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Chechens report on Lapankuri special operation

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, June 5
The Chechen Press published the results of the investigation concerning the controversial Lapankuri special operation that occurred last summer, when several North Caucasian gunmen were killed. The report by the self-recognized government of the Chechen Republic accuses both the Russian and Georgian sides in the “deliberate murder” of its people. According to the report, the Georgian side sacrificed Chechen individuals for its election goals.

On August 29, 2012 the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) stated that it was carrying out an anti-terrorist operation against an armed group close to Lapankuri village in the Lopota gorge, not far from the Dagestan section of the Georgian-Russian border. Later on the same day, it announced that eleven armed individuals and three Georgian special service personnel were killed in a clash that was preceded by a hostage-taking incident. After the initial denials, the Interior Ministry confirmed on September 2 that among the gunmen killed in the clash, two were Georgian citizens as well.

The investigation asserts that the special operation was planned by high-ranking Georgian officials like Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, in agreement with President Mikheil Saakashvili and the operation was carried out in the hands of the deputy Interior Minister of that time, Gia Lortkipanidze. The report reads that Lortkipanidze “suggested” Chechens and other residents from the North Caucasus living in European states to arrive in Georgia and the Georgian government will give them a corridor to Dagestan to fight against Russia. However, when the individuals arrived, the Georgians broke the promise and killed them prior to parliamentary elections.

“The specials operation was planned by 4 sides: Russia, the Caucasus Emirates, the Georgian Government and certain saboteurs. However, the Georgian side controlled the situation from the beginning to the end,” the report reads.

The report stresses those Georgian officials who planned and carried out the “bloody action” seriously affected Georgian-Chechen relations.

The official Georgian side states that nothing can be stated until the investigation is over regarding the special operation. According to Chief Prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili, the issue is complicated and involves many details “political details as well” thus, according to him, making statement before the investigation is completed is not acceptable.

The parliamentary minority accused the current leadership in causing such statements. According to UNM MP, Sergo Ratiani, the government speaks as if the Georgian side had trained the terrorists.

It should be noted that the Georgian public defender’s report also included some resemblances with the above mentioned report.

Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuahsvili, stated that the armed individuals who were killed during the Lapankuri special operation were trained and equipped by the members of the Georgian Interior Ministry.

After the report, Nanuashvili stated that the real investigation over the issue is very important as uncle many questions inside and outside the country remain unclear.

Political analyst, Nika Chitadze, claims that the report is controversial. According to him the report accuses the Georgian side in organizing the incident and at the same time highlights that the processes were initiated by the Russians.

Chitadze also states that the report would not have been made without the permission of the Russian side, as the press agencies and the current leadership of Chechnya are under Russian control.