Friday, August 15, 2008

Russians losing propaganda war in South Ossetia, but Georgia not without fault

The BBC has an article describing how Russia is losing so far in the court of public opinion.

While the US and UK are firmly against Russia's actions, Germany is slightly more sympathetic:

The Bush administration appears to be trying to turn a failed military operation by Georgia into a successful diplomatic operation against Russia.

It is doing so by presenting the Russian actions as aggression and playing down the Georgian attack into South Ossetia on 7 August, which triggered the Russian operation.

Yet the evidence from South Ossetia about that attack indicates that it was extensive and damaging.

Blame game

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford has reported: "Many Ossetians I met both in Tskhinvali and in the main refugee camp in Russia are furious about what has happened to their city.

"They are very clear who they blame: Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili, who sent troops to re-take control of this breakaway region."

Human Rights Watch concluded after an on-the-ground inspection: "Witness accounts and the timing of the damage would point to Georgian fire accounting for much of the damage described [in Tskhinvali]."


There are signs, though, that there is some sympathy for Russia within the European Union - although not among the Eastern European states who still fear Russia and not in the British government, which has matched the US line about Russian "aggression".

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeing Russian leaders and while she too will urge them not to challenge borders, the German government has been notably reluctant to blame Russia.

No comments: