The War We Didn’t Start
You might know very little or even nothing about this country located in the caucasus region, but now’s your time to know more about it, and the reason why Georgians always talk about occupation. The people of Georgia always fight for freedom, safety and independence.
2008 year, 08 August: Russia starts attacks on Ossetia (Samachablo), Tskhinvali region, located in the northwestern part of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
This event was very significant for me, because it was my first time experiencing war first hand, seeing it with my own eyes. Not everyone understands what war actually is, unless they experience it themselves. As 90s kids, we had to go through the period when the country was still recovering from SSSR epoch, acquiring independence and setting a new, modern, democratic country. We were never taught in school, what the SSSR was to us, and very little was instructed about the conflicts with Russia. The Georgian school system remained very much in the likes of that of the Soviet Union. Society didn’t give us a lot of useful information. The generation of our grandparents were yearning after the Soviets, so we kept a neutral position and most remained ignorant about the past.
The picture continues with the sound of exploding bombs, seeing and hearing combat aircrafts, people dying, our relatives going to war, with no idea if they would come back or not. I’ve seen a lot of refugees on TV running from their burning houses, I’ve seen them right next to my apartment, moving to the kindergartens and school buildings. But before we face the result, we need to explore the roots.
The history of South Ossetia starts with the “Georgian-Ossetian Conflict”, that is Soviet legal inheritance and the direct result of the introduction of the principles of Lenin’s national policy. South Ossetian Autonomous District was created in Georgia to the detriment of the interests of the Georgian people, in merit to the Bolshevik leadership of Russia and Georgia. The creation came into place on the basis of the decree of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party, Caucasus Bureau of the Soviet Central Executive Committee of Georgia and the decree of the Georgian State Council on April 20, 1922. The creation of the district was a kind of tribute to the Ossetian Bolsheviks who fought against the Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia.
In the early 1990s, the Russian Federation used the soil prepared during the Soviet regime: a methodology which inspired and stirred up ethnic confrontations in the autonomies created by the Soviet authorities in Georgia. It also established a local separatist movement and inspired armed conflicts in January 1991. From the end of 1992 on, OSCE mission in Georgia started working in the Tskhinvali region in South Ossetia. Thousands of people have been killed as a result of this conflict. Under these circumstances, Russia has managed to act as a “mediator” and “peacekeeper” the conflict it inspired itself. The Joint Peacekeeping Forces (Russian, Georgian and Ossetian) were formed in the region and created a Joint Control Commission On June 24, 1992, with Russia’s mediation.
Prior to the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, the Georgian authorities controlled an important part of the Tskhinvali region in South Ossetia, as well as the peacekeeping formats that were functioning with the support of the international community (EU and OSCE) in the framework of the economic and infrastructural rehabilitation of the region.
In fact, the August conflict had taken place from July on, but violent clashes only began in August.
On August 10, the Georgian side made a statement in favour of a ceasefire and started withdrawing troops from South Ossetia. Russian troops continued clashes in South Ossetia, and moreover, crossed its borders and continued to Gori. Russians reinforced the positions of the Georgian-Abkhazian border as well as the sea cord in Poti port. August 12, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called on his troops to cease fire. On the 16th of August, Russian and Georgian sides sign a peace treaty that was adopted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy as EU Council President. This agreement obliged the Russian and the Georgian side to bring back their military units to the positions they were stationed at before the war.
According to a report published by the EU after the war, 400 Georgian and South Ossetian civilians were killed in the conflict, while Russian casualties were counted at 64. More than 100,000 people were forced to leave their homes.
It’s been nine years already since the August war. Russia will always remembered for its continuous violation of the 16th of August agreement. They continue their creeping occupation regardless: recently they moved their current lines and are merely 400 meters away from the central highway, which is very close to the capital city.
Georgia is in need of support.
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