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Glukhov’s future is vague2009-01-29 14:13
Tuesday evening January 27 Georgian media reported on Russian army junior sergeant Alexander Glukhov's desertion from his duty area in Akhalgori district and asking president Saakashvili for political asylum. The Russian Defense Ministry asserts the soldier was taken prisoner and is under psychological pressure.
Press debates between the Georgian and Russian sides caused by this incident are gathering like a snowball.
Georgia's Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili: Alexander Glukhov abandoned his base on Tuesday night for being no more able to tolerate the conditions of service - hunger, insanitation, mistreatment on the part of the command. That is why he crossed the border and surrendered voluntarily to the Georgian policemen.
In confirmation of this all Georgian TV channels showed the Russian soldier speaking and stumbling about no sauna at his military base, bad meals and strained relations with his commanding officer. That is why he asks Georgia's president for political asylum. It is believed in Tbilisi that the junior sergeant revealed startling facts: "We came to South Ossetia in June. We were excavating trenches... Now our armament, tanks, infantry combat vehicles, GRADs are aimed at Georgian villages".
In Moscow all this is considered to be information provocation.
Russia's Defense Ministry Spokesman colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky: Georgian special services took Glukhov away to Tbilisi by force. "The statements that Glukhov could make were expressed either under physical or moral threats", - RIA Novosti is quoting the colonel.
Utiashvili answered back: "The Russian serviceman is free both in his movements and in his choice - whether to stay in Georgia or return to his native land, to Russia," - he retorted. Georgian media were very particular about the Russian soldier eventually having a full belly at McDonalds'.
Georgia's Foreign Ministry did not keep silent either. It stated that Georgia was not going to hand over the runaway sergeant to Russians as "on his return to the Russian Federation he is under threat of life imprisonment for treason and desertion and he will rot in jail".
Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze informed local journalists that he was on the way to the acting Ambassador of Russia to Georgia, the Ambassador of Switzerland, to make him involved in Glukhov's fate. Moreover the Foreign Ministry representatives got in touch with the parents of the soldier who live in Udmurtia and suggested their coming to Georgia to see their son.
However Alexander Glukhov's mother disproved it.