08TBILISI1350, GEORGIANS LOOKING TO WEST FOR HELP, OPPOSITION AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1350 2008-08-10 12:15 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7304
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1350 2231215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101215Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9879
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE IMMEDIATE 2183
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 3978
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 4651

UNCLAS TBILISI 001350 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIANS LOOKING TO WEST FOR HELP, OPPOSITION AND 
CIVIL SOCIETY SAY 
 
1. (SBU) Post has reached out to notable opinion leaders in 
Georgia and found a common theme from all -- threats from 
Russia have unified the Georgian political class.  Most have 
reported that Georgians are feeling terrorized by 
indiscriminate Russian bombing of Georgian cities, 
particularly Russian targeting of civilian residential 
buildings.  They are calling on the West, and the United 
States in particular, to take an active role in preserving an 
independent Georgia. 
 
Nino Burjanadze, former Speaker of Parliament 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Burjanadze called the Ambassador on August 9 to 
express her grave concern about Russian actions.  She told us 
that ordinary citizens are frightened for their safety.  She 
urged the Ambassador to mobilize resources to assist these 
citizens.  Burjanadze continues to be in touch, clearly 
shocked by the willingness of the Russians to use force 
against Georgia and Georgians. 
 
Alex Rondeli, GFSIS 
------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Ambassador Alexander Rondeli, President, Georgian 
Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, opined to 
Poloff August 9 that ordinary Georgians are feeling 
patriotic, and support for Saakashvili is high.  He believed 
that ordinary Georgians expect someone to come and save them 
from the Russians, and they do not understand that they may 
have to help themselves.  Public statements of support may be 
one thing, but sending in the green berets is quite another, 
he said.  He offered that in the event of Georgian defeat, 
the "fifth column" (ordinary citizens) would emerge from 
their basements, criticizing the West for not helping them. 
 
4. (SBU) He anticipated the Russians would bring additional 
forces to trounce Georgia, "liberate" Tskhinvali, and make a 
victorious march towards Gori.  Rondeli described the typical 
Russian modus operandi as crushing the opponent by 
overwhelming force, creating panic amongst the population, 
and using the media as an effective propaganda tool to do so. 
 He was angered by the media, and in particular, Euronews, as 
portraying Georgia as the aggressor, and was disappointed by 
statement such as that from the British PermRep to the U.N. 
who told the BBC "that the situation is uncertain." on August 
9.  He said that Russians are sensitive to media propaganda 
targeted against them and he encouraged the West to use the 
media more effectively.  (Comment: Post is now watching to 
see if Rondeli's otherwise accurate forecast occurs, as 
Russian troops mass above Gori.  End comment.) 
 
David Usupashvili, Republican Party 
----------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) On August 8, Usupashvili issued a public statement 
from the Republican Party calling for support of the 
government, unity in the country, and Western aid in stopping 
Russia's aggression.  Privately on August 9, Usupashvili told 
us he is critical of Saakashvili,s actions, which he 
believes are worsening Georgia,s position.  He told us that 
pro-Russian parties in Georgia are reaching out to Moscow and 
trying to establish a dialogue.  He was fearful that the 
bombings would worsen and could possibly move to Tbilisi. 
Usupashvili believes that the Russian definition of victory 
would include a new Georgian government. 
 
MP Giorgi Targamadze, Christian Democratic Movement 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
6. (U) Although out of the country, Targamadze issued the 
following statement.  "Today, at its most important moment in 
Georgia,s history, when the country,s sovereignty and 
territorial integrity is under real threat due to an 
undeclared war brought on us by Russia -- Georgia,s 
Christian Democratic Movement is appealing to the 
international community and democratic world to use all 
possible means to stop Russia,s military aggression against 
Georgia, ease tension in the Tskhinvali region, and start 
peaceful settlement of the conflict by the active involvement 
of international mediators in the process." 
TEFFT

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