(See parts I, II, III)
The Club of Experts always emphasized in its publications that since the declaration of Independence of Georgian independence when Georgia's strive towards western values became apparent the Kremlin was trying to retain its influence over Georgia with all methods in its possession. All this was clearly demonstrated by further development of the events and analysis of the materials that depict activities of the Russian security services.
We should start from the fact that after the collapse of the Soviet Union directions of the security services of the Soviet union that curated Georgia were subjected to reorganization and a common centre were formed that on the basis of analyzes of acquired information would develop relevant agent and operational measures in order to timely respond to and influence processes that were taking place in Georgia. A new body was created in the Transcaucasian Military District (ZAKVO) by the central KGB and it was subordinated directly to the above centre and was nominally included in the 4th sector of the ZAKVO (curator lieutenant colonel Tsurika). The body had branches in Yerevan and Baku. The main purpose of the division in the new reality was conduction of agent and operational activities in Transcaucasus and, in particular, in Georgia that implied infiltration into legislative and executive bodies, law enforcement agencies (interior ministry, security services, defense ministry, national guard), union of veteran of Afghan war, political parties and public organizations. For this purpose the following was deemed necessary:
- Restore connections with those agents that had been acquired by special divisions during compulsory military service in military units deployed in various parts of the Soviet Union and who lived in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
- Creation and conservation of agent positions between current and former military servicemen of the Zakvo for the time when Soviet troops would withdraw from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
- Special attention in agent and operational activities should have been paid to development of mechanisms through which contacts were to be established with those representatives of the national movement whose services in formation of national sentiment and creation of the independent republic was great but a certain part of which, due to various reasons, was in confrontation with Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Emphasis should have been made on persons that were offended at being removed from their positions and who had authority in the national movement and could influence certain processes. It was believed to be possible to determine and work on those persons in the circle of Zviad Gamsakhursia who were opposed to his politics and who could be used in favour of Russia through financial incentive.
Operational workers of the subdivision used to carry out especially intense work with recruitment of non-Georgian workers of the security committee and this was partially achieved. In short time they formed new structure divisions (of intelligence, operational-technical, etc). Informational and analytical group that had the latest computer technology of the time was fully formed and started to work. the above group analyzed information received from operational and open (media) sources and regularly transferred it to the centre where based on the received information relevant active measures were planned that promoted artificial tension of the political situation in Georgia, deepening of the existing confrontations, fomentation of ethnic rivalry, compromising of authorities and so on.
As we mentioned above this subdivision was directly subordinated to Moscow and was accountable to it. One of its functions were also to coordinate agent-operational activities in the Georgian autonomies (Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Ajara), as well as in other Transcaucasian republics.
As the Club of Experts noted in one of its articles Georgia's national but inexperienced and too self-confident and ambitious authorities failed to relevantly assess and analyze extremely grave situation, its causes. And what is more important, abilities of the Russian security services - heir to very dangerous Soviet KGB that were actively influencing through their agents on processes in Georgia (Abkhazian separatism was born in labyrinths of the KGB. Part II). More, many irreparable mistakes were made as a result of which Russian security services easily managed to overthrow the Gamsakhurdia government.
As it later became apparent the Kremlin was not that enamoured with Shevardnadze either. But probably at that tine it was difficult to bet on anybody as an alternative to Zviad Gamsakhurdia. So they followed the principle of the "accustomed evil" and made their choice in favour of the old comrade of Yeltsin. "National" forces that overthrew Zviad Gamskhurdia did not allow Shevardnadze who came with the wave of the state coup to enter the CIS. Offended Russia provoked the war in Abkhazia and dragged Georgia in unequal war for the period of more than a year. ... Yes, it started it and defeated us. Nobody should have an illusion that at the time Georgia had any chance of victory in this war, even a slight chance of emerging from this war with dignity. We present here a small account how events were unfolding.
As we know, on the basis of a bilateral agreement there should have been 65 members in the Supreme Council of Abkhazia. 28 of them should have been Abkhazians, 26 -Georgians, and 11 - representatives of other nationalities. How fair was such proportion that is another matter. But even in this unfavourable situation it was possible to find a solution if we had managed to elect 26 persons in the first round and to find 7 persons out of those 11 non-Georgians and non-Abkhazians who were loyal to Georgians. The fact that in a situation when every voice in the Supreme Council were be crucial, the Georgian side should have been more responsible. First, we failed to choose those 26 people in the first round, when Abkhazians have selected all 28. And then, although, we managed to push through 6 out of those 11 persons of other nationalities but... except for Eteri Astemirova and Olga Nagarnina, other four - one Russian and three Armenians betrayed us at the first session and moved to Abkhazian side. Was it negligence of the Georgian side or treachery? We believe it was both.
The reality was that in the second half of the eighties gradual strengthening of the separatist sentiment and anti-Georgian radical manifestations of different form created conditions for strengthening of Georgian national charge that transformed the national liberation movement in Abkhazia into a united national movement. Naturally, in this situation, every sensible Georgian, despite its party affiliation and past, began to unite under a single idea. Therefore national forces, voluntarily or involuntarily, have fallen under the influence of local Georgian party or other high-rank functionaries. And among them there were many who had the only goal - to please Zviad Gamsakhurdia in order to maintain the position or obtain the desired one. (One of them even accompanied Gamsakhurdia into the bunker but after realizing that his defeat was inevitable, betrayed him and fled and later was assuring Shevardnadze of his loyalty). Moreover, as we know, the circle of Zviad Gamsakhurdia consisted of opposing groups that were trying separately to impose their own opinions on the president. The decision depended on which group was quicker to do this. Therefore, often there were inadequate and, in certain cases, contradictory decisions. The same happened with regards to the question of Abkhazia...
This is the time when the national forces that came to power in Georgia and were still in euphoria treated the Abkhazian issue rather too lightly and were not taking our advice into account. Neither leaders of the Abkhazian separatists who were instigated by the Russian security services intended to yield.
When they were selecting those 11 persons of non-Georgian and non-Abkhazian origin they did not allowed us, security services, close. In addition, not only did not they consider persons that we suggested they did not even allow us to study who their chosen candidates were.
Those people not only did not take responsibility for what happened which was not just negligence but something tantamount to betrayal, but did not even express regret. It was the majority that we granted them as a result of our spinelessness that allowed Ardzinba to pass laws unacceptable for the Georgians side.
The situation was aggravated by the fact that representatives of the Georgians side often did not have a common position with regards to certain issues. And this was used by the separatists in their favour. To confirm this we just need to recall a stir that was raised around the issue of appointment of the chairman of the council of the ministers of Abkhazia. As we know it was agreed with the Abkhazian side that prime minister should have been Georgian and that it should have been presented by the Georgian side. In addition, in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding candidates for posts of prime minister and chairman of the supreme council should have been passed in a package. The Georgian side failed to agree on a candidate for prime minister. There were many who wished to get this post and they were lobbied by various groups of the Zviad Gamsakhurdia circle. The time expired and as Georgians failed to reach an agreement on the candidate for prime minister they were compelled to make concessions. Ardzinba was almost unanimously elected as the chairman of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia. Struggle for the post of the prime minister continued and there seemed no end to it. Ardzinba was promoting this in every possible way. In the end he violated the agreement and made the Parliament to appoint prime minister.
Let's not forget that he did not go to open confrontation and appointed as prime minister not Abkhazian but his loyal, but still ethnic Georgian Zarandia. This indicated that not all was lost yet. I must repeat that it is clear today when we know what we know. But then everything was perceived very emotionally and mistakes were made one after another. The entire country lived in euphoria. Our long-wished freedom and independence that we got in the end made us lose our carefulness and we were easily caught in the trap set up by our enemy.