Monday, August 18, 2008

Definitions of "withdrawal" - 2

As I pointed out in an earlier post to this blog, there are at least two terms currently being used by Russian military and political representatives to describe the actions of Russia's forces in the aftermath of the recent ceasefire agreement. Otvod (sometimes translated as "withdrawal", but more akin to "pull-back") and vyvod (withdrawal, pull-out) are clearly not the same thing. And now at his latest press conference Gen. Nogovitsyn has come out with a public statement that what his forces are involved in is an otvod - this being the only term that was used in Medvedev's telephone conversations with Sarkozy. "I hope you have noticed the subtle distinction," he is reported as saying to journalists. Russian media are complicating the matter further by using a third term - otkhod, which many dictionaries give as "withdrawal" in the military sense, but which really just means "leaving", the precise direction of which is not specified.

By playing with military terminology in this way, Russia is managing to further stall the process of removing its troops from Georgian territory.

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