Pavel Felgenhauer is a respected Russian military reporter and generally well known man-about-town among the opposition, and his latest piece in Novaya Gazeta about Russia's early war planning for the invasion of Georgia is making quite a stir, and has gotten picked up by numerous other sources. Below is an exclusive English translation of the original NG piece.
"This was not a spontaneous war, but a planned one"
By Pavel Felgenhauer, columnist for Novaya Gazeta
Today it is perfectly obvious to me that the Russian incursion into Georgia was planned in advance, moreover the final political decision to complete preparation and begin the war in August was, it would seem, taken already in April.
And the Ossetians intentionally provoked the Georgians, and any response, tough or mild, would have been used in the capacity of an excuse to attack. And if the Georgians had endured without complaining, then the Abkhazians would have begun, like now, a long prepared operation for the «mopping up» of the upper part of the Kodori Gorge. If a war has been planned, an excuse will always be found.