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September 18, 2013

BLOG: Putin's hypocrisy is unbearable

CHICKASHA —

It strikes me as odd that of all countries, Russia is the one advocating "dialogue" and "peace" when it comes to the Syrian problem.

Have we forgotten what kind of country this is? Sure, they're not quite the Soviet Union anymore. There's not an Iron Curtain they shroud themselves in, no KGB (that we know of), and no totalitarian government.

But, this is still a nation that intimidates the free media it does have, changes its own election laws to keep Vladimir Putin in power, and is still fueled by enough corruption to make them sketchy. After all of that, there is still the Russian-Georgian war of 2008.

Oh, did you forget? It seems like everyone did. In the summer of 2008, when Putin was simply Russia's Prime Minister while influencing his puppet President Dmitry Medvedev,  the former Soviet republic Georgia was dealing with some internal issues. The South Ossetia region, which borders Russia, wanted to break away. This is the same region that in 1991-92, when the Soviet Union broke up, became controlled by a local, de facto and, crucially, Russian-backed government.

After some back and forth, Georgia moved its army in to restore order in the region. At the time, Russian peacekeepers -- although the Gerogian government insists they were more like occupiers -- were in the area and got caught up in the firefights. So, a full-fledged, five-day conflict broke out with Russian tanks storming into the tiny nation and winning. So far, South Ossetia's independence is only recognized by a few countries, but Russia is one of them.

But, wait? According to the esteemed Mr. Putin, it is essential we "stop using the language of force" and it is foolish to intervene in the domestic affairs of another country without UN backing. Think the UN approved Russia's barbaric trek into a former Soviet state? Nope, it wasn't even close to that.

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