Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 27

On September 19, the speaker of the Georgian parliament, Nino Burdzhanadze, reacted sharply to recent statements by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and General Anatoly Kvashnin, chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, concerning the foreign and domestic policies of Georgia. “Kvashnin and Ivanov,” she cautioned, “would do better to keep their thoughts to themselves and not to insult Georgia and its president…. We did not like Putin’s statement [ultimatum], but it would not have occurred to Georgian politicians to insult him.” The website Lenta.ru recalled that Kvashnin had “compared the leadership of Georgia to the Afghan Taliban,” while on September 19, during his visit to Washington, Ivanov had opined that Russia was not disturbed by the prospect of Georgia’s joining NATO. “Let them join whatever they want,” he remarked contemptuously, “even the League of Sexual Reforms.” President Shevardnadze of Georgia observed subsequently that he would not be commenting on “the insulting statements of a number of Russian military leaders toward the Georgian leadership” (Lenta.ru, September 19).