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Georgia, Russia and the march to folly

Thomas Goltz, special to the Pulitzer Center

That Mikhail Saakashvili's Georgia would eventually come into direct conflict with its huge neighbor to the north, the Russian Federation, was long a given.

Clashes in Georgia

Freelance video journalist Jason Maloney, who was filming in Georgia for the Pulitzer Center at the time of the fighting, describes the tensions that preceded the clashes and the impacts on the region. (MP3)

Listen to Jason's dispatch at Newshour.

Georgia: Carjacking in Gori

The last contact I had with the Georgian member of our reporting team, a man named Sergo, had been a text message I received a week ago with the name and number of a reliable taxi driver who would be able to take me out of Georgia and across the border into Armenia. Sergo had been with us in Tbilisi during the first days of fighting, but as the war was intensifying all around us, he'd managed to find a way to get to Batumi, Georgia's coastal resort town, where his wife, mother and mother-in-law were all at a relative's house.

Abkhaz puppets, or not?

The parliament, national security council, ministry of foreign affairs -- all these institutions in the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi occupy one block of buildings located directly on the Black Sea coast. For Sukhumi, unlike Pitsunda and Gagra, has never been considered only a holiday resort. It was and it is an administrative center, the capital of the region.

Abkhazia?

Sitting here in a hotel room in the Armenian capital Yerevan, waiting for my flight to Moscow tomorrow, I've been thinking of all the places I've been in the last two weeks and the people I met along the way. We'd been reporting on the situation in Abkhazia, one of the two breakaway regions of Georgia that have been at the center of the last week of fighting between Georgia and Russia. I've traveled widely in this time, all the way from Sukhumi, the Abkhaz capital, to Yerevan, overland.

Georgia: US Embassy Convoy

If there was any lingering concern as to whether or not I should leave Georgia yesterday in a US Embassy convoy, it was erased by the huge, booming explosion that woke me from a sound sleep at 430am - followed shortly thereafter by a series of smaller blasts. I learned hours later that it had been the Russian bombing of a radar installation on a hill over Tbilisi. It sounded like it had been just next door.

Georgia's President Saakashvili, on the Eve of War

TBILISI, Georgia -- For the Russians he is a scary figure. A cunning eastern despot whose main purpose is to humiliate and to outsmart them. They have disliked Mikheil Saakashvili, young president of Georgia, since he grabbed power following the famous Rose Revolution in November 2003.

Evacuation from Tbilisi

This morning foreign embassies began evacuating their citizens from Georgia, having decided that the situation here is too unpredictable and that foreign nationals should leave.

Georgia's President Saakashvili, on the eve of war

Zygmunt Dzieciolowski, for the Pulitzer Center
Tbilisi, Georgia

For the Russians he is a scary figure. A cunning eastern despot whose main purpose is to humiliate and to outsmart them. They have disliked Mikheil Saakashvili, young president of Georgia, since he grabbed power following the famous Rose Revolution in November 2003.

Updates on war between Georgia and Russia

Gori_ditch_after_russian_bomb_aug_8
Gori, Georgia (near South Ossetia). A ditch left by Russian bombs. Photograph by Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Zygmunt Dzieciolowski, our print reporter working with video journalists Jason Maloney and Kira Kay on the Caucasus conflicts project, was interviewed by Radio Liberty about the war (in Russian).