Georgia and Russia: Pardon Our French

Georgia, Ossetia, Russia and Abkhazia

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July 16, 2010 – 10:07am, by Giorgi Lomsadze

A bleep censor might come in handy for France when Russia and Georgia open their post-Soviet mouths. Since taking on the thankless job of mediating between Moscow and Tbilisi, mannerly French envoys have found themselves in the unlikely world of rapster-style dissing.

Two years ago, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy was trying to convince Vladimir Putin to abort the Russian invasion of Georgia, the Russian prime minister reportedly startled his French guest by sharing plans to hang Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili by his private parts. Now that French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has instructed Tbilisi to make nice with Russia, Saakashvili has cautioned that Georgia will not “lick" its giant neighbor "in one place as some have proposed that we do."

That said, the French must have known that they would be dealing with people who call ‘em as they see ‘em. Putin once famously offered to "wipe out" terrorists in a toilet, while Saakashvili in 2007 suggested that his old-guard domestic critics had been “flushed down” the toilet.

Neither side has patience for French exhortations on restrained conduct because both believe the Paris-brokered cease-fire deal left key issues unresolved. Russia still maintains a tight grip on breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Russian hopes of regime change in Georgia never materialized. That means more PG-13 diplomacy coming soon . . . 

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