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With the first anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war tomorrow, the "Vremya novostei" daily has some interesting comments today from leading Russian politicians:

Andrei Vorobyov, deputy chairman of United Russia State Duma faction:

"I think Russia's intervention was essential insofar as we could not remain indifferent to the fate of people who live on the territory of those two fraternal republics."

Nikolai Levichev, head of the A Just Russia Duma faction:

"Georgia's attack on South Ossetia was a monstrous and cynical act of cruelty. It is absolutely clear today, as it was a year ago, that Russia simply did not have the right not to intervene in this conflict."

Yabloko party chairman Sergei Mitrokhin:

"I think it was imperative to intervene, but it should have been done on a smaller scale. In my view there was no need to recognize the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia because that goes against Russia's international interests."

Solidarity movement co-chairman Vladimir Milov:

"The war did not change anything, the militarization process continues.… Russia's intervention did not avert the threat of a new conflict."

Vitaly Ivanov, vice-president of the Center for Political Forecasting:

"In my view the pluses outweigh the minuses. The war and the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are perceived by the overwhelming majority of citizens as a positive achievement by the present government and ruling tandem. And a military victory never does any harm."

Military analyst Sergei Markedonov:

"Did Russia win or lose? I would not say it was a total victory. Previously the main objective was to keep the conflicts frozen as far as possible, to preserve the status quo, whereas now we are faced with a qualitatively different raft of problems. The role of guarantor of the self-determination of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is not as simple as it looks."

-- Liz Fuller

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