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Debates about War

Debates about War
13.09.2008

National Assembly which took place on September, 11 in Moscow in the center named after Sakharov carried out public hearings on the question of the Russian - Georgian conflict - "Debates about War". The deputy of National Assembly Anatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk who opened and carried out hearings declared that "the outcome of the debates is unpredictable".

- We haven't prepared anything beforehand and we don't have anything unexpected, - Anatoly Baranov informed. - The matter is that the so-called "legitimate" authority in no way addressed society with question about war and peace. Unexpectedly in a heat of holidays war ended the same way unexpectedly as it used to begin. Deputies of both chambers of parliament were taken from vacations and by a principle "are you for red or for white?" were forced to vote for independence. Means, " you will vote, otherwise..." And National Assembly appeared the only structure in the country which, obviously, was interested in opinion of society about the war, in the facts and arguments, that is in everything without what it is impossible to size up an event.

Edward Limonov who opened discussion declared that in the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia the Russian authority acted in accordance with national interest of the country. "We hate the government but we distinctly understand what national interest is", - Limonov declared. "I would not like that people associate position of National Assembly with Andrey Illarionov's opinion", - Limonov declared, in whose opinion the point of view of a liberal part of National Assembly exposed them as short-signed politicians. As he said, "the art to be politician - also a skill to be able to keep silence".

"It is a pity that the few own it", - Edward Limonov said.

(There is a full text of E.Limonov's performance, it will be published).

The leader of United Civil Front Harry Kasparov didn't agree with position of Edward Limonov. Contrary to opinion of the leader of the National Bolsheviks that politicians should reflect point of view of the majority of population, Kasparov considers that the role politician is to explain to people what is happening, not imposing own point of view. Kasparov noted that politicians first of all should answer a question what price society would pay for momentary successes. Political and economic consequences of the Russian - Georgian conflict, in opinion of Kasparov, are catastrophic.

The leader of United Civil Front added that the main question which was set by Illarionov was a question who "fired first" in the Russian - Georgian conflict. However, he agreed with Limonov's position that international law ceased to act in the global world. It is necessary to search for new bases of solving of conflicts in astable regions, Kasparov believes. In particular he suggested to take for a reference point ethnic structure of the region at the moment of disintegration.

The first secretary of Central Committee RKP-KPSS Alexey Prigarin acted the next in the course of the discussion. According to his opinion, Russia on August, 8 did not have any choice, however he considered that it's impossible to start counting from August, 8, as that moment was preceded with 16 years of "false Russian policy" when Russia acted on the one hand for territorial integrity of Georgia and on the other, had been giving passports to the Russian citizens. By words of Prigarin, he is humiliated with a lie which is distributed by the Russian authority connected with losses among peace population and absence in a zone of the conflict of the regular soldiers. "This conflict once again raised the question about the right of the nation to self-determination", - Prigarin declared. Responsible politicians, in his opinion, should offer new system of solving of similar disputed situations connected to system of flexible estimations of opportunities of the nations on self-determination.

In his turn one of the participants of a movement "People" Andrey Dmitriev who visited a zone of the conflict in the middle of August with confidence told that Georgia was the first who started operations, while the Russian 58-th army appeared in a zone of the conflict only on August, 9. Information about victims among peace population, distributed by Russia, Dmitriev called "little lie" and information of Human Rights Watch - "big lie". Dmitriev accused the Russian liberals in that they only criticized actions of Russia, however they didn't put forward precise concept of behaviour of the country in the days of the conflict. "Everyone who put a badge "I am Georgian" are internal emigrants", - Dmitriev noted in his performance. In Dmitriev's opinion, the project of united democrats - "is a way to a communal grave but with a badge "I am Georgian" it will be even shorter".

Economist Vladimir Milov as one of the supporters of association of democrats had an opportunity to answer Dmitriev in the course of debate. The conflict showed "a break between responsible politicians and bawlers", the economist considers. As he said, responsible politicians are ready to step over their emotions to lead situation to peace settlement. As an example of reasonable behaviour in case of separative conflicts he named behaviour of Russia in settlement of Moldavian-Transdniestrian conflict.

In Milov's opinion, war in Georgia brought Russia heavy economic problems which would only aggravate. "Stock market has already collapsed and this consequence will affect economic condition of the most poorest layers of society as pension fund keeps its savings in the Russian shares", - Milov noticed. Responsible politicians, as he said, should explain to the population all horrifying economic consequences of military adventure.

Chairman of the committee of National Assembly on National Policy Gejdar Dzemal in his performance declared that opposition had no right to associate actions of Russia with actions of the Kremlin. Basing) on quotations from V.I.Lenin, Dzemal proved necessity to differentiate, there were interests of the country and - interests of a mode with which we struggled. As he said, Putin's mode created unprecedented situation on Caucasus when two North Caucasian formations received independence. "It can lead to independence of all Caucasus", - Dzemal considers.

The deputy of National Assembly Jury Mukhin appeared close to him in his position, he precisely defined that as soon as nobody asked anything from the society and its legitimate representatives, war in Georgia - is a private campaign of a group of persons in the Kremlin. People of Russia cannot be responsible for activity of "the society with limited liability" carried out by the group of high-ranking officials.


From editorial board: When I hold some activity I try to avoid expressing own opinion "on the right of a leader". The master of the ceremony has one right - to conduct session so that people could hear each other. That, certainly, does not mean that I do not have opinion or I have nothing to say.

But in the given concrete case I, first of all, would like to listen. Whenever possible - different people, speaking sometimes wise things and sometimes full nonsense - it's unimportant. At the end of the debate I noted that authority passed from the dialogue with society - to broadcasting long time ago. There is no feedback and the Kremlin doesn't need it. It's satisfied with the polls carried out privately. Levada-center counted up that war in Ossetia is approved by 75-78 percent of citizens. What is the reason to discuss further?

But, if to be frank, I have not received the answer to some questions, at that from those who could as it seems to me to answer. Military experts - Alexander Golts, general - lieutenant Alexey Titov, the captain of the first rank Sergey Mozgovoj and others were invited. But, alas, all somehow turned to the political information.

So nobody told why within many years Russia armed South Ossetia with offensive weapon including more than 70 tanks. What for? Unless tank impacts across Georgia were planned? Well, for support of tactical actions of infantry such armada is obviously superfluous. On the other hand - there was no anti-tank defense, the Georgian technics came to Tskhinvali on asphalt. In fact it's not Ukraine where steppe and steppe is everywhere, it's a crossed district...

I have only one answer - corrupted capacity of deliveries of second-hand tanks is much higher than the one of concrete posts and ATGM. Though I would like to have more authoritative opinion.

Thus nobody answered a question why the Georgian aircraft had smaller losses, than the Russian one? I know that Georgia has battle-planes Su-25 "Scorpion" on arms modernized together with Israel. While our Su-25SM were met by me only in press release of "Sukhoj" of approximately 2002 year but, I believe, even press-releases didn't reach armies, let alone the machines. Out Su-25 frankly conceded the Georgian ones on avionics, arms and other parameters. Though I would like to have opinions of the expert.

Actions of the Georgian air defence became unexpectedness for the Russian command. Why? Why did the Russian strategic bombers, contrary to all directives, work in operative range of air defence of the opponent when they shouldn't come close to it? At that there was info on military - technical cooperation of Georgia and Ukraine which the Ukrainian party scrupulously declared in the United Nations. Whether there was nobody in the Russian military investigation to read what Ukraine delivered to Georgia? All these are - emotions, while it would be desirable to have more precise data.

It was stated in a number of performances as refrain that actions of Russia in the given situation were unequivocal and had not alternative. But in fact it's not so!

Yes, it was necessary to protect peace citizens and own peacemakers by means of military force. But why it was made only after sleeping people were killed? Whether preparations of Georgia for war were such a "secret", if mass-media wrote about it for some months. Don't they read newspapers in GRU of the General Staff?

Why there was no alternative to recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Yes, it was necessary to recognize but when? Why not before August, it could have prevented bloodshed? Why not later, when having got support of the parliament and opinion of citizens president Medvedev could raise the question of recognitions in SCO and CSTO? It would be done with respect to allies and would not close for them opportunity to recognize new states also.

Here Jury Mukhin already noted that under the charter of CSTO Russia was simply obliged to inform allies across CIS before entering armies into the territory of Georgia. What of it? What joint recognition can be expected from the heads of the states which had just been ignored in the given question?

So, as always after serious discussion of the important theme there are new questions. It is good. At that the Kremlin has no questions, only answers, for all occasions. It is bad because they not every time take into account our life...

Аnatoly Baranov

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