The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Russia mounts a counteroffiensive in the propaganda war

September 3, 2008

Via email:

You’ve seen the Georgian claims that they were just responding to a Russian attack when they invaded Tskhinvali.

The Russians are now citing amateur video taken on the first day of fighting to claim that there were no Russian forces in the city and that the Georgians were initially unopposed in the city and firing at random, civilian targets (including apartment buildings).

The video seems to have been taken by Georgian troops. You can hear them whooping (basically, yeehaw!) as they drive through the city and fire on various structures (which the reporter visits and shows to be apartment buildings). The amateur clips seems fairly short and the most provocative bit is repeatedly looped during the report. The eyewitnesses discuss the attacks (tanks fired on us here, and made these holes in our walls, etc.) and talk at length about hiding with and comforting their

They also say that Georgian troops rattled their doors and demanded that they open them (though they left when the residents wouldn’t open up) and drove through the streets shouting things like: “This is our land! It will be ours!” and “Ossetia is ours! It is already our land!”



I don’t know how much effort they are putting in getting this narrative out to the English-language world media–I haven’t seen it anywhere I would expect it might appear.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.