● Independent International fact finding Mission on the Confflict in Georgia Ambassador H. Tagliavini
Letter by a group of political parties in Geogia to the Head of IIFFMCG Tagliavini (26 IX 2009) containing wishes and critial remarks about the points that are, presumably, going to be made by the Mission.
We have addressed the Independent International Fact Fiding Mission on the Conflict in Georgian, headed by the Ambassador H. Tagliavini, in a letter containing our wishes and our critical remarks concerning the views of the members of the Mission. We think it useful for the cause of our country to inform the decision making persons and bodies in the World and the International Community about the content of that letter.
D. Khomasuridze (colonel in reserve), P. Nazarishvili, N. Natadze (Charman of Popular Front of Georgia)
Independent International fact finding Mission on the Confflict in Georgia Ambassador H. Tagliavini
UNO, Secretary General
President of USA
Vice-President of USA
Embassies of foreign states to Georgia
In their “Report by the Government of Georgia on the aggression by the Russian Federation against Georgia” the authors have omitted a number of facts essentially important for determining the exact point and circumstances of the beginning of the Rissian-Georgian war in the Tskhinvali region in August 2008. This does not mean that those facts are to be or will be neglected by the Georgian public who will have to judge the results of the work of the Mission who is investigating the matter from the point of view of their completeness and their objectivity. We think it our right and our duty to communicate those facts to the Mission. They are the following:
I. “South Ossetia” is a purely Russian creature, not a natural phenomenon.
The Russian aggression against Georgia, making use of the “Ossetian” argument in order to justify it, did not begin neither in August 2008, nor on 31.XII.1989, when the first bullet in Tskhinvali was shot and a Georgian youth, V. Tutarashvili, 17 years old, was killed.
It began in 1802, when the Head of Russian administration in Caucasia, the Caucasus superintendant for common pleas and commander, Lieutenant-General K. Knorring, less than a year after the first annexation of Georgia by Russia (1801), invented the name “South Ossetia” for some part of Northern Georgia, without defining it geographically in a more exact way. This occurred when the total number of Ossetian population in Georgia amounted to a few hundreds of men and women.
In the first half of the 19th century, the Russian administration used the adjective “ossetian” (“осетинский”) in the names of small administrative units where Ossetians lived mixed with Georgians or surrounded by Georgians but did never make a majority _ “осетинский округ”, “осетинский участок”, and so forth (See, В. Итонишвили, Южная Осетия в центральной Грузии /Cб./. Осетинский вопрос. Тбилиси, 1994. page. 22).
The word “Ossetia” and the derived adjective `ossetian~ were most frequently used in the 19th century regarding specific parts of Georgian territory, as well, by Russian ecclesiastical circles, including the “Society for the Spread of Orthodox Christianity in the Caucasus”. It is known that Georgia’s political, demographic, and cultural degeorgianisation was the chief goal of this organization, as well as of the civil and military administrations (See, С. Лекишвили, Когда возник термин “Южная Осетия”. Осетинский вопрос, Тбилиси, 1994, pages 229-248). The Russian administration’s those kindly feelings towards the Ossetians were due to the fact that the Ossetians were the only local people in the North Caucasus, who had supported and who were supporting the Russian conquest of Caucasia.
The territory of the `South Ossetian Autonomous District~ (Tskhinvali, Java, Znauri and Akhalgori districts), that was created under the Soviet Russian occupation, does not have a historic name, as it is not a geographic, economic, political or any other kind of unit and has never been one. This is the upper part of the gorges along several parallel rivers that flow down to the Mtkvari river. All are divided from each other by high ridges that have effectively been unused for intense communications between people up to now. Therefore, people have moved from one gorge to another by coming down to lower areas and then going up to another gorge.
The entire Ossetian community in Georgia is a diaspora. The Ossetians came to Java in the 17th century, which is for Georgia the hardest time of Iranian and Turkish invasions. The Ossetians entered Georgia mostly peacefully, but sometimes after exterminating the local population, which took place in the villages of Java and Tighvi (see Дж. Гвасалиа, Шида Картли и осетинская проблема, Осетинский вопрос, редакторы А. Бакрадзе и Л. Татишвили. Тбилиси, 1994. pages 80-81).
According to the 1989 census, there were 164,000 Ossetians in Georgia. The level of their integration in the Georgian public has traditionally been very high (if judged, for example, by the percentage of mixed georgian-ossetian marriages). Only 65,000 of them (which is a number artificially increased during the census) lived within the boundaries of the former `South Ossetian Autonomous District~ (together with 30,000 Georgians). The Ossetians are not autochthonal anywhere on Georgian territory. Their immigration (peaceful as well as aggressive) started in the 17th century, but its main waves that account for the bulk of the total Ossetian population falls on the period after 1864 (when serfdom was abolished in Georgia and Georgian nobility who remained without serfs started bringing down ossetians on a massive scale from the northern slopes of the Caucasus Ridge to settle them as peasants paying tax in lieu of vassalage), and on the Soviet times when Ossetians were deliberately brought to settle in artificially created `South Ossetia~
At the beginning of the 20th century, the entire ossetian population of Georgia consisted of landless rural people. Every census carried out in Russia in the late 19th century already showed numerous Ossetians in east Georgia. However, none of them owned land. This gave rise to the most acute agrarian conflict and deep opposition of the landless rural people (all of whom were Ossetians) with those who owned land (all of whom were effectively Georgians). It was this opposition (and the slogan based on it `Land to workers!~) that became the psychological basis for three Ossetian `rebellions~ (in 1918-1920) organized by Russian Bolsheviks against the government of independent Georgia. The organizers deliberately gave them the outward appearance of a rebellion on ethnical ground.
The only part of Georgian territory where immigration had led to the formation of an effectively homogeneous Ossetian population (Dvaleti) was by the Russian administration separated from Tbilisi `Gubernia~ back in the 19th century. Correspondingly, it was not within Georgia’s borders in 1918.
It is noteworthy that the territory implied by the expression “South Ossetia” was never specified neither when it started to be used in the language of the Russian administration or from then to 1922 when the `South Ossetian Autonomous District~ was created. It implied all the areas in Georgia where there were Ossetians, not a specific area (village, community, gorge…) where they made a majority. In this connection, you can see, for example, the list of `South Ossetian~ Communist Party district committees in the well-known memorandum of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) “South Ossetian District Committee” that is signed, among others, by the district committees of Kobi-Truso, Kakheti, Gujareti, and Kareli (See А. Ментешашвили, Осетинский сепаратизм в 1918-1920 годах//Осетинский вопрос. – Тбилиси, 1994. – pages. 282-283). This means that all those parts of Georgia where there were isolated Ossetian villages and population, starting with West Georgia and ending with eastern parts of Kakheti, were `South Ossetian~ territory for the separatists guided by Russia.
In 1987-1989, the Soviet government organized a Georgian-Ossetian conflict in the shape of Ossetian separatism. The separatists first demanded the transformation of the autonomous district into a `republic~ and then secession from Georgia and adhesion to the Russian Federation.
Since 1988 in the northern part of central Georgia, i.e. the upper parts of the Ksani, Lekhura, Didi Liakhvi, Patara Liakhvi, Prone, Ptsa and Jejora gorges, Ossetian paramilitary detachments, armed by Russia and trained by Russian military instructors, have organized massacres, effectively _ genocide, of local Georgians (including instances of particularly brutal killings like that of B. Datashvili, who was cut up with a sewing machine; Buzaladze, who was burnt alive in her home; eight Georgian youths burnt alive near the village of Os-Prisi; and many others) under the cover of the Russian regular Armed Forces, in particular, the helicopter and engineering regiments stationed in the town of Tskhinvali and, since 1992, the Russian “peacekeepers”.
The ethnic cleansing of Georgians, which has been carried out in the middle 90-ies, has resulted in the destruction of all Georgian villages in Znauri District and the elimination of almost the entire Georgian population of Tskhinvali. The fact that the conflict was political, but not ethnic in nature, and aimed at hampering the restoration of Georgia’s independence, was confirmed by the trilateral (Georgia, The Russian Federation and the Sovieti Union) inter-parliamentary commission, whose conclusion reads as follows: `The current conflict hinders the normal process of the restoration of Georgia’s state independence in accordance with the will of its citizens expressed at the referendum of 31 March 1991, it is linked to the attempts of certain forces to violate Georgia’s territorial integrity, and has political ground~ (see the protocol of the conclusion, Appendix No. 1,31 may 1991).
Massacres of Georgians on the basis of their ethnicity, i.e. genocide and ethnic cleansing, were carried out on a more massive scale in August of 2008.
It is worth stressing that the latter sad development of the events was clearly predicted in a political declaration by a number of political parties of Georgia several years before the 2008 war. (in 2006) It runs:
`The conflict under way in the Tskhinvali region has two aspects. The first (and decisive) aspect is that Russia is fighting for the South Caucasus, trying to create a reliable bridgehead to the south of the Caucasus Ridge. The second aspect is that the Ossetian ethnos is fighting for land and additional territories at the expense of Georgia.
`It is lamentable but it is a fact that there are people among the Ossetians residing in Georgia who have strong historical memory of genocide of Georgians in 1921-1922. We have already mentioned the depopulation of the Java area (in the 17th century) by Ossetian campaigns. In most recent history, Georgian villages were ravaged and people massacred and evicted from their homes following the second annexation of Georgia by Russia in February 1921, when all Georgia’s enemies, including Ossetian detachments that had already done Russia a good service, were given a free hand to act. There are collective addresses from residents of a number of Georgian villages adjacent to Tskhinvali to the government of sovietised Georgia, that describe this process of genocide[i] (these villages – Monasteri and several others – have never been Georgian since then. Only Ossetians live there now). The same kind of genocide is continuing now too. For example, purely Georgian villages of Gujabauri and Mamisaantubani that had been incorporated into Tskhinvali have no longer existed since the 1990s. Eleven Georgian villages have disappeared in Znauri District. The population has been evicted under the cover of Russian bayonets, using (among others) methods like burning a female member of Buzaladze family in her house (the Ossetians have resorted to burning people alive as a method on a lot of occasions during the current conflict. The grave of the ashes of just some of burned people can be seen in the centre of the village of Tqviavi in Gori District). Almost half of the 40 Georgian villages that were forcefully included in the `South Ossetian Autonomous District~ according to Decree No. 2 of 20 April 1922 no longer exist now. This is what the Ossetian Communist authorities dared to do in the autonomous district that was absolutely illegal and that has not existed for a single hour up to now without the presence of regular Russian troops there. It is easy to imagine what the Ossetian authorities will dare to do if they are sanctioned to govern the territory by the triumphant Western democracy. We are not so pessimistic as to ascribe the aforementioned historical trend of genocide of the Georgians to all Ossetians. This desire and, in particular, the readiness to implement it, in this case, as well as everywhere and in all times, is, of course, clearly given only in a small number of people. However, it is indeed present in this small number of them. If appropriate social and political conditions emerge, it will be sufficient (for example, within the context of the `noble patriotic task~ of snatching Georgian territory for the Ossetians) for this instinct to flare up spontaneously, bringing in new generous crops~. In the August 2008 these ominous words proved to be true.
II. The legal quality of `South Ossetia~
According to human rights norms accepted throughout the world, including the rights of minority groups, ethnic and national self-determination does not imply that a group should seek ethnic (national) self-determination by way of creating its own political and territorial units on ethnic and political territories belonging to others. In other words, an ethnic (national) group has the right to self-determination on the territory of a state that does not bear its name only if it is a local minority, i.e. when it is local as an ethnos. The people who have a homeland on Earth, in particular if this homeland is a state or a political and territorial unit, does not have the right to demand political and territorial self-determination for its diaspora in another country, especially if they are going to determine themselves by giving a territory the name of their own ethnic group. The Ossetians have their own homeland – a vast geographical area around the town of Vladikavkaz, where the present-day Ossetian nation took shape in the Middle Ages (through the confluence of the Alans and local Ossetians). The Ossetian disapora in Georgia have every right to live, assert themselves and develop as an assembly of individuals and families, including the right not to be subject to any kinds of discrimination and to eternally preserve their own ethnic (national) identity. However, they do not have the right to use any part of the territory for creating their own political and territorial unit and, in particular, the right to give it the name of their own ethnic group.
It is odd but it is a fact that, when the Russian Communist Party made the decision to create “South Ossetia” and the slavishly obedient puppet Georgian government approved the decision by issuing a decree, `North Ossetia~ did not excit at all. They created `South Ossetia~ at the time when the word “Ossetia” was not used in real Ossetia.
On 20 April 1922 the puppet Georgian government (Central Executive Committee) “legally” created “Ossetia” (“South Ossetian Autonimous District”) in the northern part of central Georgia. Earlier (in 1920), while the independent Georgian Democratic Republic still existed, the Caucasus Bureau of the Russia’s Social-Democratic Workers’ Party (Bolsheviks) decided to create it. The decision was reiterated some time thereafter in the same year by the Central Committee of the same party in Moscow. No legal, historical, economical, moral, or humanitarian substantiation was provided for the transformation of this part of Georgia into “Ossetia”. At the moment of its creation, the number of Georgian population in the new territorial, political and administrative entity exceeded that of Ossetian population (about 20,000 and 11,000 respectively), as well as the number of Georgian villages was higher than that of Ossetian villages. Just a handful of Ossetians lived in the town of Tskhinvali. After the autonomous district was created, the government started artificially ossetianising it by facilitating the purposeful immigration of Ossetians from the north across the Caucasus ridge. According to the 1989 census, 65,000 Ossetians and 30,000 Georgians resided in the autonomous district, and additional 100,000 Ossetians lived in the rest of Georgia. Before the 1917 revolution (as mentioned above), the Russian administration eagerly used the adjective осетинск-ий-ая-ое (ossetian) in describing the administrative entities in this northern part of the central Georgia, where Ossetians were present, even if this was a small mountain village with no more than 15 or 20 households. Ossetians were a majority in none of those entities. South Ossetia (it is to be stressed once more) has not existed in Georgia for a single hour without the presence of regular Russian troops there.
The fourteen months between Georgia’s annexation by Russia (1921) and the creation of `South Ossetia~ (April, 1922) were spent in persistent work aimed at achieving as much as possible in subduing the resistance to the planned decision among the Georgian population on the aforementioned territory, as they failed to force them to agree to a decision that effectively disregarded their will. See А. Ментешашвили, Осетинский сепаратизм в 1918-1920 годах//Осетинский вопрос. Тбилиси, 1994. pages 249-296).
The autonomous district included forty Georgian villages with autochthonal and purely Georgian population.
This was done without holding any referendum in Georgia and in the absence of any elected representative body, i.e. in the absence of any signs of democracy.
The Georgian state that had been recognised by the world first de facto and then de jure did not recognise the existence of Ossetia in Georgia. On the contrary, in his note to Russia, Georgian Foreign Minister Gegechkori stressed that `there is no South Ossetia within the boundaries of Georgia~ (See his 20 May 1920 note to the Russian foreign minister, cit, А. Ментешашвили, ibid, p. 288).
Georgia’s first highest lawmaking body that had really (democratically) been elected (on 28 October – 11 November 1990) – the Supreme Council of Georgia – was bound to abolish the illegal (groundless) autonomous unit – the “South Ossetian Autonomous District” – that had not been authorised by the people, and it was abolished by the law of 11 December 1990.
On 3 March 1991, the President of USSR Gorbachev signed a decree abolishing the aforementioned 11 December Georgian law. However, he was no longer legally authorized to do so, as, the 29 June 1990 bill of the Supreme Council of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, preceded by the 9.III.1990 bill that declared Georgia to be a `forcibly conquered and factually annexed country~, declared invalid all the acts that `abolished the Georgian Democratic Republic’s political and other institutions~ and `replaced them with political and judicial institutions that were based on a foreign force~, including acts that would empower the Soviet authorities to abolish acts passed by the Georgian Supreme Council concerning the administrative arrangement of Georgia.
The ossetian act (of 20 September 1990) on transforming the “South Ossetian Autonomous District~ into a `republic”, as well as the consequent elections to the `parliament~ of this republic (on 9 December 1990) and the January 1991 `referendum~ on `South Ossetia’s~ independence and its adhesion to the Russian Federation, were illegal as they were contrary to the Georgian Constitution in power at that time, and they are invalid, as the population of the `South Ossetian Autonomous District~ as such has not and cannot have the right of external self-determination, i.e. territorial secession from the state (See Л. Матарадзе, Юридические аспекты грузино-осетинского конфликта//Сб. Осетинский вопрос. – Тбилиси, 1994. – pages. 322-338).
Therefore, South Ossetia does not legally exist on Georgian territory today. Correspondingly, neither the Georgian authorities nor the authorities of any other country have the right to use the name `South Ossetia~.
III. Regrettably, the history of European diplomatical activities dealing with the Tskhinvali region problems shows a number of examples of inadequate approaches, which makes the Georgian public very alert concerning the work of the Independent International fact finding Mission on the Confflict in Georgia presided by Ambasador Tagriavini.
To give an instance, the OSCE Mission to Georgia (chaired consecutively by Istvan Dyarmati, Hungary, Tsvetkov, Ukraine, Hansjoerg Eiff, Germany, and Dieter Boden, Germany) has elaborated and submitted to the Georgian government `Recommendations~ on the settlement of the Tskhinvali conflict. Due to its anti-Georgian bias, lack of logic, irresponsible attitude towards facts, and inappropriate political approach, this is probably one of the saddest texts in diplomatic practice and in history of political thinking. We would like to give a few examples of the authors’ judgments.
It is said in general provisions that, `in assessing the situation, a demand of the universally accepted international practice and OSCE principles is to take into account facts, not the history of their origin,” which is a vicious principle in itself (as it disregards the right of a nation, country, and individual to have historical memory, and their right and obligation to prevent the use of advantages obtained from previous criminal actions). Two various conclusions are drawn for two specific entities. In particular, “the existence of an entity named `South Ossetia~ with a predominantly Ossetian population” (although this entity has been created by foreign occupants and has a history of just 70 years, not a single day of which has passed without the presence of regular Russian troops there) provides grounds, on the one hand, for a conclusion that the situation should not be changed to the detriment of the Ossetian position and, on the other hand, for the conclusion that, according to the Ossetians’ will, it should be changed to the detriment of the Georgians, and that the Ossetians should be granted a lot of new privileges which they did not have on this territory previously.
We can read the following in the Mission’s recommendations: `At the collective level, the armed conflict has had different implications for Georgians and Ossetians. Too many among Georgian participants of the conflict had the sentiment that the time has come to change `South Ossetia’s~ demographic structure and to ‘correct’ history. The artillery shelling of Tskhinvali was the last and most brutal result of the policy aimed at evicting and routing Ossetians. … Ossetians in Tskhinvali and around it faced an inevitable threat to their existence for months. Therefore, the Georgian side should act plausibly in order to convince Ossetians that they have a future in Georgia”. These words are slanderous towards the Georgian side. Firstly, during the whole conflict, the town of Tskhinvali was open for movement in the direction of Java and Tsunari (“Khetagurovo”), which means that the population could move freely. Secondly, none of the Georgians has expressed the desire to change the demographic structure and to “correct” history. The only desire they had (and still have) is to prevent the false name of “South Ossetia”, that Russian occupants have given this territory, from being ever restored (strong evidence should be produced to confirm such general accusations, which the Mission will never do and will never be able to do). The artillery shelling of Tskhinvali is a fabrication by Russian propaganda.
The biased nature of the Mission’s position expressed in this text becomes evident also in the fact that it conceals the ethnic cleansing and, hence, genocide of Georgians carried out by the Ossetians (under the cover of Russian bayonets), as well as the destruction of two Georgian villages in Tskhinvali District and all Georgian villages (except Avnevi and Nuli) in former Znauri District during the conflict that was provoked by the Russians in 1989, as well as numerous authentic facts of atrocities commited by Ossetians under Rissian `umbrella~. Those sad errors in the practice of the Mission, chaired by that time by central-european diplomats (ambassador Eiff and ambassador Boden) lead to the suspicion, that, maybe, there are special motives in political thinking of the european diplomacy for supporting Russian policies in the former Russian Empire that are stemming from the long tradition of most constructive participation of the ethnical europeans, including numerous german-languaged bureaucracy, in building the Russian Empire from the XVIII century up to 1917. .
IV. We want the Mission to know that the acute problems in the Tskhinvali region all those years could have and still can have a reasonable solution and that the Georgian public was and is quite conscious of this. Not only the idea of having in the Tskhinvali region a `South Ossetia~, as Russia insists, is inadmissible, but even the mitigated form of it, namely that of having an autonomy with a different name (`Tskhinvali autonomous district~) _ has its alternative which is quite clearly realized by Georgian political community nowadays.
The latter consists, on the one hand, of as developed mechanisms for democratic self-government as possible, on the other, of functional (not territorial) autonomy for Georgia’s entire Ossetian population, as well as for all other ethnical groups, including the Georgians (See L. Mataradze, On political and legal aspects of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and opportunities for its resolution//Осетинский вопрос. – Тбилиси, 1994. – P. 322-330 [in Russian]). If so, then local self-government is to be developed as much as possible on the basis of democratic elections, which provides guarantees for the majority, that it will be able to implement all its legal interests in accordance with its local jurisdiction. It is natural that, in the areas where Ossetians are in the majority, they will have prevalence in resolving problems within the jurisdiction of local bodies. Correspondingly, there can be no negative discrimination of Ossetians in such areas. The rights of non-Ossetians (i.e. the minority) in such areas will be protected as provided by the law. They will be protected in the same manner as Ossetians or any other minority in all other places in Georgia where others are not in the majority.
Functional autonomy can be developed as Ossetian ethnic community or association, which, if they want, may embrace all Ossetians residing in Georgia. The community may be entitled to put forward economic, cultural, and all other kinds of initiatives aimed at protecting and preserving Ossetian ethnic identity, increasing their influence within this country, improving their economic well-being, developing culture and economy, and reaching any other lawful goals of ethnic significance. It can be a constant basis or background for creating, in accordance with the law, political movements that will have goals and programmes of interest for the Ossetians. The community can, through the parties supported by the Ossetian population residing in Georgia and through other lawful means, influence parliamentary elections and resort to any other lawful means of self-organisation at the state level. Correspondingly, the Ossetians (as other ethnic minorities) can influence the policy pursued by the centre proportionally to their number. In addition, they, like any other ethnic group (including Georgians), will have the opportunity to obtain influence and well-being proportional to their own skills.
It is this principal mechanism for ethnic self-organisation, not the organisation of the local majorities of a particular ethnic group on the territorial basis, that will probably prove to be particularly promising and fruitful for Ossetians, as well as for Georgians and probably all other diasporas throughout the world, in providing guarantees for the preservation and protection of their ethnic identity (i.e. guarantees that do not need active actions on the part of representatives of a specific minority). It is also a function of unified organisation of an ethnic group to select, for example, best candidates to work in Parliament, to compile reasonably balanced applications for obtaining certain sums from the budget in order to satisfy the needs of a specific group, for training national cadres, for planning and lobbying education in their native language, and so forth. Should a conflict with ethnic (national) overtones emerge, the existence of this central mechanism of self-organisation on the grassroots level will make it easier to find a decision that will correspond to the interests of the whole diaspora, to eliminate anger, the striving towards revenge and other destructive fits of passion in the process of decision making.
We can refer to two circumstances that make this method indispensable for resolving problems of interethnic relations in Georgia. Firstly, ethnic minorities were traditionally regarded in Georgia (before 1801) as having their own mechanisms for self-regulation and leaders, and these leaders were believed to embody the given minorities’ rights and obligations in general. Secondly, In Georgia, as well as in the Caucasus in general, the preservation of ethnic identity traditionally occupies one of the top places on the scale of values. From this viewpoint, it is no less important than the right of an individual to be protected from national (ethnic) discrimination.
The aforementioned unified form of self-organisation of the Ossetians in Georgia can be denoted as “community”, “ethnic association”, “centre”, “committee”, “council”, “union” or otherwise. Mechanisms for its creation and periodical renovation may be ensured through a democratic procedure of elections or in some other way of providing democratic representation among its members or among those willing to join it. A mechanism may also be found to define the form of a specific minority’s participation in Parliament in line with the future Constitution. In any case, the aforementioned Ossetian organisation should have the opportunity to establish contacts, to the extent and in the forms provided by the law, with governmental, nongovernmental, and international organisations outside Georgia. A mechanism can be found, as well, for its participation in all other processes that are important specifically for the Ossetians.
If the Ossetians in Georgia obtain the aforementioned form of ethnic self-organisation and self-regulation, they will indeed participate in building the state. This will mean real integration without assimilation.
V. Regrettably, there are more than sufficient grounds for the suspicion that Saakashvili and his political team are serving Russian interests in Georgia, not the Georgian ones. This is true for their activities in August 2008 as well. The phrasing `Saakashvili shot at the very moment, when it was ordered by Moscow, he shot the very type of shell, ordered by Moscow, and in the direction, ordered by Moscow~ is well known to the Georgian media. This means, that if there are to be found breaches of Humanitarian Law and violations of universally accepted rules of waging war in the activities of this team before and during the hostilities in 2008, that are likely to have given a pretext for military action to Russia, it is methodologically reasonable to raise, in every specific case, the question, whether they acted as responsible leaders of Georgia or as Moscow’s tools.
VI. Quite naturally, we are carefully watching the development of Russias’s propaganda war against Georgia, which is being waged since the late 80-ies and which contains lots of falsifications (like showing on the screen Georgians, murdered by Ossetians, and telling the audience that they are Ossetians murdered by Georgians, and the like). There are many grounds for us to feel most uncertain about the degree of unbiasedness in the approach by the Mission to the matter of its investigation.One member of the Mission at least, Mr. Luchterhandt (Germany) is known to us as an author extremely biased against our country in his publications, which leads to logical jumps and logical faults, and as an author lacking expertise concerning the facts. So, e.g. he argues that Georgia had no right to `attack~ criminals and murderers in one part of its territory because they controlled the territory and they had an efficient `government~, but he omits the premiss which is indispensable for him to draw his conclusion: the `government~ in question is not a government standing on its own legs, it is a tool of Russia, installed by Russia and kept in `power~ by the Russian military force. His words
`Abchasien ist im Juli 1992 von georgischen Milizen ueberfallen worden. Die 250.000 Georgier, die damals auf dem Gebiet Abchasiens lebten, versuchten die Milizen zu unterstuetzen und fielen ueber ihre Nachbarn her. Sie begingen erhebliche Kriegsverberbrechen. Deswegen flohen die Georgier auch aus Abchasien, weil sie Rache fuerchten mussten. Das Vertrauen der Abchasen in die Georgier ist im Zuge dieses Konflikts aufs schwerste erschuettert worden. Die Grundlage fuer ein weiteres Zusammenleben der Voelker existiert praktisch nicht mehr. Eine aehnliche Situation hat sich im Kosovo waehrend der Herrschaft von Slobodan Milosevic abgespielt. Der UN-Sicherheitsrat stellte 1998, sogar mit der Stimme Russlands, definitiv fest, dass das Regime Milosevic einen Friedensbruch veruebt hatte, indem es Hunderttausende Kosovaren vertrieben und umbrachte, also `ethnische Sauberungen~ veruebte~
do not testify neither to his unbiasedness , nor to his sense of responsibility for the truth of his statements, as well as his recent statement to the TV in Abastumani (Georgia), that the Georgian administration under Saakashvili restored its jurisdiction in Ajara and Svaneti does not testify to his being adequately informed about facts (The upper reaches of the Kodori gorge are only one third of Svaneti, not the whole of it. The rule of central powers even in Kodori gorge never was contested by any one before the Russian conquest of it in 2008).
We think, that when answering the question `who started the war~ it is indispensable to have a strict definition of what is meant by `war~. If it becomes a legitimate precedent for demographic changes (as a result of some ethnic groups increasing in number, leaving others in a minority and so forth) to define a territory’s political and legal status, this will motivate all ethnic groups to fear the demographic prosperity of all other ethnic groups, which is a direct stimulation of ethnic cleansing and its main weapon – genocide – throughout the world. Therefore,
Questions which the Commission is to answer quite definitely and unequivocally, are:
1. Is the fact of creating by force in Georgia’s territory a territorial political unit for non-Georgian ethnical group, who has an ethnical territory of its own outside Georgia and who is a diaspora, of naming this unit by the ethnonym of that diaspora and maintaining it by force, into indefinite future, a violation of most vital natural interests of Georgia, i.e., an aggression against Georgia and a lasting war against Georgia? If yes, then the Mission is to define, what legal or morally imperative ground there may be for restricting Georgia’s right and its government’s duty to defend its territory from this violence by any means, including arms?
2. Is it, or is it not, to be considered an ethnical cleansing and a genocide, when more than hundred georgian villages disappear, as a result of murderous massive violence, in a territory of 4500 square kilometers? If ,,yes’’, then is or is not, in the view of the Mission, (and if ,,not’’, what are then the grounds for that ,,not’’?) Russia responsible for those crimes, committed in the presence of Russian forces, including the ,,peacekeeping’’ ones, with Russian arms and with Russian air and artillery support, in a puppet ,,republic’’ which never existed an hour without Russian military presence there?
3. Is, or is it not, known to the Mission the fact of declaration by Putin in the Russian TV that Georgia is to be ,,punished’’ by Russia, which means nothing less than usurping by Russia the right of ,,punishing’’ a neighboring country without trial and investigation?
4. Are there, in the Mission’s view, specific conditions and circumstances that make it possible or, even more, desirable and justified to legalize the demographic and political results of ethnical cleansing and genocide? If ,,yes’’, which are those conditions and what is the time within which those deeds become pardonable?
It is very difficult for us to escape the sad assumption that the antigeorgian (which, in the present context, means prorussian) bias of so many diplomats and experts may have one more motive. For two centuries _ from the Russian Tsar Peter I up to Nicolas II _ the central european intelligence and expertise (embodied, mainly, in the numerous bureaucracy, mentioned above) and the Russian resources (both the natural and the human) were combined to build up the second great and later the second strong empire in the World. It is natural to think that both parties to this alliance are eager to revive it in order to build up a mighty economical (and not only economical) body able to successfully compete with any other body on the Globe. This goal, if it exists, is natural and honorable. But the Commission, we believe, is not to be guided by pragmatic motives. Its only guide should be the truth, regardless of the possible consequences of exploring it, and truth is the only thing which is to be rigorously followed (fiat justitia, pereat mundus). Yet, if it is going to be decided, that practical results (stability, balance, etc.) are the most important goal, then it should be kept in mind, that (as we noticed before), demographical growth cannot become a ground for changing the status of a territory unless we want to stimulate `preemptive~ ethical cleansing and genocide all over the World.
With best wishes and hopes for unbiased judgment
Popular Front of Georgia N. Natadze (Chairman)
Georgia’s National-Christian Party P. Nazarishvili (Vice-Chairman)
Union of Veterans of the Military Formation ,,Imedi’’
(Colonel in reserve, D. Khomasuridze, Commander)