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Friday, 22 June 2018


NATO exercises in Georgia. Orchestra rehearsal

04.05.2009  |  17:50

Orchestra Rehearsal filmed by the genius of the Italian cinema Federico Fellini in 1978 was not a roaring success among the viewers. The director created a philosophical parable of what can become of a group (a society) if there is no harmony.


The film plot is simple. This is a rehearsal growing into a scandal between the conductor and musicians. Time after time depending on people's negative emotions dull blows are heard that make the building walls shake. Everyone notices that but tries not to pay attention. During the break the conductor is giving an interview interrupted by the lights going out. The conductor wants to continue the rehearsal and sees the orchestra turning all upside down in the room by organizing the anti-conductor revolution. Part of the musicians undertake setting a rhythmometer instead of the conductor, others throw it off in their attempt to disobey, some curiously watch what is going on, others make love under the grand piano and some remain indifferent listening to a

soccer broadcast on the radio while the blissful harpist is giving an interview. Ceiling plaster is constantly falling down but just like during the first rehearsal everybody tries not to see that. Eventually the walls are starting to crack and a cast iron ball flies in to pull the building down. Fragments of the wall hurt the harpist and she is taken out of the building. Everyone is confused and the conductor is taking advantage of it suggesting that the rehearsal be continued. After quite a well-done piece the conductor returns to his angry speech on modern musicians' playing. This time however the musicians obey. The film ends with the conductor saying: "We will start all over again".

Don't you think the idea of this movie parable by Fellini is similar to the situation in Georgia with the opposition expressing its discontent over a number of the president's (the conductor's) internal political measures not realizing that the "orchestra rehearsal" has been too long and the musicians (the opposition) may at any moment face the ruins of the Georgian statehood? As the desire to bring back South Ossetia and Abkhazia at all costs might lead to Georgia's subsequent collapse in a situation of the political crisis aggravated by the deepest economic depression.

In conditions like these NATO decided to hold another "orchestra rehearsal" - now involving two dozen countries whose servicemen will take part in the so-called "peace operation" in the territory of Georgia.

From May 6 to June 1 2009 Cooperative Longbow/Lancer-09 exercise will be held by NATO near the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. 1.3 thousand servicemen of the armed forces of NATO member states and its partners are expected to take part in the coming exercise. Spanish lieutenant general Caetano Miro Vals will run the show.

The two-stage exercise will take place in Vasiani military base 20 km from Tbilisi. The first stage - Cooperative Longbow - involves staff officers of 19 countries practicing operational coordination at the time of a peace operation. According to the scenario it will be UN-sanctioned settlement of a large-scale crisis in a fictitious country. An international brigade created under the auspices of NATO will impose order there. The exercise will be based on computer models with 650 people involved. The second stage - Cooperative Lancer - is a battalion exercise: soldiers and officers will practice various scenarios of an in-field peace operation. Total number of soldiers and officers engaged at this stage is 450.

The scope of the military games doesn't seem that great but in the run-up to Cooperative Longbow/Lancer Moscow repeatedly demanded cancellation of the exercise highlighting that future relations with NATO would considerably depend on whether this exercises would take place or not. As this "orchestra rehearsal" by NATO and its partners will be run in the country whose political leaders dragged Georgia into a military adventure jeopardizing peace in the whole region. It seems evident that NATO's maneuvers are demonstration of support for the Georgian president who is destined for the international tribunal in Hague. This all happens at the time when Saakashvili's pro-Western project including accession to NATO, creation of an open society, struggle against corruption, economic reforms is creaking at the seams and the opposition is calling for his immediate resignation. If NATO had cancelled its decision to hold the military exercise in the country whose leaders brought political instability not only to Georgia but to all Caucasian region, the days of president Saakashvili might have been numbered for the opposition unwilling to upset the West is not applying the revolutionary scenario, and is equally unable to unseat Saakashvili by law.

Thus the opposition is waiting for the West to give a sign. And it seems the West keeps placing its stake on Saakashvili. Otherwise it's difficult to explain the North Atlantic Alliance's stubbornness in its desire to have the "orchestra rehearsal" in a building with the cracks of social protest on its walls.

Lastly: maybe the NATO top officers' insistence on maneuvers in Georgia is a desire to preserve the failing regime of the Tbilisian satellite by all means? And "a peace operation" is in fact a rehearsal of the international intervention in this Transcaucasian state's internal events if the rising of the people really starts there...


Ivan Tulyakov

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