Thursday, August 14, 2008

Saakashvilli: 'Baltics will be next"

As I'm sure you can understand, from where I am sitting, literally, the news from Gruusia, as we call it here, is of great concern. This is why I have reposted this item from the Baltic Times.

from The Baltic Times

Aug 14, 2008 By Mike Collier

TBILISI - A day after the Presidents of Estonia, Lithuania and Poland joined Latvian prime minister Ivars Godmanis in a remarkable show of solidarity with Georgia, President Saakshvilli predicted that the Baltic states would be next on Russia's list of military targets.

Speaking at a press conference held on August 13th, Saakashvilli said: "It’s not about Georgia any more. You know, if Russia gets away with this, I can predict now that the Baltic countries will be next, Ukraine may be attacked.
"We’ve seen them – as ruthless, as lawless, as brutal, as arrogant as they can get. They go unchecked. The world community should speak with one voice. We need a big humanitarian relief operation, like the Berlin airlift, because the capital is blocked from all sides. It’s one and a half million people, it’s a modern European city, and it needs a lifeline. The main thing is that if the West fails, it will have tremendous consequences for the years to come."

"I’ve been talking to the West, asking 'Why don’t you do something?' They’ve been saying 'You’re exaggerating; Russia’s not going to do anything.' Now look what they’re doing. This has already exceeded my worst expectations," Saakashvilli said.

He also drew direct parallels between the actions of Russia in South Ossetia, western inaction, and the appeasement of Hitler prior to World War II, saying: "Appeasement in 1938 brought tens of millions of deaths to Europe. Georgia is first like Czechoslovakia was first in 1938, then Poland followed, then the rest of Europe followed, then there was the greatest humanitarian catastrophe the world has ever seen.

"People should wake up. It’s not about Georgia. The bombs they were dropping on us had “This is for NATO” written on the side... Russia did this because they thought that nobody would intervene. So far, that’s been confirmed."

The embattled President added that he was "sickened" by reports that Georgia had provoked the conflict by sending its forces into Tskhinvali and again referred to historical precedents that will have resonance in the Baltic. "You know, Finland also attacked the Soviet Union, according to Stalin. Poland also attacked Germany. Small countries always attack, and then get occupied. It’s high time for people to understand what’s going on," he said.

"For me, frankly, not giving us a MAP [NATO Membership Action Plan] was a signal to Russia. They got the signal. No matter what the justification was, publicly, the Russians got the message. They took it as a signal to attack. I’ve been waiting for the attack for months, warning Western leaders about this."

Saakshvilli also said that part of the reason for Russia's attack was jealousy about Georgia's rapid economic development and relative prosperity. If that is indeed the case, it's another cause for concern in the Baltics, which have streaked away from Russia in terms of their business environments.

"This is also because Georgia is so successful. We were the darling of the World Bank, number 16 or 17 in terms of business environment, leaders in terms of foreign direct investment in the region. We have the lowest corruption in the area, one of the lowest in Europe. We had 12% growth last year, and this year we were anticipating 11%. And of course the Russians were going nuts, because even with their oil and gas we were doing better economically," said the president.

1 comment:

spacedlaw said...

It is a concern. Let's hope that the worries are without cause and that Georgia soon finds peace.