According to high-rank Russian diplomat Gregory Karasin, it turns out, that normalization of relations between Russia and Georgia are hindered by unceasing attempts of the Georgian government to convince the world community and its own population that Georgia is supposedly awash with Russian spies and saboteurs. Naturally Karasin can say nothing else: he says that he was instructed to say. More precisely, since communist times the Kremlin has always had so-called "stock declarations" ready in such cases. So, Karasin does not really need to puzzle over when and what exactly he needs to say. At that, he and his masters do not understand that they are stuck in the twentieth century. They think that Georgia is still isolated from the outside world and its people are completely unfamiliar of changes that are taking place in the world. At the heart of attempts of Mr Karasin to persuade population of Georgia or the world community that the Russian security services do not lead espionage activities in Georgia is a great naivety, to put it mildly. And we do not tend to think that Karasin or any Russian official believes in these tales. They just cannot get over the fact that our intelligence agencies are able to detect and prevent subversive activities. They should also know that the Georgian security services knew about their espionage activities, which began long time ago, even before that.
The thing is that the Georgian-Russian relations have long gone beyond civilized boundaries, for which, undoubtedly, "credit" goes to Russia, mainly because of aggressive and challenging form of activities of its security services. More precisely, since Putin came to power, Russia has significantly increased agent-operative activities in Georgia (and not only in Georgia) and forced the leaders of our country to no longer hide and expose Russia in espionage activities that passes all possible boundaries. Have leaders of Russian security services ever wondered why in recent years cases of detection and scandalous deportation of their agents, not only from Georgia but from other countries as well have increased? As we know, often removal of those identified agents of a foreign state did not go beyond the diplomatic framework and was carried out quietly, without fuss and excessive noise. Now, if somewhere there is a detection of network of agents and scandalous exclusion of those agents, it usually turns out to be Russians.
In a series of articles of the Club of Experts "Abkhazian separatism was born in the labyrinths of the KGB" the negative role of Russia in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict is clearly shown. During the war in Abkhazia, and later, while conducting the so-called peacekeeping operations by Russian military contingent, we had been constantly receiving information about agent-operative activities of the Russian security services of Russia in the conflict zones that were directed against Georgia. Despite the fact that we have opened more than one case of operational examination and operational development, determined and disclosed a large number of agents none of these cases except one (Sitnikov's case - article the failure of the GRU - Part I, II) was brought to an end in order to avoid irritating Russia. Apparently, this gave the Kremlin confidence. At Lubyanka they believed in power of their own intelligence service and, most importantly, completely ignored Georgia and its sovereignty. Here is an example to show this.
According to intelligence received from Sukhumi, representatives of the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of Russian armed forces) and security service of the separatist regime, fraudulently lured into Sukhumi and recruited citizen of Georgia, resident of Tbilisi Guram (for obvious reasons names mentioned in the article are changed). According to a source, Guram apparently worked in Tbilisi embassy of one of the foreign countries, but where in particular was not known. As a result of our operational activities, Guram was identified and delivered to the Interior Ministry building in Georgia.
Guram could not hide his surprise and wonder over our awareness. He even relieved, as the most difficult for him process of "confession", for which he was inwardly ready but still could not decide, at last happened with our help.
It is well known that the security zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict consisted of a 24-kilometer zone, which was divided in two equal parts by the river Enguri - the administrative border between Abkhazia and Samegrelo. Accordingly, the eastern 12-kilometer security zone was controlled by the eastern battalion of peacekeeping forces of Russia, headquarters of which was located in the village of Urta in the Zugdidi district. And western 12-km zone was controlled by western battalion, headquarters of which was located in the town of Gali - on the territory of Abkhazia. Russian officer Valery born in Tbilisi in a family of a Russian military served in Urta. His mother was also a daughter of a Russian military officer who served in Tbilisi. The latter, besides Valery's mother also had another daughter who was married to a Georgian in Tbilisi. Thus, a cousin of Russian Valery on maternal side was Georgian Guram. After the collapse of the Soviet Union family of Valery and many other Russian militaries, gradually moved to Russia for permanent residence and to continue the service. His aunt who was married to a Georgian remained in Tbilisi. Of course given the situation their mothers and Valery and Guram rarely communicated. After Valery has been assigned for military service in a peacekeeping contingent of Russia, particularly in the eastern zone, telephone conversations with his aunt and cousin Guram in Georgia became frequent. During these telephone conversations Valery learnt that Guram worked at the embassy of one of the foreign countries in Tbilisi. Interest of Valery and his superiors in Guram was due to this fact.
On one hot July day, during one phone conversation Valery, on the pretext that he was not allowed to travel to another region of Georgia invited Guram to Zugdidi. Guram agreed and arrived on train in Zugdidi on Saturday morning. Valery joyfully met his cousin, whom he had not seen for a long time, invited him to a restaurant and invited already quite tipsy cousin to travel to Sukhumi for a refreshing dip in the sea. At that he gave him a guarantee that Abkhazians would not stop a car of Russian peacekeeping forces, and he would take him to the sanatorium "MBO" - place of deployment of the Joint Staff of the peacekeeping force. Guram agreed, but on a condition that on Sunday night he must go back to Tbilisi, since he had to go to work, especially since the embassy was not aware of his visit to Zugdidi.
After that, Valery and Guram went to Sukhumi in a car of Russian peacekeeping forces and checked in one of the rooms of the sanatorium "MBO". At this time Valery receives a call on his mobile phone. The telephone conversation concerned some goods (Guram knew from Valery that he worked in provision). Valery with a troubled expression on his face told Guram that he was forced to urgently go to the Russian-Abkhazian border, on the Psou as due to some misunderstanding Abkhazians did not allow the goods belonging to the Russian peacekeeping forces in. He offered Guram to go out and walk on the territory of "MBO", swim in the sea, and then to return to the room if he wanted. After that, Valery would have joined him and together they would have had dinner in a restaurant located in the "MBO". Guram went out for a walk, as his cousin advised, and a short time later was arrested by Abkhazian military patrol. The patrol seized his mobile phone, personal documents, including the embassy pass and transferred him as a "trespasser" to the building security of Abkhazia. Here he was intensely interrogated by Abkhazian and Russian workers. Mainly he was questioned by a man of Russian nationality, and although he was dressed in civilian clothes, military training was apparent. He particularly focused on the specifics of Guram's work, his relationship with embassy officials, etc. For four days Guram was kept in custody of security service, where he was subjected to intensive treatment. And in addition to the fact that several years' imprisonment awaited him for "violation of the border" they promised him unbearable conditions in prison if he would not agree to their proposal.
Guram could not bare physical and moral pressure, and at that he was convinced that there would be no help from Valery and agreed to secret cooperation. After that, they agreed on ways of two-way communication, which was to be carried out via the Internet. All this was done in exchange for his release, and upon carrying out regular tasks they promised financial rewards as well. They comforted Guram with the fact that allegedly he did not have to carry out secret operations against Georgia and supposedly he would have been assigned to jobs only related to the embassy where he worked. He was strictly warned not to tell anything to Valery, and only then cousins weer allowed to meet each other. Naturally, Valery played his part well. He blamed everything on chance and the Abkhazian military patrol. He brought Guram to Zugdidi and sent to Tbilisi. Guram did not say a word to his family about the incident, and explained the delay with food poisoning, which was enough to calm down anxious relatives. As we noted at the beginning, a few days later after the arrival Guram was taken to the Interior Ministry building. Naturally, we will not disclose from whom and how we got information on the recruitment of Guram. Organizers of the above operations may even think that Guram made a confession on his own initiative and the role of intelligence services in this case was minimal. Let them think as they please. The main thing for us then was detection and suppression of dirty intentions of the GRU.
Our comments in the process of recognition opened Guram's eyes and he gradually became convinced that his cousin (most probably a GRU worker) having learnt that he worked in one of the embassies, reported this to his superiors. It is no surprising that the GRU could not let a prospect slip from their hands to conduct intelligence activities in the affairs of "third country" in Georgia by a citizen of Georgia.
Here we describe briefly a possible scheme of appropriateness of recruitment of Guram.
After Valery becomes aware of the work place of Guram he writes his superiors a report, where he describes in details his "family relationship" and raises the question of recruitment. Then, with the consent of command, in-depth study of Guram as a candidate for the recruitment begins. It may involve the Russian embassy which still functioned at the time in Tbilisi. Upon confirmation of family relationship and obtaining materials that characterized Guram and his family members Valery was given a task to make telephone contact as often as possible in order to prove to Guram' s family his sincere aspiration to restore family ties and get even more closer.
Only after this process, which usually would be reflected in details in operational data, accumulated in relevant operational case of the candidate for the recruitment, the command of the GRU issued a sanction for an operation of recruitment of Guram.
Given this, all stages of recruitment of Guram: his arrival in Zugdidi; dining; arrival to Sukhumi; his placement in the sanatorium "MBO"; sudden disappearance of Valery; emergence of an Abkhaz military patrol on the territory of the MBO; detention and transfer to security services of Abkhazia - were carried out only by predefined and approved plan. All nuances of the plan would have been calculated on knowledge and experience of Guram. Russian secret services were convinced that Guram would not guess much and especially the fact that the detention by the Abkhaz military patrol was carried out by a predetermined scenario. And it happened like this indeed. How he could have known that military patrol of the separatists (even if such existed at all) would not have been even allowed to turn up on the territory of the "MBO", not to mention carrying out patrolling there.
After everything became clear to Guram he, to avoid possible future blackmail, agreed to our proposal to write a letter of resignation from work and communicate this by an e-mail to Sukhumi that the embassy annulled agreement with him for several days of unauthorised leave...
Naturally, we would have continued this operational play with the GRU, if no major impeding circumstances. It was a secret part of this case of acting under the name of the embassy of a foreign country which, in contrast to the Russian security services, we would not have done.
There was also a second option. Disclose everything. And, incidentally, Guram would have agreed to this - he was so hurt and offended by actions of Valery. We would have given him the opportunity to speak on television and tell everything. He would have described in details the entire situation – the entire production that was staged by the GRU for his recruitment. He would have said the name of his cousin etc. But we did not do this again for the same reason – we did not want to irritate Russia. I am sure that some of the media under the influence of the Russian security services will call this article as tale. But those who prepared the above-mentioned operation, and moreover, gave a sanction for its conduction, as well as the so-called security services of the separatist regime together with the GRU workers would remember in what a big way they celebrated the said recruitment. But they also must have remembered how a few days later all their hopes were dashed. After all, they are not so naive not to figure out what was behind Guram's answer. Maybe that's why they did not consider it necessary to blackmail him. It is possible that they awaited an appropriate reaction from Tbilisi, but as I mentioned, we did what we did. Today we would report about something like this as Russia with its aggressive policy simply leaves us no choice.