Via Ekho Moskvy:
Today the Zadneprovsky District Court of Smolensk sentenced Taisia Osipova to 8 years in prison. Even though the prosecutor had only requested 4! Even though the case simply teemed with procedural violations. Even though President Medvedev asked for the case to be reviewed, just as he had asked for a review of the laying of a roadway through the Khimki Forest, for example. Even though Taisia is a sick woman. And a mother.
But in court she did not lose heart, even smiled once. Said she would not give up. Would appeal the sentence.
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away
Writing in North Caucasus Analysis, Valery Dzutsev discusses the plight of Syria’s relatively large (anywhere from between 50,000 to 150,000) ethnic Circassian community. In spite of the Kremlin’s continued support for the Assad regime, in recent months some 350 Circassians have relocated to Russia’s North Caucasus region, and amid the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria it looks as though this number may soon increase.
Apart from the foreign policy dilemmas, the Syrian crisis clearly has domestic implications for Moscow. In particular, some Russian analysts believe that relocating Syrian Circassians to the North Caucasus and the corresponding increase of the Circassians’ influence in the areas adjacent to the city of Sochi could obstruct the 2104 Winter Olympic Games. Moscow is worried that its direct rival in the region, Georgia, is also supportive of Circassian initiatives – in particular, their opposition to the 2014 Olympics. The Kremlin is reportedly also afraid to yield to any popular demands from “below,” at the regional level, since it is regarded as “encouragement of separatism.”
In particular, Dzutsev believes,
It will be harder now for the Kremlin to ignore calls from the North Caucasus to allow the repatriation of Circassians and other North Caucasians from Syria. It will also be difficult to put a cap on the number of Circassians who want to return to their historical land, since the vast majority of people of North Caucasian descent in Syria are ethnic Circassians. Moscow’s effort to keep the North Caucasus isolated from the world may prove to be increasingly untenable.
According to a Russian Army General, former First Deputy Defence Minister and Chief of the General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky, a decision to invade Georgia was made in May 2008, several months before the events of August that year. Baluyevsky makes the claim in a 47-minute documentary that has been released on YouTube, part of which can be watched here.
According to Pavel Felgenhauer,
Putin’s press service immediately confirmed the “Lost Day” as a genuine documentary. After a meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, in the Kremlin, Putin confirmed to journalists the accuracy of some of the “Lost Day” allegations. According to Putin, the plan to invade Georgia was prepared in advance and “the Russian side acted within the framework of that plan.” The General Staff of the Armed Forces prepared the plan of military action against Georgia “at the end of 2006, and I authorized it in 2007,” continued Putin.