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In this blog was written lots of bad things about russian politic - all that was true and it is sad, but now I want to start writing few words about Russians, their culture and traditions

28 Aug 2008

Timeline: South Ossetia


1237-40 - Mongols invade Russia, forcing Ossetians to migrate south over the Caucasus mountains to present-day Georgia.
18th and 19th centuries – The Russian empire extends to the Caucasus, provoking strong resistance from the people of the north Caucasus. The South Ossetians do not join the uprising, some preferring to side with the Russian army.
1801 - South Ossetia and Georgia are annexed by Russia and absorbed into the Russian empire.
1918 – Georgia declares independence following the Russian revolution.
1921 – The Red Army invades. The South Ossetians are accused of siding with the Kremlin.
1922 - Georgia becomes a founder member of the Soviet Union. The South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (district) is created within Georgia in April 1922.
1989 - Demands for more autonomy in the South Ossetia region lead to violent clashes between Georgians and Ossetians.
1990-91 – South Ossetia declares its intentions to secede, leading to more clashes.
1991 – The Soviet Union collapses.
1992 – South Ossetians vote in favour of independence in an unrecognised referendum. Hundreds die in sporadic violence, which continues until June when Russian, Georgian and South Ossetian leaders meet to sign an armistice and agree the creation of a tripartite peacekeeping force.
November 1993 - South Ossetia drafts its own constitution.
November 1996 - South Ossetia elects its first president.
December 2001 - South Ossetia elects wrestling champion Eduard Kokoity as president in unrecognised elections.
2002 – Kokoity asks Moscow to recognise the republic's independence and absorb it into Russia.
2003 – The Georgian president, Eduard Shevardnadze, is toppled in the rose revolution.
2004 - Mikhail Saakashvili wins Georgian presidential election and declares his intentions to bring breakaway regions of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Ajaria back into the fold.
2006 - South Ossetians vote overwhelmingly in favour of independence from Tbilisi in an unrecognised referendum. In a simultaneous referendum, the region's minority ethnic Georgians vote to stay with Tbilisi.
October 2007 - Talks hosted by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe between Georgia and South Ossetia break down.
March 2008 - South Ossetia asks the world to recognise its independence from Georgia, following the west's support for Kosovo's secession from Serbia.
March 2008 - Georgia's bid to join Nato prompts Russia's parliament to urge the Kremlin to recognise the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
April 2008 - South Ossetia rejects a Georgian power-sharing deal and insists on full independence.
August 2008 - Fighting breaks out between Georgian and separatist South Ossetian forces.

Georgia 1918-1920

Timeline of Russian Aggression in Georgia

Document by the Government of Georgia organized into the following three sections:

I. Russian ESCALATION 2004-July 2008: Key Developments in the Russian Military & Political Escalation Before the Invasion of Georgia

· Georgian peace proposals repeatedly rejected by Russia (2004 onwards): Beginning in 2004, the Georgian Government has repeatedly proposed to launch a genuine peace process for South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Years of stalemate had left all ethnic populations in both conflict zones impoverished and without any effective protection of basic rights; Georgians in particular were targeted and persecuted on ethnic grounds. The Russian Federation and separatist leaders have rejected Georgia’s peace initiatives each and every time they have been proposed—even when the international community backed the initiatives. As a result, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have become hubs for acute criminal activity, including kidnapping, extortion, counterfeiting, smuggling of arms and drugs. At least one case of nuclear smuggling has been confirmed.

· Russia gains stranglehold over separatist governments (2005 onwards): In recent years, Moscow has been exerting an increasingly strong hold over the separatist governments; since 2005, Russian military and civilian officials seconded from Moscow effectively have been governing South Ossetia.

· Russia builds illegal base near Tskhinvali (2006): In spring 2006, Russian forces illegally build of a forward military base in the strategically located town of Java (north of Tskhinvali). The base has capacity for 2,500 soldiers, and includes substantial fuel-storage capabilities for tanks and other armored vehicles.

· CIS arms/economic embargo lifted illegally by Moscow (March 2008): In March, the Russian Federation unilaterally—and illegally—withdraws from a CIS economic and arms embargo imposed in 1994 on the secessionist region of Abkhazia, Georgia.

· International community condemns Russia’s legal recognition of S. Ossetia & Abkhazia (April 2008): On April 16, Moscow sharply escalates tensions by decreeing the establishment of legal links between Russia and the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; this is a form of de facto annexation of Georgian territory and draws sharp rebukes from the entire international community—including the EU, the US, the OSCE, and others, who call for the immediate reversal of this Russian decision.

· United Nations confirms Russia downs Georgian aircraft over Georgian airspace (April 2006): On April 20, a Russian fighter jet downs an unarmed Georgian drone (MIA) over Georgian airspace (near Ganmukhuri), an act of aggression confirmed by formal UNOMIG and OSCE investigative reports.

· Russia increases troop strength & introduces paratroopers into Abkhazia (May/June 2008): In the following weeks, Russia continues to unilaterally increase its troop strength in Abkhazia, without fulfilling its legal obligation to seek the consent of Georgia; among other moves, it deploys paratrooper units, which are incompatible with the existing format for peacekeeping.

· Russia moves illegal heavy weaponry & offensive forces into Abkhazia (May/June 2008): In direct contravention of all peacekeeping norms and agreements, Russia introduces additional offensive military troops and heavy weaponry in Abkhazia, verified by UNOMIG.

· Russian railroad troops sent to Abkhazia to prepare rails for invasion (May 26, 2008): On May 26, Russia sends more than 400 hundreds of Ministry of Defense "railroad troops” into Abkhazia to reinforce the rail infrastructure needed for military action; these troops do not belong to any peacekeeping unit.

· As peace plan advances, Russian provocations move to S. Ossetia (July 2008): In July, as the efforts by Georgia and the international community to advance peace proposals for Abkhazia are gathering pace, the focus of Russian provocations suddenly shifts to South Ossetia.

· Separatists attempt to assassinate S. Ossetian unionist leader (July 3, 2008): On July 3, South Ossetian separatists attempt to assassinate Dimitry Sanakoyev, the Head of the Temporary Administration of South Ossetia ; three policemen are injured.

· Russia defiantly acknowledges violating Georgian airspace (July 10, 2008): On July 9, Four Russian military aircraft violate Georgian airspace on the eve of US Secretary of State Rice’s visit to Georgia. Although Russia continually violates Georgian airspace, this is the first time Moscow acknowledges it has done so deliberately.

· Russia undertakes large-scale military exercises near S. Ossetia: & Abkhazia (July 2008): Russia launches large-scale military exercises (July 15-August 2) in the immediate vicinity of Georgia’s northern border; they are named "Caucasus 2008.” The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the exercises, involving over 8,000 troops and 700 pieces of military hardware, are aimed at preparing for "special peace enforcement operations” in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. During the exercise, anti-Georgian leaflets are distributed entitled "Know Your Enemy”.

· Russian troops fail to redeploy (August 2 2008): Russian troops participating in the exercise do not re-deploy from the region when the exercises are finished.

· Separatists reject German-mediated peace plan (July 18, 2008): On July 18, Abkhaz separatists reject a German-mediated peace plan and refuse to attend peace talks scheduled in Berlin.

· EU organizes peace talks, separatists fail to appear (July 22-24, 2008): On July 22-24, the EU tries to hold talks in Brussels between representatives of the Government of Georgia and the South Ossetian separatists, with the participation of the Russian Federation. The separatists refuse to participate, initially objecting to the title of Minister Yakobashvili—"Minister for Reintegration.” In response, the Georgian Government appoints Mr. Yakobashvili as a Special Envoy for Conflict Resolution. The separatists once again refuse to attend the talks on unspecified grounds.

· OSCE proposes peace talks, separatists reject proposal (late July 2008): OSCE Chairman in Office, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, proposes talks in Helsinki in early August between South Ossetian separatists and the Georgian Government. The separatists reject the proposal.

II. KEY POINTS: The Days Before, During & After Russia’s Invasion of Georgia

· July 3: One month before Russia’s invasion into Georgia, separatists try to assassinate Dimitri Sanakoyev, Head of the Temporary Administration of South Ossetia. A remote control road bomb exploded while Mr Sanakoyev’s cortege was passing by. Five policemen accompanying Mr. Sanakoyev were wounded. Mr. Sanakoyev—a former separatist fighter and defense minister in the separatist government - laid down his arms in 2006 to promote the peaceful re-integration of the region with the rest of the country under a broad autonomy arrangement. Mr. Sanakoyev was elected in democratic elections and administered up to 50% of the territory of the region.

· July 29: For the first time since last major hostilities, separatist militia begin intensively shelling ethnically mixed villages under Georgian control, including those of them where the Georgian peacekeepers held their check-points, with large-caliber artillery (greater than 82 mm) which is prohibited by existing agreements. This fact is formally acknowledged by the Head of "Peacekeeping Forces,” Russian General Marat Kulakhmetov on August 4 (he makes specific reference to the shelling on villages under Government control on August 1 and 2 with high caliber artillery). Shelling of this magnitude continues on a regular basis through August 7, in advance of the Russian land invasion into Georgia.

· 1 August: A pickup truck carrying six police officers of MIA of Georgia is hit by two remote-control explosive devices (IED) on the Eredvi-Kheiti bypass road, close to the Government controlled enclave north of the city of Tskhinvali. Five policemen are severely wounded.

· 3 August: Russian media outlets report the large-scale mobilization of volunteers across the Russian North Caucasus, including pledges by Cossacks to deploy mercenary troops into Georgia.

· 4 August: The separatists announce the evacuation of the civilian population from Tskhinvali and from the separatist controlled villages of the region.

· 5 & 7 August: At the request of President Saakashvili, Special Envoy Temur Yakobashvili twice attempts to negotiate with separatists, but his requests are rebuffed.

· 7 August: The Special Envoy of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Yuri Popov, fails to mediate preliminary agreed talks on a ceasefire, citing refusal by the separatists, while shelling of Villages under Government control continues.

· General Kulakhmetov, during the meeting in Tskhinvali with Special Envoy Yakobashvili, declares that he cannot contact the separatist leaders, and that Russian "peacekeepers” cannot stop the separatist attacks; General Kulakhmetov admits that the separatists were shooting from the vicinity of Russian "peacekeeping” posts.

· In spite of casualties among Georgian peacekeepers and civilians killed by separatist fire, President Saakashvili orders an immediate ceasefire and calls for negotiations. He reaffirms the Government’s proposal to grant broad "European standard” autonomy to the region, and offers Russia to serve as a guarantor. President Saakashvili also announces an unconditional amnesty for separatists who agree to cease hostilities.

· Despite the ceasefire declared by President Saakashvili, the separatists intensify their shelling of villages under Georgian control and Georgian peacekeeper posts.

· Approximately 150 armored vehicles and military trucks of the Russian regular army stream into the Roki Tunnel and head towards Tskhinvali. In response to the entry of Russian armed forces into Georgian territory, the Georgian military enters the conflict zone in the region.

· Russia claims that its forces entered Georgian territory only after a purported "surprise Georgian assault” on Tskhinvali; however Russia continues to refuse to make public the time at which it launched its invasion into Georgia.

· 8 August: The Ministry of Defense of Russia and various senior officials claim that Georgian forces "have killed 2,000 civilians” in Tskhinvali.

· 11 August: Human Rights Watch representative say that Russia purposely exaggerated casualty figures in Tskhinvali, leading to revenge killings against the ethnic Georgian population.

· 21 August: The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office reports significantly lower civilian casualty figures in the South Ossetia region at 133. There is a strong likelihood that the majority of these casualties were separatist militiamen, as local officials frequently refer to non-Russian servicemen as civilians.

· 9–24 August: Following the retreat of Georgian armed forces towards Tbilisi, the Russian armed forces and paramilitary groupss conduct widespread atrocities, including the burning, looting, kidnapping, raping, and summary executions of Georgian civilians inside and outside the zone of conflict. Within the zone of conflict, entire villages of Eredvi, Avnevi, Nuli, Kurta, Achabeti, Tamarasheni, Kekhvi, Disevi, etc., are deliberately burned and destroyed, resulting in the ethnic cleansing of Georgians. Many of these events are confirmed in reports issued by international human rights organizations.

III. Detailed Chronology: The Days Before, During & After Russia’s Invasion of Georgia

28 July: Separatist units open fire at joint peacekeeping forces and an OSCE observer group moving towards the village of Chorbauli (Znauri district), thus disrupting monitoring activity.

29 July: Separatists open fire at villages under Government control to the north of Tskhinvali. They fire at a group of OSCE observers, working with the joint peacekeeping forces, who are on their way to the village of Andzisi. 120 mm mortars and grenade launchers target a Georgian peacekeeping checkpoint near the village of Sarabuki.

30 July: A Georgian police car, traveling between the villages of Kekhvi and Sveri, is fired upon from positions in the separatist-controlled village of Andzisi.

31 July: The joint monitoring group of the JPKF and the OSCE mission observe large-scale fortification works undertaken by the separatists on two checkpoints between Tskhinvali and the village of Ergneti.

1 August: A pickup truck carrying six Georgian police officers is hit by two remote-control explosive devices (IED) close to a Georgian enclave north of the city of Tskhinvali. Five policemen are severely wounded. Later that day,separatists open fire with machine guns and grenade launchers on the villages under Government control Kvemo Nikozi, Zemo Nikozi, Avnevi, Ergneti, and Eredvi. Attacks also are directed at Georgian police and peacekeepers checkpoints. In the village of Nuli, one person is wounded and several houses damaged. Georgian peacekeepers checkpoint in Sarabuki comes under attack. In the village of Ergneti, one person is wounded and two houses are damaged. Separatists reported, that six separatist militia are killed and 12 wounded after Georgian police open fire in response.

2 August: Six civilians and one servicemen of MIA of Georgia are injured after separatists shell villages under Georgian control in the conflict zone overnight. The villages of Zemo Nikozi, Kvemo Nikozi, Nuli, Avnevi, Eredvi, and Ergneti come under intense large-caliber mortar fire the separatists. Georgian law enforcers initially shoot back in self-defense, but are soon ordered to cease fire in order not to escalate the situation.

3 August: The separatist government starts an evacuation of the civilian population from the city of Tskhinvali and villages under separatist control of the region. The evacuation continues for the next two days.

Russian media outlets start a massive propaganda campaign against Georgia, advocating for volunteers and militias to support separatists in South Ossetia. Representatives of major Russian television networks (i.e. NTV, RTR, ORT, Ren TV, TVC, etc.) are on-site in Tskhinvali.

South Ossetia media sources report the mobilization of volunteers from across the North Caucasus of Russia.

4 August: General Marat Kulakhmetov, Head of the "Peacekeeping Forces,” formally acknowledges the shelling of Georgian positions with illegal (large-caliber) artillery. On the evening of August 4, the medical and communication units of Russia’s 58th Army enter South Ossetia, according to human intelligence received by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.

Eleven artillery gunships (2S1-"Gvozdika”) in the possession of separatists are relocated from Java to the villages of Andzisi, Dzari, and Tsru, close to Tskhinvali, according to intelligence provided to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.

5 August: 3 tanks and 2 military trucks with armed soldiers are reported moving towards the village of Avnevi. According to telephone intercepts, separatist internal affairs minister M. Mindzaev (formerly head of the General Staff of the Ministry of Interior of North Ossetia, Russia and former head of the Alfa Special Forces Group during Russia’s operation in Beslan) orders a massive attack on—and the elimination of—the village Dvani (SigInt)*.

*Here and below signal interseptions are cited. They are available upon request.

Special Envoy Temur Yakobashvili visits the conflict zone Tskhinvali, meets Russian General Marat Kulakhmetov, to agree the next meeting for 7 August to defuse the situation.

A journalist of Le Figaro, Laure Mandeville later quotes a Russian soldier in Gori who says that Russian troops began moving from Shali in the Chechnya region of Russia towards Georgia on August 5.

6 August: Approximately 150 volunteers from the North Caucasus arrive in Tskhinvali as reported by local television; militants from other North Caucasian republics join separatist units.

Russian and local employees working on the military base in Tskhinvali are temporarily dismissed. Shops and other offices are closed, as reported on local television.

In the late afternoon at approximately 16:00, separatists open mortar fire from the villages of Pranevi, Ubiati, and Khetagurovo at ethnically mixed and Georgian-controlled villages of Eredvi, Prisi, Avnevi, Dvani, and Nuli. Khetagurovo was the main artillery base of the separatists. This attack continues until approximately 19:00.

A lull is then observed for one hour, with attacks resuming at 20:00 and lasting until late into the night. Georgian government forces fire back in order to defend their positions and the civilian population. As a result of intensive cross-fire during the night, two servicemen of the Georgian battalion of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces are injured. The separatist regime also claims several persons are injured on their side. Despite these provocative, targeted attacks on peaceful civilians and on Georgian police and peacekeeping forces, the Government of Georgia decides not to respond with heavy fire, in order not to escalate the conflict.

7 August: In a morning interview with Russian TV (NTV) and news agencies, South Ossetian separatist leader Eduard Kokoity declares that if the Georgian government does not withdraw its forces from the region, he will start "to wipe them out.” The Georgian military forces to which he refers are peacekeepers legally present in the South Ossetia conflict zone.

Georgian Special Envoy Temur Yakobashvili visits the conflict zone on August 7 to meet with representatives of the separatists. He meets General Marat Kulakhmetov, in Tskhinvali; Kulakhmetov states that he cannot contact the separatist leader Kokoity, and that Russian peacekeepers cannot stop the separatist attacks. Kulakhmetov admits that the separatists are shooting from the vicinity of Russian peacekeeping posts. During this meeting, at approximately 16:00, General Kulakhmetov suggests to Minister Yakobashvili that the Government of Georgia declare a unilateral ceasefire.

The Special Envoy of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Yuri Popov fails to arrive to Tskinvali, as previously agreed together with Minister Yakobashvili, citing a flat tire and a flat spare tire. When he finally reaches Tskhinvali, Popov meets Kokoity, and afterwards concedes that he cannot convince the separatists to hold urgent talks with Minister Yakobashvili.

Earlier, at approximately 00:15, separatists begin attacking the villages of Eredvi, Prisi, and Vanati, with artillery, including mortars and grenade launchers. Simultaneously, the separatists attack the Sarabuki Heights, where Georgian peacekeepers are stationed. Three Georgian peacekeepers are wounded during the Sarabuki attack. The fighting in this area continues until approximately 10:00.

At approximately 11:00, separatists resume shelling the Georgian villages of Nuli, Avnevi, Vanati, from the village of Khetagurovo. Three Georgian servicemen are injured; a Georgian law enforcers return fire towards the village where the firing comes from, Khetagurovo, killing two separatists and wounding two others. At approximately 14:00, the Georgian peacekeeping checkpoint in Avnevi is shelled, including again from Khetagurovo, killing two Georgian peacekeepers and eight civilians. Phone conversation interception of separatist militia confirming the death of Georgian military servicemen and civilians is available (Sigint)*.

After the killing of civilians and Georgian peacekeepers, at approximately 14:30, Georgian armed forces receive intelligence that Russian troops that had still not redeployed from July’s North Caucasian military exercises have been put on high alert and have received orders to prepare to march towards the Georgian border.

At approximately 14:30, Georgian forces mobilize tanks, 122mm howitzers, and 203mm self-propelled artillery in the direction of the administrative border of South Ossetia, in an effort to deter further separatist attacks, and to be in a position to defend the Russian-Georgian border in the event that Russia invades.

At approximately 17:00, Minister Yakobashvili calls General Kulakhmetov to inform him of the Government of Georgia’s decision to implement a unilateral ceasefire.

At approximately 17:10, Georgian peacekeepers unilaterally cease fire to defuse tensions.

At 18:40, Minister Yakobashvili holds a press conference to discuss the results of his visit to Tskhinvali, and announces the decision of the Government of Georgia to call for and implement a unilateral ceasefire.

At 19:10, in a televised address, President Saakashvili declares a unilateral ceasefire and calls for the separatists to respect it and resume talks.

At approximately 20:30, a Government controlled village of Avnevi comes under separatist mortar fire from Khetagurovo.

The chairman of the separatist Security Council, Anatoly Barankevich (a long-standing Russian military officer, who served for four years as First Deputy of the Military Commissioner in Chechnya), tells the local TV that armed groups of Cossacks are headed towards South Ossetia to "fight against Georgian forces”.

At 22:30, separatists fire at the Government -controlled village of Prisi and Tamarsheni, from Tskhinvali and the mountain of Tliakana, wounding civilians.

At 23:30, separatists open heavy fire on all Georgian peacekeepers’ positions around Tskhinvali, including the villages of Tamarasheni and Kurta; the Kurta police station is destroyed.

At 23:30, Georgian Government receive multiple human intelligence reports that about 150 armored vehicles and trucks with Russian soldiers are approaching the Roki Tunnel from Russia and moving towards Tskhinvali. Multiple signal intercepts of separatist security and military officials at around 3am and later confirm that columns are stretched from Roki to Java. (Sigint)*.

At 23:50, for the first time, and in response to the entry of Russian armed forces into Georgian sovereign territory, Georgian armed forces enter military action—using armor, including tanks, 122mm howitzers, and 203mm self-propelled artillery system Dana.

At approximately 00:45 on August 8, Georgian forces fire artillery rounds at the invading Russian forces on roads being used by a Russian column already moving south of the Roki Tunnel.

After Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion: 8 August to present

Outside Tskhinvali

On August 8, after advancing into the conflict zone of South Ossetia, Georgian armed forces seized control of a significant number of villages around Tskhinvali during a five-hour period (Tsinagara, Orchosani, Didmukha, Muguti, Gromi, Dmenisi, and Artsevi, ). During the fighting, Georgian armed forces encountered substantial Russian forces and separatist militias on the Zara bypass road leading to the northeastern part of Tskhinvali and the village of Khetagurovo, which had been substantially re-enforced with advanced artillery systems, armored vehicles, and self-propelled artillery. In response, Georgian artillery shelled both positions. Georgian artillery and aviation conducted a targeted attacks on the Gupta bridge, where Russian armed columns where entering Tskhinvali.

Outskirts of Tskhivali and Inside Tskhinvali

Tskhinvali is a small regional town, located in a river valley, approximately 75 kilometers from Tbilisi. Immediately prior to the conflict, the population was approximately 7,000, based on local intelligence estimates and on-the-ground reports. Following the mass evacuation on August 3-5, the number of residents decreased substantially.

Several Georgian positions were under attack from points on the outskirts of town, specifically from Verkhny Gorodok (the location of the Russian "peacekeepers” on the non-residential southwest portion of the city). This was the first position in the immediate vicinity of Tskhinvali that Georgian forces targeted using GRAD multiple-rocket launching systems, following repeated warnings to the Russian "peacekeeping” forces not to allow their positions to be used for attacks. Soon thereafter, Georgian artillery (again using GRADs) targeted stockpiles of munitions and fuel depots located on the western part of the city—outside civilian areas—and military barracks in the northwest part of Tskhinvali—also outside civilian areas,.

At approximately 11:00, once Georgian forces had secured the heights around Tskhinvali, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior forces entered the city of Tskhinvali. These forces came under fire from positions around the main government compound, located in the center of Tskhinvali. In response, Georgian forces employed precise artillery system Dana (not GRAD) against the ministries of defense, interior, intelligence (KGB), and the main government building of the separatists.

Russian aviation bombed Georgian positions on a continuous basis inside and around Tskhinvali once Government forces began advancing on the town. Russian aviation continued bombing in and around Tskhinvali for the next two days (until late in the day on August 10).

At approximately 14:00, Georgian forces took control of most of Tskhinvali. At 15:00, Georgian forces declared a 3-hour ceasefire to establish a humanitarian corridor.

Georgian forces began a phased retreat from Tskhinvali during the evening of August 9. Forces re-positioned themselves south of the city.

During the two days that Georgian forces were in control of separatist controlled villages (from August 8) there were no credible reports of looting or abuse of civilian populations, according to international human rights organizations. The ethnic Ossetian population in the conflict zone was not displaced, unlike the ethnic Georgian population under the Russian occupation. The only village that sustained severe damage was the village of Khetagurovo due to the location of substantial amounts of military equipment and forces around the village. After Government forces seized Khetagurovo, there was no cruel or degrading treatment of the civilian population, as documented by Human Rights Watch.

Russian Attacks & Invasion Outside the Conflict Zone

Ethnic Cleansing of Georgian Villages

Beginning on August 8 at 09:45, Russian aviation bombed a series of civilian and military targets across Georgia, outside the zone of conflict in South Ossetia, damaging infrastructure and causing significant civilian casualties. These targets include but are not limited to:

1. Gori and surrounding villages (including civilian infrastructure)
2. Marneuli airfield, central Georgia
3. Vaziani airfield, central Georgia
4. Kopitnari airfield, western Georgia
5. Oni (civilian areas), western Georgia
6. Poti port, western Georgia
7. Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, central Georgia
8. Anaklia, western Georgia
9. Zugdidi, western Georgia
10. Upper Abkhazia/Kodori Gorge, Abkhazia region
11. Tbilisi (aircraft factory and civilian radar facility in Tbilisi airport)
12. Khelvachauri, Ajara region
13. Shiraki, eastern Georgia
14. Senaki airport and military base, western Georgia
15. Kaspi, central Georgia
16. Khashuri district villages, central Georgia
17. Borjomi National Park, central Georgia.

International human rights groups have documented seeming targeting of civilian objects by the Russian regular troops.

The Russian Federation’s nationwide bombing campaign included the use of SS-26 "Iskander” short-range tactical missiles used against the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline. Russian forces also used short-range tactical missiles SS-21 "Tochka-U”on the cities of Poti and Gori. In the villages around the town of Gori, Russian forces used "Hurricane” missiles. Cluster bombs were used extensively in Gori and nearby villages, including Ruisi and Shindisi.

On August 10, the Russian navy landed in the port city of Ochamchire and launched an unprovoked attack in Upper Abkhazia/Kodori Gorge using artillery and massive air bombing. Until this point, there had been no hostilities in Abkhazia, Georgia. This attack began only after Georgian armed forces, located at the Senaki military base, were re-deployed eastward (August 9).

On August 12, Russian forces invaded the western Georgian town of Zugdidi and the strategic port of Poti.

Over 100 Georgian civilians are still being kept as hostages in inhumane conditions in the prison of Tskhinvali.

Following the retreat of Georgian armed forces towards Tbilisi, until today the Russian armed forces and paramilitary groups conduct widespread atrocities, including the burning, looting, kidnapping, raping, and summary executions of Georgian civilians inside and outside the zone of conflict. Within the zone of conflict, entire villages of Eredvi, Avnevi, Nuli, Kurta, Achabeti, Tamarasheni, Kekhvi, and Disevi, are deliberately burned and destroyed, resulting in the ethnic cleansing of Georgians. These atrocities have been committed after r all military clashes in the area were over. Many of these events are confirmed in reports issued by international human rights organizations.

Currently the Russian troops continue to occupy significant parts of Georgia.

Government of Georgia,
25 August 2008,
Tbilisi

21 Aug 2008

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bisschen zum spas


20 Aug 2008

Moscow did not expect from its closest ally


Belarus, Kazakhstan and others in the Commonwealth of Independent States remained silent for days after the fighting erupted last week as they scrambled to formulate positions.

As Russia grew uneasy over the silence, its ambassador to Belarus chided Minsk for failing to offer open support. Belarus eventually offered condolences for the victims almost a week into the conflict but kept it statements neutral.

Georgia then announced it was pulling out of the CIS -- a Russian-led grouping of former Soviet states -- and urged others to follow suit.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has skilfully balanced strong ties with both Russia and the United States, broke the silence on Wednesday, offering unusually strong words and saying CIS unity was under threat.

"Complex inter-ethnic issues should be solved through peaceful means, through negotiations. There is no military solution to these issues," he said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, due to actions by some CIS states, our community has become weak and has no levers to intervene in such conflicts."

Russia-friendly Turkmenistan, courted by the West as a new source of energy for Europe, likewise said "conflicts must be solved only through peaceful, diplomatic efforts".


The United States said this week that Russia, its ties with the West already strained over a number of issues, risked deeper isolation because of the violence in Georgia.

The conflict over South Ossetia has already given rise to further disagreement between Russia and Ukraine, which has sharply criticised Moscow's military incursion.

In a gesture of support, Ukrainian leader Victor Yushchenko, along with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and Poland attended a mass rally in Tbilisi this week.


Russia's traditional allies were more restrained and some, like Uzbekistan, have preferred to stay out by saying nothing.

Azerbaijan, keen to regain control over its own region of occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, avoided sharp words and called for peace.

"We support the territorial integrity of Georgia and support efforts to avoid the escalation (of violence) in the region and restore peace," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Independent Azeri media, however, have criticised the government over its ambiguous position. The widely read Zerkalo newspaper described Russia's actions as "fascism".

Commentators in Russia said Moscow was caught off guard by this reaction from its ex-Soviet neighbours.

"Everyone in Moscow thought: 'We are in the right and the enemy will be destroyed', but in Minsk and other CIS capitals everyone was in disarray," Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily wrote.

"This has totally paralysed the CIS leaders including Belarus. Moscow did not expect this from its closest ally."

Source: Kavkaz Center


Marauders

After the occupating Georgian City of Gori (birthplace of Stalin), marauders from the russian army are robbing shops, Government buildings and local houses, they steal everything from clothes to toilets...



Georgian internet club "Reaction" organized the protest action against robbers, they took to the embassy of russia old refrigerators, toilet papers, used irons, bottles with the water and forks with the spoons, used clothes and other attributes, which interested marauders from the Russian army during their visits of particular Georgian houses, the state institutions, the military bases and the barracks of soldiers.





16 Aug 2008

Human Rights Watch: Russia exaggerating South Ossetian death toll to provoke revenge against Georgians

Deliberate attempts by the Russian government to exaggerate the number of people killed in the South Ossetia conflict are provoking revenge attacks on Georgian villagers in the breakaway republic.

This is an important prove, that the 1400 deaths announced by the Russian officials, was nothing more than another piece of Russian propaganda. Human rights watch could confirm only 44 deaths in Tskhinvali. At the same time, it’s obvious Georgian forces can’t be solely blamed for these deaths, as Russians were bombing and attacking the town at least for two days, while Georgians were based there. And it’s not a fact, that all the deaths are on the Ossetian side.

At the same time, it is proven by international organizations that about 10,000 Georgians were killed in Abkhazia in 1993, while over 300,000 became refugees.

During the current conflict, just one bombing in Senaki killed about 30 civilians, while many other bombings took about 10 deaths each (in Marneuli, Gori, a bombing of a minibus and many others).

No one knows yet exactly how many Georgians are being killed currently in the places occupied by Russians. Over 30,000 Georgians lived in SO, mostly in the Georgian-controlled part which is now fully occupied by Russians, along with some territories outside of the conflict regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

People who have hidden in forests and escaped Russians this way, are telling that while in some villages Russians are killing people immediately, from other Georgian villages they are kidnapping people towards Ossetian villages.

15 Aug 2008

Russians use Cluster Munitions Against Civilians


The authorities of Georgia possess comprehensive evidence, proving that different types of heavy conventional weapons, including cluster munitions, Rocket Complex 9M72 Iskander (SS-26 Stone) etc., have been indiscriminately used against civilian population and infrastructure of Georgia. The utilization of such weapons against peaceful population and civilian objects vividly reveals the inhuman brutality of Russian troops acting on the territory of Georgia.

The number of civilian targets bombed or otherwise attacked by the Russian armed forces clearly indicates that it was not just a collateral damage: apartment buildings, Gori market and municipality, Poti seaport, the railway station and airport in Senaki, BTC pipeline, Kopitnari airport near Kutaisi, airfield in Upper Abkhazia, bridges linking eastern and western Georgia, civilian radar station near Tbilisi, etc.

It must be especially stressed, that the use of cluster munitions against civilian population is especially cynical next to the background of the efforts applied by the international community to restrict and even ban such types of weaponry.

Even after reaching agreement on August 12 on principles of resolution of Georgian-Russian conflict, mediated by the President of France, Russian Federation still continued bombing of civilian targets far beyond the conflict regions, causing mass destruction of infrastructure and severe physical and moral damage to the civilian population. Considering the aforementioned facts, we get a clear picture that the Russian troops continued their atrocities against civilian population of Georgia long after factual cease of hostilities against the Georgian armed forces, thus severely violating core principles of international humanitarian law.

Our information is confirmed by the data released by Human Rights Watch according to which, Russian military planes dropped RBK-250 cluster bombs, each containing 30 PTAB 2.5M sub-munitions, on the town of Ruisi in the Kareli district of Georgia on August 12, 2008. Three civilians were killed and five wounded in the attack. On the same day, a cluster strike in the center of the town of Gori killed at least eight civilians and injured dozens. Reportedly, the Dutch journalist Stan Storimans fell a victim to a cluster attack as well.

It is imperative that in the nearest future the international community must thoroughly consider, investigate and assess all violations of the international law by the Russian side.

Such actions must be unacceptable to all the democratic countries of the world, and should draw us together in strong and universal condemnation of the Russian aggression.


Russian aircraft dropped RBK-250 cluster bombs, each containing 30 PTAB 2.5M submunitions, on the town of Ruisi in the Kareli district of Georgia on August 12, 2008. Three civilians were killed and five wounded in the attack. On the same day, a cluster strike in the center of the town of Gori killed at least eight civilians and injured dozens, Human Rights Watch said. Dutch journalist Stan Storimans was among the dead. Israeli journalist Zadok Yehezkeli was seriously wounded and evacuated to Israel for treatment after surgery in Tbilisi. An armored vehicle from the Reuters news agency was perforated with shrapnel from the attack.

13 Aug 2008

Russia is breaking the agreement

City of Gori after bombing

Georgia and Russia have agreed on a plan to end hostilities, following a day of shuttle diplomacy by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. But Russia is braking the agreement!
13 August 2008:

-According to the local residents that keep calling to police, the following villages are being ravaged by Russian troops and Ossetian Separatists:
Kareli district – Avnevi, Tseronisi, Knolevi.
Kaspi district – Khandaki, Doesi, Karaghadi.
Gori district – Tkviavi.

- Residents of Gori are being taken hostage and sent to Tskhinvali.

- Georgian population of villages Bobnevi, Marana, Dzevera, Khidistavi, Tchalaubani is escaping to the forest from the Ossetian separatists.

- Gigi Mtvarelidze, member of Georgian CEC, have been robbed by the Russian-speaking militaries nearby Gori. They took his car with other possessions.

- Paata Sabelashvili, photographer, reported from highway nearby Gori that mini-bus with Georgian civilians have been robbed by Ossetian separatists, one of the passengers, 25-year old women has been kidnapped by the attackers.

- Many residents of Gori are escaping towards the village of Ateni, south of Gori, according to the reports on the ground.

- In Poti port Russian troops have blown up three Georgia Coast Guard vessels.

- Village Pakhulani, Tsalenjikha district has been entered by Russian soldiers

- According to reports from the ground, village of Atotsi, Kareli district, is entered by Ossetian separatists.

- Civilians have been kidnapped by Ossetian separatists from the village of Tkviavi. The bus, by which the kidnapped civilians were being transported to Tskhinvali crashed, after which 4 of them managed to escape.

- Russian soldiers are destroying the base of Gori artillery brigade.

Maps of Russian attacks on Georgia

Attacks on Georgian civilians:

On this map red dots indicate attacks during 8 and 9th of August,
purple indicate attacks during 10th of August,
blue
indicate attacks during 11th of August

Information about Web-site of Georgian MFA

As it is known, the Georgian electronic space is under permanent DDoS attack. The web-site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (www.mfa.gov.ge) is blocked. Relevantly, statements and press-releases of the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are available at the following address: http://georgiamfa.blogspot.com., as well as at the website of the President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczyński: www.president.pl: at a special link: information about the latest developments in Georgia.

11 August 2008
Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

APPEAL OF THE PARLIAMENT OF GEORGIA TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Despite the systematic efforts of the Georgian authorities, by means of the dialogue and the negotiations to create conditions for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the former Autonomous District of South Ossetia, the Tskhinvali separatist regime and illegal armed formations, subordinated to it, were purposefully trying to escalate and to charge the situation. Their recently committed actions shall be definitely assessed as the armed aggression against the Georgian state and first of all, against the population, residing on the territory of the former Autonomous District of South Ossetia. The illegal armed formations opened fire to the peaceful population and in spite of the fact that for the sake of maintenance of peace, the Georgian authorities were refraining to open the response fire; they continued terror of peaceful population and mass bombings.
Based on the above-mentioned, the Georgian authorities have been forced to take all the measures for protection of the peaceful population in the region, cleaning of territory from illegal formations and creation of necessary conditions for the peace, stability and development.
The situation is complicated by the circumstance that de-facto "Government” of the South Ossetia is actually composed by the officials, sent from Russia, who up to date are the active employees of the Russian power bodies, they do not represent the interests of the Ossetian population of the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and they had never lived in the region before the assignment to their positions. The Georgian authorities has several times appealed to the Russian authorities to take back these people from the region that would have become a serious precondition for the normalization of the situation.
Unfortunately, instead of bringing peace to the conflict zone, Russia realizes mobilization of illegal armed formations (so called "volunteers”), giving out to them armaments and heavy military equipment and their transfer to the conflict region through Rocki Tunnel.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia also participates in the aggression against Georgia – On the 8-th of August the Russian military aviation has several times violated the air space of Georgia and has attacked settlements in Kareli, Gori, Marneuli, Tskhinvali districts, and suburbs of Tbilisi. At the same time, as targets for air bombing have been selected the places, especially intensive gatherings of peaceful population –namely, the market of the city of Gori and the stadium.
It is unacceptable and cynical from the side of Russian authorities to justify the military aggression on the pretext of protection of the citizens of the Russia in Georgia. The history of Europe very well remembers the results of such policy, when in the 30s of the last century the military occupation of sovereign Czechoslovakia by the Nazi regime happened with the motivation of protection of the ethnic group’s interest, residing in one of the regions of this country.
In such conditions, the Parliament of Georgia considers that the country is in the circumstances of undeclared war from the side of the Russian federation and it is entitled, in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter of the UN, to take all the measures to secure the sovereignty and protection of the security of peaceful population.
At the same time, the Parliament of Georgia reiterates the firm will of the Georgian authorities to settle all the problems by means of the dialogue and to build a unified, democratic state, where the rights and freedoms of all the persons, despite their ethnic origin, will be safeguarded.
The Parliament of Georgia calls on the Parliaments of the partner countries, to the International Community and to the World democratic community and appeals to take all the efforts so as to stop the broad scale military aggression of Russia against Georgia, to discharge the situation in the Tskhinvali region and to start the peaceful settlement process of the conflict with the participation of international, unbiased mediators.

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

According to the reliable information held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Russian servicemen and separatists carry out mass arrests of peaceful civilians of Georgian origin still remaining on the territory of the Tskhinvali region and subsequently concentrate them on the territory of the village of Kurta.


Georgia appeals to the International Red Cross and other humanitarian and international organizations and the international community as a whole to immediately take decisive and effective measures for the evacuation of this population from the conflict zone.

Tbilisi, 11 August 2008

11 Aug 2008

Comparison of Georgian and Russian forces

RUSSIA
Total personnel: 641,000
Main battle tanks (various): 6,717
Armoured personnel carriers: 6,388
Combat aircraft (various): 1,206
Heavy artillery pieces (various): 7,550

GEORGIA
Total personnel: 26,900
Main battle tanks (T-72): 82
Armoured personnel carriers: 139
Combat aircraft (Su-25): Seven
Heavy artillery pieces (including Grad rocket launchers): 95
Source: BBC


... but the truth will win!

Russian Fighter Jets Bomb Civilian buildings

Georgia is trying to stop Russia alone

here is Russia's invasions history:

1921: Georgia, Azerbaidjan.
1933: Ukraine
1939: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
1968: Prague
1979: Afganistan
1989: Tbilisi
1992: Baku
1993: Moldova, Abkhazia (Georgia)
2008: Georgia.

WHO IS NEXT?












It's very hard for me to post these pictures, but the world should know about it - we have to STOP RUSSIA!