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Financing the Georgian Army – Foreign Investment Galore

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Following the annihilation of the Georgian Army during the South Ossetian War, NATO and other allies of Georgia have promised Georgia to help rebuild its full military potential. Having Western say in the Caucasus region seems to be the priority of the Western world.

Captured Georgian Military Equipment

The Russian military officials have reported that they captured around 150 military units, 65 of them are tanks. 44 tanks have been brought back to Russia, the rest were destroyed because they were either unfit for use or of old modifications. Georgian Armed Forces had 230-240 tanks in use before the conflict was started. Most of those tanks were modified by an Israeli firm Elbit Systems into T-72-SIM-1. During the fighting, the Russian troops also captured 5 anti-aircraft missile systems 9K33 “Osa”, 15 BMP-2, numerous 122-mm towed howitzers D-30, American armored personnel carriers, HUMVEE’s, and artillery systems of Czech design. According to Lieutenant-General Golovchenko of the North Caucasus Military District, one of the captured anti-aircraft systems registered 3 launches.

Military Bases in Gori, Senaki, and Poti

The West has condemned the Russian military for moving into Georgian territory, primarily into the port of Poti and towns of Senaki and Gori. the Georgian military completely abandoned their military bases in all of those cities. Saakashvili raised panic and evacuated civilians out of those areas, saying that the Russian and Ossetian forces will kill the civilians as a form of revenge for what the Georgian military has done to Tskhinval (Tskhinvali with an “i” at the end is a Georgian renamed city. After Medvedev declared the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independent, the “i” was dropped, to return the city its rightful ancient name”).

The goal of the Russian military operation was not to destroy the Georgian economy, which was not good before the war already. The goal was to demilitarize the Georgian Army and to thwart Georgian military potential in the region. A lot of the captured military equipment the Russians took from Gori. 15 T-72-SIM-1 tanks, dozens of armored fighting vehicles, and artillery systems along with their ammo were captured. Part of the arsenal found in Gori was destroyed, part was taken to Russia. The explosions that the Saakashvili said were Russian bombings of Gori were actually Russian engineers destroying Georgian military equipment.

From the military bases in Senaki, Russian troops captured 1728 assault weapons. 764 American M4 carbines, 28 M-40 machine guns, and 754 various modifications of the AK. Western Media sources also say that Russian military has also captured 15 Georgian vessels, among them torpedo boats.

According to the representative of the Russian Peacekeeping Force in the Caucasus, there was enough high-caliber ammunition in Senaki to level all of Caucasus. On the base at Senaki, for the time of the conflict, the Georgian 2nd Infantry Brigade was stationed. Georgian forces left Senaki after the Russian Air Force carried out air strikes against the air field by the base.

Anatoliy Nagovitsin, the commanding General of the Russian Forces in the conflict said that 4000 assault weapons were captured, that’s not counting the ones destroyed and other military equipment captured. The American and Georgian governments have requested Russia to return the captured weapons. The Russian officials have said that they have no intent on returning the weapons, as they are captured during military operations.

Foreign Investment in the Georgian Military

According to the official statement presented by Lieutenant-General Golovchenko, there is written documentation captured by the Russian Forces that the tanks of the 1st Georgian Infantry Brigade (played biggest part in the storming of Tskhinval) underwent partial modifications in 2002 and complete modernizations in 2007 in Lvov and and other cities in Ukraine. Same thing with the BMP-2’s.

From official statements and reports to the U.N. from Ukraine, since 1999 Kiev has delivered 150 units of heavy tanks and equipment of Georgia. In the first report in 1999, among 11 other nations, Georgia was also listed as a buyer of a Rocket-Cruiser “Konotop” from Ukraine. Then, there was a four year gap in military eqiupment sales from Ukraine to Georgia. In 2004, Georgia received 6 self-propelled howitzers 2S3 “Akatsiya”. In 2005, after Yuschenko came to power and board of directors of UkrSpetsExport changed(responsible for Ukrainian weapons export), military equipment sales from Ukraine to Georgia increased dramatically. In 2005 alone, Georgia bought 15 T-72 MBTs, 12 BMP-2s, 10 BTR-80 APCs, 6 self-propelled howitzers 2S3s, 6 MI-24 “Hind” attack helicopters, and 2 MI-8 transport helicopters. In 2006 no sales were made from Ukraine to Georgia. However, Georgia still received 2 air-radar vehicles 36D6-M to control the air space around Tbilisi.

In 2007, Georgia Ukraine sold 74 T-72 MBTs, 6 BTS-5B heavy armored tracked towing vehicles, 2 self-propelled howitzers 2S7 “Pion”, 8 training aircraft L-39 (can be fitted to serve as regualr ground-attack planes). Ina Georgian official statement to the U.N., it says that it bought 5 units of the self-propelled howitzers 2S7 “Pion”, not 2, like Ukraine states.  Also, according to the Georgian version of the document, they also acquired one Anti-Air Mobile System “Buk” and 48 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles “Kombat”. Also in 2007 Tbilisi said that it bought assault weapons from Ukraine.

Looking at this statistic, how Georgia financed all of this. Georgian GDP for 2003 was 3.91 billion dollars. It’s external debt being 1.8 billion, or 40% of its GDP. Per capita income averages $700 per year. So how can Georgia buy these weapons? Simple – financial help from the West.

The biggest contributor to Georgia’s military build up was the United States. During the period of 2004 – 2007, Washington officially gave Tbilisi nearly $600 million dollars. In addition to this, Tbilisi made a special fund in 2004, that accepted donations to develop its national armed forces. Donations can be made in full anonymity from private and government organizations, as well as NGO’s and non-profit organization.

The German Controversy

Recently, the German news channel ARD released a statement saying that Georgian soldiers were photographed and noted as using the German G36 assault rifle. Western reporters were actually the ones that took pictures of the Georgian Special Forces holding G36 rifles, made by the German weapons company Heckler und Koch. The director of the informational bureau in Freiburg – Jurgen Gresslin – stated that he had no doubt that the rifles in the pictures were the H&K G36 with the shortened barrel for the special forces.

The German Minister of Economics denied Germany selling the weapons to the Georgians, as special documentation that is required for export is not on file and never has been filed. No permission has been given to Heckler und Koch to sell the guns to Tbilisi. Channel ARD, quoting the British Jane’s Defence Weekly, Heckler und Koch directed a request to the German government for sale of 230 G36 rifles to Georgia (200 of them shortened special forces versions, and 30 compact-assault versions). However, H&K’s request was denied. Although no permission was given, because it violates the German policy of not selling weapons to countries involved in territorial conflict, the G36 rifles appeared on the battlefield in South Ossetia. H&K could’ve as easily sold the weapons to a third country, who could in turn sell the weapons to Georgia.

Most Recent Confrontation

On the 19th of August, an incident took place that undermined Washington’s statements that it was delivering humanitarian help to the people of Georgia. In the Georgian town of Poti, Russian troops arrested 22 Georgian uniformed men. After interrogation, the men said that they were supposed to receive humanitarian help from the U.S. ships. As it turns out, their packages included assault weapons, rocket launchers, and plastic explosives. The Georgian soldiers were driving nearly brand new HUMVEE’s, whose odometer showed not even 400 miles. On the windows of the vehicles there were still stickers with “U.S. Property” printed on them. This incident sparked the Pentagon’s official request made by Brian Wittman to the Russian government to return “US property” to the rightful owners.


2 Responses

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  1. […] 2008 in strange new world | Tags: georgia, ossetia, russia, whitman | My friend at Closer View commented on the American humanitarian aid delivered to Georgia: In the Georgian town of Pti, Russian troops […]

  2. Hello Closerview:
    Could you look at this video, it is in Russian saying Medvedev is a Jew.
    And please leave a comment on the translation.
    And Congratulations on getting so many readers!


    September 8, 2008 at 8:37 pm

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