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Going From Georgian Wine to U.S. Adoptions

Published: January 16, 2013 (Issue # 1742)




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TheKremlin is conducting its current anti-U.S. campaign according tothe same scenario it used inall previous campaigns against countries that irritated President Vladimir Putin andwere labeled as enemies. Similar campaigns were waged against Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania andPoland.

TheKremlins approach tothese propaganda campaigns follows thesame basic standard. First, every campaign is reactive innature andnever theresult ofa deliberate strategy. Instead, thecampaigns are spontaneous andoften reckless, knee-jerk reactions tospecific events theKremlin finds annoying. Forexample, thelarge-scale campaign against Georgia inthe fall of2006 was launched after Tbilisi detained five officers ofRussias Main Intelligence Directorate oncharges ofespionage. Similarly, acampaign was unleashed against Estonia in2007 after that country moved amonument tofallen Soviet soldiers out ofthe Tallinn city center. TheKremlin initiated thecurrent anti-U.S. campaign as aspontaneous retaliation forpassage ofthe Magnitsky Act.

Second, thedecision toinitiate adefamation campaign against adesignated country is almost always made byPutin andusually confirmed ina special meeting with members ofthe Security Council. As arule, thecampaigns are emotional reactions without any somber or thorough analysis ofits predictable consequences. Forexample, aspecial session ofthe Security Council was called immediately after theRussian intelligence officers were detained inGeorgia, andthe series ofmeasures totake inresponse was hurriedly worked out during that meeting.

Third, themeasures used are always selected so as tocause maximum damage or discomfort forthe enemy andwithout any regard formoral or legal considerations. Forexample, theanti-Georgia campaign in2006 incorporated ano-holds-barred strategy. Air andautomobile traffic between thecountries was halted, as were mail andmoney transfers. House-to-house searches were conducted forpeople with Georgian surnames under thepretext ofthe struggle against illegal immigration. Detainees were subjected toabuse, andmore than 800 people were quickly deported, two ofwhom died. Anumber ofGeorgian children even those with Russian citizenship were evicted fromschools. Georgian restaurants andcafes were subjected topunitive inspections, some ofwhich were forced toshut down.

Thesame fate befell major Georgian-owned casinos andentertainment complexes such as Kristall, Golden Palace andBakkara, while casinos owned byother nationalities were left untouched. Publishers putting out books byrenowned Georgian author Grigory Chkhartishvili, better known as Boris Akunin, were subjected totax inspections. TheKremlin enlisted chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko, who has served thesame function insimilar campaigns, toban Georgian food products andwine. Most ofthose sanctions against Georgia remain inforce tothis day, andeven more were added following theRussia-Georgia war in2008.

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Wednesday, Apr. 16


Learn more about AmChams efforts during the Joint Manufacturing, and Investment and Legal Committees Meeting today at 9 a.m. Check their website for more information about the event.


Today marks the beginning of IPhEB and CPhI Russia 2014, an international forum for the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology that will be at LenExpo today and tomorrow. Those both already established in the industries and hoping to start a career are encouraged to attend and network with their colleagues.


Thursday, Apr. 17


Expocenter Eurasia at 13 Ulitsa Kapitan Voronin is the sight of Goods on the Way, a five-day event starting today showcasing the latest in the industrial products industry. Bags, backpacks, swimsuits and much, much more will be available to attendees hoping to update not only their style but their accessories for the upcoming summer.


Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldnt miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norways largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.