Russia has asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for an inquiry into the findings of military observers stationed in Tskhinvali on the night of August 7-8, when South Ossetia’s separatist capital was shelled by Georgian military forces. A Nov. 7 article in the New York Times described newly available accounts by three observers stationed in Tskhinvali for the OSCE, which has monitored the Georgia conflict since the 1990s.
The article detailed observations by the monitors indicating that Georgia had attacked the city with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire. The article also reported that the monitors were unable to verify heavy bombardment of Georgian villages on the night of Aug. 7, a key justification for the Georgian attack. (IHT, Nov. 12)
The Times story “Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question,” appeared on the front page, above the fold—raining on widespread leftist claims of a monolithic media conspiracy against Russia.
On the same day as the Times story, more than 10,000 opponents of Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili rallied in the country’s capital, Tbilisi. Organizers said the rally, held on the anniversary of a crackdown on anti-government protesters last year, would be the first of many to demand early elections. Opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze told the rally: “We are starting a new wave of protests. Our main demand is free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections next spring.” Many at the rally wore white scarves and armbands as they waved opposition flags in front of the parliament building, using the color and symbols of last year’s anti-government protests. (AlJazeera, Nov. 7)
See our last post on Georgia and the struggle for the Caucasus.