Who is who? : Actions of Ossetians of Shida Kartli in the twenties of the XX century
20/07/2010 14:47
Vasil Kvirikashvili
Experts' Club

The order of authorities of Soviet Russia towards Ossetians living in Georgia - putting Georgia in the state of war for the purpose of destruction of Georgian statehood – seriously raised an issue of independence of Georgia and physical survival of Georgian people. All the more that at the time there was a real danger of civil war and its permanent existence. Publications in the press of the time show how seriously Georgian political spectre of that time considered this danger poised by Ossetians in the twenties of the XX century.

With this regard special attention deserves an article "Agricultural anarchy" by the author published under the pen-name G. Gollend titled ". Every Georgian - reads the article - should be trying to physically defend Georgia. If we start to kill each other in a civil war then why would we need either national freedom or establishment of any of social ideals? The nation eradicated in internal war needs neither of them. The nation fate of which is on the last ropes should first establish and strengthen itself and then it will have opportunity of creative building. If the nation starts to deepen social confrontations its destruction will be inevitable and it will be destroyed by this deepening process".

According to the mentioned extract the main survival opportunity of the Georgian nation at this stage was considered to be elimination of inner confrontations existing within the country at that time. This view was shared by majority of Georgian political spectre of that time. Therefore it should not be surprising that authorities of independent Georgia started an uncompromising fight against separatism and instigators of the civil war. Against this background the issue of revision of their approach towards Ossetians was seriously raised before the Georgian political figures. Given the very difficult political situation they were faced with a dilemma that at the time it was yet determined how to cure Georgia from Ossetian tumour.

This difficult issue is one of the main topics of discussion of the Georgian political spectre. With this regards special attention was caused by the fact that Ossetians continued their activities that were directed against the state in decisive moments. Given this reality a decision should have been made that would ensure internal security of Georgia. If we look at the issue in this light any political figure would find itself in a very difficult position. The issue in question is Ossetian settlements that intruded deep into Shida Kartli.

A statement made by one of the leaders of Social-Democratic party Karumidze that he made at the national council in August 1918 that "Ossetian are fatal tumour on our body and it is necessary to remove it" caused irritation of socialist revolutionary Pachuashvili. According to the latter realization of Karumidze's suggestion would have led to deepening of rivalry between Georgians and Ossetians. And according to Parniev national democrats wanted Ossetians to hate the Georgian government. In this case Pachuashvili and Parniev were clearly lying as their activities and official statements have already practically confirmed their hatred towards Georgians and Georgian government. The existing situation demanded unbiased assessment and recognition of existing reality.

We will provide several extracts from publications of that time to demonstrate ingratitude of Ossetians and negative attitude of Georgian political parties towards this reality where objective assessment of Ossetian "deeds" are given. With this regard special attention should be given to the article "Ossetians' uprisings" published in Ertoba newspaper. "Ossetians living in Georgia – reads the article – received everything from the revolution whatever was possible to receive - lands and water, woods and pastures and freedom. This is the treasure that the revolution gave us. But people of mountains cannot understand this blessing that a new life has given them".

Against this background if we consider "service" rendered by Ossetians living in Georgia towards we understood that they were parasites to Georgia. In order to avoid accusations towards us for this statement we will bring an extract from the article "Ossetian danger" published under the penname of Akhalgoreli in the Sakhalkho Sakme newspaper. So we let a reader to find out itself what role was played by Ossetians in political life of Georgia at that time. "Whenever there was a danger to a country – says the article – we do not remember that ever Ossetians of Georgia have taken any part in defending our country and even said a word of sympathy to Georgian people, or made real sacrifices to defend a land they lived on and where they lived much happier that Georgian peasants".

The same view is expressed in the article published in Ertoba newspaper "about Ossetians again". "We thought that Ossetians would realize their duties before the republic. In the course of these two years they have not given even a single soldier to the state, never given even a dime to the treasury of the republic and like parasites lived at the expense of other citizens". Abuladze has also published an article "Movement of Ossetians" in the Mkhedari magazine about ingratitude of Ossetians. "Hardworking people of Georgia showed / displayed a great love towards Ossetians, even more than it was necessary, Lands that were taken away from Georgian landowners were given to Ossetian peasants – to those Ossetian peasants that, apart form few exceptions, have never even lifted a finger to defend Georgia. They got every benefit that the democratic system gave to people of Georgia. But Ossetians were still not satisfied. Georgian could not gain their heart!"

If we analyze the above materials objectively we will understand that: 1) It clearly shows negative attitude of Georgian political circles towards Ossetians; 2) Arguments are given that irritation of Georgian politicians were not just caused by parasite existence of Ossetians but it was based on four-time betrayal of Ossetians. How evil Ossetians ' deeds should have been to make Georgians - Georgians that are known for their tolerance that goes to foolishness towards foreigners and are even willing to give up some part of their home - lose their patience and reach the point when they recognized that their previous good deeds towards Ossetians were a mistake.

In the twenties of the XX century special "talent" of Ossetians appeared to be in their "inner crusades" against Georgia during the worst time for Georgia. These actions implied extreme hatred towards Georgia and Georgian nation. Georgian politicial cricles saw this very well and were not hiding their astonishment. This is confirmed by an article "This should be stopped" by Laskhishvili published in Sakhalkho Sakme newsaper. "I woulkd love to know - asks Laskhishvili – why Osseitns hate the Republic of Georgia? They are not paying any taxes, are not serving in the army, are not helping the republic in any way, and are taking advantage of everything. Enormous funds are spent on them and it is not done to always get their hostile attitude?".

The same problematic was touched upon in the article "for resettlemt of Ossetians" by Dididze puvblished in Klde newspaper. "Ossetisn people that are alight with hatred towards Georgia - writes the author - breaths Georgian air and eats our bread. But... Every year they are puting a sword in Georgia's back and fight against it". Given that Dididze compalined that they did not give appropriate answer to Ossetians and could not ensure Georgia for good from Ossetian danger. One very important detail should be considered here - a enormous mistake that was made in the previous centuries by Georgian kings and noblility by "inviting" Ossetians from north and their settlement in the mountainous strip of Shida Kartli. Representatives of Georgian political thought of the time demanded from authorities of independent Georgia to be immediately rectified. But at the same time they could not offer any argumentative alternative to the same authorities that would enable them to resolve the problem. Despite this at every possible moment they reminded the Georgian government about an unavoidable and expected danger from "savage Ossetian Shepards" that lived in 22 Ossetian villages of the mountains of Shida Kartli. "Georgian state could not get rid of Ossetian tumour – wrote Dididze - this tumour is constantly bleeding and is rotting the heart of Kartli... Ossetians are a constant danger to Georgia. Everyday Ossetians dream of defeat of Georgia". This extract shows an incredible hatred towards Ossetians. It is not surprising as Ossetian rebellions in 1918-1920 economically and politically led independent state of Georgians to the brink of abyss. If we consider the Ossetian issue in this light the above assessment of Dididze will be acceptable for sensible Georgians. As to opportunities to cure the Ossetian tumour the same Dididze offered Georgian authorities the following "cure": "While Mamisoni And Roki are in hands of Ossetians and while they are populated at the gates of our borders the republic cannot be guaranteed to be free from yearly Ossetian raids. We cannot ask of Ossetians not only loyalty but tolerance as well... Ossetians would always betray us; Ossetians will open the door to everybody with great joy. It is necessary that by the orders of the government Ossetians are completely removed from these places and instead of them Georgian elements loyal to their homeland are settled there".

It clearly states that Ossetians should be removed from border regions of the mountainous northern strip and settlement of loyal Georgians instead of them. In the opinion of representatives of the Georgian political thought of the time considered doing this to be number one task. In this case they ruled out all kinds of compromises as based on past experiences they believed themselves to be deceived with regards to Ossetians. With regards to this issue Abuladze in his article "Movement of Ossetians" wrote: "We wanted Ossetians to come to their senses and repent their crimes. We thought they were uneducated people and provocateurs instigated the. That was why they were so easily excused for their hostile uprisings that they carried out several times with a purpose of Georgia's destruction.

They still remained full citizens of Georgia as we wanted to consider all residents of our republic. But .. we were bitterly deceived".

Possible danger to national state did not allow Georgian politicians to once again deceive themeselves. Given that it was a matter of principle – to tell the truth to people and reveal once and for all who was who. A puropose of reading of the extract from publication of well-known publicist and public figure Ia Ekaladze that was read by Grigorl Veshapeli at the July 23rd 1918 session of the national Council was to reveal Ossetian danger and essesnce of Ossetian nature itself. It reads the following:

"...When one part of Ossetian intelligentsia is raisisng Ossetians that were charitably sheltered by Georgians against the same Georgians on the territory of Georgia is not just ingratitude but downright injustice which staretd 20-30 years ago. Initiators were Russian officials led by well-known Vostorgov. Later youth who were educated in Russian schools as spitendiants of Russia continued this. Vostorgov and these youngsters poisoned Ossetians of Georgia and this poison will stay there until free Georgia does not eliminate Geprgia's enemies and show Georgia's Ossetians their mistakes.

One just needs to go to Liakhvi gorge or Tskhinvali to see the circle that was created by Ossetian population and just look at actions of Ossetian traders that had recently settled in Tskhinvali and Dagvrisi. We should look at sons of these traders, young generation, students and pupils, their unions and intentions and one will agree that neither they will be avert from any possibility to take something away from weakened Georgia and to take advantage of its misfortunes".

As we see Georgian political and public opinion was identical with rewards to doubting trustfulness of Ossetians, their hatred and hostile attitude towards Georgians, appropriation of Georgian lands by Ossetians and their intentions taking advantage of Georgian misfortunes. Georgian public opinion recognized that there was a poisonous snake sheltered in Georgia – in Shida Kartli which every year was trying to spread its poison and thus achieve collapse of Georgian state and violation of its territorial integrity. Against this background it is natural that the following issues were seriously raised before the political circles of Georgia:

1) What to do with Ossetians that lived in Shida Kartli;
2) How to stop Ossetian separatism that was managed by foreign country for the purpose of destruction of newly-formed independent Georgia;
3) What kind of "cure" to use to save independent Georgia from Ossetian tumour.

The above-mentioned issues were a subject of broad discussions among representatives of Georgian political thought...

To be continued

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