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Russia to discuss recognition of 1920 South Ossetian Genocide

By Inga Kakulia
Friday, August 2
The head of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin told the media representatives about the plan to discuss the possible recognition of the events of 1920 as a genocide against the South Ossetians. “The State Duma paid attention to the statement of the South Ossetian Parliament on the recognition of the genocide of South Ossetians in 1920 by Georgia. At the next meeting of the State Duma Council, which includes the leadership of the Duma, heads of all political factions and chairman of the committees, we will consider this appeal,” Volodin told Russian reporters.

The de-facto South Ossetian parliament addressed the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation with the appeal on the recognition of the genocide of South Ossetians in 1920 by Georgian nationalists.

The statement reads: “Before the declaration of Georgia’s independence in June 1920, the authorities sent troops to crush South Ossetia and declared their right to self-determination and accession to Soviet Russia. Most of the settlements in South Ossetia were destroyed by the Georgian armed forces.”

The statement continues to say that the Georgian army, equipped with the support of the German occupation forces and then replaced by the British forces, carried out a massacre of Ossetian civilians, which claimed the lives of several thousand people. The survivors were forced to seek refuge in Russian territory. According to the statement, “The Georgian authorities have developed and implemented a program of colonization of South Ossetia.”

“In 1989-1992, Georgia again attempted ethnic cleansing of the Ossetian population, and in 2008 only the intervention of Russia, which forced Georgia to peace, prevented the complete extermination of the population of South Ossetia,” the document says.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that it would be good for the current Georgian authorities to know the long history of relations with the peoples of Abkhazia and South Ossetia if they want to establish relations with them today. Then, the Russian president noted the rigidity with which Georgian troops acted in Ossetia in 1919 and 1920, adding that “this is exactly what is called genocide today.”

The Georgian authorities have already responded to this information, and the general attitude seems to be dismissive.

The Chairperson of the Legal Issued Committee said that no action taken by the unlawful occupier (Russia) has any legal influence on Georgia.

“Any action taken by the occupying country does not comply with universally recognized principles of international law,” said Okhanashvili when speaking with journalists.

“We all know Russia’s attitude towards our occupied territories and what it is trying to do,” said Tamar Chugoshvili, the first deputy speaker of parliament. Chugoshvili says that Russia has its position on the issues, while the international community and Georgia have a completely different one.

“Naturally, our and the international community’s positions are consistent. Most importantly, the international community’s recognition of these issues is correct, consistent, and not subject to revision,” stated Chugoshvili. When asked whether or not this is an attempt from the Russian side to change history, Chugoshvili replied to the journalists that this is an attempt that won’t bear any real consequences.

In July of this year, after the Second Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, Vladimir Putin met with Russian journalists. Where he declared that Georgia made attempts to “absorb” the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”

When asked about the sanctions against Georgia, the Russian President responded with the following: “Ossetia joined the Russian Empire, if I remember correctly, in 1774. Both northern and southern Ossetia came together, as an independent state. Abkhazia did the same in 1810, also as an independent country, a principality.When the Russian Empire fell after World War I, Georgia made attempts to absorb Abkhazia; an independent country of Georgia was established, and, with help from German troops, it occupied Abkhazia in 1918.”

Putin referred to Georgians as occupiers and deemed their actions as “very cruel.”

“This was essentially what is called genocide today,” stated the President of the Russian Federation.

This statement prompted a fast response, especially from the Georgian historians who then exposed the attempt to falsify Georgian history.

In reality, there was a conflict between the Georgian government and rebellious separatist group of people in Ossetia who were governed by the Kremlin in the 20s. The uprising was triggered by Bolsheviks who tried to impose their ideology on people and thus, undermine the independent republic of Georgia. As for Abkhazia, it was due to the agreement between the National Council of Georgia and the Public Council of Abkhazia on June 11 in 1918. The Georgian troops pushed Bolsheviks out of Abkhazia as they had control over its capital Sukhumi since April. In 1919, the Georgian troops fought against the Russian General, Denikin on Abkhazian territory. On May 7 in 1920, Russia announced Abkhazia as a part of Georgia.

This attempt to classify the events of 1920 as genocide is a clear attack on Georgian history but the possibility of this having a real impact on the international society is quite low, as mentioned by the Georgian officials.