Video: Russian soldier shooting Israeli journalists; Update: Open season on reporters?

posted at 4:50 pm on August 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Knowing no one got seriously hurt makes watching this video clip somewhat easier. Apparently, Russian soldiers don’t particularly like international journalists watching them around the Georgian city of Gori, and one in particular made that spectacularly clear. When firing his pistol in the air didn’t chase Israeli reporters from Ynet out of the area, he aimed a little lower:

“We arrived on the outskirts of Gori on Thursday, during the afternoon. There were a lot of Russian troops and television crews. We arrived about two hours after an altercation almost broke out between Russian troops and Georgians. The Georgians were there to welcome their army, and the Russian troops brushed them off.

“As I was taking pictures around Gori, a Russian soldier approached me and started shooting his weapon in the air,” added Sheizaf. “People were running scared and our driver had disappeared. Suddenly a soldier appeared, I didn’t know if he was an Osstetian or a Chechen. He pointed his weapon at me and screamed, ‘Where are the car keys?’

“I approached the driver’s side of the car and saw that the keys were in the ignition. I tried to get into the car and run, but the soldier pushed me and then he fired a round which nearly hit my foot, it actually hit the tip of my sandal.[“]

The YouTube description says the soldier was drunk, a detail that doesn’t make it into the Ynet report, but may account for why the journalist survived his encounter. Russian soldiers stole the car and sped off, taking with them the reporters’ passports — which could have complicated their exit from Georgia, especially with the diplomatic turmoil in the nation at the moment.

Surprisingly, Russian officers drove the car back to the journalists within 20 minutes. They got better treatment than the Georgians, who still cannot come back into their own city, which the Russians have blockaded.

Update: This wasn’t an isolated incident, apparently. A Georgian reporter got hit by a sniper on live television, but kept her composure (via Power Line):

Maybe Russia has declared open season on reporters? And why would a sniper aim for an unarmed woman in the middle of the street in broad daylight, who’s doing nothing but reporting for a television station? Mighty brave fellows, those Russian soldiers.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Anna on August 14, 2008 at 7:19 PM —

DLI? Institut inostranyk’ Yazikov?

Small world. Gave my old Remington portable cyrillic typewriter to a defector a number of years ago…he had a lot of stuff to write about. Was never able to find another.

coldwarrior on August 14, 2008 at 8:50 PM

Anna on August 14, 2008 at 7:35 PM —

Stil have my old Smirnitsky-Meullers sitting on the desk. Haven’t used my Russian in ages, except for when drinking with a few Russian grad students over on campus.

coldwarrior on August 14, 2008 at 8:52 PM

entelecheia…Greek. Pretty deep meaning behind that handle, Entelechy.

coldwarrior on August 14, 2008 at 5:27 PM
Indeed. Hard to live up to. I disappoint myself often.

Entelechy on August 14, 2008 at 6:56 PM

But you never disappoint us, Entelechy! Thanks for your comments – I always enjoy reading your perspective on any topic.

Neocon Peg on August 14, 2008 at 9:05 PM

There was a small “bank” basically a kiosk in a store front with a small “wechseln” sign a block or two over from Checkpoint Charlie. Could get a great exchange rate. Converted $50 into Ost-marks for my oldest son and we went birthday shopping in East Berlin. Honestly, five cent Cuban cigars from the Cuban store.

coldwarrior on August 14, 2008 at 8:31 PM

Ich erinnere mich daran.

baldilocks on August 14, 2008 at 9:09 PM

Where is Code pink ?

Texyank on August 14, 2008 at 9:11 PM

Hmmm… soldiers deliberately targeting the media? I’m sure Eason Jordon will get right on this.

DubiousD on August 14, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Ich erinnere mich daran.

baldilocks on August 14, 2008 at 9:09 PM

In the words of an old Maurice Chevalier song from Gigi,

“I remember it well…”

coldwarrior on August 14, 2008 at 9:33 PM

The shooter was not Russian. He had a very heavy accent of Georgian or Ossetian.

AlexB on August 14, 2008 at 9:57 PM

AlexB on August 14, 2008 at 9:57 PM —

But, by Russsia’s own admission ALL Ossetians, North and South, are Russians.

coldwarrior on August 14, 2008 at 10:38 PM

What’s Russian for “Uncle!”?


Kini on August 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM

Isn’t it funny to think that, without nuclear weapons, Russia would be a quasi-impotent laughingstock?

Thanks, Rosenburgs.

Techie on August 15, 2008 at 12:54 AM

Where is Code pink ?

Texyank on August 14, 2008 at 9:11 PM

………. in Denver, getting ready for the DNC where they have the American Press and if in trouble, can call 911, a lawyer, and room service?

Seven Percent Solution on August 15, 2008 at 1:24 AM

The women were hidden under huge stacks of hay, and in all kinds of weird places in atticks. The Russian Soldiers would rape anything in site. … The same was true in Austria, where they were one of four occupiers.

Entelechy on August 14, 2008 at 5:46 PM

A late family friend was raped by a Russian soldier in Vienna, in the aftermath of the war … she would have been about 16 years old at the time. We are meant to accept that “it just goes with the territory” when it comes to the former Soviets. And no apologies were ever forthcoming from the former Soviet Union, to anyone, for anything AFAIK. (Collective guilt? Grief councils? Reparations?)

What’s Russian for “uncle”?


Entelechy on August 14, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Dyadya? Dyadyushka? Dyadyushkala?

OT: Nast[rov]ya!

RD on August 15, 2008 at 1:31 AM

So how’s Michael Moore’s documentary on the unjust war being waged by the Russians coming along? Oh, wait, almost forgot–the left only cares about a crisis if the US can be blamed for it.

R. Waher on August 15, 2008 at 3:49 AM

The Russians know that there will be no complaints until the number of journalists in Georgia killed or assaulted is equal to or greater than the number of journalists killed or assaulted in Iraq.

davod on August 15, 2008 at 8:55 AM

coldwarrior on August 14, 2008 at 8:50 PM

Small world indeed.

Anna on August 15, 2008 at 9:10 AM

How do you go about attacking a sovereign nation and follow that up with human rights violations (a la massacre)? It is easy. Scare off the reporters and there are no witnesses. Just an observation of course…not a judgment.

blankminde on August 15, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Exactly, why WOULD Russia do this? They know that the international community is watching. Aren’t there TWO sides with weapons? You don’t know that it was a member of the Russian army that shot the reporter. It’s possible, but to say unequivocally that they are cowards and this is how they are is complete propaganda. Georgians are Baghdad Bob in opposite. They know that the Russians will be blamed for everything. I doubt the Russians would have shot a woman like this. It’s possible, and someone obviously did. . . but without knowing who I’d hesitate to use it as propaganda either way.

Why would she be reporting on the Russian side of the front line?

ThackerAgency on August 15, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Amazingly the reporter remained objective. She said she had no idea who shot her. But everyone here half way across the world absolutely KNOWS it was the Russians. Rank propaganda. . . and fantastic for the innocent Georgians.

ThackerAgency on August 15, 2008 at 10:42 AM

If the media get shot at enough, they will scream for action.

dogsoldier on August 15, 2008 at 10:54 AM

The Lady is a PRO!

TheSitRep on August 15, 2008 at 11:02 AM

ThackerAgency on August 15, 2008 at 10:42 AM

At first impression I feel like I’m reading paranoia here, but I think I follow you. Given the suprising ability to manipulate this engagement by making Russia seem more aggressive we should be at least careful to judge. Do I think this is Russia? Yep – they’re communist slime. Should we jump to conclusions? No – because what if it is actually some brilliant Chinese clandestine force seeking to tip off hostilities via the occasional long distance engagement of reporters. Quagmire.

blankminde on August 15, 2008 at 11:43 AM

Since this thread is about video…and the Russians in Georgia, I found this quite entertaining.

Russian kleptocracy, indeed!

coldwarrior on August 15, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Pot meet Kettle.

Reuters demanded that Israel launches a “thorough and immediate investigation” into the killing of one of its cameramen

Spanish Journalist Killed by U.S. Forces in Iraq

More reporters killed by Israeli forces.

There is also Abu Ghraib if you want to compare soldiers actions “not”(?) related to higher ups.

Pravda would be proud of the MSM and conserv blog reporting on this.

Chimpy on August 15, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Yep, Ivan’s got a real “buzz saw” there…when conducting offensive opps against tiny countries, unarmed civs and the media.

Hehe…”buzz saw”…

SuperCool on August 15, 2008 at 2:45 PM

Techie: Isn’t it funny to think that, without nuclear weapons, Russia would be a quasi-impotent laughingstock?

Thanks, Rosenburgs.

Once the first bomb was set off, it was all over. A U-235 bomb is as easy as falling off a log, once the hard part of getting the U-235 seperated is done.

The Rosenburg traitors’ real crime was helping Greenglass hand over Pu bomb trigger secrets … Plutonium triggers are the ticket to mass producing nukes. That might have taken another five years to do without their help.

Kristopher on August 15, 2008 at 5:07 PM

Why am I not shocked that Russian troops don’t want embedded news hounds in their foxholes, and instead make them run for their worthless lives!

I guess the transparent U.S. military isn’t so bad after all. Who are the news bozos going to bitch to now?

byteshredder on August 15, 2008 at 8:54 PM

I don’t know that I would be so quick to let the Russians off the hook on taking shots at reporters. Wasn’t there a rash of journalist killings in Moscow about a year and a half ago or so? They were investigating corruption on one of putin’s associates or something? I think two or three were killed in different but highly suspicious ways. No, I don’t think I would put it past them to shoot at reporters in a hot zone.

austinnelly on August 16, 2008 at 12:08 AM

austinnelly on August 16, 2008 at 12:08 AM —

Killing journalists is an accepted practice under the current Russian regime. And if killing them directly, unexplained beatings/muggings or “accidents” is not possible, locking them away, or exposing them to deadly diseases and letting them die slow cruel deaths, seems to be the standard of the day.

coldwarrior on August 16, 2008 at 12:50 AM

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