Thursday, August 21, 2008

Communist Party of the Russian Federation on Georgia


Moscow, August 14, 2008

Dear comrades,

Proceeding from the practice of a constructive and mutually beneficial exchange of views on various complex issues of the present situation in the world that has been already existing in our relations, we would like to state the firsthand information on the development of the armed conflict in South Ossetia. We consider it a matter of top priority with a view that the leading American and many European TV companies have been broadcasting extremely one-sided – if not to say biased- information on the above issue during the past several days.

Firstly, a few words about the historical background of the conflict. Ossetia became part of the Russian Empire as a single province (without any division into the Northern and Southern parts) in 1774. After the disintegration of the Russian Empire in 1917 Georgia stated its claims to the territory of South Ossetia. In 1918-1920 the people of South Ossetia were subjected to the first genocide by “independent and democratic” Georgia. Then, thousands of South Ossetins were annihilated and ousted to North Ossetia by Georgian troops which, in fact, destroyed almost all the villages in South Ossetia.

In 1921 the Soviet power was constituted in South Ossetia and in 1922 the latter was annexed to Georgia as an autonomous region. The new administrative status of South Ossetia did not change the attitude of Tbilisi. Under the slogans of friendship among nations the Ossetins were forced to change family names into Georgian names. The policy pursued by the Georgian authorities led twice to the change of the Ossetian alphabet into Georgian script as well as to a stable decrease in the number of the population of South Ossetia, although, there was a growth of the population on the whole territory of the USSR.

At the end of the 80s of the 20th century Georgian national extremists launched a campaign on the destruction of the South Ossetian autonomy. All the Republican legal acts that formed the basis of the existence of the autonomy were annulled. In 1990 the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic abrogated all the legislative acts adopted after 1921 including the document on the annexation of South Ossetia to the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, thus placing South Ossetia beyond the constitutional and legal framework of Georgia.

Discrimination and threats with respect to the Ossetins turned into an armed aggression and destruction of the people of South Ossetia in 1989-1992. As a result of the forced actions undertaken by Georgia against South Ossetia in the period from November 1989 to July 1992 (to the moment of the stationing of Russian peacekeeping forces in the zone of Georgian-Ossetian conflict) more than 3 000 Ossetins died, 300 were missing, more than 100 Ossetian villages were burnt down and more than 40 000 people became refugees in Russia.

At the time of the disintegration of the USSR the referendum in the Abkhaz and South-Ossetian autonomies of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, envisaged by the USSR Constitution still in effect to that moment, was never held. In that existing situation, on May 29, 1992, the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of South Ossetia proclaimed independence “taking into consideration the will of the people expressed during the referendum held on January 19, 1992”.

On June 24, 1992 in Sochi B. Yeltsin and E. Shevardnadze signed an Agreement on the principles of the settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, under which a peacekeeping operation in South Ossetia began on July 14, 1992. Joint peacekeeping forces, including Russian, Georgian and Ossetian military units, were stationed in the zone of the conflict. The Sochi Agreement also envisaged the creation of a Joint control commission on the settlement of the conflict. During the next years the peacekeepers have successfully solved the main goal – to prevent the resumption of military activities.

Secondly, the present stage of the conflict. As you may well know, on March 4, 2008, Georgia claimed that it no longer considered the Joint control commission an effective mechanism of the settlement and came out for its replacement by a new format of “2+2+2” (the Georgian authorities and the progeorgian so called Government of D. Sanakoev + the Russian side and the Government of E. Kokoity + the OSCE and the EU). This initiative was rejected by the South Ossetian side, what made the implementation of the above proposal impossible, no matter how Russia and other European states should treat it.

During the next five months tension has been constantly growing along the division line between the main territory of Georgia and South Ossetia, primarily, in connection with the consistent concentration of Georgian military units, including the heavy military equipment (prohibited by the Sochi Agreement) along this line. Frequent provocations on reciprocal basis were an additional burden to the Joint peacekeeping forces. Repeated appeals by Russia to the Georgian leadership and our appeals to the international community to support the idea of signing a legally binding document between the sides in the conflict on the renunciation of the use of military force have, unfortunately, remained unanswered.

It is becoming clear now, why for many months M. Saakashvili has been so consistent in rejecting our insistent proposal. Quite recently – before the military activities were unleashed against South Ossetia, M. Saakashvili said that there was no sense in asking for such a document as Georgia did not use force against its people. Now we see that it does use it.

In the night of August 7-8 the Georgian military forces launched the attack. It was done despite the promises of armistice given by the President of Georgia some few hours earlier before the well planned large-scale aggression. Thus, we are talking about a deliberate fraud and forgery committed by M. Saakashvili. By his actions he has as well grossly ignored the appeal of the UN General Assembly resolution to observe “the Olympic armistice” for the period of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Peaceful villages of South Ossetia were subjected to massive attacks and bombings, the capital of South Ossetia – Tskhinvali - was completely destroyed. M. Saakashvili in his activities has stepped all the limits of the admissible, in fact, giving his blessings to the “mop up operations” against his people. Actually, we are witnessing a purposeful and treacherous genocide sanctioned by him. According to the approximate numbers of victims of the Georgian aggression there may be up to two thousands of innocent civilian population – mostly women, old people and children, primarily Russian. Georgian snipers did not allow medical services to carry out life-saving operations. The civilian population of Tskhinvali remaining still alive were forced to hide from the heavy fire of the Georgian military forces in awful conditions in the cells and basements of the demolished buildings. M. Saakashvili is responsible for the immense large-scale humanitarian catastrophe. Since the beginning of The military operation by Georgians more than 30 000 refugees fled from the Republic.

The HQ of the Joint peacekeeping forces in Tskhinvali was also attacked. According to the available information, 18 Russian peacekeepers were killed, more than 100 were wounded. Many of them were hit by bullets fired by so called peace keepers from Georgia shooting against their brother-soldiers from behind as betrayers.

As is well known, 90% of the population of South Ossetia are Russian citizens. Under the Constitution of the Russian Federation the state shall ensure the security of its citizens. Under these conditions we started an operation on compulsion to peace. Up to now, the Russian peacekeepers were stationed in Tskhinvali in full compliance with the international law and the already existing agreements. The reinforcement units sent there were aimed to protect our peacekeepers in Tskhinvali, thus not to leave them without any help against the acts undertaken by Georgia, and were exclusively aimed to protect the Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population as well as to stop the Georgian aggression. Russian troops do not take up the regions belonging to South Ossetia or the regions that do not belong to it.

The present situation is a result of the personal decision made by M. Saakashvili, the decision that he made and realized at his own responsibility, thus jeopardizing the stability in the whole region. President of France Mr Nicolas Sarkozy took part in the name of the European Union in the regulation of the conflict and contributed much to an agreement upon the well known peace plane consisting of 6 positions which was supported both by the Russian President Dmitry Medevedev as well as by Mikhail Saakashvili. Russia is unconditionally fulfilling its commitments according to the plan? What matters right now is how Georgians will behave.

We hope that the information set forth above will be useful for you and that you will find an opportunity to make your contribution to the solution of a major task for the present moment – i.e. to safeguard security of people, to exclude any perspective of resumed military activities of the Georgian army against South Ossetia, to return the situation to the legal framework.

And the last point. The media coverage of the tragedy is South Ossetia in Western media is extremely one -sided, preconceived and biased. No reports from South Ossetia, everything is about Gori and other Georgian cities where casualties if any are definitely incomparable with those in Thshinvali.
Imagine CNN would never have mentioned 9/11 starting with US military operation in Afghanistan. How would it look like? This is exactly the way Russia is being presented right now in your eyes. This is definitely not fair.
Best regards,

International Department
of the CC CPRF