Georgia's Outgunned Leader Keeps the Faith

'We cannot compete' with Russia, but don't forget: 'Finland fought this kind of war in 1939'
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2008 1:45 PM CDT
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili speaks during a news conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, Aug. 11, 2008.    (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)
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(Newser) – After 5 years of risky political brinksmanship with Russia, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili now finds himself in the fight of his life, the Wall Street Journal reports. The pro-Western leader says he has no regrets about his tactics, which seem finally to have set off long-simmering tensions between his state and Moscow, and, more personally, between him and Vladimir Putin.

"I was thinking about how this isn't about South Ossetia at all anymore, it is about saving Georgia as a nation," said Saakashvili. Many analysts think Russia aims to depose the US-educated lawyer, though the Journal notes that hostilities have rallied Georgians behind him. "I've read all the books about how Finland fought this kind of war in 1939," said Saakashvili, drawing hope from a rare moment in history when Stalin was forced to settle.