Georgia on His Mind

Thinking Georgia

Thinking Georgia

The news that Polish President Lech Kaczyński is flying out to Georgia has divided opinion. George Bush has praised President Kaczyński for his bravery and leadership. Hardly a compliment if you see that the USA has done absolutely nothing to avoid this conflict or help in negotiations.

Silent Fear
In fact, the power institutions of the world are so afraid of Russia that nothing at all has been done to caution or admonish Russia for its acts of hostility on Georgia. Some feeble, non-threatening remarks have been made by a few countries and nothing else, nothing of substance.

Russian Motives
Actions, of course, speak louder than words and if the current status quo continues and the stance of the world’s leading power centres does not change then Russia will soon ‘liberate’ South Ossetia, then Abkhazia, after which both entities will no doubt ‘elect to join’ Russia allowing the Russians to incorporate these territories into their federal structures. As we know both areas are of strategic importance with regards to oil pipelines and access to the sea. These would be prized acquisitions for Russia.

Prometheus & the Eagle

Prometheus & Eagle

Lech’s Mission
Kaczyński mission to Georgia is brave but it may also be foolhardy. The Russian ambassador in Latvia has already warned the Baltic States and Poland not to criticise Russia. The ambassador wrote that “Quick judgements [by Poland and the Baltics] should not be made concerning this situation [the Georgian conflict] because mistakes could well be made for which they [Poland and the Baltics] will have to pay”.

Prometheus on His Mind
It is interesting to put Kaczyński’s position in context. Both Lech and his brother are known admirers of Józef Piłsudski and by extension his policy of Prometheism (discussed in brief in a previous post). If this is the case and Prometheism is a key policy also of President Lech Kaczyński’s then the mission to Georgia, together with the leaders of the Baltic States and Ukraine would appear to be something of an acme in the consolidation of this policy. For Lech Kaczyński, the fact that he is making this journey in concert with key ‘Promethian’ leaders is in itself a huge success regardless of the result once in Georgia.

25 Responses to Georgia on His Mind

  1. […] Uzar writes about mixed opinions in Poland about the conflict between Russia and Georgia, emanating primarily from […]

  2. As you may have noticed, the renaissance of Prometheism is a theme I have previously covered on my own blog: http://vilhelmkonnander.blogspot.com/2006/05/borzhomi-prometheus-unbound.html

  3. Jimbo says:

    I’d already heard of Pilsudski’s plan for a federation of eastern nations as a bulwark against Russia, but had never encountered the ‘Prometheism’ tag before. One of his better ideas, I’d always thought, and an interesting precursor of European unity.

    The one-sidedness of the Polish media coverage of the Georgian/Russian conflict is noteworthy, but not a surprise in the slightest; I haven’t yet encountered a single hint in the Polish media that Saakashvili’s actions (it seems he was first to send troops into South Ossetia) might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Although I think everyone wd agree that the Russians had set the whole situation up, praying for the traditionally ‘hot-headed’ Georgians to start something.

    Something else; the Ossetians and Abkhaz (I knew one of the latter, in Lódz many years ago) have resented the Georgians for centuries, it seems – just as apparently there was genuine resentment among the Sudeten Germans towards ‘Czechification’ policies after Versailles. Where does it stop? How does it start?

  4. Raf Uzar says:

    Jim,
    Interesting what you say about the media. I was listening to Lech Wałęsa on Tok FM on Monday and he was uber-critical of Saakashvili much to the surprise of the presenter.
    Very true about the Ossetians and Abkhaz loathing the Georgians. I know an Ossetian who’s a correspondent out there now – apparently it’s really, really bad…

  5. Jimbo says:

    What I want to hear more discussion about is the status of minorities within larger states. Where does one draw the line? Do the Kaszubs and Silesians have a ‘right’ to self-determination, a state, passports, some kind of constructed national language?

    Oppression breeds resentment, as we see; but giving them wide-ranging autonomy and social & cultural freedoms (witness the Basques and Catalans, and the Scots and Welsh too, while we’re at it) doesn’t seem to soothe inflamed feelings either.

    One might argue that Scotland and Catalonia were historically independent, internationally recognised polities whereas the Kaszubs and the Ossetians weren’t, of course. But nor were the Italians or the Germans until the 19th century.

    Perhaps the nation-state no longer functions? Do we have to go back to Holy Roman ‘Empires’ and Ottoman ‘Empires’? Or is the EU a precursor of some new kind of supra-national political entity?

  6. Raf Uzar says:

    Good questions. I think the ‘problem’ of nation-states has always been around. I mean look at it from another extreme – Albanians have TWO states – Kosovo and Albania.

    Self-determination is a basic right that we have to respect. If the Ossetians want independence then why not give it to them? Or is that Russia speaking? It’s a difficult one.

    Silesians have their organisations but nothing seems to have evolved. I think in the road to self-determination, minorities need to pass a critical mass, a tipping point where the push for independence snowballs and becomes so strong that nothing can stop it. If this is the case, Silesians and Kashubs are minorities only and not, like the Catalans and Scots, self-determining minorities with a great sense of independence.

  7. Kasia says:

    The “brave” act of Lech Kaczyński is notable particularly for its absence from any reports in the western media. The BBC broadcast from Tbilisi this morning cut off as soon as Mr. Kaczynski started tp speak. Maybe they didn’t have a Polish translator handy? Then ask yourself why what Mr. Kaczynski had to say has still not been reported on the BBC news or on their website, as far as I can see. Is the west still as afraid of Russia as it was in 1944/45?

    For Poles throughout history, bravery has never paid off. Will this time be any different?

    Kasia

  8. Raf Uzar says:

    Kasia,
    Thanks for the comments. Yes, I also checked out the foreign press and not a word about Kaczyński and the other leaders. The truth is that Poland simply isn’t a big player and no matter what Kaczyński thinks or does will change this. Sadly, the shoes that he fills are slightly too big for him.

  9. Kasia says:

    Hi Raf,

    I am no fan of Lech Kaczyński and he may well not fill his boots properly. However Poland is in the western media today, and it seems Donald Tusk is singing from the same song book as Kaczyński.

    According to a report in the International Herald Tribune Poland has finally agreed to place an American missile-defence base on Polish territory. In return Poland gets a Patriot missile battery transferred from Germany, manned by the US military.

    Are we Poles merely pawns in a chess game between the “great” powers, or are we at last masters of our own fate?

    Kasia

  10. Elena says:

    hey guys no offense but i just wanted to express my disgust to poles, for the following reasons:
    1. Your gov is supporting genocide leader Tsakashvili, and you stay silent
    2. You stupidly allowed yr gov to position rocks. U know as we say in RU anti-missle military I am coming from: We die first in a morden war, So u guys are oblidged to die first as well.
    3. Hey I just wanted to say stop flunctuating about past event when SU had u. It is over, get over it. i understand u are like a meat inside a humburger, being squashed from both sides, and being humiliated from both sides. But u need to finallay understand u r safer with christians that live by ur border compared to religion free US.
    4. Some of my friends say that Poland, Ukrane, etc are like prostitutes cause there are inbetween strong nations. I disagree. I think Poland IS a strong nation in itself. So please make yr gov stop behaving like an abused prositute and make them take rational decisions.
    5. Finally, I do not know how big is this, we are being brainwshaed a bit in Ru as well. But here they say poles screamed bad words against RU football team on Poland stadium. Hey no comments except for two: 1) it shows u poles are being good brainwashed as well, and 2) hey, as press quotes RU football trainer humiliated on Poland stadium: “If u ever go RU it is doing to be worse cause of this behaviour”.
    What can I russian add? I am not goingto sucrifice my life going to protect poles on russian football field. If I wanted to I cant, I have 2 chieldrens. Yr fault.

  11. Raf Uzar says:

    Elena,
    First of all, I’m a British citizen. Likewise, many people who comment on this blog are NOT Polish. Try not to jump to conclusions.
    Raf

  12. Kasia says:

    Elena,

    I am not sure that I understand what you are saying about USA being religion free. USA is a very religious country and by the way what has religion to do with the issues we are discussing here?

    If Saakashvili is a genocidal leader then in what way is Putin any better? The sophistication of his methods?

    About Georgia: Today’s UK Economist magazine says it very accurately: “The people who are likely in the end to pay the biggest price for the attack on Georgia are the Russians. Like any foreign aggression, it will lead to further stifling of civil freedoms in Russia”.

    And don’t forget you are not only brainwashed you are also not living in a free country either.

    The Economist again – “Russia was prepared for the war in Georgia not only militarily, but also ideologically. It’s campaign was crude but effective. While its forces were dropping bombs on Georgia, the Kremlin bombarded its own population with an astonishing, even by Soviet Standards, propaganda campaign”.

  13. Elena says:

    Dear Kasia.

    very to da point. but please let me menion a couple of yr typos: ” attack on Gerorgia of Russian”. I just wanted to remind that 74 Russian peicekiepers were killed in the initial Georgia assault. I do not clearly recognize you as UK or or US citezent, but i can surely say for sure (sorry for repeating words): If only onec USA ccitizen were murdered, there would be a fulll scale operation, not neccessaraly limiting itself to taking over such a small country as Georgia. Now russians have 74 dead bodies, only due Saakashvili ,and u r saying Russians overreacting? I i were putin or medvedev (hopefully I am not cause I am obviously too young and passionate) I would level to da ground zero the territiory that caused my country so many dead service man. Seriously.

  14. Czibo says:

    Dear Elena, I’m a Polish national and I would like to address your ‘disgust of poles’ issues in (I hope) a most explanatory manner.

    1. Actually, there is a significant support for Georgia here, not silence, coming out of belief that Russia has started the conflict or out of traditional resentment. The fact that Sakashvili’s forces bombed civilians is either ignored, or results in not supporting Sakashvili. Besides, it’s interesting why ‘genocide’ remark is used when it comes to Sakashvili and Osetia, but not when it comes to Chechenya or Katyn. There is a certain saying coming to my mind on that topic, according to wikipedia it reads like this: В чужом глазу соломину видеть, в своём — бревна не замечать (“To see a little straw in other’s eye, and not to notice a log in his own”)

    2. I understand you reffer to us agreeing to place american ‘defense shield’ launch site on our soil. The interesting part of it is, that these rockets have NO offensive capabilities. They are used for shooting down balisitic missiles launched AT America, NOT for attacking Russia. It does however make it difficult for RU to attack US without bombing PL first. Works for US, we just take money for it and count a nuke war won’t happen.

    3. I do not understand that point at all, I’m afraid. Safer how and from whom?

    4. A prostitute gives her body to others for money and protection, so I guess Poland could be called that if one wants to insult Poland and Poles and still be a bit right. However, that makes Russia look like a guy who is calling names on a girl, that went to bed with someone else than him- jealous, angry and feeling bad about himself.

    5. Haven’t heard a word of it. Might be true, might be propaganda- this way or the other, there is some truth in it. Poles in general do not love Russia, because nobody loves a big bully that scares and threatens other kids to do in accord with his biddings. In negotiations US uses a carrot, RU uses a stick. Apparently, we prefer the carrot.

  15. Elena says:

    in point 3 I only wanted to say that there is a long-lived agrression between Poland (or dislike?) and Russia because of historical monets two countries had. Not to mention nazi anulliation thanks to Rusiia, still SU made some stupid and painfull acts against (at that time weak) Poland.
    In point 3 I wanted to say we still are of the same “blood type” and stationed nearly, and it just makes no sense militarily, as well as humanitarily, to fall apart just cause another strong guy like US comes upon. Again, my other point within was that I have a perseption u Polands took those bad things from SU too seriosly in a sencse, u rembemer those up to now. Two genrations grew up and died, KGB fall a part, but still some leaders of ys are makeing russinans a bugy men these days. This is not right, rissia is estimating yr welth good, and asking for partnership.

    Instead poland gov agrees to station missles.
    Hey I am not politian at all, BUT just becuase of this poland actions I have to think OF HOW my family gonna feed itlsef just because I am I missle militrary officer in reserve. And if things get hot (my bet is 50%) how do I lieve my family to point ak at Greate Poles.

    u guys r doing a greate mistake making this circus inside Europe. It is very dangerous game. even thoug I am noone to RU parlament, I can say 4 sure Russia does not want to play it. But once some one started it there is no way back.

    Additionally I would like to thank the holder of this nice democratic place (I bet the Mrs name is Zoe) for letting my initial, pretty pepper on Polands essay come out. At the same time I am greately indebt to Czibo, my “dude from another side” who is taking my agressive (though grounded) assertions whithout outrage.

    Thanks a lot.

  16. Kasia says:

    Elena,

    You said: “I i were putin or medvedev (hopefully I am not cause I am obviously too young and passionate) I would level to da ground zero the territiory that caused my country so many dead service man. Seriously.”

    There seems to be a contradiction in your thinking. As a Christian (my assumption from your earlier post) you should never ever wish death and destruction to anyone. It will never ever be better on this planet if people still think in the way you suggest, and countries still act in the same way as the king of Babylon, Hammurabi. Russia, with her horrible past as an oppressor and a treacherous ally, should not be so touchy and so paranoid. The civilized way of resolving problems is discussion, negotiation etc. Not attacking small countries and destroying them. As a big country, one of the biggest in her region, Russia should start to act in different way. But it will be impossible if the inhabitants of Russia allow themselves to be indoctrinated in the way you seem to be. It is an embarrassment for this planet and it is horrible for the future of East and Central Europe.

    And I don’t blame Poles for not trusting Russia. You should be aware of the past and learn something from that history. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

  17. bieksia says:

    Greetings Raf and others!

    Raf, another fine article!
    A very important point that you brought up…and I agree…as a native born American I feel that any response to the recent Russian attacks against Georian Nation by America will be limited to humitarian aid and only words and perhaps limited punitive measures. The simple fact is that in regards to the many Nations which have suffered under the dark hand of the Russian’s…The majority of Americans remain ignorant of such history and diconnected from deep conscern about this centuries old plight. With the exception of those who still hold their European Roots close to their hearts and a those relatively few others who have been blessed with genuine compassion for the oppressed and persecuted. This is not a condemnation of America on my part…simply an observation of prevailing sentiments or lack there of.

    As a person who shares common ancestry with my Slavic cousins I cannot ever recall being so proud as the moment I heard of the acceptance of the missle shield (and mutual defense) treaty by Poland. The move was bold, brave and absolutely neccessary.

    Poland has made it clear to their brethren nations that they are willing to stand in the face of tyranny with firm action, not just empty words. By ‘brethren nations’ I refer to all people…Slavic,Baltic,Urgo-Finic, Germanic and others who have suffered from the misfortunes of being located within the reach of Barbaric Russia. My message to Russians who may read these words is that Russia has no place of honor amongst the wide spread SLAVIC people. With the exception of your Serbian puppets and only a portion of misguided Belarusians….You have no support, no admiration from us. We only use you as a fine example to teach our children how NOT to be.

    There can be no realistic bargaining with the Russians because it should be clear by now that Russia is symbolic of both a Theif and a Murderer.

    One cannot conduct buisness with either without paying a horrific price.

    The best of Russian Society were slaughtered and put down by Stalin and his henchmen. Their numbers were in the millions. ‘WE’ the ‘FREE’ Slavs grieve
    this monumental act of murder and treachery against your own family as well as
    ours. And still you arrogantly expect us to bow down and yeild to your continual
    acts of dishonor and pursuit of selfish desires. At the expense of our freedom and our
    very lives.

    Where are the best of today’s Russian Society…Why don’t they take to the streets and
    demand that their leaders cease such hostilities and provocations? Perhaps Russians are only brave when they confront small nations or those with inferior capabilities. They are certainly not brave enough to embark on an honorable path.

    Sorry once again Raf for using up so much of your space with my own thoughts!
    (and waisting my time directing truths at a nation of people with eyes that refuse to see and ears that will not listen.)

    God bless Poland for it’s remarkable act of bravery!

    God bless and protect my Slavic Brothers from their siblings whose minds are still confined to the gutters.

    Mykolas

  18. Raf Uzar says:

    Mykolas,
    Many thanks for the comments. Thanks to all of you for your comments. I’m specifically taking a step back from this discussion as it’s great to read what all of you have to say… from a distance.
    As I see it, we have a lot of anti-Russian feeling here and some anti-American comments as well as murmurs of Pan-Slavism. I wonder where the truth lies…

  19. Czibo says:

    IMHO

    Truth, like God, is an abstract, a matter of personal belief. While some say there is no God, I say there is no truth, only points of view😉

  20. bieksia says:

    Putin the Pied Piper

    Like Stalin before him, Putin has chosen to use his accomplished team of criminal manipulators to veil the true intentions of his criminal enterprize. And is quickly leading the people of Russia towards a return to an oppressive and dangerous soviet style regime. Many, who have been spurred on by a false sense of invicibility and the promise of continued economic growth and prosperity follow his lead blindly and without consideration for the rights of the people of surrounding nations as well as their own. Any attempt by those who wish to force fair practices and accountibility upon the new ruling class are quickly beaten to submission and silenced. Elections are a spectacle of smoke and mirrors. Only token fragment of true democracy is left on a plate for the masses to consume in order to draw their attention away from the lavish feast of power being enjoyed by Russian leaders…behind closed doors. Only political parties and figures which do not represent any threat to the ruling classes are allowed to remain. In order to give an appearance of the existance of democracy in Russia. Major threats within Russia and the ‘Near Abroad’ are often silenced or removed. Such is the dark hand of Russia.

    Those who wake up to new found finacial security or even fortune continue to sing songs of praise for him and all he has done for the Russian People. They have developed a ravenous hunger for any form of propoganda, misinformation or even blatant lies that will allow them to justify their actions. Even if they are at the expence of their ‘unappreciative’ neighbors. Many are willing to send their sons off to war in support of their ill founded ‘advancements’.

    Others remain fearful and silent, as have their grandfathers and fathers and uncles during the time of Stalin. They prefer to live their lives in fear rather than to risk their lives in an attempt to bring honor to those who were torn from their families, never again to be heard from.

    it is only a matter of time before they will once again spend sleepless nights in anticipation of that ‘knock at the door’ in the middle of the night. Then only will they realize that their silence has brought horrible misfortune as they are torn away from their wives and children in the same manner as Stalin’s victims.

    Others who bathe themselves in thoughts of glory and wealth will also come to realize that the wealth they enjoy is dependant upon the prosperity of the very nations they desire to dominate and intimidate. Most of Russia’s new found wealth comes from sales of Oil and other less import commodities to such nations.

    As Russians cotinue to press forward with illusions of a return to the days the ‘Glory of the Empire’ they will allienate the very nations that fuel their success.

    Drink now from the ‘well of fortune’ and satisfy your inquenchable thirsts.

    The well is soon to become dry.

    Perhaps you will learn to turn your thoughts away from Putin the Pied Piper before he leads you to a return to misfortune and your inevitable demise.

  21. bieksia says:

    Just a ‘follow up’ on Russia’s ‘Well of Fortune’

    A very interesting news fact appeared on one of the major networks last night (I believe it was CNN) . Russia’s Stock Market has fallen 25% since the start of their aggression against the Georgian Nation!

    ‘Mykolas’

  22. Raf Uzar says:

    He who lives by the sword…

  23. Raf Uzar says:

    … dies by the stock market.🙂

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