South Ossetians about Georgia war

This video is an interview with “Joe Mestas, American citizen living in South Ossetia, who witnessed everything that [was] happening in the region.”

From United States magazine Rolling Stone, reviewing the new album by Metallica:

Death Magnetic is the musical equivalent of Russia’s invasion of Georgia — a sudden act of aggression from a sleeping giant.

Well, I don’t intend to discuss Rolling Stone‘s views on music here.

Not even whether Russia committed “aggression” against Georgia. However, even people who consider that the Russian army did commit “aggression” will have to recognize it was not “sudden”.

As it was a reaction to the invasion by the army of Georgian president Saakashvili in South Ossetia; which killed and wounded thousands of Ossetian civilians and drove ten thousands of them across the North Ossetian border; which also killed Russian soldiers, in South Ossetia as peacekeepers according to a treaty signed by the Georgian government.

Translated rom Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, 11 September 2008, paper edition, page 4. Quoting a Russian soldier in South Ossetia:

“What an absurd war, really. Georgians and South Ossetians have always gotten along so well. Behind this fence, a Georgian-Ossetian couple has been living for years.” …

On the way back to Tschinvali we pass a burnt out customs office. “Here, we have been selling our products to the Georgians for years”, the very tall Zjota says … “It always went well. Until Saakashvili grabbed power, and immediately stopped that trade.”…

Then, his [Zjota’s] next door neighbour, Georgi Papashvili, comes out. He is a 63-year-old Georgian, married to an Ossetian. “No one here is against me”, he says. “Relationships between Georgians and South Ossetians in Tschinvali have always been good. I was born here and I want to get old here. I am only afraid because of my sister in Tblisi [capital of Georgia]. Because, if they will find out in Georgia that I have stayed here, they will take that out on her.”…

We drive out of the city in a western direction, to the village of Getagurova. It was along the way of the Georgian forces, who left a track of fire and destruction in all villages which they passed on their way to Tschinvali.

Four women are drinking coffee, sitting on stools along the road. “Here, eight people have been killed”, the least shy of them, Rita Bestajeva, says. “They shot my male next door neighbour’s head off”.

She takes us to the garden of a burnt out house and points out a bomb’s crater.

“There, we have buried a 75-year-old lady who lived next door. Her body was completely burnt. And in the garden on the other side, that nice man Pjotr Mamijev lies. Georgian soldiers had buried him in his cornfield”.

Can NATO Survive Georgia?” -Immanuel Wallerstein.

Scandinavian countries respond to Russia-Georgia conflict: here.

DID SAAKASHVILI LIE? The West Begins to Doubt Georgian Leader: here.

11 thoughts on “South Ossetians about Georgia war

  1. Interview with Lasha Shawdia, Anti-war Movement Georgia

    Public protest against NATO today is impossible in Georgia. I myself was
    detained and tortured in the aftermath of the war. The Communist Party is
    declared a terrorist group and any opposition against the war is labeled
    destructive force. A kind of Georgian Patriot Act has been enacted, which
    de facto bans us.

    The propaganda apparatus set in motion by NATO is very powerful. There is
    for example not a single TV channel which counters this line. Nevertheless
    the popular sentiments changed after the war. Many understood that the
    rapprochement with NATO does not serve the interests of the people and
    that friendly relations with Russia are indispensible. Furthermore we need
    to be part of the Russian economic area in order to revive our economy.

    We insist on the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia and
    do not support the disintegration. But with a government in Tblisi which
    wants to join NATO at any cost, this is not possible. We support South
    Ossetia and Abkhazia inasfar as they struggle against the accession into
    NATO. We are for the unity of Georgia in friendship with Russia.

    View the entire interview:


  2. Wikileaks: Italy’ 2008 position on Ossetia ‘irritated’ U.S.

    01 December, 14:46

    (ANSA) – Rome, December 1 – The position Italy adopted during the 2008 clash between Russian and Georgia over Ossetia ‘deeply irritated’ the United States, according to diplomatic dispatches made public by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

    According to the text of diplomatic cables between the State Department and US embassies in Rome, published Wednesday by the Milan daily Corriere della Sera, the Bush administration was concerned that Italy could in some way undermine a common international front against the Russian invasion of Georgia.

    The dispatches were classified as ‘confidential’ and ‘noforn’ (not for foreign eyes) with titles including: The Italians Will Not Help Us for a NATO Council Statement; and Debunk the Myth of Italy’s ‘Balanced’ Position on Georgia’.

    Outtakes from the cables included: “(Italian Premier Silvio) Berlusconi and (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin have already spoken and we expect Russia to try and exploit the personal relationship between the two to push Italy to foil efforts to condemn Moscow’s actions in international forums”.

    “As initially predicted in the first days of the Berlusconi government (May 2008), the close relationship between the Italian government and Russia could soon become a point of friction in relations between the US and Italy,” read another dispatch.

    “In the best scenario, Italy will avoid making strong statements or put pressure on Russia. In the worse-case scenario Italy could work to destroy the determination of the other allies in international bodies, including NATO and the European Union,” a US diplomat wrote.

    A cable dated August 15, 2008 spoke of Cabinet Secretary Gianni Letta and said “the (US) ambassador told Letta, Premier Berlusconi’s key advisor, that Washington is not happy with Italy’s position up until now and we are particularly puzzled by statements made by Foreign Minister (Franco) Frattini”.

    On August 11, Frattini said that “Italy could not support the creation of a ”European anti-Russian coalition” over the conflict.

    “It would be negative for Europe to create a sort of coalition against Russia. It’s important that Europe is the 27 (member states) and that it does not divide into groups and little cliques”, he argued.

    Frattini added that Berlusconi was exerting a ”’moral suasion” on Putin, ”firmly based on the personal trust that connects them”, to end the conflict.

    Berlusconi has repeatedly claimed that he played a ”decisive” role in stopping Russian troops in the Georgia crisis.

    ”I’m happy I had a role that might be called decisive in stopping the advance of the Russian army in Georgia,” the Italian premier said.

    Berlusconi’s contribution to helping to end the conflict in Georgia has been recognised by French President Nikolas Sarkozy, who brokered an end to hostilities there, as well as the United States.

    “We would not have been able to get the result we got in the crisis between Georgia and Russia if we had not been able to take advantage of the contribution given by Berlusconi because of his cordial relations with Putin,” Sarkozy said during a visit to Rome in September 2009.

    In a meeting with Berlusconi on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “Berlusconi has worked in Europe with Sarkozy for the stabilization of Georgia”.

    She also told Berlusconi “we have no better friend. No one has supported America the way Berlusconi has through the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations”.

    The two met on the sidelines of a summit in Kazakhstan of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to iron out any differences which may have arisen from other Wikileaks documents.

    These include one from a US diplomat in Rome who claimed that Berlusconi was “increasingly becoming a mouthpiece for Putin in Europe” and the pair exchanged “lavish gifts”.

    Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in August 2008 when Russian troops repelled a Georgian assault on the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which threw off Georgian rule in the early 1990s.

    Russia then invaded and occupied parts of Georgia before an EU-brokered ceasefire brought an end to the conflict. Russia completed a withdrawal from Georgia the following October but has remained in South Ossetia.


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