“Caucasus-2012” and Russia – A new Scenario?

By Fuad T. Shahbazov 

Source: ITAR-TASS

Russia has characterized the “Caucasus-2012” military exercises as the most large-scale and important event for the country’s armed forces. The exercises are being carried out under the supervision of President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s generals and military chiefs sat in front of a monitor and watched with much dedication one of the greatest military exercises of the last five years. It was a strategic military training.

 “Caucasus-2012”, is set to end the week commencing September 24th. When the exercises began, anxiety took over the countries in Russia’s ‘near abroad’ as well as other regional and international actors, especially Tbilisi whose worries were greater than others. Georgian Generals remembered the military operations of 2008 (also known as the five day August war). However, they did not remember the way in which Georgian troops had attacked both the “Russian peace corps” and civilians in Ossetia. As a result, Georgia lost 20% of its territories.

Russian Generals should make a statement saying that the military exercises do not have any hostile intentions. The deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, Alexander Postnikov, said that: “For Georgian speculations we are determined not to mobilize our Abkhazian and Ossetian garrisons”.

But his comment did not help the negative atmosphere. NATO’s General Secretary, A. Rasmussen, said in an interview: “Russia did not inform the alliance about any/ these/ the military exercises.” Two days later President Vladimir Putin gave a speech about the trainings and the sensitive situation in the Caucasus. According to General Pastnikov, the main aim of the trainings is to test the fighting ability and readiness of the military.

The “Caucasus-2012” exercises have the following features:

Firstly, they are directed on coordinating not only various combat arms (land, naval and air forces), but also special divisions of the Ministry of Defense – in particular FSB – with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Secondly, there will be live firing of “Iskander” rockets for educational purposes.

Thirdly, the exercises are taking place on land, water (in the Black and Caspian seas) and   air. Over eight thousand (8000) soldiers and officers are involved, about ten (10) ships, two hundred (200) units of heavy military technology and more than one hundred (100) rocket/artillery installations of various functions.

Additionally, “Caucasus-2012” directly ensures the security interests of five countries of the region: Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey. These exercises reflect the security status of Europe and Asia.

There are also the geopolitical sides of “Caucasus-2012”. For a more detailed analysis, we have to look at Iran, Afghanistan and NATO.

***

“Caucasus-2012” is just another part of Kremlin’s “fear” strategy to show the Russian military power in the Caucasus. Glen Howard has said that today the situation in the Caucasus has changed and has benefited Russia.

The author of this article believes that the exercises, which have begun in September, are not coincidental.  It is the eve of the Georgian elections and Putin’s plan is to establish a new, pro-Russian government with the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili as the head of the government.

The American military expert John Chicky said: “Russia said that, garrisons in Abkhazia, Armenia and Ossetia will not be involved in these exercises.”[1] In fact, during the trainings of “Caucasus-2008” we witnessed the “August crisis-2008”.


[1] Russian View Magazine, 17 Sept. 2012.

Fuad is a Social activist, Writer, Blogger and student of International Relations at Baku Slavic University as well as co-founder of New Youth Student Union. Among other things, he has been Coordinator of “International Politics Working Group” at AEGEE-Baku; Founder / Editor-in-Chief at XeberVar Information Agency; co-founder of “The Free Journalists Union”; and Secretary General of the Union. Fuad Shahbazov represents The Diplomatic Insight from Azerbaijan. You can follow him on Twitter at @fuadshahbazov

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