Occupied Tskhinvali region: history, causes of conflict, processes of settlement and occupation - (Part II)
13/12/2010 14:58
Gocha Gvaramia
Experts' Club

The escalation of the conflict

In the first part we tried to give a reader at least a general idea of what constitutes a Tskhinvali region in historical terms, and when the so-called South Ossetia was formed - a historical part of Georgia to which Russia so brazenly lays claim, resorting to distortion of historical facts and brute force. In this part we will try to restore chronological order of those processes, how bloody conflict between Georgians and Ossetians was developing – the conflict between people majority of which were connected with each other in mixed families.

There is no reason for armed confrontation in the occupied Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia, which claimed thousands of lives and turned hundreds of thousands of Georgians into refugees in their own country, to be blamed on the National Movement of Georgia of the eighties of the XX century. And the fact is that these accusations are thrown by the separatists, the Kremlin spin doctors and the Russian media to the present day. The conflict has been systematically prepared for decades and at the instigation of the KGB (committee of state security) of the Soviet Union and the separatist leaders of local organization of the Communist Party. And it began in the period preceding the collapse of the Soviet Union, amid escalation of ethnic conflict that they themselves purposefully fuelled. All this became particularly noticeable since 1988 when people's front - Adamon Nykhas was created in South Ossetian Autonomous District. According to a plan devised by central KGB, this organization, as well as Abkhazian "Aidgilara", as the Club of Experts wrote in its publication Abkhazian separatism was born in the labyrinths of the KGB - Part I, were organizations allegedly formed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia by local national forces. In reality, a goal was defined for them - to enter into confrontation with Georgian national-liberation forces and prevent them in their struggle for independence of Georgia.

It was Adamon Nykhas that led protests that began in the Tskhinvali region in 1989. The reason was the decision of the Communist Party of Georgia, the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Georgia and the Council of Ministers of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic of August 15th, 1989 "On state program of the Georgian language". This program sought to "ensure the constitutional status of Georgian language as the official language in all party, government, administrative, scientific, educational, cultural, economic institutions and enterprises, social organizations."

On September 26th, 1989 leadership of the South Ossetian Autonomous District raised an issue before the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Georgia of introducing a supplementary item in the 75th article of the Constitution of the Georgian SSR, which read: "official language in the South Ossetian Autonomous District is Ossetian language".

At the end of September 1989 the first secretary of the Communist Party of Georgia Givi Gumbaridze and chairman of the Council of Ministers Tchitanava arrived in Tskhinvali and met there with representatives of the public of the South Ossetian Autonomous District, local party establishment. This visit was caused by the decision of the South Ossetian District Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia and the executive committee of the Regional Council of People's Deputies on the state program of development of the Ossetian language, adopted on September 4th, 1989.

A broad wave of rallies started rolling in South Ossetian Autonomous District from October 1989. This was the reason for introduction of additional police detachements into the city. Adamon Nykhas organized "appeal of Ossetian workers" to the Supreme Council of the USSR, Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Central Committee of Communist Party of Georgia, where "Ossetian workers" and Adamon Nykhas undertook "joint" campaign against anti-imperialist liberation movement that began in Georgia.

November 10th, 1989. The Extraordinary Session of the Council of People's Deputies of the XII convocation of the South Ossetian Autonomous District passed a resolution on raising the status of South Ossetia and declared Autonomous District as South Ossetian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The session called on the Supreme Council of the Georgian SSR and the USSR Supreme Council to consider granting South Ossetian Autonomous District a status of autonomous republic.

The session also decided to change the first paragraph of the resolution of the XI session of the District Council of People's Deputies of South Ossetia of the XX Convocation "On State Program of development of the Ossetian language" of September 26th, 1989. From then onwards Ossetian language was declared official language on the territory of South Ossetian Autonomous District, while free and equal functioning of the Georgian and Russian language were to be carried out "according to the language policy of the USSR."

On November 23rd, 1989 15,000 Georgians marched towards Tskhinvali to hold a peaceful rally. At the outskirts of the city the road before them was blocked by armed men of Ossetian nationality and units of the 8th Regiment of internal troops of the Soviet Union. In order to avoid further aggravation of the situation, leaders of the Georgian national liberation movement refused to enter into Tskhinvali and they held a rally on adjoining territory and then went back.

On March 9th, 1990 an extraordinary XIII session of the Supreme Council of the Georgian SSR of the XI convocation was called, which adopted a resolution "On guarantees of protection of state sovereignty of Georgia."

The next stage of escalation of the situation was the summer of 1990, when before the upcoming parliamentary elections the Georgian Supreme Council passed the Law on Elections, which forbade regional parties to participate in elections. The Ossetian side considered this move as action against Adamon Nykhas, and on September 20th, 1990 South Ossetia was proclaimed a sovereign entity of the USSR - so-called South Ossetian Soviet Democratic Republic. The next day, the Presidium of the Supreme Council announced the cancellation of this decision.

November 28th, 1990. By the decision to the XVI (II) session of the Council of People's Deputies of the South Ossetian Soviet Democratic Republic the South Ossetian Soviet Democratic Republic was transformed into "Soviet Republic of South Ossetia".

Ossetians boycotted parliamentary elections in Georgia that were held in October of that year and on October 9th held their own parliamentary elections. In response on December 11th the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia cancelled results of these elections and the South-Ossetian Autonomous District. The state of emergency was introduced into the region.

On January 7th, 1991 a decree of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was issued according to which any decision to change the status of South Ossetia was to become legally valid only after its confirmation by the highest authorities of the USSR.

In January 1991, additional police units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia were introduced into Tskhinvali. Separatist forces offered armed resistance. Thus began military actions which lasted till the end of June 1992. There was an imperial war machine behind the separatists and this further aggravated the situation.

On March 23rd, 1991a meeting was held between chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Boris Yeltsin in Kazbegi. According to a joint protocol, the parties determined joint actions to stabilize situation in the region of the former autonomous district of South Ossetia and agreed:

"... By April 10th Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RSFSR and the Georgian Interior Ministry will create a joint police force, which is to disarm all illegal formations on the territory of the former autonomous district of South Ossetia".

By this document the government of RSFSR practically recognized legitimacy of the decision of the Georgian authorities to disband the Autonomous District of South Ossetia.

On January 19th 1992 the then leadership of the Ossetian side held a referendum that supported the separation of South Ossetia from Georgia and its joining to Russia. It should be noted that this referendum was held on the territory of another state, in particular, on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of North Ossetia whixh is part of Russia and Georgian population of the district did not participate in it. On November 19th, 1992 the Supreme Council of South Ossetia voted for the same idea.

Hostilities ended on June 24th, 1992 by Dagomys Agreement "On Principles of solution of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict", which was signed by leaders of Russia and Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze and Boris Yeltsin. By the Dagomys Agreement it was agreed:

• To cease fire in the conflict zone and disperse the armed forces;
• A joint control commission (JCC) was created with participation of the parties involved, (JCC was originally trilateral involving Georgia, Russia and North Ossetia. And later, in 1994, it became quadripartite with participation of South Ossetia and under the aegis of the OSCE), task of which was to monitor the ceasefire, withdrawal and dispersion of militias, maintaining security regime in the conflict zone.
• To perform the tasks of the JCC mixed peacekeeping force (MPF) was created (according to protocols that were adopted in the same 1992, it was determined that the MPF were to be trilateral and consist of Russian, Georgian and North Ossetian battalions of 500 men each).

On July 4th, 1992 a meeting of representatives of the parties was held where a protocol on implementation of measures aimed at resolution of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict was signed.

Prior to the conflict (according to 1989 census) 164 100 citizens of Ossetian nationality lived in Georgia which accounted for 3% of the total population (5.4 million). 65 thousand people of Ossetian nationality lived in the Autonomous District of South Ossetia. Number of Ossetians that lived on the territory of the rest of Georgia was 98 900.

By 1989 ethnic composition of the autonomous District of South Ossetia (about 99 000) was as follows: 66.2% were Ossetians, 28.9% - Georgians, 2.2% - Russians, 1% - Armenians.

As a result of the conflict about 1 000 people died and 100 went missing. Around 60 to 100 thousand people (according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees) have left places of their residence. Most of them headed for North Ossetia (mostly Ossetians). Relatively small portion (12 thousand people, mostly Georgians) left for other parts of Georgia.

According to the agreement between the Governments of Georgia and Russia of September 14th, 1993 on economic rehabilitation of areas located in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone war damage was determined to be 34.2 billion Russian rubles. Assessment of the damage occurred at prices of July 15th, 1992 (260 million dollars at today's prices).

To be continued ...
The paper used in official documents and information from public sources

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