“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Listen Up ! Something is Going on Here. (UPDATED)

The last few days there have been some strange goings on between Georgia and Russia. Georgia is a country with an interesting location, some tough terrain and and a long history with Russia.

Earlier in the week after Georgia detained some Russian soldiers, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, ratcheted up the rhetoric when he threatened to "use all means available to us" to secure the release of the detained soldiers, raising fears of military confrontation between the two ex-Soviet neighbours.

The crisis began on Wednesday when Georgian troops surrounded the regional headquarters of Russian troops in the capital Tbilisi and arrested five officers and a driver on suspicion of espionage. This article from the London Telegraph provides the background and current situation.

Russia suspends Georgia pullout

The Russians are accused of spying on Georgia's military installations
A senior Russian army commander says Moscow is suspending the withdrawal of its forces from Georgia, amid a spying row between the two countries.
Russian forces were to pull out of two bases in Georgia by 2008, but the commander said the security of troops could not be guaranteed as they left.
War clouds gather in Georgian spy crisis.

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
(Filed: 30/09/2006)

The crisis in the Caucasus escalated last night as Georgia accused Russia of advancing troops towards its borders after four Russian army officers were charged with spying.

Officers check papers at Russian Army headquarters in Tbilisi as Russia evacuates staff and their families

The worst breakdown in relations between the two ex-Soviet neighbours in 15 years seemed to worsen hour by hour on a day of high drama.

Flouting Kremlin demands for their immediate release, a Tbilisi court ordered the four Russian servicemen, whose arrest on Wednesday ostensibly triggered the crisis, to be detained for a further two months.

Georgian troops seeking a fifth officer, Lt Col Konstantin Pichugin, surrounded the headquarters of the Russian Army Group in the capital Tbilisi for a third day.

The crisis erupted when Georgia arrested the men, claiming they were members of a "very dangerous" network that had spied on the military, caused an explosion that had killed three policemen, and was planning a "serious provocation" on Georgian soil.


  1. Something is going on in lots of places. Russia/Georgia, Syria/Israel (your post in the previous thread) and now Pakistan/India.
    Indian Police Say Pakistan's Spy Agency Behind Mumbai Bombings

    MUMBAI, India — Pakistan's spy agency masterminded the July 11 train bombings that killed more than 200 people in the Indian city of Mumbai, the top police officer in charge of the investigation alleged Saturday. Pakistan immediately denied the accusations.

    Mumbai police Commissioner A.N. Roy said the attacks were planned by the agency and carried out by Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, assisted by the Students Islamic Movement of India, a banned Islamic group.

    Roy gave a detailed description of how the explosives were transported into India and by whom. He also described how the bombs were packed into pressure cookers and placed on the trains.

    Seven bombs ripped through suburban trains in Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, killing at least 207 people and injured another 700. Mumbai was formerly known as Bombay.

    It's getting harder not to conclude that events are leading more and more rapidly to a global conflagration which will consume millions and will leave none of us untouched.

  2. "... Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili said late Friday that Georgia had achieved two goals with the arrests.

    "One ... is eliminating the network of spies in Georgia," he told Imedi television. "We achieved a political goal, too, which we have not been able to achieve for the past three years. The whole world ... saw that the Abkhazia conflict and the conflict over South Ossetia are not ethnic conflicts, but are conflicts between Georgia and Russia."

    Hell in a handbasket

  3. "...ANKARA, Turkey -- A Kurdish guerrilla group declared a new unilateral cease-fire in its war for autonomy in Turkey's southeast on Saturday, heeding a call from its imprisoned rebel leader, a pro-Kurdish news agency said.

    The Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, said the cease-fire would go into effect on Sunday "in the hopes of starting a democratic process for the solution of the Kurdish problem," the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency said on its Web site.

    The group said its fighters will not use arms unless attacked by the Turkish army, Firat said. ..."

    Someone must have got a call through to Col Kurtz.

    Yep, the beat goes on.