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Georgian authorities quelled a planned coup last week, and the purported ringleaders -- Giya Gvaladze, Koba Kobaladze and Giya Karkarashvili -- have been arrested.
Gvaladze is the former head of Georgia's Delta special forces unit and a protege of Igor Giorgadze. Giorgadze, the former chief of the Georgian KGB, carried out a failed assassination attempt against then-President Eduard Shevardnadze and then fled to Moscow. Giorgadze has been Moscow's main trump card for years and the main source of the priceless information that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's regime is collapsing.
Karkarashvili served as Shevardnadze's defense minister and has said he would sacrifice 100,000 Georgians to eliminate all 100,000 Abkhaz people. After becoming Abkhazia's national enemy, Karkarashvili went to Moscow to study at the General Staff Academy and was shot on the streets of Moscow. Although he survived the attack, Karkarashvili was severely disabled.
Kobaladze is the former commander of Shevardnadze's National Guard, whose principal activity was highway robbery.
It seems that the Kremlin does not understand that Georgia has emerged from chaos to become a full-fledged independent nation. Moscow can't orchestrate a coup in Georgia just by waving its little finger, as it did during the reign of Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia.
The Kremlin has once again demonstrated its creative talents. The last time it happened was during the gas war with Ukraine. Before the war, there were a number of signals that something was brewing. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he would never forgive Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko for helping Georgia. It was hard to believe that Russia would shut off gas supplies to Ukraine -- and by extension, to Europe. It was hard to believe because a decision to shut the pipeline valve during an economic crisis would result in multibillion-dollar losses for . It would also mean a severe blow to Russia's reputation as a reliable energy supplier and threaten the future of the huge joint Russian-European Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipeline projects. Nonetheless, Moscow shut the valves and announced over Channel One state television that it was all Ukraine's fault. Unfortunately for Russia, Europe does not watch Channel One.
Before the recent events in Georgia unfolded, we heard warnings all across the Internet that Georgian opposition would take to the streets and that Saakashvili's regime would fall on April 9. Meanwhile, Russia once again mobilized its forces along the South Ossetian border, as it had done in the weeks before the August war. Russian sent its tanks to Tskhinvali and dispatched its ships to patrol the Black Sea waters near Georgia.
In short, everything was pointing to an imminent coup. That is what happened in 1978, when Babrak Karmal and the Moscow-backed People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan overthrew the Kabul government. Moscow later installed Karmal as president of Afghanistan. But that scenario seemed unlikely for Georgia. After all, where would the Kremlin find a Georgian version of Karmal? But it did find one -- and not just one but three: Kobaladze, Karkarashvili and Gvaladze.
The failed coup certainly looked like something from the "Keystone Cops." The whole affair was rife with incompetence, if not idiocy, but this is no excuse. When plotting a coup, idiocy is an aggravating circumstance and not a mitigating one -- like when an intoxicated driver is guilty of causing a severe accident.
Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.