergarten whose windows had been blown out by a Russian bomb.

“That's how they explained themselves to us,” she recalled of the moment they fled the ethnic Georgian village of Kurta, near the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali.

“They said, ‘Putin has given us an order that everyone must be either shot or forced to leave'. They told us we should ask the Americans for help now because they would kill us if we stayed.”

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for Russia to pull back its troops. The blockade in the Black Sea continues, as does the occupation of Poti. Russia is moving missile launchers into South Ossetia and establishing "military buffer zones" in Georgia proper outside of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It looks like Russian troops are now digging in to Gori after severing Georgia's main east-west railway and blocking the east-west highway. These are the glorious deeds of the Russian military.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:09 PM

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