Is Russia planning to attack Georgia again?

The rumour of a possible Russian attack on Georgia is being fueled by many sources and a timely column by Yuliya Latynina in today’s Moscow Times newspaper reinforced the idea that Russia may invade Georgia soon after the March presidential election in which Prime Minister is expected to win.

There appears to many the possibility of a build-up for a scenario which would provide Russia cover for an attack. Recently Russia Today TV reported: “It is already known and proved that the ‘orange revolution’ in South Ossetia is sponsored by Georgian special services,” the Interfax news agency quoted Eduard Kokoity as saying. “Being the president of South Ossetia, I guarantee that the decisions of the republic’s Supreme Court will be carried out. All those who form illegal groups and call for bloodshed will be brought to justice,” Kokoity said.

South Ossetia is a breakaway province in Georgia that has been recognized as a sovereign country by Russia. Meanwhile Andrei Ryaboy at the Moscow Carnegie Centre said at a conference of Caucasus Journalists that Tbilisi would not be a part of possible military operations against Iran.

An article in the Pakistani Press reports that Georgia’s PresidentMikhail Saakashvili has ordered the military to build a “total homeland defense” and accused Russia of planning to “overthrow Georgian democracy.” Saakaskvili has repeatedly said that Russia is planning to invade and establish a pro-Russian government in Georgia, a former Soviet republic.

The Pakistani Press reported that the Georgian leader expects an attack of “…from the ethnically-cleansed territories,” referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, recognized by Russia as independent states after the August war in 2008.

The Yuliya Latynina article suggests that Vladimir Putin would use a war against Georgia to rally support at home against growing opposition to his rule at home.