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France 24 | Troop mutiny now 'under control', Saakashvili says | France 24
Troops staged a mutiny on the eve of NATO military exercises, prompting the government to accuse Russia of backing a coup attempt. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says the situation is now "under control".

AFP - Georgian troops mutinied Tuesday on the eve of NATO exercises in the ex-Soviet republic, prompting the government to accuse Russia of backing an attempted coup, including a plan to kill the president.
President Mikheil Saakashvili said the situation was "under control" after an attempt at a "large-scale mutiny" and the defence ministry said it was in talks with the rebellious troops.
Defence Minister David Sikharulidze said troops of a tank battalion at the Mukhrovani base had launched a "rebellion," just as Georgia is due to host NATO exercises starting this week.

by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:55:34 PM EST
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Georgia 'foils Russia-backed coup' on eve of Nato exercises - Times Online

Georgia claimed today to have foiled a Russian-backed plot to stage a military coup on the eve of joint exercises with Nato troops.

An Interior Ministry spokesman announced that the special services had uncovered a plot to topple the Government involving a former high-ranking officer at the Defence Ministry.

A tank battalion had mutinied at a base in Mukhrovani, 20 miles east of Tbilisi, and was refusing to obey orders, the Defence Ministry said.

The dramatic development comes a day before Georgia hosts three weeks of military exercises with Nato that Russia has condemned as provocative so soon after the war over the breakaway region of South Ossetia in August last year

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 02:00:39 PM EST
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Are we sure this story is not entirely made up by Saakashvili? Are there third-party reports that a "mutiny" actually occurred?

Where's the evidence?

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 04:30:04 AM EST
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The same commander of tank battalion, at the same base, started a "mutiny" back in 2001. That mutiny was "put down" by the then-President Eduard Shevardnadze, who came to the base with several bodyguards only.

VERY bad theater. Repeated again. Couldn't they invent something more original - like that SAM "found" near the flight path of the presidential helicopter, and conveniently destroyed before any outside eyes could see it?

by Sargon on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 04:51:58 AM EST
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It's so damned unimaginative: A sustained opposition to criminalize as Russian-inspired in cahoots with a Russian-inspired battalion- all this while NATO manouvers are in the making. Where's the press on this?
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 05:01:40 AM EST
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It doesn't seem everyone is buying the story: from Inopressa.ru, comes:

The Times, Georgia's alleged coup indicates that the army is turning on itself

One fact stands out amid the claim and counter-claim over yesterday's alleged coup attempt in Georgia. An army is turning on itself in full view of Nato and Russian troops.
Allegations that Moscow is behind a plot to bring down President Saakashvili remain unproven.
Yesterday's events have shown that Georgia remains much more fragile than Mr Saakashvili and his team would like to admit. Political divisions are normal in a democracy, but splits within the military are a recipe for disaster in a country with Georgia's recent history.

The Independent, Russia accused after Georgia puts down "attempted coup"
The Georgian government said it had put down a mutiny yesterday, in what it claimed was part of a coup plot backed by Russia on the eve of Nato exercises in the former Soviet republic. Moscow denied any involvement and Georgian opposition leaders called the day's events a hoax designed to distract attention from domestic discontent with the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Reaction from the US was muted, with a Pentagon spokesman calling the mutiny an "isolated incident".

The Georgian government has a history of making dramatic claims which it then backs away from. A spokesman for the interior ministry later confirmed to The Independent there was "no direct evidence" of Russian involvement.

Inopressa further reports that this piece mentions it's still unclear if the putsch was real or staged, and here it's said that there's nothing new in anti-Russian rhetoric of Saakashvili, but he has discredited himself doing so. My German and French are insufficient to provide direct translations, though.

Overall, "donor fatigue" is clearly settling in. The only interesting question is whether he'll go in "Rose Revolution" style, or will meet his maker in murky circumstances.

by Sargon on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 06:05:27 AM EST
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Sounds interesting. Well, even plausible if the same charade happened in 2001. But what does Saakashvili hope to accomplish by this?

One would think that whatever slim hope Georgia had for NATO membership would now be completely lost. A prospective NATO member that attacks Russia AND is on the verge of a civil war. Not exactly the worlds most brilliant publicity campaign.

On the other hand "failing upwards" was the credo of the Bush regime, so I guess he might just be following the script his mentors gave him.

by Trond Ove on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 06:12:17 AM EST
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