Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Among the text messages I really haven't been keen on receiving, I must definitely number the following, received Sunday afternoon from a Georgian pal:

"Are u ready for what's gonna happen in Georgia?"

On the one hand, no matter what it might be, the answer is undoubtedly "no." On the other hand, I at least need to know how many bottles of wine I need to buy for my bunker. I responded requesting clarification as to what, precisely, is going to happen in Georgia. Got this:

"Shit is gonna happen. Where are you?"

This just makes me nervous. Finally got the drama queen to cut the suspense and clarify: there were explosions in North Ossetia damaging the pipeline which brings gas from Russia to Georgia. We're cut off.

President Saakashvili went on television to explain that the government was in negotiations to get gas in from Azerbaijan and Iran, but that we may be without any gas for an indeterminate amount of time. And because the turbines at the Gardabani power station run on gas, we may not have electricity either. The Russians claimed that it was a terrorist attack, but the President of Georgia himself stood up and said outright that this was a lie, that this explosion was deliberate sabotage against the Georgian nation. This also makes me nervous. Although I totally agree. These days, nothing makes you feel more Georgian that huddling around some wine and vodka and cursing the perfidy of the Russians.

Luckily, having somewhat acclimated myself to a cold apartment and no hot water, I'm not terribly concerned. I lost electricity for a good portion of last night, but that's normal. Besides, gas is already coming through from Azerbaijan and so I think Tbilisi will stay up and running alright. They say that half the city is without gas, but everybody I know is doing alright so far. Much ado about not too much here in the capital city, which is a bit anticlimactic. The people in the regions, as usual, are utterly screwed for a while.

(For more on Russian-Georgian relations and the energy crisis and insightful analysis mixed with football championships, you've come to the wrong place. I've been scooped.)

Some photos below of the anti-Russian protest.

(Which reminds me! My CAMERA came! My amazing new camera, courtesy of my main squeeze! I'd been waiting nearly two months, was convinced that it was stolen. Finally a friend went into the post office to demand my package, and managed to harass them into producing it. "How long has it been sitting here? Why didn't you deliver it?" he asked the guy. The postal worker just held up his arm and said, bored, "How do you think I got this watch? How do you think I got this phone?" Grrr. But water under the bridge as I am back in business, photo-wise.)

(That's "GASPUTIN" for those of you who can't decipher the cyrillic)

Young Patriot


UPDATE: This is sort of strange. So Russia was increasing its gas supply to Azerbaijan in order to route it to Georgia. But now it sounds like there's been some sort of strange damage to a gas compressor at the Russian-Azeri border. Apparently Georgia uses 7 million cubic meters of gas per day, and now we'll only be getting 2.5 million. Meanwhile, Russia shocks us all by claiming that repair of the gas lines in North Ossetia are going to be delayed. This may not be quite over yet.


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