The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 15th August, 2008

Priest welcomes Russian soldiers

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by our European Affairs Correspondent

President Dmitri Medvedev has called a stop to military action against Georgia as Russia had achieved its goal in South Ossetia. But fighting continues in western Georgia as the forces of the breakaway Abkhazian republic battle with the Georgian army for control of the strategic Kodori Valley.

The war, which began when the reactionary Georgian regime launched a surprise attack on the South Ossetian republic on 8th August, has ended in the route of the Georgian army. But it has left a trail of death and destruction in its wake.

Thousands of civilians were killed in the fighting. Many more on both sides have fled to safety well away from the front-lines. Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital which was briefly seized by the Georgians on the first day of fighting, is in ruins. Some Georgian soldiers surrendered and are now prisoners of war and a senior Georgian intelligence officer operating secretly in Russia has been arrested. The Georgian city of Gori has been abandoned after days of Russian air and artillery bombardment and most of Georgia’s military bases and airports have been bombed..

While the fighting raged Muscovites joined Ossetian and Abkhazian workers in the Russian capital to organise humanitarian aid for the refugees and stage protests outside the American embassy. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the biggest communist party in the country, held fund collection drives and blood donation camps for Russian soldiers and civilians in Ossetia.

A six-point ceasefire was agreed on Wednesday after French President Nicolas Sarkozy held talks in Moscow and the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.


“The first is not to resort to the use of force. The second is to halt all military action. The third is free access to humanitarian aid. The fourth is that Georgian Armed Forces should return to their bases. The fifth is that Russian Armed Forces should pull back to their positions prior to combat,” President Medvedev told the media in Moscow. “The sixth is the beginning of international discussions on the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and on ways to ensure their security”.

The Kremlin has pledged $414 million in emergency aid for South Ossetia, much of it for Tskhinvali which will take at least two years to rebuild. The Russians are also insisting that the views of the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia must be taken into account in deciding the future of these two breakaway republics, which have been protected by Russian peace-keeping forces since the mid-1990s.

He cited the “precedent” of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in February, and its subsequent recognition by the United States and the majority of European Union countries.

Pro-imperialist Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili is now trying to pick up the pieces after the debacle by whipping up nationalist fervour at home and talking up the fear of the Russian bogeyman abroad to prop up his government. Though he clearly couldn’t have acted without the covert blessing of the United States the Russians hold him directly responsible for the war and the war-crimes and genocide they say his forces committed during their brief occupation of South Ossetia. But at the moment there is no sign of any serious open challenge to Saakashvili’s rule apart from a call from the Georgian Peace Committee for his ousting.

Holding the Saakashvili government responsible for “this fratricidal war” it declared that the “Georgian Peace Committee, together with all the progressive parties and social movements of Georgia, is going to struggle so that the organisers of this monstrous genocide have a severe and legitimate punishment… we appeal to all the political forces of Georgia, the social movements and the people of Georgia to unite in order to free the country of the anti-popular, Russophobic and pro-fascist regime of Saakashvili!”



Marching through Georgia

THE CAUCASUS is ablaze after Russian forces fought to drive the Georgian army out of the breakaway republics that look to the Kremlin for protection. Meanwhile the imperialists bleat about the fate of a Georgian puppet whom they incited in the first place to launch this insane provocation. The Russians now have the upper hand. The Georgian army has been routed and the Russians have called a halt to their military operations.

The Georgians are begging for a ceasefire and blaming the West for not bailing them out of a crisis of their own making. But the man they should blame is their own president, Mikhail Saakashvili, who has brought his country to the brink of disaster through a reckless gamble that has so dramatically backfired.

Georgian forces launched a treacherous dawn attack on the autonomous republic of South Ossetia on 8th August briefly occupying the capital, Tskhinvali, and killing many civilians and a number of Russian peace-keeping soldiers and forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee across the border to North Ossetia-Alania, which is part of the Russian Federation.

The Georgian leadership clearly believed that they could do this while many world leaders, including Russian leader Vladimir Putin, were distracted in Beijing for the opening of the Olympics; that they could rely on the US imperialism to support their unilateral aggression and that the Russians would do nothing. The reactionary Georgian nationalist regime miscalculated on all three counts.

Georgia is a willing tool of imperialism, sending troops to support the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq and pushing to join Nato and the European Union. The Americans and Israel have helped arm and train the Georgian armed forces. Georgia plays a pivotal role in the supply of oil from the Caspian region to the West as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline runs through much of the country and the Americans see Georgia as a useful base to menace Russia and the countries of the Middle East.

In Soviet times the peoples of the Caucasus lived in harmony with one another. The collapse of Soviet power in the late 1980s, led by Gorbachov and the other traitors in the Kremlin, fuelled the rise of reactionary nationalist forces throughout the USSR and the Soviet Union fell apart. The former Soviet republics declared full independence but many of them ignored the legitimate demands of the long established autonomous republics and provinces within their territories.

In Georgia the South Ossetians and Abkhazian nationalists demanded full autonomy and when the Georgian government not only rejected this but abolished their existing rights, these communities launched a full-scale revolt.

Fighting ended in the early 1990s when the Georgians recognised the autonomous republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia under international agreements that provided for the stationing of Russian peace-keeping forces.

No one should be surprised at the Russian response. Under those agreements Russian peace-keeping forces maintain the truce and they are obliged if one party breaks the ceasefire to defend the other, which is exactly what they did when they intervened to save the South Ossetians, most of whom are Russian citizens, and drive the Georgians out. The Russians have always called for a peaceful negotiated solution to the problem. The Georgian regime has continually tried to settle this by force. Last week they overplayed their hand.

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