My long-suffering Georgia
19/08/2010 13:22
Vasil Kvirikashvili
Experts' Club

"My work covers anatomy of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and considers the question of indigenous population of Tskhinvali and Ossetian relocation to Georgia in XVII-XIX centuries based on analysis of Georgian and foreign sources and the official population data. It reveals absurdity of the point of view of Ossetian "scientists"-amateurs about joining of "South Ossetia" to Russia in 1774 and presents unprecedented facts of distortion of the history of Georgia and attempts to appropriate Georgian cultural heritage.

The book also shows the official statistics demonstrating the highest in the former Soviet Union standards of living of Ossetians living in Georgia".

Anzor Totadze


This article is based on the book by Anzor Totadze "Ossetians in Georgia: Myths and Reality". The material is presented with slight modifications.

Centuries-old traditional friendship, kinship, and mutual cooperation between the Georgian and Ossetian peoples were faced by a serious challenge, which was imposed on our peoples by external forces. These forces are trying to prevent the restoration of "broken bridge" for what they create "ideology" built on lies and deceit. Proof of this is four heavy volumes by Ossetian separatist authors that were published in Moscow one after another just in 2006 (!!!). By doing so they are rewriting the past and trying to create a false history and to turn upside down the real history of relations between Georgian and Ossetian peoples. All this hinders the process of state-building and integration of different nations living in Georgia.

So these attacks should be given an adequate response. This is necessary for both Georgians and Ossetians, as false knowledge, and falsified history creates fertile ground for development of such events that neither now nor in the future will benefit the common cause of our peoples.

In recent years, a lot of thick books written by Ossetian pseudo-scientists, practically amateurs have been published, in which the history of Georgia and in fact that of the entire Caucasus is turned on its head. They compose their false history from nothing, mercilessly distorting written sources, statistical data and try to pass the desirable for reality whatever it takes. All this serves one purpose - justify the independent existence of "the Republic of South Ossetia" on ancestral Georgian land, encroachment on sovereignty of Georgian statehood and its territorial integrity. In this matter Ossetian separatists are supported, encouraged and assisted by the reactionary forces in Russia. Without this support, Ossetian separatists would not have dared to so grossly interfere in internal affairs of Georgia. They encroached on Georgian soil, and the actions of Georgians directed at protection of their territorial integrity are considered as aggression by Georgia. Ossetian scientist-amateurs are using the difficult situation that has been in Georgia and which always accompany the process of gaining independence, construction of a democratic society, and using fictional history are trying to raise even more aggression in their people against Georgians, to sow enmity and hatred between the Georgian and Ossetian peoples – peoples that are connected through centuries-long history of good-neighbourly relations and coexistence.

The history of the Ossetian people is mostly preserved in the Georgian sources as the Ossetians had no written language. If it were not for the ancient Georgian sources, the Ossetians actually would not know their history. But today they read Georgian sources in their own way, as they please. They forget that the ancient Georgian historical and literary sources, some of which are translated into foreign languages, are known not only to Georgian historians, but also to foreign, including famous Russian historians. Therefore, those who publish the above-mentioned thick books in Moscow and "want to create a new history by rewriting it" must take into account that the ancient Georgian sources are studied by authoritative researchers who are more famous than those Ossetian scientists-amateurs that succumbed to the current situation and whose works are only aimed at one thing - to pass things as though Ossetia consists of two parts (north and south). To do this, they have to say that Ossetians have been living in eastern Georgia, in particular, in Shida Kartli region since time immemorial, and that it has never been the territory of Georgia. And today they are asserting this myth very diligently. According to them, in 1774 united Ossetia, both North and South were added to Russia and that Georgia has nothing to do on this Russian territory. And that during 70 years South Ossetia, which was an autonomous region within Georgia experienced colonial oppression and that quality of life of Ossetians living there was extremely low. Therefore, in their view, the problem of South Ossetia must be resolved in accordance with basic principles of international law recognized by the UN and which gives people a guarantee of self-determination. In June 2006, during a meeting between the presidents of Georgia and Russia, the Georgian president said that annexation of the territory of Georgia was taking place and Georgia would not give anyone "not a single metre" of its land. A little earlier a phrase about the territorial integrity of Georgia altogether disappeared from the vocabulary of Russian diplomacy. More, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia forgot that South Ossetia was a de jure part of Georgia and repeatedly declared that it was "internationally recognized as a conflict zone" status of which should be determined through negotiations. Then Russian Foreign Ministry remembered about the "right of nations to self-determination".

Probably there is no state in the world where no representative of the nation of a neighbouring state resides. And if they all start to appropriate territories of that state to attach them to their historic homeland carnage cannot be avoided. Therefore, large states should be guided by common sense. Otherwise, if we allow such completely unfounded precedent, it will contribute to gross violations of fundamental principles of international law.

The flow of the main river of Georgia - Mtkvari defined division of historical Kartli region into Zemo (upper) Kartli, Shida (inner) Kartli and Kvemo (lower) Kartli. According to Georgian chroniclers, Georgian hagiographic monuments of early feudalism and Armenian geography of the VII century, the ancient name of Shida Kartli was Zena Sopeli. This historic province Georgia, writes the Georgian historian of the XI century Leontius Mroveli, stretched "from Tpilisi and Aragvi to Tashiskari and Paravani". According to the same chronicler, Uplos - a descendant of one of ethnarchs of Georgians Kartlos - who "ruled the country from Aragvi and Tpilisi to Tashiskari and Paravani, built Uplistsikhe, Urbnisi, Caspi, and this country from Aragvi and Armazi to Tashiskari was called Zena Sopeli and which is now called Shida Kartli region". The first king of Kartli (Iberia) kingdom Pharnavaz I (late IV and the first half of the III BC) divided Kartli into saertistavos (province) and one of these was saeristavos was Shida Kartli - Zena Sopeli of earlier period. Throughout our entire history, whether it was Greek geographer Strabo (which mentions the Shida Kartli as central Iberia) or outstanding Georgian geographer of the first half of XVIII century Vakhushti Batonishvili, Georgian historian of XI century Dzhuansher and other Georgian chroniclers and old Georgian writers, Italian missionaries or European travelers - all without exception considered the Greater Caucasus Range as northern boundary of Shida Kartli. Indeed, the Greater Caucasus Range is the northern boundary of not only Shida Kartli region, but also that of the whole of Georgia...

(To be continued)

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