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No border loopholes for Georgia2010-11-25 11:40
Russia's border guard service is enhancing security: the contingent will be considerably increased along the perimeter of Georgian border. Border departments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be reinforced too. Not only people will be sent to serve on the border. There is special equipment for detection and suppression of illegal border-crossing from neighboring territories. Russia fears provocations or possible intrusion of foreign militants presently trained in the territory of Georgia.
By all appearances, Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov was right saying that militants likely to go to North Caucasus are being trained in Georgia - again. Though Tbilisi categorically refutes Kadyrov's accusations, there has been reconnaissance information on foreign militants being trained in Georgian military units. Where else can well-trained and well-equipped fighters go if not to North Caucasus across the backbone?
In early October the Defense ministry announced that North Caucasus Military District would be renamed into Southern Military District. It was not just renaming. Big changes are taking place in the region.
"Combat potential of the new Military District will be doubled due to unification of all forces and means deployed in the region", - Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said at a Defense Ministry panel visiting session in Rostov-na-Donu in October.
Southern Military District includes the Black Sea Fleet, Caspian Fleet, Air Force Command and Air Defense Command, as well as units of railway troops. 58th combined army oriented on security provision in North Caucasus is also stationed in the territory of the district. The army contingent is nearly 70,000 in strength. The army's arsenal includes 609 tanks, nearly 2,000 infantry combat vehicles and armored troop carriers, 125 mortars and gun groups, 190 GRAD complexes and 450 AA systems.
2010 was the year of reforms for then North Caucasian Military District. Colonel-general Sergey Makarov, then troops commander, was forced to resign in mid January.
It was not the end of comb-out in armed forces. The presidential decree on dismissal of a number of high-ranking army officers includes other top commanders. Colonel Nikolay Ostrin, head of weapon ordnance service of Southern Military District, major-general Yuri Rukovichnikov, commander of support, deputy commander of the 58th army and a few more top officials were dismissed.
Georgia adopted "glorious" traditions of interaction with North Caucasian militants at the time of Shevarnadze whose policies in Caucasus were quite peculiar. He tried to take advantage of Georgian guests solving his own political problems. "Ruslan Gellaev's gang" is the joint name of numerous militant groups who lived in Pankissi Gorge for at least 3 years. The exact number is unknown. But their contacts with Georgia's political and military leaders of that time are not a secret.
Militants and the country leaders dealt with each other on an ordinary contract basis with Tbilisi providing refuge for rehabilitation asking to restore "territorial integrity" in exchange. A raid in Abkhazia's Kodory gorge that Gellaev's groups launched in October 2001 was part of the collaboration. Then nobody understood what the end purpose of the militants was in Abkhazia. Anyway, one of the tasks was to raise the Georgian flag over Sukhum.