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Is Glukhov a PR victim?2009-02-12 09:59
This week the story of Alexander Glukhov, junior sergeant who had asked Georgia for political asylum again was a newsbreak for the media that take part in the Georgian-Russian information war which is no less fierce than military actions in August.
Again soldier Glukhov was a "small coin" in a series of propaganda battles between Russian, Georgian and foreign press. Now he and his mother are discussed. At first these were reports about their meeting. Then the media disproved their own information stating they had not managed to meet. Then all hell broke loose.
Russia's Defense Ministry accused Georgia of frustrating the meeting between Alexander Glukhov and his mother. It is said in Tbilisi that the Russian command is creating obstacles.
According to ITAR-TASS report Colonel Igor Konashenkov, Ground Forces Assistant Commander, stated the following: "The meeting between Alexander Glukhov, junior sergeant held in Georgia, and his mother did not take place as the representatives of the Georgian law-enforcement authorities had not delivered her son to Eredvi for it".
Georgia's Interior Ministry in its turn disseminated the information that the mother had not seen her son as the Russian militaries did not let her "go from Tskhinval to Tbilisi and meet her son".
Even in such a minor issue as organization of a meeting between relatives - comparing to state affairs - the Russian and Georgian sides cannot come to terms. The former asserts that Galina Glukhova is afraid to go to Tbilisi asking for the meeting to be organized closer to the South Ossetian territory. However Rustavi-2 TV featured Alexander saying he would like to see his mother in Tbilisi. "I will not go to Tskhinval as it is unsafe there", - numerous media were quoting the soldier.
No doubt he implied his arrest. In fact he confessed that he had not been kidnapped and that he had left Akhalgori camp because of bad conditions of service and misunderstanding with the command. Considering all this he risks being sent to tribunal and sentenced for desertion.
However regardless of Alexander Glukhov's revelations the Defense Ministry maintains its initial version: the Russian serviceman was kidnapped and now is held in Georgia by force. The Russian military authority's persistence is quite explainable though. A serviceman going over to those with whom there is neither war nor peace, would be a shame to any country. So in order to prove the kidnapping version Glukhov's desertion can be neglected hoping that he will report on Georgians forcing him to perjury.
Meanwhile the junior sergeant was quite vague about his future in his interview with "Ekho Moskvy" radio: "I want to stay and live in Tbilisi for a while and then get back home". By all appearances he does not clearly realize what a mess he has made and his between-a-rock-and-a hard-place situation.
Official Tbilisi's position was represented by Irakli Sesiashvili, an expert. "This fact shows that even a Russian soldier, (i.e. a representative of the occupational forces) knows that it will be easier for him to find truth in the occupied country than in Russia".
Russia's argument that Glukhov is not completely adequate and that he even went to school for backward children is of little interest to Tbilisi and other not impartial observers.