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Abkhazian separatism was born in the labyrinths of the KGB. Part X
26/09/2011 11:52
Levan Kiknadze
Experts's Club

(See parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX)

Unknown details of the war in Abkhazia. Part V

The fact that the war of 1992-1993 in Abkhazia was provoked and it started without any preliminary preparations on the part of the Georgian side was clear during every step of its course. The thing that was the most obvious was that it was impossible to coordinate actions inside the military body itself as well as between military and civil structures. At that several high-rank officials, especially if they were members of the Military Council and among those who were involved in the negotiation process, took a little notice or altogether ignored information provided by the intelligence about intentions and plans of the enemy. They believed themselves to be omniscient and even in case if we had very reliable information coming from very reliable sources if this information came into confrontation with their views, it irritated them and tried to get their way. It happened that sometimes we managed to pull though our propositions but there were cases when we could not do this. We met with a great opposition when a question of a withdrawal of heavy equipment was being decided.

As we known the Sochi agreement of July 27th 1993 besides prohibiting introduction of additional armed formations, bringing in military ammunition into Abkhazia and military actions there after the ceasefire of July 28th also stipulated gradual withdrawal of armed formations and heavy machinery from the front lines. Withdrawal of heavy equipment (tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery) from the front lines was drawn up in the way that armed formations of the Georgian side were removed from the territory of Abkhazia. By the first version our equipment should have been removed to a village of Rukhi on the other side of the Enguri bridge. We, security service, were categorically opposed to this since we had information, and it was not that difficult to deduce, that in this case heavy equipment would have appeared in Loti Kobalia's1 hands.

It is hard to suppose that Loti Kobalia was making supplies for this very case when he had been robbing cargo trains (see part IX). But it is a fact that events had been unfolding very suspiciously as though everything was guided by one hand and trace was leading to Russia. With out active involvement a very difficult decision for the Georgians side was received – to take heavy equipment by ships to Poti. This was preferable to the altogether loss of the equipment. That the equipment would have come into hands of Loti Kobalia was confirmed to us by the follwoing telephone conversation that later took place between Grozny and Sukhumi.

Sukhumi:
- Heavy equipment are being removed into Poti instead of Rukhi.
Grosny:
– Why and who was involved in the change of the decision?
Sukhumi:
– It's all KGB's fault. They started to suspect something and forced them.
Grosny:
– You are at fault. You should not have allowed this.

For obvious reasons we do not specify names of those who had this conversation but that person who talked from Sukhumi should definitely remember content of this conversation as well as other telephone conversations during the war period with Grozny, Moscow, Zugdidi and Tbilisi. These conversations also demonstrated perfectly well that it pained him, as a Sukhumi-native Georgian, as much as others when speaking about numerous civilians that used to die due to constant bombing of the city. He also used to argue since he could not convince those on the other side of the line, especially when this was a conversation with Grozny, how barbaric were treatment of civilians by Abkhazian militants only because they were Georgians. The above is confirmed by the following phone call that took place between Grozny and Sukhumi on February 11th, 1993:

Sukhumi:
– Today a session has been held in Tbilisi. Shevardnadze made a speech and said that weapons should be taken away from armed people and that weapons are scarce in Abkhazia and these weapons should be distributed among locals to defend the city. That Russians entered and they intend to go for Sukhumi. We should not allow this and so on, he was saying. In reality he speculated with Sukhumi issues as we said he would do. If his position starts to shake he would probably give his consent to Sukhumi surrender.
Grozny:
– What is the situation there? Is there really such a possibility?
Sukhumi:
– There is. Abkhazians gathered 3 000 people and if Russian paratroopers, aviation joins them they will be a formidable force.
Grozny:
– Radio is saying that Kitovani is going to introduce additional forces.
Sukhumi:
– So far nothing is there. Still he cannot do anything; anyway we do not expect anything. Local guys, Sukhumians are standing firm.
Grozny:
– So you know Chechens are told not to harm civilians, their commander is warned, that Chechen also knows.
Sukhumi:
– Okay they will not do anything. But what about Abkhazians? Who will stop them? And will he comply with this?
Grozny:
– The main thing is that he will try to do this, he has received such command. They will not harm people, our supporters. They have not hurt our supporters even in Gagra.
Sukhumi:
– I know 3-4 people in Gagra only that they killed.
Grozny:
– It was probably by accident, otherwise they have an order from here not to put a finger on our supporters.
Sukhumi:
– It's all the same for them, especially for that Ozgan unit. They are madmen. They left no one in Gagra except the old. They killed all Georgian youth. Hired Cossacks were especially zealous. As soon as they saw a Georgian they were cutting his head off. They would even cut off heads of their mothers. And they are blaming it on Abkhazians and Chechens.
I had a conversation with guys they will try their best not to surrender the city. He is not concerned about the fall of Sukhumi and population is dying here. He wants the city to fall so that he will be able to attack Zugdidi from both sides. That's what he wants. This is his main plan.

Let's get back to the agreement of July 27th 1993. It is not our aim to talk about the good and bad of this agreement. But even a superficial look at it makes it clear that a series of clauses of the agreement, especially removal of North Caucasian fighters from the territory of Abkhazia, incorporation of the Abkhazian internal regiment into the Georgian internal troops, return of the Abkhazian part of the government that operated in Gudauta back to Sukhumi and resumption of their joint activities together with the Georgian side was so unrealistic and unimaginable at the time that this agreement, just like the agreement of September 3rd 1992, could not be realized.

This opinion was strengthened by information received from various sources in Gudauta, Moscow and Grozny that despite the pressure that a significant part of the Abkhazian society that saw devastating results of the war, exerted on Ardzinba and demanded to stop it and settle the conflict peacefully he was not really up to a compromise. On the contrary, the Sochi agreement was another possibility to gain time in order to prepare even better to capture of Sukhumi with the help of Russia. All the more that at the time they have already controlled heights around Sukhumi in the direction of Shroma.

From the other side Loti Kobalia's formations had already started active military actions aimed at taking control of western Georgia. Thus, the situation was very tense in all directions which caused our agreeing to clauses of the said agreement that were unacceptable for us.

Discussion continues to this day, accusations towards the Georgian government of that time still persist that allegedly signed an unbeneficial, traitorous document. But that thing that started on September 16th, 1993 and was finished in ten days was a logical end to a sly traitorous plan that was devised by the Kremlin security services, planned by the general staff of generals of the armed forces of the Kremlin and jointly implemented by forces of separatists, Russian regular army, Cossacks and the North Caucasian "confederates". "Timely" events of western Georgia would hold a part in the above mentioned plan with its special importance.

The fact that the fate of Abkhazia was in advance decided by the Kremlin is confirmed by the fact that on the day when Abkhazians violated the agreement chief of staff of generals of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation. Colonel General Kolesnikov made a statement in advance in the Russian State Duma that allegedly Sukhumi was already under Abkhazians' control.

So in this grave situation when practically all resources were up the Georgian side did not have even a choice. At that, today it is hard to give unanimous assessment to the consent to the signing of the said agreement. But it is a sad fact that we should have demanded more guarantees and mechanisms of real control over the compliance with the clauses of the agreement and should not have blindly trusted promises of the Russian-Abkhazian tandem.

During one of the four-side negotiations under the UN aegis in Sukhumi where clauses of "the ceasefire agreement" were discussed a UN representative asked a question that if one of the sides violated the agreement and resumed the military actions who would stopped this violation. Member of the Russian delegation General Shoigu without prior discussions with the Russian side, namely Pastukhov, thoughtlessly cried out that all violations not matter what side they were coming from and even fire points would have been stopped by them, Russians. Some members of the Georgian delegation did not like this and started to argue with Shoigu. Astonished UN representatives did not interfere in the argument. Abkhazians were s also silently watching it. At that time Pastukhov stood up and asked for some time to have a discussion with members of his delegation. When members of the Georgian delegation went to the room of Jiuli Shartava to discuss the happenings I asked Shartava aside and given the situation asked him to convince the delegation members to charge the Russian side with prevention of the fire in case of the violation of the ceasefire agreement which would have been supported by the UN as well. Jiuli Shartava could not convince the delegation members. After the resumption of the negotiations Pastukhov deliberately avoided this issue and went to another issue. Neither others, including Georgians, talked more about this very important question.

As we know on September 26th the Abkhazian side violated the July 23rd 1993 agreement and started massive attacks on the frontlines of Gumista, Shroma and Tkvarcheli. After 10 days of unequal fighting Sukhumi fell on September 27th and Abkhazia on September 30th.

Below is another conversation caught by radar between Zugdidi (call sign "Odishi") and Abkhazian radio station (call sign "Alfa -10") that happened on the 4230 KHz frequencies on October 2nd, 1993, on the fifth day of the fall of Sukhumi

Odishi:
- "Alpha-10" it's "Odishi".
Alpha-10:
- "Alpha-10" here.
Odishi:
- Congratulations on realization of your plan of capture of Sukhumi and Ochamchire.
Alpha-10:
- Thank you, thank you and wish you success as well. What are your intentions after this?
Odishi:
- We are going to advance on Kutaisi.
Alpha-10:
- Tbilisi, Tbilisi?
Odishi:
- On Tbilisi is still very difficult. And do you know that you are killing many civilians and our supporters too. And besides, Gali capture was not agreed.
Alpha-10:
- I understand, but you know the thing is that our fighters could not have been stopped, it was very difficult, "must go to the Enguri" , they said. That's what was said. Did you hear well?
Odishi
- Yes, yes I heard. Stop your soldiers otherwise refugees are coming here demanding to stay in Gali. We have to help them. It is preventing us from performing our tasks.
Alpha-10:
- So it's Kutaisi as I get it?
Odishi:
- Yes, yes, Kutaisi. Many of our people do not know that there was an agreement so calm your fighters.
Alpha-10:
- Okay, I understand you. Apparently they are disobeying. And tell Kobalia to go on the air. Our "Second" here is asking. Do you understand me?
Odishi:
- Who, who?
Alpha-10:
- I say "Second", "Second".
Odishi:
- Ok, I understood. I will tell him. And where is "Gedi"?
Alpha-10:
- Here, he is here.
Odishi:
- Tell him to come back here.
Alpha-10":
- Okay, okay. I will tell him. When will you go on the air again?
Odishi:
- I do not know. They will tell me. Be there.
Alpha-10:
- Okay, end of the connection.
Odishi:
- Okay brother. Out.

We did not want to re-open old wounds but Georgian people should know what was happening at the gravest time for Georgia and who had what position. Young Abkhazians also should know the truth as separatists are feeding them their own-devised myths as though Georgians were defeated by less smaller number of Abkhazians. And up till today whenever they are afforded opportunity they repeat it like parrots everywhere. In one of the articles of on the Expertclub.ge I promised to the addressee of the letter Alan Kobakhia that I would publish reliable documents that would disclose Russia's participation on the side of Abkhazians in this fratricidal war. And what caused the defeat of the Georgian side. And we are doing it from time to time. Now we wanted to draw readers' attention to the front that was opened by Loti Kobalia in western Georgia, namely Samegrelo that practically played a part of an ally of the separatist along with Russia.

After all this it is easy to understand that the Georgian government that was engaged in the civil war would not have been able to conduct military actions on several fronts simultaneously. In addition there seemed no dignified way out of this war. Everything ended the way Abkhazians could not even dream of at the beginning of the war. Their precious dream came true with the help of Russia and assistance of Georgians themselves – they expelled almost he entire Georgian population.

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1 Head of the guards appointed by ex-president of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia who was overthrown by a military coup and was at the time in Chechnya where he found shelter. Loti Kobalia was in charge of armed formations in Zugdidi.

2 Shamil Basaev - commander of the Chechen battalion that fought on the Abkhazian side during the Georgian-Abkhazian war. He was awarded an order of the hero of Abkhazia for courage in fighting against Georgians. Later he led Chechen militants against Russia. He organized and was personally in charge of terrorist attacks on the territory of the Russian Federation for which he was wanted and later eliminated by the Russian security services.

3 Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Abkhazia who was captured along with a group of comrades in fallen Sukhumi on September 27th, 1993 and executed by Abkhazian fighters. He was posthumously awarded the title of National Hero of Georgia.


 
 
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