Georgia committed genocide against the people of South Ossetia. This charge was initially leveled by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and has been taken up by others, including President Dmitry Medvedev, who on Thursday came up with the interesting formulation that South Ossetians "had lived through a genocide." Mr. Medvedev has referred to "thousands" killed, and Russian officials frequently have cited 2,000 South Ossetians killed (out of a population of 70,000). They have said Georgia razed the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. These purported depredations are given as the main motivation for Russian military intervention.
A researcher for Human Rights Watch who visited Tskhinvali reported as follows: "A doctor at Tskhinvali Regional Hospital who was on duty from the afternoon of August 7 told Human Rights Watch that between August 6 to 12 the hospital treated 273 wounded, both military and civilians. . . . The doctor also said that 44 bodies had been brought to the hospital since the fighting began, of both military and civilians. The figure reflects only those killed in the city of Tskhinvali. But the doctor was adamant that the majority of people killed in the city had been brought to the hospital before being buried, because the city morgue was not functioning due to the lack of electricity in the city."
Independent journalists back up the account provided by Human Rights Watch. The Wall Street Journal, for example, yesterday reported finding Tskhinvali, where most of the fighting took place, mostly intact and with "little evidence of a high death toll."
I've heard numerous reports from South Ossetia from reporters having a difficult time verifying any deaths, much less genocide. Meanwhile, Russian troops have had no qualms about threatening reporters, and allegedly shot one. Strange behavior for "peacekeepers" eager to show how they are preventing further atrocities, don't you think?
Speaking of peacekeeping and ethnic cleansing, as it turns out the Russians decided to get some cleansing of their own done in Georgia. How do we know this? Because the puppet tells us so:
Remarkably, the Russian-allied "president" of South Ossetia acknowledged the ethnic cleansing yesterday in an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant, although he did not acknowledge the killings of Georgian civilians that others have documented. Eduard Kokoity said that his forces "offered them a corridor and gave the peaceful population the chance to leave" and that "we do not intend to allow" their return.
A war crime, yes; but at least he was honest about it.
I've written about Kokoity and his cabal before, and needless to say they are about as corrupt as former Soviet officials can possibly be. There are also reports that it was Kokoity and his minions who precipitated Saakshvili's military assault on South Ossetia by shelling the predominately Georgian populated towns surrounding Tskhinvali.
In any case, Kokoity is a nasty bugger, and his participation in war atrocities with Russian aid or complicity is nothing surprising. What is surprising is that the Washington Post let loose with both barrels at the Muscovite mendacity.