- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
Sounds like this was probably incited by outside influence... :uhh: Gee, I wonder who would have done that... Maybe the Russians? I have a feeling we'll see more of this shit going on in that part of the world.
Georgia government says it has halted army mutiny
Updated Tue. May. 5 2009 12:32 PM ET
The Associated Press
TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgia said it had ended a brief mutiny Tuesday at a military base near the capital and thwarted a plan to disrupt NATO exercises.
The Interior Ministry first announced that the mutiny was part of a Russia-supported plot to overthrow the government, and that the suspected organizers had been arrested the night before.
But the ministry later backed off and said the plotters were intent mainly on disrupting NATO military exercises set to begin Wednesday in Georgia.
The several hundred soldiers at the base handed over their weapons and surrendered after speaking to President Mikhail Saakashvili, who suggested that force could be used against them if they refused to give themselves up to police, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Saakashvili said in a televised address that the mutiny was an isolated case and the situation in the country was fully under control.
"The plan was to have military riots at different places all over Georgia," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. "To make sure that at the minimum the NATO training will not happen and at the maximum there is a full-scale military riot in the country."
Russia's NATO envoy Dmitri Rogozin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the allegations of Russian involvement were "crazy."
Russia's Foreign Ministry said the Georgian government was engaged in its "latest anti-Russian prank." The ministry statement said, "Russia in principal does not interfere in the internal affairs of Georgia."
An official in Saakashvili's office said the intent of the mutineers seemed to be limited to disrupting the upcoming NATO exercises. There was no evidence, he said, that they planned a coup attempt. Neither is there any evidence of Russian involvement. He spoke on condition he not be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia last year, has sharply criticized the exercises, which it said would encourage Saakashvili to rebuild its devastated army.
The Georgian president has been the target of more than three weeks of street protests by opposition demonstrators demanding he resign. His government has accused Russians of supporting the opposition.
The official in Saakashvili's office said the mutiny was inspired by a small group of disgruntled officers who were involved in a similar action at the same base in 2001.
Opposition leaders said the reports of the planned coup were made up; some called it a "virtual coup" and a "staged play."
"It's nothing but a tall tale, and we've heard so many of them already," said Georgy Khaindrava, a former Saakashvili ally. "Saakashvili could not make up anything smarter."
Utiashvili, the Interior Ministry spokesman, had said the suspected coup plot was organized by a former special forces commander, Georgy Gvaladze. Gvaladze and another former military commander have been arrested, and other suspects were still being sought, he said.
He also had said the ministry has a video of Gvaladze talking to his supporters about the planned coup, and that he is shown saying that 5,000 Russian troops will come to support the coup, and that it was planned for Thursday.
A ministry statement released later said Gvaladze was accused of organizing the military mutiny.
Defence Minister David Sikharulidze said earlier that he had been blocked from entering the military base in Mukhrovani, about 30 kilometres from Tbilisi, the capital. The base's tank battalion of about 500 army personnel had announced that they would refuse to follow orders, he said.
Among the mutineers were civilians who had no relation to the battalion, he said.
The soldiers from Mukhrovani were bused to another base, where they were to be questioned.
The NATO exercises, which continue through June 1, were originally planned to include about 1,300 personnel from 19 NATO and partner nations.
But some former Soviet republics have recently decided not to take part.
Among the countries to back out was Armenia, which is dependent on Russia for its economic survival. Four other former Soviet republics -- Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Moldova -- and Serbia also had decided to pull out, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported Tuesday.