With the entry of Russia into this conflict, which defended its citizens, the Georgian troops were driven back from the territory of South Ossetia. Also during the conflict, the Georgian armed forces left, controlled by them, the upper part of the Kodori Gorge in the territory of another unrecognized republic of Abkhazia. After 2 weeks after the end of the active phase of hostilities, Russia officially recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Already 9 September 2008 between the countries were established diplomatic relations. In memory of those killed in the conflict, civilians and peacekeepers on the fortieth day thousands of candles were lit, mourning dirge services were held in many temples. Mourning events and memorable actions on the night of 7 on August 8 are held in South Ossetia and Russia annually. Honor the memory of those killed in the war and on the territory of Georgia.
Much has been said and written about this war. Both about the causes of the conflict, and its consequences for the parties. After the 4 of the year, South Ossetia’s civilian casualties remain unclear. The numbers here vary widely from a few hundred to almost 2-x thousand dead. In this case, the most realistic is the figure in 300-400 of the dead civilians, without taking into account the losses of the military and South Ossetian militias. The situation is similar with the losses of the Russian army, which according to various data ranged from 48 to 74 dead. In turn, the Georgian side published the official list of names their losses during the five-day war. During the fighting, the Georgian army lost 170 people killed and missing. Civilian casualties amounted to 228 people, while information on 62 of them is verified.
Speaking about the five-day war in South Ossetia, it is necessary to pay special attention to the information component of this conflict. Russia, which did not prepare for the conduct of the modern information war, naturally suffered a defeat in it. If public opinion inside the country was formed in the right way in a natural way, then Russia lost the information war outside the country, said Igor Panarin, a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry. So the ratio of positive and negative articles about Russia in the course of this August conflict in the Anglo-American press was 1: 12, in the German 1: 4. Proceeding from this, it is possible to assert with complete confidence that a negative information background has been created in the world against our country.
Challenges of the XXI century
The Information War, which was launched against Russia in August 2008, became an information war in the 3 generation. Doctor of Technical Sciences Sergey Grinyaev gives the following classification of such conflicts:
The 1 wars of the generation are EW (electronic warfare). Frequency and wired communications, cellular communications, jammers, eavesdropping, interference, blocking, etc.
The 2 wars of the generation are EW + counter-guerrilla and guerrilla propaganda. So it was in Chechnya in the 1990-e years. The separatists created their own websites, they also distributed combat leaflets and newspapers, and organized interviews for Western publications sympathizing with them. In turn, Russia was engaged in counter-propaganda with means available to the federal center, both in the territory of Chechnya and adjacent territories, and to the wider public.
3 wars are global information wars, which experts also call "the war on effects." The information war that went on around the conflict in South Ossetia in August of 2008 was exactly the information war of the 3 generation.
This is how the American newspaper The Exile described this “war on effects”, which was published in Moscow in English. According to the newspaper, the leaders of Georgia phoned almost every influential person from Wall Street, convincing them that Georgia became a victim of Russian aggression even at the very time when the Georgian army was engaged in firing on Tskhinvali and even before the Russian army entered into this conflict. After that, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashivili made himself available around the clock for interviews with the BBC and CNN. He repeated the same simple lines in excellent English and always against the background of the EU flag. All his promises boiled down to the fact that Russia is the aggressor.
Saakashvili declared that Georgia is a small democratic country and asked for help. At the same time, the effectiveness of Georgian propaganda was helped by the fact that the country did not prevent Western journalists from entering the conflict zone. In turn, Russia has made it almost impossible for representatives of non-Russian media to access South Ossetia, which was a big mistake. On this occasion, dissatisfaction was expressed even in Russian editions. While Russia has once again proved that it does not strike civilian targets, Georgia has declared that Russian fighters are launching bombing attacks on a Western-financed oil pipeline deep in Georgia. This statement was an absolute lie, but this did not prevent this news hang in the headlines of Western media for at least 2's days.
Who prepared the information war against Russia
The information operation, which was connected with the events in South Ossetia, was prepared by the Americans for at least a year, the European and American media were used for these purposes - a global system of influence on all possible information flows was created, control of which was carried out from a single center. According to Igor Panarin, the information war against Russia was not led by Saakashvili, he was only an instrument of this war. A three-unit headquarters was created to conduct the information war: The US National Security Council - Tbilisi (President Mikhail Saakashvili and his entourage) - the Media Center in Gori, which was created by the Americans according to the scheme they used during the invasion of Iraq.
At the same time, the information war against Russia began even before the start of the Georgian aggression. The war was preceded by informational scandals with a downed, supposedly Russian, UAV, intercepted, allegedly by a Russian rocket, the detention of Russian peacekeepers who were carrying the supposedly forbidden cargo - all this can be attributed to the advance informational training. Long before the start of the Georgian aggression, a negative image of Russia was forming as an aggressor, primarily for the Western audience. In the future, informational grains with accusations of aggression on the Russian side fell on this fertilized soil.
Russia, in response to all these missiles and drones, responded only with excuses, that is, it almost only fought off informational attacks while missing the strategic initiative, noted journalist and doctor of technical sciences Sergey Grinyaev. At this time, Georgia was engaged in the procurement of information images: “Russia is the aggressor” (spy-drones, shot down missiles, detention of prohibited goods), “Georgia is a member of the civilized world” (interview in pure English, the EU flag at Saakashvili is always behind her back) “NATO is a peacemaker” (just that Georgia appeals for help not to the UN, but to NATO, as a “guarantor of security and justice”). In parallel, the creation of groups of sympathizers from representatives of the Georgian diaspora, as well as human rights and liberal centers, was going on in the USA and Europe.
Sergey Grinyaev described in detail the methodology for preparing Georgia for the information war. On the basis of the channel "Trialeti" was deployed an information center in Gori, which served both Georgian and foreign journalists. At the same time, the Russian media and the Internet in Georgia were blocked, and television bridges with the United States and Europe were conducted regularly and in English. “Georgia-online”, “Imedi”, “Rustavi-2” and other Georgian media resources of all kinds acted in close cohesion, acting as a single informational fist. At the same time, Russia has not created an operational press center in South Ossetia. I did not use homework - they simply did not exist. The Ministry of Defense and the Foreign Ministry acted uncoordinated, gave false and contradictory information, which was easily refuted. At the same time, the anti-Russian intonations were not “strangled” in the comments of a number of Russian media outlets, as well as individual journalists, Sergei Grinyaev noted.
As a result, having won in an armed confrontation, Russia lost on the information field. The conflict in Ossetia has shown that Russia does not have a structure for waging a modern information war. The Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defense, the FSB have separate structural units that specialize in working with the media and information, but at the national level there is no such system that would coordinate the work of various departments in the information environment. There are no specific people from whom one could ask for this work, which automatically means that there is no one to ask for a loss in the information war. Igor Panarin believes that the armed conflict in August 2008 demonstrated the organizational and management problem of the Government and the Presidential Administration. In Russia, there is no targeted work on the impact on the media, the public opinion of the CIS countries and the world.
According to Professor Panarin, the creation of the Council on Public Diplomacy, headed by the Prime Minister of Russia, could be the solution to the problem. This council could include the heads of all structures whose line of activity makes them engage in advocacy: the country's foreign ministry, special services, information agencies, the largest national television channels, newspapers and online publications, non-governmental organizations, as well as employees of relevant ministries and business members. - community.
From the complete defeat on the information front, Russia was saved by some successful actions of talented politicians and journalists. The main heroes of the information war were Russia's special representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, who worked actively, voicing the facts that were actually happening to the general world community, and also bringing the position of Russia to the world. Also, experts noted the active role of the representative of Russia to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin. If Churkin worked in the United States, speaking at the UN, then Rogozin at the time of the conflict became the information center of Russia in Europe. According to Igor Panarin, Bagapsh and Shamans also actively, modernly and professionally acted in the information environment.
4 a year later, Saakashvili: "We will definitely return everything!"
On the eve of the four-year anniversary of the Georgian-Russian war 2008, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili visited the territories bordering South Ossetia and met with local residents. He promised them that he would restore the integrity of Georgia and expel the "occupiers."
"I walked a lot in these gorges, and for me a huge pain, an unhealing wound is that they trampled. We will definitely return everything! I firmly believe in it. Historically, in the heart of Kartli no invader was able to resist, and they will not resist" - quotes the President of Georgia Online.
The head of state met with residents of the villages of Dzevera, Kitsnisi and Karaleti, who are located in the region adjacent to the "occupied" Tskhinvali region. In the village of Karaleti the leader of Georgia delivered a speech.
One of the promises of Mikhail Saakashvili was the entry of Georgia into the European Union and membership in NATO, notes Radio Liberty. According to the president, despite the numerous dangers, no one has managed to change the course chosen by Georgia, which is a sign that Georgia will definitely win. “We will surely liberate our country, our Kartli, our valleys, villages, and return our houses to ourselves,” Saakashvili assured.