Going From Georgian Wine to U.S. Adoptions
Published: January 16, 2013 (Issue # 1742)
TheáKremlin is conducting its current anti-U.S. campaign according toáthe same scenario it used ináall previous campaigns against countries that irritated President Vladimir Putin andáwere labeled as ôenemies.ö Similar campaigns were waged against Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania andáPoland.
TheáKremlinĺs approach toáthese propaganda campaigns follows theásame basic standard. First, every campaign is reactive inánature andánever theáresult ofáa deliberate strategy. Instead, theácampaigns are spontaneous andáoften reckless, knee-jerk reactions toáspecific events theáKremlin finds annoying. Foráexample, theálarge-scale campaign against Georgia ináthe fall ofá2006 was launched after Tbilisi detained five officers ofáRussiaĺs Main Intelligence Directorate onácharges ofáespionage. Similarly, aácampaign was unleashed against Estonia iná2007 after that country moved aámonument toáfallen Soviet soldiers out ofáthe Tallinn city center. TheáKremlin initiated theácurrent anti-U.S. campaign as aáspontaneous retaliation forápassage ofáthe Magnitsky Act.
Second, theádecision toáinitiate aádefamation campaign against aádesignated country is almost always made byáPutin andáusually confirmed ináa special meeting with members ofáthe Security Council. As aárule, theácampaigns are emotional reactions without any somber or thorough analysis ofáits predictable consequences. Foráexample, aáspecial session ofáthe Security Council was called immediately after theáRussian intelligence officers were detained ináGeorgia, andáthe series ofámeasures toátake ináresponse was hurriedly worked out during that meeting.
Third, theámeasures used are always selected so as toácause maximum damage or discomfort foráthe ôenemyö andáwithout any regard forámoral or legal considerations. Foráexample, theáanti-Georgia campaign iná2006 incorporated aáno-holds-barred strategy. Air andáautomobile traffic between theácountries was halted, as were mail andámoney transfers. House-to-house searches were conducted forápeople with Georgian surnames under theápretext ofáôthe struggle against illegal immigration.ö Detainees were subjected toáabuse, andámore than 800 people were quickly deported, two ofáwhom died. Aánumber ofáGeorgian childrenáŚ even those with Russian citizenshipáŚ were evicted fromáschools. Georgian restaurants andácafes were subjected toápunitive inspections, some ofáwhich were forced toáshut down.
Theásame fate befell major Georgian-owned casinos andáentertainment complexes such as Kristall, Golden Palace andáBakkara, while casinos owned byáother nationalities were left untouched. Publishers putting out books byárenowned Georgian author Grigory Chkhartishvili, better known as Boris Akunin, were subjected toátax inspections. TheáKremlin enlisted chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko, who has served theásame function inásimilar campaigns, toában Georgian food products andáwine. Most ofáthose sanctions against Georgia remain ináforce toáthis day, andáeven more were added following theáRussia-Georgia war iná2008.
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