Georgia Ends Coup, Russia Cries Foul

Government withdraws earlier claims of Moscow-backed coup
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2009 5:30 AM CDT
Georgia ended a brief mutiny at a military base near the capital on Tuesday that broke out after the arrest of a former special forces commander accused of planning to disrupt NATO exercises.    (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)
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(Newser) – The Georgian government claims to have crushed an army mutiny at a base near the capital Tbilisi, but it backed away from earlier claims that Russia was backing a coup aimed at ousting or assassinating President Mikheil Saakashvili. The plot organizer has been arrested and several others remain at large. But after a day of hurling accusations, writes the Times of London, Georgia is getting hit with criticism from all sides.

Saakashvili's political opponents accused him of staging a "theatrical show" to gain support after a series of street protests demanding his resignation. The Kremlin has denied any role in the mutiny, and the country's deputy foreign minister blasted Georgia for imagining "totally insane things." NATO, which is conducting exercises in Georgia today, was also nonplussed, and urged Georgia and Russia to tone down the rhetoric as more than 1,000 troops arrived in the country.