Stories with this headline are doing the rounds, mostly originating in remarks made by Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian military analyst who writes in Novaya Gazeta. He gave regular warnings about Russian troop build-ups in Abkhazia and South Ossetia before last year's August war, so perhaps his warnings should be headed.
The recent remarks first appeared here ion the jamestown Foundation website on 12 Feb.
While snow covers the Caucasian mountain passes until May, a renewed war with Georgia is impossible. There is hope in Moscow that the Georgian opposition may still overthrow Mikheil Saakashvili's regime or that the Obama administration will somehow remove him. However, if by May, Saakashvili remains in power, a military push by Russia to oust him may be seriously contemplated. The constant ceasefire violations could escalate to involve Russian servicemen - constituting a public casus belli. The desire by the West to "reset" relations with Moscow, putting the Georgia issue aside, may be interpreted as a tacit recognition of Russia's right to use military force.
Jamestown is also saying later here
Otherwise, dozens of Russian tanks and artillery systems, fully ready for attack, are located in Akhalgori district, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. And nobody knows who will pull the trigger first.
Provocations are already being reported, not just on the border with the breakaway provinces but also in the partly Armenian populated province of Samtskhe-Javakheti Region of Georgia, as mentioned here
At the same time, however, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has intensified its efforts to expose the enemies of the country and is performing the functions of the special services as well. On January 21 two locals of Armenian nationality, Griogor Minasyan and Sarkis Akobjanyan, were detained. The two live in the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region of Georgia, which is densely populated by ethnic Armenians. According to official information released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, "they were detained [for] forming an armed unit, its preparation, and espionage" (www.presa.ge, January 23, 2009). The detention of Minasyan and Akobjanyan was the second arrest on charges of espionage in the last two years in Georgia. In September 2006 Georgian Special Forces detained four Russian officers of the Russian Military Headquarters in Georgia. The detentions received widespread coverage in the media, and an attempt to turn the arrests into a public relations show, was soon followed by a rapid deterioration in relations between Russia and Georgia, which ended in the massive deportation of Georgians from Russia and the suspension of air connections between the two countries (Arsenali, February 21, 2009).
Other provocations may be political, as reported here
Bakradze Warns Russia May Try to Incite Chaos in Georgia Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 27 Feb.'09 / 19:13 Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, said on February 27, that resumption of large-scale military hostilities was not likely, but warned that Russia might try to incite chaos within Georgia to achieve its goal. “Russia’s indirect involvement in the country’s internal politics and inciting internal political instability is more dangerous than direct military aggression, because eventually the instability and chaos can be more effective rather than tanks for replacing the authorities,” he told a group of students at a meeting in the Tbilisi-based Caucasus School of Business.
All the old politicians and the young ones who have fallen out with Saakashvili have formed opposition parties, all of which are calling for demonstrations in April, but they haven't agreed on the start date of the demonstrations, let alone whether they will demonstrate "together", so what hope of a common policy or plan to oust Saakashvili and form a coherent government. Nino Burjanadze (a rumoured favourite of Bush for a replacement) is now deciding she will go back into politics instead of running a think tank. Not much signs of any thinking coming out from her. For a further character assassination read here, where she is described as "nye ryba, nye miaso"*. As an Iron Lady of Georgia (she admires Margaret Thatcher), she is a failure as she has turned too many times to be credible.
But then comes more information about the plan of attack.
Pavel Felgenhauer – Plan of Georgian Occupation Worked Out in the Kremlin
February 24th, 2009 quoted from here
Plan of Georgian occupation is worked out in the Kremlin, according to which Russian military forces will enter Tbilisi from Tskhinvali and Akhalgori and occupy North part of the city.
Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer stated about it in interview to the paper 'Kviris Palitra'.
According to his information, the second military campaign will start with minor incident, while Russian soldier dies and it will be used as reason by Moscow to start war against Georgia.
'Invasion of Tbilisi is planned. North side of Tbilisi, as Moscow considers that it is not necessary to invade the centre. According to our information, Russian army will occupy Vasiani, then – aviation factory and international airport. These objects are important, as Tbilisi stays without air aid if Americans desire to help you. Invasion will take place from Tskhinvali and Akhalgori and everything will be over by it', - Felgenhauer stated.
The Russian expert says that there will be invasion from Abkhazia and the West Georgia will be occupied. Military expert says he has relations with his old fellow Grigory Karasin, who is foreign Minster of Russia and other military and political high rank officials. He also states that Georgian government has information about the plan.
Felgenhauer states that this war with Georgia will be profitable for Russia to cover the existing financial depression in Russia. 'If war starts in Georgia, main goal will be to change Saakashvili's regime. It will automatically cause change in orientation. It doesn't matter who is brought by the Kremlin – Abashidze** or other. The Kremlin understands that they have to defeat armed forces of Georgia first and foremost. It is not so easy for Russians'.
* Russian expression translated 'neither fish nor meat'. No third option as in English: neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring.
**Aslan Abashidze was the previous leader of the Adjara Autonomous Republic in Georgia, till Saakashvili kicked him out and he went to Moscow.