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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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