Georgia Sees Russian Hand in Mutiny, Coup Attempt

Tbilisi says Russia-backed revolt was set to topple government
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 6:33 AM CDT
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, right, shakes hands with soldiers who took part in a mutiny at the military base in Mukhrovani, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Tbilisi, Georgia, Tuesday, May...   (AP Photo/Irakli Gedeniudze, Pool)
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(Newser) – A revolt has broken out at an army base near the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, which the government is calling a Russian-backed military coup, the Guardian reports. The Georgian defense minister says the soldiers were being confined in their barracks, and at least one person has been arrested. The Georgians say that the plot was timed to disrupt NATO military exercises in Georgia, which begin tomorrow.

A defense official told a news conference that the plotters "were receiving money from Russia" and screened video footage of the accused plot leader, a senior officer, allegedly discussing plans for a revolt. In that video, the commander is seen saying "the Russians will come to help us" and would "liquidate" members of the cabinet before Georgian exiles would return to overthrow the government. The Kremlin dismissed the charges as "delirium."