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Malign & Conquer

Ratcheting Up The Rhetoric
Malign And Conquer?

In a September 2 interview with the Italian RAI television channel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, "President Mikheil Sakashvili does not exist for us; he is a political corpse." As for Georgian authorities, he added, "the current regime is bankrupt."

Russian officials have made no secret of their wish to see Saakashvili ousted, and have racheted up their rhetoric accordingly. Here are some of the comments:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin: "The actions of the Georgian government in South Ossetia, of course, were a crime, and primarily a crime against its own people."

Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov: "Saakashvili also committed crimes against humanity, opening fire on civilians, murdering an enormous number of completely innocent women and children. Such crimes cannot be forgiven and criminals must be punished.... Saakashvili's place is in the dock. Sooner or later, this will happen, and the Georgian people will give its opinion of this pathetic politician."

Duma Deputy Speaker Lyubov Sliska: "He is the same as Hitler, who invaded a sleeping Russia."

Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky: "We have a Georgian Pinochet.... He will do anything to [preserve his power], commit any crime, spill blood, and, if necessary, destroy Georgia." On other occasions, Zhirinovsky has called Saakashvili "a criminal against his oath," "a foreign spot on the body of the Georgian people," and "a puppet of the agonized United States." He said, "Saakashvili -- you are finished, rotten."

Channel One commentator Mikhail Leontyev: "A ranting Georgian fuehrer."

Leader of the St. Petersburg branch of A Just Russia Oleg Nilov:

"The United States is defending Georgia like a mad dog with iron fangs who has bit some children. The master is going to say the children teased the dog instead of getting down on their knees in front of it. But this master trained that dog precisely to attack children. Russia doesn't need to trouble itself with talks with the United States. But as regards the dog, our actions must be completely above reproach -- we need to take a scalpel and cut off his steel fangs and its brain so that it stops biting innocent children."

-- compiled by Irina Lagunina and Victor Yasmann