From the start of the conflict between Russia and Georgia, Russia's propaganda machine has been spewing forth their biased view of the situation. Through Russia Today and friendly (if not wholly owned blogs) they have accused Georgia of false premeditated atrocities, they have described themselves as good samaritan onlookers and defenders of the oppressed.
What follows is an internal memo from experts at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Radio Liberty has reporters on the ground throughout the region including Georgia and Russia. The memo about Russia's intentions, written today:
Subject: Is Moscow indeed sincere about the war?
Russian officials, as well as pro-government media has kept talking about the perfidious attack by Georgians on South Ossetia, to make the public believe that the only aggressor in conflict is Georgia itself and to put Russia in a better tactical position. But number of facts hint that the Russian leadership has been long preparing for or, at least, anticipating a bigger military conflict in Caucasus this summer.
* In mid-July a major military exercise "Kavkaz 2008" was conducted by Russian defense ministry in Southern federal district, which also included the area where latest fighting took place. Moreover, 58th army (which was the main force in South Ossetia crisis from Russian side) was center-staged in this maneuvers.
* Few months ago Russia sent military rail-road units to repair communications in Abkhazia. Moscow claimed that they were purely on humanitarian basis to help the civilian population. Those troops later left but the real military used the railroad to invade Abkhazia as conflict in South Ossetia started. Matthew Bryza, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, cited that fact August 11 in Tbilisi: "We heard statements that the Russian railroad troops that had entered Abkhazia a couple of months ago were there on a humanitarian mission. And now we know the truth about why those forces were there. It was to rebuild the railroad to allow ammunition and other military supplies to aid a Russian invasion."
* On August 12, Tatarstan official news agency reported the death of 22 year old contractee Yevgeni Parfenov from Kazan, who was killed in South Ossetia fighting. He served with 22 brigade of GRU's (Russian military intelligence) special forces, stationed in town of Botaysk, Rostov region. First his name was on the list of killed peacekeepers, but GRU troops are different and they weren't meant to be present in conflict zone.
* The way and the energy, how Russian public opinion is manipulated, the extent the official media, first of all TV, brought the level of mass hysteria to unprecedented scale shows that Moscow made respected preparations for propagandistic support of the war long ahead.
* Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer told the N.Caucasus Service of RFERL that Russia began to prepare an invasion of Georgia in April this year. The ultimate goal of the operation is regime change, according to the analyst. Prominent opposition leader, former presidential advisor Illarionov thinks that "the war was a spectacular provocation that had been long prepared and successfully executed by the Russian siloviki -- those in government with connections to the military and security organs -- that almost entirely repeats in another theater at another time the "incursion of Basayev into Daghestan" and the beginning of the second Chechnya war in 1999".
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