Top Georgian defense officials have commemorated a fallen Georgian Hero Giorgi Antsukhelidze, who would have turned 34 on August 18.
Georgian War Hero Commemorated
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 20
The Georgian soldier became a household name when videos of him being tortured were leaked on the internet immediately after the Russia-Georgia armed conflict in 2008.
The two videos, which were circulated online, showed Antsukhelidze being interrogated and tortured by South Ossetian and Russian militants.
The footage showed militants interrogating Antsukhelidze, forcing him to kneel and ordering him to kiss the earth. The captured soldier was then repeatedly beaten after he replied to each question: "I have no idea". One of the offenders was then heard shouting in Ossetian: "Look, what a tough guy!”.
The Georgian Government posthumously awarded Antsukhelidze the Order of National Hero in 2013.
Family members of Giorgi Antsukhelidze and representatives of the Defence Ministry commemorated the fallen Georgian hero at Mukhatgverdi Cemetery in Tbilisi on his birthday.
Defence Minister Levan Izoria praised the heroism of Antsukhelidze and said that the soldier gave the example of devoutness and bravery to future generations.
The minister also spoke about the current Russia-Georgia relations and the situation in the country’s occupied territories.
“We have repeatedly faced illegal actions of Russia. Accordingly, we provide information to the international community and believe me, time will come and everybody will be brought to justice,”Izoria told journalists.
"It has been internationally recognized that occupation is the main challenge and danger for our country. Together with our main strategic partners, we are doing our best to raise our voice against occupation and take practical steps for preventing threats," he said.
Izoria also commented on so-called former Abkhazian Prime Minister Sergey Shamba's statement on the start of a dialogue.
“We have a very peaceful and pragmatic policy that is focused on integrating our brothers - Abkhazians and Ossetians into our country. The main driving force of this peaceful policy is our development. The government’s plan "A Step for a Better Future" also serves this aim. So, within this policy, we are always ready to start a dialogue and strengthen this peaceful policy,” Izoria said.
The Russia-Georgian War was a war between Georgia, Russia and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The war displaced 192,000 people and while many returned to their homes after the war, 20,272 people, mostly ethnic Georgians, remained displaced as of 2014.