Georgia's President says terror attack in Moscow was 'payback'

5 posts

Niccolo and Donkey
Georgia's President says terror attack in Moscow was 'payback'

Independent UK

Shaun Walker and Kim Sengupta

January 27, 2011


Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, told The Independent yesterday that attacks like Monday's suicide bombing at a Moscow airport were "payback" for Russia's policies in the North Caucasus, as he compared the country to a "crocodile ready to swallow you up".

Mr Saakashvili and the Russian leadership have exchanged regular insults since the 2008 war between the countries over the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but his comments are likely to enrage Moscow, coming so soon after the blast at Domodedovo Airport that killed 35 people.

Speaking in the Georgian capital last night, President Saakashvili – whose country's two breakaway regions are recognised by Moscow as independent states – accused Russia of trying to destabilise neighbouring countries by encouraging secessionist movements.

"I discussed this personally with Vladimir Putin a while ago. I said to him that the payback for his country for supporting separatists would be that violence would come back to hit them as well," Mr Saakashvili said. "Putin said, 'No, if anyone tries anything against us, we shall crush them like cockroaches,' while jabbing and twisting his thumb on the table in front him."

Before his interview with The Independent, the Georgian President made similar comments in a televised question-and-answer session. "Russia has a political mentality which is on the level of a reptile, like a crocodile ready to swallow you up," Mr Saakashvili said. There is a well-documented personal enmity between Mr Saakashvili and Mr Putin. The Georgian President once said that talking to Mr Putin was "like somebody standing with an axe at your head and saying: "Don't worry, everything's OK, close your eyes and relax.'"

Mr Putin, meanwhile, has made fun of the time that BBC cameras caught Mr Saakashvili chewing the end of his tie. He also reportedly told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he wanted to "hang" Mr Saakashvili "by the balls".

Critics of Mr Saakashvili, who came to power in the Rose Revolution of 2003 promising democratic reforms, worry that the Georgian President is aiming to become a powerful prime minister when his second presidential term ends in 2013, just as Mr Putin did in 2008.

Yesterday, Mr Putin said preliminary investigations into Monday's blast suggested that the bomber did not come from Chechnya. It was unclear whether he meant he had no links to the North Caucasus, or was from a neighbouring republic such as Dagestan. He also ruled out negotiation with terrorist groups.

It was a swell attack. Saakashvili should be wary of his own Jihadi separatists however. Pankisi Gorge and the Kist will be the first to fight Georgia if Russia's Ciscaucasian Muslims ever gain autonomy. And if demographics should ever make Chechens co-Russians, akin to the Ossetians, Moscow could even back them.

I like his reptile comment. The inability to empathize and a hunger based quickness to violence, very Putin.


I have little time for Putin but even less for slimy neo-con stooges like Saha.

Hope Wolodya kicks him in the nuts again.

Anthony Cash
Has the irony evaded you by the fact that Putin himself attempted to unset the Georgian President by using 'neo-con' tactics, e.g. providing support to the Georgian opposition, or even covertly supporting an attempted Georgian Army coup against him?
Cadavre Exquis
'Neo-con' tactics? That's standard in geopolitics.

Saakashvili made another blunder recently when he announced visa-free travel for people from the Russian Federation republics of the North Cauc asus. Th is g reatly increases the operational flexibility of Islamist fighters and further destabilises the region. Georgia and Iran have also signed a visa-free agreement. Meanwhile, US foreign policy circles are looking the other way, if not actively encouraging these bizarre moves.