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  • The Children of the Mountains Are Wild…

    Posted by John Jay on August 8th, 2008 (All posts by )

    So goes the Russian proverb about governing the Caucasus. The entire Caucasus region seems to be one of those areas hell-bent on proving right those of us who believe that not every culture and people is ready for prime-time democracy.

    This area (and the proverb) first came to my attention in Russian class back in 1988, reading Pravda articles for second-year Russian reading comprehension tests on the deteriorating situation in Nagorno-Karabakh . This was the first strong indication to me that Soviet control over its own territory might be less iron curtain than rust curtain.

    As events rolled on, I was a bit surprised at  Shevarnadze’s decision to leave the Russian government to return to his native land. I’m sure the prospect of losing the looming political battles in Moscow had some influence on the decision, but being a giant fish in a little pond probably appealed as well.

    At its end, Shevardnadze’s career provided the backdrop for the first of the “color revolutions”, while showing that the Georgians were less inclined than many of their neighbors, including Russia, to accept political corruption. The Rose Revolution brought the young lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili to power on an anti-corruption campaign that has failed to live up to its promises in his second term.

    In recent months the always-volatile Saakashvili has been adding anti-Russian vitriol to his campaign to enroll Georgia in NATO. The vitriol stems from a long-standing Russian use of Ossetia as an ally against the Ingusetians and Chechens in the region. In the 20s, North Ossetia was granted Autonomous Republic status, and a South Ossetian region was carved out of the Georgian Republic. Although the moves were probably for reasons of political expediency only, in a state of affairs that is depressingly familiar to historians of the Balkans and Caucasus, ethnic hatreds were stoked by rumors alleging that the Ossetians received favorable treatment due to the remote Ossetian ancestry of Stalin’s father.

    Despite this alleged preferential treatment, Stalin was content to allow South Ossetia to stay under the control of the Georgians. However, in the post-USSR world, Russia has seen South Ossetia as an outpost into the increasingly unfriendly territory to its south, especially as a lever to keep Georgia from leaning farther West. In fact, Russia has issued Russian passports to a majority of the 70,000 people living in the republic, and its “peacekeeping” troops regularly supply intelligence and arms to Eduard Kokoity’s separatist regime.

    Into this background comes the Russian maneuverings around Chechnya and the American hunger for airbases close enough to strike at Iran and Afghanistan. Saakashvili has been, with the backing of new member Estonia, petitioning for membership in NATO. NATO has wisely taken a slower approach than the Georgians would like.

    Yesterday, August 7, Saakashvili sent his troops against Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia, in a move that brought Russian “peacekeepers” under fire as well. The response in the Russian press was predictable: “Georgia is de-facto waging war on Russian Peacekeepers”. Russian Ministry of Defense response was also predictable, and armored. Russian Tanks are now defending Russian interests in South Ossetia, and Russian planes have attacked Georgian targets.  The latest from Russia is that hundreds of “volunteers” from North Ossetia are pouring into the disputed territory, giving Moscow plausible deniability if her puppets push the conflict past any ceasefires brokered by the EU or NATO.

    It is hard to pick sides, either from a moral or realpolitik standpoint. The Georgian leadership is a mess, the Russians are playing on ethnic hatreds to secure more influence in the region. If Saakashvili had counted on NATO or US support due to Georgia’s perceived status as an indispensable ally in the GWOT, he was sadly mistaken. Georgia is far too unstable an ally in which to pour resources. And even if Georgia wins, the territory of Ossetia holds few resources while administering the region will be an economic drain. I have no idea how long the fighting will continue, but this seems for certain to have scuttled Georgia’s bid for NATO membership. One wonders what hubris or miscalculation led Saakashvili to fire upon Tskhinvali yesterday.

    One final note. As I pointed out in my post on Kosovo, the US jumping on the bandwagon of recognition was probably a bad idea:

    The “Kosovo factor” also matters.

    Even before the Serbian province unilaterally declared independence, there was a strong body of thought in the Russian political and diplomatic worlds, that believed Russian recognition of South Ossetian and Abkhaz independence would be morally and politically justified.

    This has become much stronger since many Western countries ignored furious Russian objections and recognised Kosovo’s independence.

    Update: Perhaps this is what Saakashvili was hoping for:

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a telephone conversation today that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili “must go,” meaning he should be ousted from office, Khalilzad said.

    This is unacceptable, and it makes Saakashvili a hero in Georgia, obviating some of his domestic troubles. I do not think that the US has any choice but to support him now. He needs to be tossed in the trash heap when this is all over, however.

     

    37 Responses to “The Children of the Mountains Are Wild…”

    1. eddie Says:

      Thank you for this insightful post that is head and shoulders above what else I’ve read today about this.

      What could be the endgame for Georgia if they can’t capture the majority of S. Ossetia? Is it likely Saakashvili will be toppled from within if this turns into a fiasco?

    2. Gorgasal Says:

      Saakashvili has been under a lot of fire in Georgia. After having been elected on the promise of ending corruption and renewal of Georgia (over half the population living under the poverty line at the election), he really couldn’t deliver on these promises. Basically, poor Georgia is so messed up that there is no quick solution to her problems. Saakashvili is no idiot. I believe he was under no illusions as to what this war would do to Georgia’s hopes for NATO and/or EU membership. I believe he is gambling his career on a successful war. However, given that Europe and the US will certainly not do more than a lot of handwringing if Russia escalates, I really don’t see how Georgia stands a chance. She will be defeated, humbled and brought back in the Russian sphere of influence.

      Weep for one of the oldest Christian nations of the world.

    3. John Jay Says:

      Eddie – I think that Saakashvili is doomed either way. Given recent protests over his corruption, one wonders if this were not a wag the dog” scenario gone awry…

    4. Methinks Says:

      John Jay,

      I second Eddie’s opinion. Wonderful. Thank you.

    5. Ralf Goergens Says:

      John, thanks forthis post!

    6. Smitten Eagle Says:

      I think the US is obligated to provide at least some support to Georgia…The Georgians, at a time when most countries were pulling their troops out of Iraq, increased their portion to 2000 troops (brigade strength), and they have proven fierce fighters.

      Not to mention that the US has been running foreign internal defense operations inside Georgia for years now.

      I’m not convinced the Russians wouldn’t get mauled fighting Georgian troops. Russians have traditionally been very weak opponents when fighting in hostile territory with forbidding climates, whether fighting the Finns in the Winter War, the Afghans, or the Chechens. I’m not saying they won’t win–they might, but it will only be with great loss of prestige and life.

    7. John Jay Says:

      Smitten Eagle – I don’t doubt that the Russians may get a black eye. But even a military victory will not be a victory for Georgia.

      I don’t agree that we should help Georgia beyond returning their troops from Iraq. Saakashvili has been taunting the bully, thinking that he can get his friends to come help him in the fight. He’s unstable, showing signs of a corrupt regime, and needs tho keep his promises about reacquiring the break-aways to keep power in Tbilisi.

      The troops in the Middle East were all part of his plan to snooker us into this conflict, wither as aribtrators or belligerents. I don’t think we should reward that kind of “loyalty” with anything but a “see you when you grow up, son”.

    8. Ginny Says:

      Thanks John Jay for your perspective.

    9. zenpundit Says:

      What are America’s interests in South Ossetia? None. That’s a key point.

      Tertiary interest in indirrectly raising the diplomatic friction for Moscow’s heavy-handedness here because they do the same and more to us and putting sticks in our spokes should not be perceived as cost-free.

      What are America’s obligations to Georgia for past GWOT/Iraq aid ? Give the Georgians things on the quiet that will raise costs for the Russians – like intel, private sector advisers from PMC’s and certain pieces of useful defensive equipment that can be routed with plausible deniability. The Georgians only need to shoot-down one plane to make the other MiG pilots more cautious. Nothing on a scale that would encourage the doing of stupid things by Saakashvili.

    10. John Jay Says:

      Zen – that’s a well reasoned analysis. I agree.

    11. Tatyana Says:

      JJ and Zen: it is easy, to sit in the good ol USA and grumble about those inconsiderate Georgians who inconvenienced a big guy with their crude undiplomatic behavior. It’s another thing to be a tiny speck of a country on map being devoured by a monster, piece by piece. And your supposed friends are washing their hands on you right when their help is needed.

    12. Tatyana Says:

      Sorry for double posting, I couldn’t pass thins quote @Neneocon’s thread, by one TMJUtah:

      “Me, I think we ought to send Georgia Patriot batteries and use our air, drone, and cruise missile capabilities to destroy any Russians inside Georgian territory. No big deal, just standing with an ally who has stood by us.

      Speak the language Putin understands now, or learn Russian later.”

      Exactly my thoughts.

    13. John Jay Says:

      “JJ and Zen: it is easy, to sit in the good ol USA and grumble about those inconsiderate Georgians who inconvenienced a big guy with their crude undiplomatic behavior.”

      I’m not discounting that, Tatyana. But Saakashvili is blatantly trying to manipulate us, and I don’t think that behavior should be rewarded. It is pretty crude. Why now. The separatist regions have been separated since 1992. If this were the Ukraine or Kyrgizia, I’d feel a lot differently. But the days of “he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch” ought to be long over.

    14. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Russia must not get away with annexing Georgian territory. On the other hand, it would be too much too ask from the Ossetians and Abkhasians to deliver themselves into the hands of the Georgians, which they rightfully consider to be their enemies, for the fighting in the 90s had been extremely bloody. The fault for that rests with both sides, but if the two provinces came back under Georgian control, revenge would be to be expected.

    15. Ralf Goergens Says:

      would have to be expected, sorry.

    16. Helen Says:

      I am sorry to tell people who think Georgia should be left to its own devices, being, as Tatyana says, so uncouth as to taunt the bully, that it will be the first step in reconquering the old empire. Former President, now Prime Minister Putin has made it clear from the beginning that his aim was to restore the old Soviet geopolitical space. If Georgia is thrown to the wolves (or the bear), it will be Ukraine next and, maybe, the Baltic states. Don’t tell me that the US will never stand by and watch those countries being devoured. We shall have all those sensible voices telling us that America has no dog in that fight. The trouble with appeasing bullies is that they never stop – this should have been learnt a while ago with Russia. That famous renewed power depends on nothing but cowardice on the West’s part. Sorry, but there it is. Saakashvili’s personality is an irrelevance.

    17. John Jay Says:

      Helen – I don’t think Zen, Ralph or I are talking about leaving Georgia to its own devices if the Russians invade. But Saakashivili made the campaign promise to in effect destabilize the region, by busting the fragile peace achieved in 1992. As Ralph points out, ethnic cleansing would be expected were Georgia to regain control. Saakashvili expected NATO to cover him for this venture, and I don’t think that’s behavior that should be rewarded.

      There are other ways to stand up to the Russian bully at this point – such as accelerating the Ukraine’s entry into NATO – that would surely make any Russian gains in Ossetia pyrrhic.

      And if Russian tanks do enter Georgia proper, I think we’d all support US help. Anti-aircraft and other defensive weapons could be justified as protecting the oil pipelines. But I don’t want to see offensive materials sent to Georgia until a new regime takes power.

      Yes, Russia intends to reconquer the old Empire. But until August 7, it had no pretext to do so. This is why Georgia is an unstable ally.

    18. Helen Says:

      A lot in what you say, John, but inside NATO or more firmly en route to it, Georgia or, rather, Saakashvili could have been controlled. The result of that Summit was terrible. On the one hand, France, Germany et al made it clear that they would do Russia’s bidding, on the other hand a clear sign was sent to all who cared to read it properly that both Ukraine and Georgia will be offered membership soonish. So Russia had every excuse to keep on trying to provoke the conflict, with Georgia happily obliging. Sorry to say, I don’t believe there will be any support for Georgia or any other country on Russia’s list no matter what. I would like to be proved wrong.

    19. Tatyana Says:

      But I don’t want to see offensive materials sent to Georgia until a new regime takes power.

      What “new regime”, JJ? Are you with Russian UN representative Churkin (what a fitting name, I must say) who declared at Security Council meeting that Saakishvili, legally elected president of independent country, “has to go”?

      If you can think up ways to influence Russian behavior it must be 10 times easier to deal with Georgians – our ally, our partner, our brother in arms in Iraq.

      Russian attack was deliberately planned. Nobody keeps their military that organized and their actions so coordinated on a small chance awaiting Georgian “provocation”.
      What other atrocities you think Americans should wait for before helping Georgians? They have already bombed Tbilisi airport, port of Poti, they sunk Georgian ship, roused Abkhasians for another rebellion.

      Russia had no pretext of doing so before Aug 7? On August 6 the Turkish part of the pipeline Baku-Tbilisi was bombed, said to be by Kurds. Now, with Russians bombing the Georgian stretch of it, there is only one pipeline that supplies Europe, and that is a Russian pipeline.

      This is why Georgia is an unstable ally. Change “Georgia” to “USA”, that would be closer to truth.

    20. Helen Says:

      It would appear that the Russians are not accepting the Georgian cease-fire and are bombing deep inside Georgian territory as well as blockading the ports and sinking at least one boat. According to you, JJ, this should mean American help. Does anyone really think that it is in America’s interest to have that Baku-Tbilisi pipeline destroyed or Georgia reabsorbed into the Russian empire? No interests, eh?

    21. John Jay Says:

      Yeah, depending on how far the bombing is going on inside Georgia, I’d say some US flyovers might be in order in the next few days. Sooner if Russian ground forces invade. But I’m betting this is mostly punitive. I’m starting to lean towards giving anti-aircraft technology to the Georgians.

      But protecting the pipeline? No way, that is France and Germany’s interest, and if they want the US to protect them, I’m not exactly in favor of rewarding their ingratitude, either.

      A few years of having the Russians threaten to turn off the spigot might make Western Europe a little more ready to take up arms in its own defense. Or expose their governments for the cowards I suspect them to be.

      But Tatyana, in this case US and Russian interests converge. Saakashvili is already on shaky ground domestically, although, as I’m sure you’ll be quick to point, out the Russians will try to influence the selection of the new leader. But yes, he has to go. There’s a reason NATO has not rushed to embrace him, and this is it. The bombing in Turkey was no pretext for Russia to invade Georgia or Kyrgizia, though. Saakashvili handed them a great excuse.

    22. zenpundit Says:

      Tatyana,

      I have a general rule about analyzing events at the level of the state: I call it “risks assumed”. When you play for power, which is what Saakashvili was doing in Ossetia – he might be a better guy morally than Vladimir Putin and pro-Western but that’s irrelevant to outcomes – you assume certain risks. Which is why I scorn Leftist nitwits whining about Salvador Allende being bumped off – he was playing for power in Chile and caught it in the neck from the people he himself would have iced.

      I’m not saying that the Georgians should be abandoned. Frankly, I’d rather they triumph over a bumbling, hamfisted, neo-Soviet army but wishes are not to be confused with reality. I’m saying they played their hand badly and there are limits as to what can be done at this point that will both help the Georgians and be consistent with American interests. Saakashvili’s error here was timing and not assessing the strategic variables he was up against accurately. Getting South Ossetia back was not impossible. Getting it back by running head on into the Russian Army probably was. Right now the objective should be salvaging Georgia’s current independence from Moscow, not worrying about Ossetia.

      If we gave Saakashvili assurances that we or NATO would intervene militarily ( which I highly doubt – can anyone see Gates signing off on that one?) to fight Russian troops for him then we are insane; if he believed that nonsense, then he is a fool.

    23. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Helen:

      A lot in what you say, John, but inside NATO or more firmly en route to it, Georgia or, rather, Saakashvili could have been controlled. The result of that Summit was terrible. On the one hand, France, Germany et al made it clear that they would do Russia’s bidding

      Do Russia’s bidding? With all due respect, both the Ukraine and Georgia have considerable internal conflicts as well as ‘issues’ with other countries, and not just Russia. And that the Georgian President is a loose cannon has been obvious before the incursion into South Ossetia. Nato membership would have encouraged to go even further as he already did.

    24. Ralf Goergens Says:

      John:

      But protecting the pipeline? No way, that is France and Germany’s interest, and if they want the US to protect them, I’m not exactly in favor of rewarding their ingratitude, either.

      A few years of having the Russians threaten to turn off the spigot might make Western Europe a little more ready to take up arms in its own defense. Or expose their governments for the cowards I suspect them to be.

      We are not dependent on Russia. We can buy our oil and natuiral gas on the open market, as everybody else does. Russia on the other hand needs the revenue from us, for they need European money to maintain their oil infrastucture and to build new pipelines. Switching from the Russian supply to the open market would be expensive and disruptive for a time, but it would bankrupt the Russians. That’s why they won’t actually turn off the spigot, for it would be suicide. They have no other customer for natural gas, for there are no pipelines to the Asian markets. Even the new pipelines under construction to Europe are several times as expensive as expected, for prices for iron ore and subsequently steel have multiplied. Russian steel isn’t good enough for the pipelines /and we certainly wouldn’t want to rely on it for our energy supply), so they have to import it at huge cost. Even with oil prices at this level the haven’t got the capital for it.

      Something else: The US has a special relationship with Saudi Arabia, and because odf the oil and political significance they get away with sponsoring terrorism and radical Islam all over the world. Guess what, Russia is, among other things, our Saudi Arabia.

    25. John Jay Says:

      Ralph – I’m not so sure Russia would not do something stupid. Asking for “Regime Change” so bluntly falls into the category of hubris, and the Russians have been known to cut off their nose to spite their face before.

    26. Helen Says:

      Ralf,

      You are right, Europe and Germany in particular, could buy oil and gas anywhere. Russia needs customers more than the other way round. But the fact remains that you don’t. In fact, Schroeder’s deal over that pipeline that will by-pass Poland and the Balts stands. I wonder what the reason for that is? Hmmm? And however you justify it, doing Russia’s bidding is exactly what Germany and France did at the last summit. Nothing to do with internal problems in Ukraine or Georgia. The question was about a long road to membership, which will come at some future date when the countries sorted themselves out. Russia stamped its foot and Germany, France and other jumped. Mind you, our own government behaved even worse – sat on the fence.

    27. Ralf Goergens Says:

      In fact, Schroeder’s deal over that pipeline that will by-pass Poland and the Balts stands. I wonder what the reason for that is?

      Poland and other countries have hinted that they might at some point interrupt the flow of oil and natural gas through the pipelines that run through their territories, to deprive Russia of the revenues, as a means to extert pressure. We wouldn’t like that, for it also would mean that we wouldn’t get the oil and gas.

    28. Ralf Goergens Says:

      John,

      <Ralph – I’m not so sure Russia would not do something stupid. Asking for “Regime Change” so bluntly falls into the category of hubris, and the Russians have been known to cut off their nose to spite their face before.

      If they closed the pipelines, they would go broke and couldn’t afford their military any longer, so this problem would be self-containing.

    29. Helen Says:

      They won’t go broke as long as the West pleads with them to please, please, re-open those pipelines. Ralf, I am sorry, the German government’s behaviour over the energy supply has been stupid and self-defeating. It is really scraping the bottom of the barrel to say that the Schroeder deal was pushed through (with him getting a fat pay-off) because Poland hinted that they might conceivably do something silly in the future. Well, they might. Then again, they might not. But if Nordstream ever comes on line Russia will control a good deal of German and West European policy. Poland, too, will be thrown to the bear, if needs be. All because there is no imagination among politicians. I am happy to acknowledge that about ours. You seem to feel the need to defend German politicos.

    30. Ralf Goergens Says:

      It is really scraping the bottom of the barrel to say that the Schroeder deal was pushed through (with him getting a fat pay-off) because Poland hinted that they might conceivably do something silly in the future.

      When the Ukraine quarreled with Russia, among other things about the size of the gas bill, the supply to Wesetrn Europe was shut off, too, and the Ukrainian government used that to get some leverage.

      All because there is no imagination among politicians. I am happy to acknowledge that about ours. You seem to feel the need to defend German politicos.

      I don’t feel the need to defend German policies vis-a-vis Russia, but I am feeling somewhat defensive because there is enough criticism coming from Anglophone countries, some of it pretty unfair. Besides, any criticism of European governments soon is transferred to Europeans in general, so the defensiveness is kind of personal.

    31. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Um, I messed up the formatting

    32. zenpundit Says:

      Helen,

      According to the DOE, Germany produces 600 billion cubic feet of natural gas and imports 3 trillion cubic feet annually, half of which comes from Russia.

      Europe is hooked on Russian natural gas in the medium term until alternate pipelines from central Asia can be constructed. Reagan warned this would result in strategic dependency when the Euros signed their gas deals with the USSR back in the 1980’s

    33. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Europe is hooked on Russian natural gas in the medium term until alternate pipelines from central Asia can be constructed. Reagan warned this would result in strategic dependency when the Euros signed their gas deals with the USSR back in the 1980’s

      Well, we could do it, but the cost would be very high. Natural gas is tricky to transport by any other means than by pipeline.

    34. Ralf Goergens Says:

      And frankly, if we had listened to Reagan, we would have incurred such costs back in the 80s and then some, for technology wasn’t nearly as effcient as today. The question remains, are you willing to transport natural gas by tanker ships to avoid doing business with Russia?

    35. Helen Says:

      I am not sure, Ralf, it is fair to accuse all of us of criticizing Europeans because of their governments, though when you get so defensive, even I begin to wonder. You can’t possibly approve of Schroeder. Furthermore, many of us are very free in our criticism of our own governments and, in my case, of our dear old opposition.

      Maybe you, OK Germany does not want to incur those costs. It will have to go on paying political costs. Chancellor Merkel can wring her little hands all she likes – who cares what the German government says about Russia. Not the Russian government. Furthermore, as experience with BP and Shell show those deals that seem so good and so cheap will suddenly change when the Kremlin no longer finds them useful. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

    36. Ralf Goergens Says:

      You can’t possibly approve of Schroeder

      No, I don’t.

      I’ll have to write some serious posts on the other issues

    37. Tarakihi Says:

      Hello

      I am Russian. I left a post in the next topic about Ossetia. I find this thread rather interesting but I would prefer to stay away from your discussion (in order not to spoil your pleasure, actually).

      I’ve entered just to add some cultural streak (or cultural flavour) to some of your comments (and sorry for my rudimentary English:))

      TO SMITTEN EAGLE –

      Smitten Eagle Says:
      August 9th, 2008 at 9:54 am
      The Georgians, at a time when most countries were pulling their troops out of Iraq, increased their portion to 2000 troops (brigade strength), and they HAVE PROVEN FIERCE FIGHTERS.

      My comment (I am sure the Russian ladies present in this thread would support me):

      FIERCE FIGHTERS referring to Georgians (Gruzini) seems a rather funny (not to say sarcastic!) expression in the Russian cultural context. The great Russian poet (our second genius after Alexandre Pushkin) – Mikhail Lermontov who served as a military in the Caucasus in early 19th century left these verses:

      THE BATTLE WAS SHORT.
      AND TIMID GEORGIANS FLED…

      In Russian:
      НЕДОЛГО ПРОДОЛЖАЛСЯ БОЙ –
      БЕЖАЛИ РОБКИЕ ГРУЗИНЫ.

      If you type these words (in Russian) in any search engine (eg. in so much favoured by Russians Google :)) you will discover that these verses have gained immense popularity in these days, because… The Georgians lost. The timid Georgians fled. The war is over.

      I think you would not accuse a Russian gentry Mikhail Lermontov in pro-Kremlin proparanda.

      TO TATYANA

      Tatyana, here in Moscow we saw on Russian TV the open sitting of Security Council (late Sunday night). Please do not mislead your American fellows by saying that Mr Churkin’s name is “fitting”. It is wrong from both realistic and cultural point of view.

      Just a small clarification for Americans: “churka” (a small wooden butt) is a traditional Soviet nickname for national minority (with pejorative, dispreciative connotation). I do not think that any American brought up on political correctness would ever use it in public forum. Since Russians are more open (and you are Russian) they do not hesitate to use this term referring to any stupid or stubborn person. I fully disagree with you. Russian UNO Representative Mr Churkin looks intelligent and he behaved as a real stoic. Diplomats shall be tough, you know. (If I were in his shoes I would have given the whole bunch of hypocrites a good thrashing hasta la puta madre!). Moreover, my Russian colleages applied this pejorative word “churka” to the U.S. Representative who definitely does not look an anglo-saxon.

      Tatyana, I think your comment about Mr Chukin was very much insulting. Anyway, I am not going to remind you how Russians (since the peacemaking operation in Kosovo) nickname Americans. I will be ashamed to repeat it (PINDOSTANI) but as a linguist I may reassure that this word has the same connotation as the old Russian term “churka”. So, as you may see, we Russians are as valemadristas and hilarious as Mexicans. :))

      That’s all about the cultural context I wanted to bring along to you, gents and ladies.

      For your reference:

      http://engforum.pravda.ru/showthread.php?s=536a005a9e7db4e87f43ea2d62640359&t=221429

      All the best to you all,

      Tarakihi
      http://tetarakihi.livejournal.com/
      (definitely not a KGB agent, but a Russian intelligentzia)