"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Monday, December 29, 2008

South Ossetia, barren , cold, unreconstructed led by gangsters - so much for Russian protection

Four months have passed since the Russians repulsed the mad incursion on South Ossetia by Preisdent Sakashvilli, goaded by his Israeli military advisors and US cheerleaders.

Four months in which comment, ad information about events have dried up as Ossetia, recognised only by Russia (on August 26th) and Nicaragua (also Abkhazia led Sergei Bagapsh) struggles to cope with the post conflict problems and the forthcoming winter. (Belarus expected to recognise them has said nothing on the subject publicly)

President Ortega, who led a Soviet-backed government who fought the corrupt U.S.-supported Contra rebels in the late 1980s, criticized the West when announcing recognition on September 8th 2008, for attempting to surround Russia and investing millions of dollars through NATO to "build a military fence against Russia."

It was of interest that South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity (Эдуард Джабеевич Кокойты )on September 11th, said his republic planned to merge with the neighboring Russian province of North Ossetia, and become part of Russia, but had later to withdraw his statement after Vladimir Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi"We are not considering the issue of South Ossetia joining the Russian Federation." and added "We have no desire or reason to encroach on the sovereignty of former Soviet republics,"

Whilst the struggles for this tiny mountainous statelet with only 70,000 citizens became a surrogate in the struggle between Russia and the West the agenda of the self important politicians has moved on to larding the corpses of banks and finance houses with tax payers funds and gawping whilst Gaza burns.

Foreign journalists are only permitted entry or travel accompanied by officials from the foreign ministry in Moscow. Even the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union, cannot gain access.

However stories are constantly appearing in Russian media that the tiny republic teeters on the brink of social unrest and breakdown. As winter draws on there are tales (entirely believable) the government has allegedly embezzled Russian reconstruction aid funds. South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity fled leaving his citizenry (although he was Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of South Ossetia) without his leadership and and that millions of rubles deposited in the safes at the national bank in Tskhinvali had gone missing with him.

His presence also is a major determinant in dissuading any oligarch investing a single rouble in South Ossetia while its gangster leadership remains.

Kokoity, is a former freestyle wrestler and says the criticism is purely Georgian spin to "discredit South Ossetia and its leadership in the eyes of the Russians." Yes, says Kokoity explaining the lack of gas supplies, it is cold now in Tskhinvali, but "we are occasionally warmed by the joy of victory and independence.

He sits isolated in his grim concrete bunker well eqipped with Turkish thermopane tinted , installed after the war helped by key backing from Albert "Dik" Tedeyev and his brother Jambulat, a champion wrestler, of the powerful Tedeyev clan who organised and financed Kokoity's election campaign in 2001 with whom he fell out once before but they seem to be back in favour.

There has been some urgent reconstruction , 10 schools, kindergartens and the hospital have been rebuilt. That's where ti stops, houses sport blue plastic tarps and windows stopped up with blankets. Compounded by the lystery of where all the glass for reconstruction went acording to Russian Disaster Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Where the money and materials have vanished to remains unknown but critics point to President Kokoity who has declared the budget, filled almost exclusively with Russian funds after the war, a state secret.

Spiegel reports that a former security advisor accuses Kokoity of having surrounded himself with confidants from the Russian regions of Samara and Ulyanovsk and of conducting money-laundering operations with dubious companies.

Yuri Morosov, the former prime minister who resigned after the war -- supposedly of his own free will -- voices similar complaints. According to Morosov, 100 million rubles or about €2.7 million ($3.8 million) in salary payments for public servants were embezzled shortly before the conflict. Most of the money was intended for South Ossetia's armed militias.

Russia is faced with Georgian war victims receiving largesse mainly from €3.4 billion (US$4.8 billion) in aid money, mainly from the EU and the United States.

Russia needs to provide some concrete evidence of benefits, and a proper reconstruction of South Ossetia otherwise Russia's much vaunted claims in presenting itself as a protective power to the people of the Caucasus and the world is going to look somehwat tarnished and furthermore, unbelievable.

There has however been the necessity of renaming streest and public places and on 12th December, Kokoity renamed the two main drags in the republic's capital of Tskhinvali in honor of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (formerly Stalin Street - which continued to represent the "crimes of Stalin") and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Commenting in Rossiiskaya Gazeta the government daily paper , Kokoity said "this is a symbol of our belief in Russia. We can be independent and at the same time loyal to Russia. I do not see any contradictions." he added. ( A stret was renamed in Groszny the capital of Chechnya
in honor of Putin on October 5, 2008)

This was 2 days after Kokoity told Komsomolskaya Pravda: "Saakashvili tried to buy me off. In January 2003 he sent 3 of his bureaucrats over, who offered me $20 million, and asked in exchange that I either stand down as president or re-orientate my people away from Russia, and towards Georgia."

"I, of course, firmly refused.(Ho.Ho.Ho.) And later I found out from reliable sources that Saakashvili had sent me not $20 million, but $50 million. But his thieving emissaries evidently divided up the difference between them on the way over to Tskhinvali - $10 million for each brother."

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