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RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN WAR IN THE WESTERN GEORGIA (MEGRELIA, ABKHAZIA, SVANETI)

See also:

                                           * Russian-Georgian War


Published in: Caucasus and an unholy alliance
* Other source *


Introduction

The Kremlin policy of Chauvinism, racism and genocide towards indigenous Caucasian -- Ibero-Caucasian ethnic groups remained unknown to the democratic world and human right defense circles during the years of 1990-1994. Only the heroic resistance of Chechenian people to Kremlin aggression forced the some of Western politicians to pay attention to the fate of Caucasian nations, which were contemptuously named as the "individuals of criminal Caucasian nationality", speaking on "Caucasian dialect, language" by the Russian chauvinist mass-media.

The aim of the present report is to show on the example of Georgia (Megrelia and Svanetia), that the Chechenian tragedy appears to be the consisting part of Kremlin's policy in Caucasus (in a wider range in the whole ex-Soviet territory). It just happens to be the last and obvious demonstration of this policy, however the similar events have earlier taken place in Samachablo, Ingushetia, Abkhazia (in Armenia and Azerbaijan as well).

Unfortunately the World community did not provide the evaluation of these events then and did not point on the main reasons and the one, who carried the guilt. This fact encouraged Kremlin on the new brutalities in Chechenia.

***

There is a large library of the official documents of Legal Authorities of Georgia (President, Parliament, Cabinet of Ministers) as well as of opposition mass media, on this problem -- part of them are published even in Western media and are accessible for Western scientists -- but newer were used by them. Instead always are used lie of Kremlin press and agents of influence.

Main ideological and big part of bloody armed attacks from Kremlin side during so called 'perestroika' and 'demokratizatsiya' were against Georgia, Georgian Nation (National Independence movement), and reasons:

  • Georgians have most developed and institutionalized national self-determination and mass-motivation:
    • Culture (highly sophisticated Christian traditions and ideology, poetry, music, literature, etc.)
    • Ancient national independent (statehood) tradition;
  • Has high intellectual potential;
  • High rating among nations and nationalities of ex-USSR;
  • Key geopolitical standing in Caucasus and all South ex-USSR.

On this reasons in Georgia (most dangerous colony) Kremlin had carefully grown powerful agents network. Lenin: "Bolshevik organization of Georgia is most fighting [powerful] among all". Among members of CPSS only Armenians and Jews had higher proportion than Georgians. Nucleus of these agents is NOMENCLATURAL elites - party-administrative, scientific, cultural, sports, etc. This elites and nomenclature networks (organizations) not disappeared after 'perestroika'. Even more, having get financial and market powers they become even more powerful and have new grounds for consolidation.

Historic overview

In terms and sense of Georgian civilization and national self-determination: term, sense of 'ethnos' and 'nation' = "eri" is not completely the same as European. Thais the attempts to analyze situation in Georgia on the same grounds as in Europe (and even more in Americas, Africa etc.) are anti-sociological.

Georgia as nation mainly was established from 4th century (when Christian religion become state religion), and reached his highest (desired forever) level in 12th on the basement of Christian ideology, civilization -- when main nation-building factor was Georgian (and more widely Caucasian) Christian culture, spiritual sphere.

Narrow lingual and ethnic grounds are not main and even more the lonely factors for national determination for Georgians (after occupation of parts of Georgia by Muslim empires and musulmanization of population, even factor of religion was not important, i.e. Adjarians-muslims and Ingilo-muslims are the same Georgians) - the main factor always was and is civilization entity, union.

This factor is recognized (non directly) even by Kremlin ideology: "Individuals of Caucasian nationality" who are speaking on "Caucasian dialect".

In Europe the processes of nationalization was happen in 17-18 and even in 19 century on the main grounds of market civilization and pure ethnic/lingual basement.

***

Georgian ethnos is a part of Ibero-Caucasian ethno-cultural integrity, civilization and consequently part of (small) Caucasian race. Other representatives of Ibero-Caucasians are Abkhazians, Abazins, Adiges, Kabardos, Vainakhs (Chechens and Ingushs), Dagestanian people (Lezgins, Tabasarans etc.) of North Caucasus and Azerbaijan.

Until the XVII century Ibero-Caucasians inhabited practically whole North Caucasus and South Caucasus (except for part of Azerbaijan and Armenia).

It is important to know that wars on ethnic grounds and ethnic cleanses are fundamentally unknown for Caucasus (not as in Europe with permanent wars against each-other). Caucasian nations (states) were always tolerant and traditionally supported each other during often wars against aggressive empires.

***

The start of Russian Empire expansion to the North caused the so-called Caucasian Wars - ethnic cleansings and nation slaughter first in North Caucasus, later in South Caucasus. By the beginning of XIX century the vast North Caucasian territories (Stavropol region, Krasnodar) were cleaned from Ibero- Caucasians (mainly from Kabardos and Adiges) and inhabited (colonized) by Russians.

***

It is important to know directions of Russian expansion on Caucasus. It happens mainly using two ways: in North Caucasus -- from NORTHWEST to South and South-West, after true Dariali to the South -- to Georgia; in the Sought Caucasus -- to South-East along Black sea shore.

During this invasion most severe, bloody and prolonged pressure was on Abkhazian-Adige, Kabardo ethnoses (who were occupied North-Eastern part of Caucasus), big part of them was exterminated and part migrated to SOUTHEAST (mainly to Georgia and even to Turkey). Thais i.e. Abkhazian tribes loose 80% of lands and were pushed to the territory of Georgia. Attacks on Chechens and Dagestan were initiated after, mainly after occupation of Georgia and Armenia-Azeri.

In 17-18 sent. to Georgia were emigrated also Ossetians who were under pressure of Kozaks and loose big part of there agriculture lands (so called 'khizans' -- 'refugees') who were find land under prince Machabeli (in Samachablo) and some Chechens (who are living till today in Kakheti -- 'Kists'). Above mentioned factors are covered by Kremlin propaganda and there agents of influence.

***

The process of colonization, ethnic cleansing and nation slaughter (genocide) of Ibero-Caucasians in North Caucasus was carried out by the Russian Empire mainly with a help of Cossacks. It also used the artificially provoked conflicts in Caucasus between the nations of North and South Caucasus. Under the Russian pressure the living space of indigenous Caucasian population lessened catastrophically, the tough interior rivalry and internal contradictions showed up. Russian forces took advantage of the fact.

In XIX century ethnic cleansings subverted South Caucasus - mainly Kuban, where actually the whole Abkhaz-Adige population was exterminated. Between XVII-XIX centuries Russia exterminated about 2,5 million individuals of Ibero-Caucasian race.

***

The capture of Caucasus by Russia was not only demographical disaster, but the environmental as well. For example, in North Caucasus (especially in Ingusheti and Chechnya) about 60 % of woods were burnt out, which made the war against the disobedient and struggling Caucasian tribes even easier. Instead of environmentally safe, multi profile and balanced agriculture, so traditional for local people, Russia established the monoculture economy, which brought an enormous damage to sensitive alpine ecosystem.

***

Czarist Russia never concealed the nature of its policy in Caucasus and widely used the terminology like "Capture of Caucasus", "Conquer of Caucasus", "Colonization of Caucasus", "Russification of Caucasus". Even the corresponding orders and medals had been issued.

The nature of Kremlin's policy in Caucasus has not changed since Bolsheviks seized the power in Russia, only the terminology has become different: "Friendship of nations", "International communication language", "Internationalism" - behind those terms was hidden the same superpower, chauvinistic, colonialist policy. Bolshevik Kremlin has committed the monstrous crimes against Chechens, Ingushs, Georgians and other Caucasian nations.

Lenin was writing: "We need Caucasus - oil of Baku oil and Georgian magnum".

Bolsheviks even more effectively completed the colonization (russification) process of Caucasus. The development of industry (mainly extraction and primary processing of minerals) and colonial, monoculture type of agriculture has considerably changed the demographic structure of the population of USSR national autonomies - so-called Russian-speaking population predominated in these regions.

Kremlin has extracted from the bowls** of Caucasian earth millions of tons of oil, marganez and other ores and plundered milliards of cubic meters of gas. It turned the vast territories of national autonomies (which actually happened to be like for the local ethos’s, mostly in North Caucasus) into the economic and environmental disaster zones. Many national autonomies (like Chechenia, Ingushetia etc.) were on the lowest levels of social-economic, cultural-educational development and health care. This was a policy of hidden, indirect genocide and ethnic cleansing.

***

The "post perestroika" Kremlin policy maintained the same aggressive, bloody and hard line. The events in Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Ingushetia and Chechenia are the evidence of it.

The events in Western Georgia and the fate of Megrels and Svans during 1992-93 are the part of the common tragedy of Caucasian nations in the new era; when Kremlin tries to create a new, market Empire of plunder. This is the era of the new Nation Slaughters.

Ethno-historical review

Georgian ethnos consists of two historical branches - Western-Georgian (ancient Kolkhs) and Eastern-Georgian (ancient Iberians).

Descendants of Kolkhs, historical Chans-Zans-Lazs, Sans-Svans, nowadays consist of two sub ethnic groups. The first is Megrels-Zans (i.e. Megrels) and Lazs, the second - Svans.

Both these sub ethnoses have the own language, which belongs to the Georgian group of languages. Laz and Megrel languages are the close dialects. There are three languages (Kartuli=Georgian, Megruli=Megrelian, Svanuri=Svanian) in Georgian group of Ibero-Caucasian language family and tens of dialects. Each sub ethnic branch of Georgia covers the certain, generally geographically determined (a valley and neighbor mountains) historical province. As well as in many European countries, there are tens of such provinces in Georgia: Abkhazia, Samurzakano, Megrelia, Svanetia, Racha, Lechkhumi, Imereti, Guria and etc.

***

Lazs are compactly inhabited on their historical motherland - on the Southeastern coast of Black Sea, from Trabzon to Hopa (today in Turkey). They are the indigenous population there.

***

Megrels are the indigenous population of Western Georgia. From the ancient times they have been living on both sides of Enguri River, on the territory from Sochi to river Rioni. Name of Megrels and their country comes from the name of the river Enguri-Enguri-Egr, Egr-isi, M-egr-el, and M-egr-el-ia.

The total amount of Megrels in Georgia is about 1.2 mln. They are orthodox Christians. Christianity spread over Western Georgia in II-III centuries. The amount of Lazs living in Turkey reaches 1.5-2 mln. Up to XVI-XVII centuries they were orthodox Christians, but have been Muslimized since then.

Megrels and Lazs lived on the ancient trade crossroads and actively participated in world trade. They were marked with high economic activity, practiced navigation, multicultural-multi profile agriculture and stock-breeding.

Megrelia has given to Georgia many prominent personalities in science, culture and sport, politicians and clergymen; Megrelia participated actively in the creation of Georgian nation.

Megrels living in Abkhazia normally considered themselves as 'Abkhazians' (on the basis of territorial factor) and spoke the Megrelian language. They used to call Abkhazs - "Apsua", "Absar", "Apsni" and etc. Thus, the name "Abkhaz" was the common one for all the indigenous inhabitants of Abkhazia, for Georgians and Abkhazians as well.

***

Svans are mountaineers. They inhabited compactly the upper sides of Kodori River (Mountainous Samurzakano - "Abkhazian Svanetia") and Enguri River. The name of their country is 'Svaneti', Svanetia, total amount - about 200.000, orthodox Christians. They are distinguished with fighting skills and traditional, patriarchal way of life. Like many Western European mountaineers practiced seasonal work.

Svaneti has always been a backup, stronghold and citadel for Georgia. Never has been conquered by foreign occupants before XIX century.

***

Abkhazs belong to the Abkhaz-Adige ethnic group; their language belongs to Abkhaz-Adige group of Ibero-Caucasian language family. In more common sense to Northern group of these languages, which points on their real origin (Southern Caucasian languages are Georgian languages).

They practice mainly cattle-breeding. Historically Abkhaz-Adiges inhabited the mountain canyons and foothills of Western Caucasus, southern and the northern part of it.

During the Russian colonization of Northern Caucasus and particularly after the defeat of Imam Shamil (XII-XVIII cc.) the Black Sea coast Muslim tribes of Abkhaz-Adige were almost totally exterminated. Part of them had no choice but to immigrate to Turkey (for example Ubikhs).

Abkhaz tribes living on Georgian territory, remarkably avoided this terrible fate by two main reasons:

  • They were under the political protection of Georgia
  • Majority of them were Christians (at last formally and not Muslims at all)

It is a very important issue, that impressive part of Abkhazs (about 60 %) is very close to Megrels ethnically and culturally, part of them are the descendents of Kolkhs. They have Megrelian surnames and speak Megrelian as fluently as Abkhazian. The total amount of Abkhazs is about 95.000.

Georgians always treated Abkhazs with respect and as their relatives. Georgian poets and writers dedicated many of their works to the nobility, honesty and courage of Abkhazs. Among those are Akaki Tsereteli and Konstantine Gamdakhurdia. Many Abkhaz men of literature were the true patriots of Georgia.

***

Political problems connected with Abkhazia might be truthfully studied and solved only by taking into an account the presence of two authentic ethnoses there - Abkhazs and Georgians (Megrels and Svans), the political rights of which should be equal. By this very reason the legal authorities of Georgia, President Gamsakhurdia proposed the formula of two indigenous nations on the same territory, to prevent the war in this region which could brake the process of independence.

Under Stalin and post-Stalin regime in the USSR Megrels and Abkhazs were continuously persecuted and repressed (for example the well known "Megrelian Case" in Georgia, beginning of 50-es). The aim of these persecutions was to break Georgian nation apart; to provoke Megrelian and Abkhazian separatism; to weaken the impact of Megrels (one of the strongest and the most freedom-minded sub ethnic groups of Georgia) on the Georgian global political climate.

In order to break apart the common anti-imperial struggle of Caucasian nations, Kremlin has been systematically provoking Abkhazian-Georgian conflicts (as well as Osetian-Georgian, Osetian-Ingush conflicts) and so it does even nowadays.

***

The problems of Megrels and Svans and violation of their human and ethnical minority rights touch the demographic aspects. That's why we would like to underline the following:

  • Georgians generally (Megrels and Svans particularly) belong to the category of small nations, with a very low birth rate, which did not exceed 0,11% during 1965-85 and was systematically reducing. From this point Georgians differ radically from the other neighboring Caucasian and Near East nations.
  • Georgians are extremely strongly attached to their homeland and one of the most consolidated nations, not only among the former USSR nations, but worldwide.
  • Georgians, with a total amount of over 3.5 mln, have lost 150.000 lives during the World War I and about 250.000 in World War II (i.e. ~ 10 % of the population in each war). The amount of wounded was twice as big and absolute majority of them were men (as the military actions did not take place on Georgian territory), who were invalid for reproduction.
  • Georgians, at least formally, are the most educated nation of the world - they take the first place by the percentage of high education graduates.

Taking into account all the above mentioned, it is easy to realize, that the condition of Georgian ethnos generally and Megrelian and Svan ethnoses in particular, is critical and any kind of cataclysms might lead to the annihilation of ethnos, nation, race and the corresponding civilization.

Ethno-political geography of Abkhazia

Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia was created on March 1921 within the borders of Georgian SSR. It was the example of Stalin strategy of border intermix and creation of ethnic conglomerates. This is one of those political 'slow-effect mines', which are used for provocation of ethnic conflicts in the suitable for Kremlin time.

When Abkhazian ASSR was founded within the borders of Georgian SSR, the Abkhazian territories from Sochi up to river Psou were granted to Russian SFSR. On the other hand Georgian historical province Samurzakano, situated on the eastern side of Enguri, but never included in Abkhazia before, was then granted to Abkhazian ASSR (now, even most extremist Abkhaz separatists, agree that Gali region does not belongs to Abkhazia).

From ethno-geographical point of view the territory of Abkhazia has been traditionally divided between Abkhazs and Georgians: Abkhazs (historical mountaineer cattle-breeders) occupied the mountain canyons and the mountainous sea-cost region Gudauta: Megrels (historical valley agriculturers) occupied the sea-cost valleys and plains on the whole territory of Abkhazia.

The situation has changed since 30-ies, after the development of tourist-resort socialist economy in Abkhazia, inculcation of colonial cultures of tea and citrus plants, and particularly after the World War II, when the railway Moscow-Tbilisi was built through Abkhazia. All this altered political, social-economic and geopolitical role of Abkhazia. At the same period of time Abkhazs descended from the mountainous parts and big amounts of Russians, Armenians, Greeks flowed to Abkhazia.

The northern mountainous part of Samurzakano was occupied by Svans (mountaineer cattle-breeders), the southern sea-cost part - by Megrels. Thus, historically and up to the Abkhazian war the 95% of Samurzakano population consisted of Georgian sub ethnic groups.

On the Abkhazian territory itself (i.e. outside of Samurzakano), Georgians inhabited compactly the regions of Leselidze-Gagra, Sokhumi, Gulripshi and most¦nbsp; parts of Ochamchire. In these regions they were a majority historically and up to the Abkhazian war.

The population of Abkhazian ASSR before the Abkhazian war made 540.000. Georgians were 45,7% of population - 246.800, Abkhazs 17.5% - 94.500. It means, that in Abkhazian ASSR there lived three times more Georgians than Abkhazs. The rest of the population i.e. 36,8% - consisted of Russians, Armenians, Greeks and etc. The territory of Abkhazian ASSR is 8.600 km2, which makes the 12,4 % of the whole Georgian territory.

Thus, Georgians occur to be an ethnic, national majority in Abkhazia and therefore the ethnic cleansing and genocide towards Georgians in Abkhazia during the Abkhazian war, is in fact the ethnic cleansing and genocide towards the national, ethnic majority

***

Among the pro-Kremlin Abkhaz-specialized agents of influence, who were preparing the ideological grounds for the war in Abkhazia is prof. B.G.Hewitt, see his "Abkhazia: A problem of identity and ownership", Central Asian Survey, (1993) 12(3), pp.267-323 where he gives incorrect, false data on proportions of Abkhaz and Georgian population in so called Abkhazia. He not gives objective data, that territory 'Abkhazia' was changed from census to census. That territory of Abkhazia including Sochi was attached from Abkhazian ASSR and that territory of Samurzakano was given to Abkhazian ASSR. And this is the only one fact of pro-Kremlin false leaded to the preparation of ethnic cleanses of Georgians in Abkhazia.

***

The same tendency might be observed in Chechenia. Besides the genocide against Chechens and the attempts to evict them from Northwestern part of the republic, Kremlin threatens regularly to take away northern regions of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. These regions are mainly inhabited by "Kazaks/Kozaks". According to other threats 30.000 of "specialists" (i.e. Russians) will be populated to Grozny and industrial-transportation points of Chechenia or the powerful strategic defense frontier zone (i.e. military bases and militarized Russian settlements) will be created.

Political grounds of Abkhazian War

As we already mentioned above, the strong background of Abkhazian War was already built by Kremlin during the creation and establishment of Abkhazian ASSR and its frontiers.

***

One of the worst political-ideological factor, preparing war in Abkhazia and Samachablo was the idea of Andrey Sakharov that "Georgia is Minor Empire and that it must be departed" [1, 2, 3].

***

In the mid of 80-ies Abkhazian conflict was provoked and escalated (simultaneously to the events of Nagorni Karabakh. The fact indicates that these events have been coordinated and planned).

At the same time the 'Confederation of Mountainous people of Caucasus' (CMPC aka KGNK) was founded and officially registered in the Russian SFSR as a public organization. The aim of it was to cover up the direct involvement of Kremlin in the future wars against Georgia and Ingushetia.

In 1990-91 the CMPC was turned into the paramilitary organization, which was activity and secretly supplied with different types of weapons (heavy artillery included) from the depots of Soviet Army in North Caucasus and was generously financed by Kremlin for maintenance of guerillas and mercenaries.

It is significant, that except the Kremlin-provoked wars in Abkhazia and Ingushetia, CMPC took no interest in any other conflicts within North Caucasus. CMPC has not contributed for the self-determination and independence fight of North Caucasian people - Chechens, Ingushs and others.

It is fact that, the government of Ardzinba closed relations with KGNK and with 'ideas of KGNK ("CMPC")' as soon as relations between Moscow and Grozny sharpened.

It is important, that by Kremlin Chechnya was planned as one of 'fortress' of KGNK as Abkhazia, and in terms of Kremlin Grozny was planned as second capital of KGNK (after Sokhumi). Really in Grozny in some moments was located 'staff', 'parliament' and 'government' of KGNK and were concentrated main armed forces from all Caucasus - who were intensively supplied by the arms of Russian Army in North Caucasus (it is the secret of loses of arms in North Caucasus). From Chechnya, this armed groups and even part of heavy weapons (including tanks and Grad launchers) were openly -- using auto-roads and railways of Russia -- were transported to Abkhazia. Only afterwards, mainly after war in Abkhazia, Dudayev's forces captured part of these arms.

During 1991-1993 in Grozny was situation of 'two-governments'. One was government of Dudaeyv, who begin to build more and more independent politics from Moscow. Second was government of KGNK (who during the period of Abkhaz war gained big political influence, power and money).

For the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993 KGNK become so powerful that they begin open attacks on Dudayev. The Putch in Grozny of spring 1993 "Theater Square Putch" was the attempt of KGNK ceased all power in Chechnya. But this attempt failed, 'strongholds' of KGNK in Chechnya were stormed by Dudayev's forces, big part of armaments seized, first leader of KGNK Yusup Soslambekov (Head of Parliament of KGNK, Head of Commission for Foreign Affairs of Chechen Parliament) -- who was 'second' person in Chechnya - was appointed by the Congress of Chechen People (most powerful public organization in Chechnya) as the 'Traitor' and was emigrated to Moscow. So -- this Putch was actually the war in Chechnya between the KGNK and Chechnya and at the same time it was the finish of KGNK in Chechnya.

In the same time big part of fighters of KGNK in Abkhazia (among them were some three hundred Chechens) become to the idea that this war was not war against regime of Shevardnadze for independent Abkhazia, but was the war against Georgian people and for occupation of Abkhazia by Kremlin. Big part of them come back to Chechnya and joined Dudayev's army. In popular Chechen song are the words: "I have gone to Abkhazia as internationalist fighter of KGNK, but come back as Chechen patriot and nationalist".

Chechenian war revealed more clearly the pro-Kremlin nature of CMPC. This so called powerful paramilitary organization, which managed to "defeat totally Georgian military forces" in Abkhazia, occurred to be paralyzed, forceless and did not render to the Chechen Republic not only the military but even the political or moral assistance. It proves that CMPC is just a curtain to cover the military interference of Kremlin against Georgia.

The Russian neoimperialistic plan was to use CMPC to tear away from Georgia the territories of Abkhazian ASSR and Samachablo and create their pro-Kremlin military-strategic enclaves during the collapse of USSR (like Pridnestrovje and Gagauzia in Moldova; Krimea in Ukraine; Nagorni Karabakh in Azerbaijan and etc.). Where the role of Abkhazians and Ossetians belongs to so called 'Russian language population'

Kazaks/Kozaks (Kazachestvo) played an unattractive part in Caucasian conflicts and particularly in Abkhazia. The original (true) Kazaks, hostile to socialism, as strata of kulaks, were exterminated by Bolsheviks during 20-ies and 30-ies. In Perestroika era the fraud Kazachestvo has been created - paramilitary pro-Kremlin organizations, which consisted mainly of the Soviet Army demobilized officers kept in a secret service.

These Paramilitary groups were generously financed and armed by Kremlin and they participated most actively in the wars of Moldova, Samachablo, Ingushetia and Abkhazia. The same "Kazaks" are intensively used against Chechenia.

It is very important to understand that for Kremlin it is very effective to use 'ethno conflict' mask, Thais it gives opportunity to commit highest level of cruelty, bloodshed and not to be responsible directly. International mass media always is describing it as 'tribal cruelty' of 'nationalists' but not Kremlin cruelty.

It was the result of the Kremlin propaganda to call the Russian-provocated wars in the Caucasus 'tribal wars'. See for example 'Newsweek', Jan. 4, 1992 -- "The Year of Fratricide - 1992, Hate Thy Neighbor: TRIBAL BATTLES". There is evident false that wars in Georgia are 'tribal wars'. Such an information helped ewer much Kremlin to kill hundred thousand child, women, and old man in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ingushetia etc.

Situation was changed slightly after 1995 and especially after the endless Chechen war, when the problem of oil sharpened -- Russia was not able, failed to make his plans of building 'new CONTINUOUS political territory for oil transportation' in the given period of time.

War have give more realistic impulse. Some researchers begin to write more real picture of political situation in the Caucasus, but still manipulating of slander.

See for example "OIL POLITICS IN THE CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA", by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., (Senior Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder No. 1065, January 25, 1996):

"The world now faces a choice between the cooperative exploitation by the East and West of natural resources or a wasteful struggle that could cost a fortune in blood and treasure. Regional conflicts in the Caucasus and Central Asia threaten to deny Western access to the vital oil and gas reserves the world will need in the 21st century. The wars in Chechnya, between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and in Georgia were started or exacerbated by the Russian military [why not by politicians? - B.G.], and the outcome of these wars may determine who controls future pipeline routes. Moscow hopes that Russia will. Powerful interests in Moscow are attempting to ensure that the only route for exporting the energy resources of Eurasia will pass through Russia."

"The Drama in Georgia. Another conflict affecting potential oil routes is occurring in the Caucasus republic of Georgia. Russia wants to prevent oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan from going the "Western" route through Georgia to Turkey. Moscow's support of civil strife in Georgia is directly connected to its goal of perpetuating conflict in the Caucasus.

From 1991 through the end of 1993, Georgia was in the midst of a bloody civil war, which pitted the supporters of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze [pro-Kremlin agentura - B.G.] and ousted President Zviad Gamsakhurdia against each other [against Kremlin - B.G.]. Political violence became chronic. Eventually, the defeated Gamsakhurdia either committed suicide or was murdered under mysterious [the same about Dudayev] circumstances in 1993. But even after his victory over Gamsakhurdia, Shevardnadze faced challenges from warlords and militias.

In exchange for crucial Russian support, Shevardnadze finally was forced [it was his aim - B.G.] to join the CIS in October 1993, a move he had bitterly opposed. When he attempted to read a press release announcing this step, Russian diplomats took it out of his hands and gave him a Moscow-authored text to read [pure Shevy - B.G.]. Such was the degree of independence enjoyed by Shevardnadze at the hands of his Russian patrons.

In 1995, Moscow brought pressure on Shevardnadze not to build a pipeline for Azeri oil through Georgian territory. The Georgians wanted to bring oil to the Georgian port of Supsa (between Poti and Tbilisi), from which it then would be exported by tanker to Turkey. However, the Russians demurred. Soon after Shevardnadze refused to cancel the pipeline plan, he was injured in an assassination attempt [i.e. by Kremlin, pure Shevy - B.G.] when a car bomb exploded next to his vehicle on August 29, 1995.

Shevardnadze has insisted repeatedly that Russia was behind this attempt on his life. The suspected culprit - Shevardnadze's security chief, Igor Georgadze - has escaped to Russia and continues to threaten Shevardnadze's life.

Shevardnadze demanded that the Russians extradite the suspect, and the Russian Prosecutor General's Office issued an order for his arrest. However, the Russian Interior Minister refused the extradition, and Georgadze is still at large [but Zviadists are given to Tbilisi - B.G.].

The Fighting in Abkhazia. Another dangerous conflict is smoldering in Abkhazia, a breakaway region in Georgia. The bitter war in Abkhazia, which began in 1992, has claimed over 35,000 lives. It was precipitated by the Russian military [Kremlin - B.G.] backing the Abkhaz separatist minority [pro-Kremlin - B.G.] against the Georgian [pro-Kremlin - B.G.] government in Tbilisi.

One purpose of the Russian intervention was to weaken Georgia and curb Turkish and Western influence in the region. But more important was the Russian goal of controlling access to oil. By acting as it did, Russia gained de facto control over the long Black Sea coastline in Abkhazia.

Moscow also was protecting the Russian Black Sea ports of Novorossiysk and Tuapse and moving closer to the Georgian oil exporting ports in Poti, Supsa, and Batumi. In August 1995, Georgia's beleaguered President Shevardnadze agreed to place four Russian military bases on Georgian soil, thus assuring Russia's control of the oil exporting routes via the Black Sea coast.

As Russia became entangled in Chechnya in 1994-1995, and word of Chechen commando training camps operating from Abkhazia spread [why not camps for Chechens in Chechnya, have not land, money? - B.G.], Moscow began to show less support for the Abkhaz rebels, who are allies [how much support for Chechnya, give some data? - B.G.] of the Chechens.

But Russia also has refused either to close the border with Abkhazia or to deny the separatist government in the Abkhaz capital, Sokhumi, financial and military support. Shevardnadze had hoped that this would be a Russian 'quid pro quo' for his agreement to permit Russian military bases on Georgian territory."

As reader can see, even in this more realistic article we can see animosity towards national independent movements of Georgia and Chechnya and support of Shevardnadze regime.

It is to be mentioned that Legal Authorities of Georgia from the very beginning -- in 1991 have given to the West the real situation on oil factor and on boycott from Kremlin's side. Was initiated independent plan of construction of transportation complex Baku-Poti including the reconstruction of pipe line Baku-Batumi, was initiated negotiations between Georgian and Azeri Governments. In state budget of 1992 were already given the finances of this project.

But the some Western politicians have being in corruption negotiations with Kremlin and Georgian nomenclature; begin anti-Georgian propaganda and preparing of cup in Georgia. Even more till 1994 West make secret of this "Oil deal of century".

***

Legal authorities of Georgia with President Gamsakhurdia at lead, on the contrary of Kremlin policy in Abkhazia, has been leading soft, balanced political line of federalism: the autonomous republic has been granted large political and economic independence; Abkhazians (i.e. national minority) have been given majority quota in Abkhazian Parliament. These political measures helped legal authorities of Georgia to maintain peace and stability in Abkhazia.

***

The main reason of Abkhazian war and its cessation from Georgia was the criminal Putch and military coup d'etat in Tbilisi 1991-92, carried out simultaneously with the USSR collapse (Belovezh plot) by the Kremlin intelligence and directed by E.Shevardnadze.

Kremlin propaganda pictured the overthrow of legal authorities in Georgia and the victory of Russian-army-backed criminals as a "victory of democratic forces". The Western mass media, pro-Shevardnadze intelligence agents eagerly supported this thesis, betraying the principles of democracy and Human Rights.

E.Shevardnadze, then head of the "Military Council/State Council of Georgia", usurper and a good friend of mobs - was allowed to the signing of Helsinki Documents. Only this fact profanes those documents.

Georgia was the first on the former USSR territory, where the criminal nomenclature came to power, in other words the communist Party activists mixed with mafia (KGB general E.Shevardnadze + well known mob J.Ioseliani) and backed by the chauvinistic (jingoistic) forces of Russia and the super-power Kremlin officials. Legal authorities of Georgia have been warning the World democratic community and Human Rights organizations on the danger of spreading of criminal-nomenclature anarchy from Georgia to all the other former USSR regions and even to the West. However Western political circles persistently advertised the myth of "the overthrow of dictator Gamsakhurdia and the victory of democratic forces in Georgia".

"Democratic" criminal-nomenclature Putch and military coup d'etat in Georgia was the first and the most successful performance of this bloody scenario all over the former USSR and even the West. This trick of Kremlin has worked and because the World democratic community and Human rights circles ignored the brutal violations of democracy and human rights the series of similar "democratic" putches followed in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Chechenia. However in Chechenia the government and people had already realized what happened in Georgia in 1991-1992 and this scenario did not work. That's why there was no other way left but to use Russian Army openly.

With the overthrow of all legal governmental branches of Georgia (President, Government, Supreme Council, Regional Governments), abolishment of current constitution and acceptance of the Constitution from 1921 (where the status of Abkhazia is not mentioned at all), the pro-Kremlin forces of Georgia under leadership of E.Shevardnadze guaranteed Kremlin the best possible ground for the defeat of Georgia in a coming Abkhazian war:

  • Georgia had been deprived the legal, constitutional rights on Abkhazia;
  • The contradiction occurred between illegal authorities in Tbilisi and legal authorities in Abkhazia.
  • During Putch the Kremlin hit men have destroyed the kernel (main body) of Georgia's patriotic armed forces, which were the guarantee of territorial integrity of the country.
  • Later on, during the process of division of USSR Black Sea Navy, Georgia did not get even single military vessel and was totally helpless in the coming Abkhazian war.

***

The most important international aspect of Abkhazian War (as well as of other political and "ethnic" conflicts in Georgia) is, that Georgia has always been and will be a very important geopolitical and geo-strategic junction (point) for Russian empire.

Preparation of Abkhazian War

After the overthrow of legal, democratically elected authorities in Tbilisi, the rule of Shevardnadze's criminal-military junta failed to spread all over Georgia. The local legal structures have been maintained in Western Georgia, particularly in Megrelia, Abkhazia and Adjaria (in Abkhazia and Adjaria - all branches of power). The powerful center of disobedience and resistance to Shevardnadze's regime has been created in this region. Especially Abkhazia was under of full control of Legal Government (of Gamsakhurdia). In Abkhazia, newspapers of supporters of Gamsakhurdia were printed.

In 1992-93 Shevardnadze's regime carried out three large punitive campaigns in disobedient Megrelia. During these campaigns the Mkhedrioni gangs under the leadership of Shevardnadze's friend and deputy, well-known mob J.Ioseliani, hundreds of civilians have been killed, including children, women and old people, hundreds of houses were burnt and robbed, thousands of families assaulted.

Mass media carried massive anti-Megrelian propaganda; Eastern Georgia, Tbilisi was put into opposition to Western Georgia, Megrelia; Almost fascist idea of "original Tbilisi resident", "original city-resident" was cultivated, as if the residents of Tbilisi were the supreme (highest) ethno-cultural substratum, meant to rule over the whole Georgia; Supporters of legal authorities were called "provincials, common people, stinking aboriginals, primitives and goyemes".

However the punitive measures against Megrelia caused the counter-effect. Population of Megrelia intensively started to furnish themselves with arms; not only political, but also armed resistance was organized as well. It helped the supporters of legal authorities in Megrelia and Abkhazia to defend themselves successfully from Mkhedrioni attacks.

The most disturbing factor for Shevardnadze's regime was the high activity of legal authorities' supporters in Abkhazia. The demonstrations of protest have been held in Sokhumi center since the day when Putch started and lasted for 200 days (until the war in Abkhazia).

Besides, the supply channel for Megrelia lay through Abkhazia. Shevardnadze's regime was failing to suffocate Megrelia by means of economic and information blockade. Abkhazia was a good rear for Megrelia and a bridge of communication with the rest of the world.

There was one more reason why Shevardnadze's regime planned the war in Abkhazia: this war could pull them out of deep political crisis. Not long before the war Tbilisi media published Shevardnadze's threat: "If Megrelia does not calm down, Georgia will suffer even more severe fiasco, than in Samachablo".

Thus, by provoking the war in Abkhazia, Shevardnadze's regime and Kremlin were planning to achieve the following goals:

  • To give Kremlin a ground for tearing away Abkhazia from Georgia, its occupation and annexation by Russian army
  • To punish population of Megrelia and particularly Megrelians in Abkhazia
  • To destroy the resistance center in Western Georgia
  • To strengthen the regime of criminal nomenclature and mafia in Georgia

But, for example 'Radio Liberty' Georgian staff till today are give misinformation that war in Abkhazia was began by Gamsakhurdia.

 

The first stage of Abkhazian War

Shevardnadze's regime, which broke to power by violence and did not even have any formal juridical or legal basis, was handed the impressive amount of light and heavy weapons from Soviet Army armory.

From the very beginning this war had carried openly criminal and brutal character. From the very first days excessive amount of personnel had been put into use - about 3.000 men and lots of heavy military equipment - about 150 tanks and other armored vehicles, hundred barrels of large-caliber artillery, tens of planes and helicopters, rocket (missile) settings for volley-fire. The equipment and artillery was used not against Abkhazian military forces (which consisted of several hundred of fighters and almost no heavy equipment), but against the peaceful population - destroying towns and villages.

Gangs of Shevardnadze's regime were more involved in robbery than military actions. They were robbing, assaulting Abkhazians and Georgians. It is significant to note, that on the earlier stage of the war Georgian population of Abkhazia not only stayed neutral, but also in many cases showed an armed resistance to the gangs of J.Ioseliani and T.Kitovani.

In order to create bestial hostility between Abkhazians and Georgians (Megrelians), which used to live in peace and mutual understanding, criminals of Kitovani and Ioseliani (majority of them drug-edicts) provoked unconcealed and unwitnessed in Georgia cruelty towards Abkhazians. On the other hand, Abkhazian ultra and CMPC hit men demonstrated even more of it.

In his letter to the World community President Gamsakhurdia had been warning, that the aim of Abkhazian war provoked by pro-Kremlin regime of Shevardnadze and separatists of Ardzinba is the genocide of Georgian population of Abkhazia.

Legal Authorities of Georgia and Dudayev's government from the very beginning of the war initiated peace process: was sent mixed delegation to Sokhumi and negotiations began, but Kremlin failed it. Dudayev from the first days of the war proclaimed that Chechnya is not to send troupers to Abkhazia and criticized sharply the Kremlin and Shevardnadze politics in Abkhazia, several times initiated peace negotiations.

The seize-fire

The first stage of Abkhazian war was over after the loss of Gagra and signing of capitulate (for Georgian side) Sochi agreement between Shevardnadze and Ardzinba. According to the agreement, Georgian military forces in Abkhazia were deprived of heavy weapons and had to leave the all territory of Abkhazia. Thus, the Georgian population of Abkhazia occurred to be the hostages in the hands of Abkhazian extremists, CMPC and "Kazaks".

By that time the armistice-line was drawn across the river Gumista (right near Sokhumi). The Georgian population over the western side of this line had already been totally exterminated or managed to escape.

The Georgian population of Gagra and its surroundings was circled and executed with exceptional cruelty by Russian hit men, "Kazaks" and Abkhazian extremists. Several thousands of Gagra residents, majority of them children, women and old people were executed within several hours. Mountains of corpses were buried in mass-graves with bulldozers or drown in the sea.

The first flow of refugees from Abkhazia, about 15.000-20.000 people reached Megrelia. It made the poor social-economic conditions of the region even worse.

***

The obvious fiasco of Shevardnadze's regime in Abkhazia caused the waves of protest all over Georgia.

The Megrelian resistants captured considerable amount of light weapons and some of the heavy ones from the Shevardnadze's defeated gangs, which fled in panic from Abkhazia and passed through Megrelia.

By summer 1993 almost the whole territory of Megrelia has been under the control of National Guard of Georgia loyal to President Gamsakhurdia. The military forces of Shevardnadze's regime left in Abkhazia started to support openly the legal authorities.

In the beginning of September 1993 the legal Supreme Council and the Cabinet of Ministers started functioning in Zugdidi. The resistance region of Western Georgia had turned into the wider Region of Restored Legal Power from Sokhumi to the rivers Tskhenistskhali and Rioni.

Ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia

In the middle of September 1993, troubled by the strengthening of legal authorities in Western Georgia, Kremlin imperialistic forces provoked another splash of war in Abkhazia.

Shevardnadze took the preventive measures. He dismissed the obedient "parliament" and established dictatorship of one man. It was the signal of the new slaughter in Abkhazia.

It is also significant, that the final stage of Georgian population's genocide in Abkhazia was accurately synchronized with October armed coup d'etat (Putch) in Moscow.

Legal authorities addressed the World Community immediately and warned them, that the war in Abkhazia was going to be renewed and the genocide of Georgian population of Abkhazia was going to take place.

Indeed merciless massive bombardments of Sokhumi and Ochamchire region started in couple of days. The heavy artillery, planes and missiles were used. According to Sochi agreement Abkhazians should not possess this kind of military equipment, Kremlin guaranteed that.

Realizing that the Georgian population was under the threat of extermination President Gamsakhurdia left Grozny, Chechenia and arrived from exile to Zugdidi, Western Georgia in order to organize legal and military defense of Georgian population. This step included huge personal risk.

On his arrival Z.Gamsakhurdia visited the frontlines in Gali and Ochamchire region. He met the commanders of all Georgian armed forces (including those under Shevardnadze's regime) and urged them to organize united defense front in Ochamchire region (the fall of Sokhumi was unavoidable by that time). He also suggested creating a safety corridor until Sokhumi for the evacuation of encircled civilians.

The efforts of the President brought its results. The joint operation of Georgia's united military forces started successfully the very next day.

However a day later troops of Shevardnadze's regime committed a treachery. They followed the order from Tbilisi, hastily left the positions and marched to Kutaisi and Tbilisi. Legal authorities' military forces were encircled and fighted their way back to the other side of Inguri River and meanwhile did their best to protect the population.

The massive extermination of the defenseless Georgian population started on the whole territory of Abkhazia, from Sokhumi to Gali. Abkhazian extremists, CMPC hit men, 'Kazaks', Armenian ultras and Russian militaries carried out these massive executions of armless population. About 25.000 people have been shot and killed during the few days, many of them - children, women and old people.

"And out of group of 12 front line soldiers, 2 were Abkhazian, 2 were Armenian, 1 Armenian locally from Sukhumi, 1 from Yerevan who was too young to go fight the good fight in Karabakh, and the rest were either from the North Caucasus or from places like in Siberia. What were they motivated by? Looting. They had been promised houses with tangerine gardens. They had been promised cars." - 'Briefing on Current Situation in Georgia and Implications for U.S. Policy, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Monday, October 25, 1993', p.7

The huge flow of refugees escaped to Megrelia. In alpine frost and snow thousands of them cleared their way through Kodori and Lia river ravines and the alpine passes. Many hundred did not survive frost and hunger.

Most of the refugees were not able to take with them any goods, clothing, valuables, money or documents. Many of them were robbed on their way by the mobs of the regime.

Kremlin's role

Regarding the results of Abkhazian war the following should be underlined

  1. Before the fall of Sokhumi Russian military ships evacuated from Sokhumi and Gulripshi region only Russian-speaking population and opened the fire from machine-guns when Georgians, including children tried to approach the ships. Documental videotape on this event was given by Zugdidi television.

  2. During the war in Abkhazia in several Russian military bases had been concentrated enough military forces for making peace in the region (Russia according Sochi agreement was guarantor of peace in Abkhazia). However not a single attempt of it was ever made.

  3. Russian army not only supplied Abkhaz separatists and CMPC hit men with heavy military equipment, but also even assisted them regularly with fire and troops. It is well known also, that Russian military ships bombarded and shelled by rockets Ochamchire during the nights.

  4. Ethnic cleansing as the final stage of the war was planned beforehand and it had to take place in the beginning of the winter. In winter conditions, which mean for Western Georgia plenty of snow, the population had no possibility to hide and survive in the mountain forests or foothills of Eastern Abkhazia or Samurzakano.

***

Thus, in spite of all political and military efforts of legal authorities of Georgia and the sacrifice of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Georgian population (Megrelians) in Abkhazia was carried out as the Kremlin and its puppets in Tbilisi planned it.

Russian imperial forces have committed the major violation of human rights ever since 1940:
Indigenous national minority of Abkhazia was exterminated to a considerable extent and deprived their native land.

This crime exceeded in its cruelty the crimes of Stalinism committed against Ingushs, Chechens and other Caucasian nations. The fact, that World community and political circles ignored these acts of vandalism, created a background for the genocide of Chechen people.

Defense of mountainous Samurzakano

In spite of the violent attacks, Abkhaz separatists, CMPC and Russian hit men could not manage to break through the alpine ravines of Kodori River and other territories of mountainous Samurzakano, which is inhabited mostly by Svans.

After Georgian military forces retreated, considerable amount of them concentrated in this region, some troops from other Abkhazian regions with fighting capacity stayed there and took up a defensive position. The bridges and tunnels near the ravines had been blown up. From the beginning of November it started snowing. All these turned the mountainous Samurzakano into an impregnable fortress.

In spite of the fact that during several months the region was under multiple attacks and massive bombardment from Russian "Grad" and "Uragan" missiles, in spite of hunger and frost, mountainous Samurzakano survived.

Refugee problem in Megrelia

Shevardnadze's regime did not succeed in subjugation of Megrelia, that's why it took not only punitive measures against this region. Since 1991 severe social-economic sanctions have been taken against Megrelia. The region occurred in a complete economic and informational blockade.

The blockade became stronger after the restoration of legal Authorities of Georgia. For the whole summer 1993 Megrelia had been deprived of corn, flour, other food products, medicines, fuel, cash (under the conditions of strong inflation 10-20 thousand per cent in a year!). The situation in the region was really difficult.

After the defeat in Abkhazian war the social-economical situation in Megrelia became even worse. Resident population of Megrelia makes about 450.000 people, while about 220.000 refugees fled to the region during several days. In the middle of October the amount of refugees in Zugdidi and Tsalendjikha was almost the same as the amount of local population.

The legal Authorities and the local population of Megrelia carried out several radical and effective measures in order to provide the refugees with food and shelter. None of them was left without a shelter. Some of the Megrelian families in Zugdidi region gave a refuge to more than 20 refugees. Megrelia's towns and villages did not suffer from the hot water and electricity supply during the period when the legal power had been restored in the region. The health care system, schools, railway, post, telegraph and regional TV had been functioning intensively.

It was unique experience in world scale -- region get refugees near 25% of total population, without any help from the side of world society.

It is quite significant that Shevardnadze's regime shamelessly concealed the existence of refugees in Megrelia. Mass media misinformed the whole world as if there was not a single refugee in Megrelia.

Because of the huge amount of refugees and the total blockade the social-economic situation in Megrelia became critical. People were starving, dangerous infectious diseases occurred in some places.

Legal authorities repeatedly applied to the World Community and pledged for help. The experts and representatives of UN and International Red Cross were informed about the situation in Megrelia. However no efficient assistance was provided.

***

Under these circumstances the legal authorities were obliged to take urgent measures to break through the blockade and take over the control on the nearest road and railway junctions.

Samtredia railway junction and Poti harbor were liberated without the fights. The considerable amount of food products and fuel were kept in these towns. After the liberation of Poti there was made an attempt to purchase flour, corn and fuel from Turkey.

These measures helped to save thousands of refugees and population of Megrelia from starvation and diseases. There was no single case of starving to death. Part of the flour and sugar was distributed among the population free of charge; part of it was sold for minimum price.

Kremlin and Shevardnadze mass media initiated propaganda that Zviadists blockade Poti seaport and Batumi-Tbilisi railway and it initiated the hunger in Armenia. Legal Authorities call Vice Premier of Armenia to Poti and made mixed commission to support transportation of Armenian freights - in several days all this freights were sent to Kutaisi (controlled by Shevardnadze).

But Moscow called international intervention to the Western Georgia of Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian armies (Azeri government refused) - to 'defense lines of international communications'.

Occupation of Megrelia

After the defeat (which was planned beforehand) in Abkhazia, Shevardnadze's regime was fully discredited in Georgia, army - demoralized and without the fighting capacity.

Tens of thousand of desperate refugees from Abkhazia demanded from the legal authorities to overthrow criminal regime of Shevardnadze, which had betrayed their interests and to start negotiations with Abkhazian side about the restoration of rights of Georgians and return of the refugees to their places of living. The population of Megrelia supported this demand.

Armed troops loyal to legal authorities, including the refugee troops of fighting capacity, started to move towards the East. They have liberated the regions of historical provinces of Imereti and Guria without fights and bloodshed. People greeted them as their liberators. There was no significant amount of Shevardnadze's troops up to Tbilisi.

However when the armed forces of legal authorities reached Kutaisi, the major town of Western Georgia, Shevardnadze asked for the Russian military help (this was supported by USA government**). B.Eltsin generously agreed to grant it (by the time Eltsin had already dispersed the Parliament and was practically a dictator).

Russia started open and massive involvement in the interior affairs of Georgia. Kremlin was cold-minded observer when tens of thousands of Georgians were exterminated in Abkhazia, but interfered immediately when the pro-Kremlin regime of Shevardnadze was put under the threat.

Armored carrier divisions were relocated from the Russian military bases in Kutaisi and Batumi all along the front-line (more than 30 heavy tanks). Russian navy has blocked Poti harbor. The huge Russian landing force under the leadership of admiral Baltin had been withdrawn from Sevastopol to Poti harbor.

It was a start of Russian military offence, which carried on two goals:

  • To annihilate the legal authorities
  • To accomplish the genocide of the population of Megrelia

Russian troops bombarded heavily not the front line of the legal authorities' troops, but the inhabited areas. As a result of Senaki bombardment with "Grad" missiles about 120 houses have been destroyed and hundreds of civilians killed or wounded.

Besides the military offences Russian special troops also carried out gendarme raids tracing the active political supporters of legal authorities.

Taking into the account the danger of extermination of the whole population of Megrelia, including the refugees, and the complete indifference of the World community towards the events in Georgia, legal authorities - President Gamsakhurdia personally made a decision to stop the military resistance.

Hordes of Shevardnadze's criminal regime covered up with Russian tanks rushed to Megrelia to rob and persecute the civilians.

In December 1993 it was proudly announced on Georgian TV that about 1200 "Zviadists" had been arrested with a help of Russian troops.

The severe repressions against the supporters of the legal authorities are still going on in Megrelia. Humanitarian aid meant for the refugees from Abkhazia is distributed among the mafia and criminal structures loyal to Shevardnadze.

Over 80.000 residents of Megrelia were forced to leave their place of living and seek for the shelter outside of Georgia. Megrelia has been without the electricity supply and transportation for months.

The refugees from Abkhazia are in awful conditions in the other parts of Georgia.

Shevardnadze's regime is doing its best to provoke the hostility between the local residents and the refugees in Megrelia. Separatist movements are encouraged as well.

Ethnic cleansing and genocide in Samurzakano

Svans and refugees from Abkhazia, which found a shelter in the mountains, managed to keep their land from the gangs of pro-Kremlin Abkhaz separatists and Russian hit men.

Svans managed to survive the severe conditions of winter 1993-94, spring and summer 1994 without any food or medical supply.

The villages and settlements of Mountainous Samurzakano were daily bombarded and shelled from November 1993 up to August 1994 with missiles.

Ethnic cleansing in Mountainous Samurzakano was accomplished by Russian "peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia" in the autumn of 1994. For the first time in many thousand years Mountainous Samurzakano was deprived of its indigenous population - Svans.

Summary

Ethnic cleansing of Mountainous Samurzakano was the last stage of the ethnic cleansing in whole Abkhazia and Samurzakano. First time for the thousands of years there is no Georgian population over the West side of the Enguri River. There are no representatives of Georgian sub ethnic groups, from which the name of the Enguri River comes.

As a result of this planned genocide Megrelian sub ethnic group has lost about 7% of the population, over 40% of residence territory, Svans - about 5% of population and 25% of the territory.

World democratic community, the Human Right Organizations, political circles and mass media did not properly evaluate genocide of Georgian population in Abkhazia, committed by Kremlin and Georgian pro-Kremlin forces. This fact made it easier to carry out the genocide of Chechenia and in a way determined the Russian turn-point to the policy of chauvinism and totalitarism.

Danger of new genocide in Megrelia

Kremlin and pro-Kremlin forces headed by Shevardnadze are planning the next stage of Megrelian population genocide and tearing apart the statehood of Georgia. It is a part of a plan of extermination of Georgian nation.

The conflicts are systematically provoked along the cost of Enguri River. The return of refugees to Abkhazia is delayed. Regarding the war in Chechenia Shevardnadze is holding the propaganda on mythological "military assistance to Dudaeyv from Abkhazia" etc.

The provocation of new military conflict in Megrelia is to be expected. The final goals of these conflicts are to cause the wave of Megrelian separatism. Non-Georgian ethnic groups outside of Georgia might also be involved in it.

Most certainly the population of Svanetia will also be involved in this conflict.

For Georgia it is very difficult period of history when the line of straggle between West and East (and dirty intrigues) is located on Georgia and his interests are ignored.

 

Bessarion Gugushvili
Prime Minister in-Exile of the Government of Zviad Gamsakhurdia,
Member of the Cabinet of Ministers of Chechen-Republic Ichkeria 
of the government of Djokhar Dudaeyv

Vilnius, October 1994 - February 1995, Helsinki October 1966

On the base of Report for
UN High Commissar for Human Rights Mr. Lasso
"On the Condition of Sub ethnical groups of
Megrels and Svans as a Result of
1992 Criminal Coup d'etat in Georgia
and the War in Abkhazia", 1994

 

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