Sunday, August 17, 2008

Definitions of "withdrawal"

Day after day we read reports in the Western media that Russian forces have "begun to withdraw" from Georgia. It may be salutary to bear in mind that terminology is quite important here. The Russian word for withdrawal used in many official statments is "otvod" (as distinct from the more unambiguous "vyvod", which can also be translated as "pull-out") - and its dictionary meaning is certainly "withdrawal". However, in such statements Russian foreign ministry and defence ministry spokesmen often use the term "otvod" rather freely, in the sense of "peredislotsirovanie", which means "redeployment".

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