Honorable Mikhail Sergeevich!

On 9 January the special session of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia discussed Your Order of 7 January “on Certain Legal Acts Adopted in the Georgia SSR in December 1990”.  I am not going to speak bout legal issues, as they are considered in the Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia.  It rejects the legal force of Your Order, as even the President of the USSR is not authorized to make null and void the law of Georgia: during the transitional period the laws of the Republic of Georgia are in force on the territory of Georgia, also some Union laws; according to article 71 of the Constitution of Georgia, in case of contradiction between the Union law and the law of Georgia, the la of the Republic of Georgia prevails.  Therefore, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia is authorized to suspend the operation of the law or other acts of the USSR.

Under Your Order You suggest withdrawal of all military formations from the territory of the former Oblast, except the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Interior of the USSR.  However, You may not remember or may not know that in addition to the said troops the units of the Soviet Army are also deployed on that territory.  What to do? According to Your Order they also have no right to be present on that territory and they also should be withdrawn.

You Order shook all people of Georgia, including non-Georgian population of the Republic. They are very much concerned about the developments in the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, which, in the hands of extremists holding the high positions in the Oblast’s Government, has turned into the hotbed of anti-Georgian propaganda. Since November 1989 it has become the base for creating de facto and de jure independent state. It would be the attempt to take out from Georgia its oldest territory, maintaining of which has been the subject of straggle of Georgians over 2000 years.

You know the story of resettlement of the part of Ossetian people to Shida Kartli (inner Kartli – interpreter’s note) from the North Caucasus.  You also know that the Autonomous Oblast was artificially created after Georgia’s intervention and occupation, committed under the order of the Soviet Russia’s Government and with participation of Stalin.  They also included within the Oblast’s border the city of Tskhinvali and tens of villages with native Georgian dwellers.

The actions of Ossetian extremists over the Caucasus aimed at creating “the Sovereign Republic” indeed was met with the resistance of Georgian people, as well as of the most of Ossetians living outside of the Oblast’s territory.  The leaders of the self-declared “Republic” cynically refuse to respect the Constitutional provisions and fulfill the Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia, which declared unlawful the Act of the South Ossetia on Creation of the Republic of South Ossetia.  Due to the aforementioned developments the political tension in the region and in entire Georgia has gone to mount.  Your silence, as well as of the Union authorities made the society aware that they would have to decide the issue independently, based on their sovereign rights, which are grossly violated by a few extremists wrapped up in a cloth of fighters “for self-identification of the Ossetian people”.

I declare with the whole of responsibility that there is no such “South Ossetia”.  There is only the region of Shida Kartli, where the people of Ossetian origin resettled from the North Ossetia, and this fact is confirmed by Georgian material and spiritual cultural monuments.  This is the native Georgian land, and Georgian people will never reconcile with anybody’s attempt to take it away.  The situation in Shida Kartli may not be equalized with the situation in other autonomies of the Union Republics; and of course You understand the situation, as You know quite well the history of Russian Empire.  The domestic affairs of other republics shall be decided only by those republics.  One thing is clear – it is dangerous to judge everything with one and the same measurement when it comes to the autonomous entities: the historical and legal basis of their creation must be taken into account.

We find necessary to underline that none of ethnic minorities are in a restrictive situation in Georgia.  This is a fact and it is easy to confirm it.  However, it is also the fact that the leaders of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast carried out the barefaced discriminative policy against the indigenous Georgian population living in the region.  

The separatists of Ossetian origin started creating the independent state as they find necessary to do so for the sake of cultural development of Ossetians living in the region.  They state about alleged discrimination of Ossetians from the Georgian side.  Georgian people lost all patience – abolishment of the oblast was the only right step in the current situation.  This act should put an end once and forever to the separatists’ acts and restore, at the same time, the historical truth.

You know very well consequences; they are developed in the Resolution of 9 January 1991 of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia.

Very critical assessment of Your Order should not surprise you, as the  stress is put there on the allegedly unlawful conduct of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia, without condemning the operation of separatists in Shida Kartli.  It should be mentioned that their operation entailed the decision on abolishing the autonomous oblast.  Let us remind you that the Parliament of Georgia, even having rather negative attitude towards the existence of the Oblast, had no intention to abolish it, and the parliament repeatedly declared about it.

The provision of the Order regarding immediate withdrawal of the internal troops of the Ministry of Interior of Georgia from the region is especially unacceptable while the Ossetian extremists are taking over the region, terrorizing Georgian population – and all of these are happening there with the tacit approval of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Interior of the USSR.  But the most important is the legal vacuum, which has been developed in that territory.  The military troops are not under their subordination and they act against the state interests.

We assume that the Union Treaty of 1922 is illegal vis-à-vis Georgia, as it was concluded in the situation of occupation, without respecting the will of Georgian nation.  Even though we take your position regarding the Union Treaty, the Treaty itself should secure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Union Republic, shouldn’t it?! Who is under the Union’s protection today?!

All of the aforementioned once again demonstrates that the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia was right in its choice when declaring the transitional period on the way to gaining the full independence, within which we recognize ourselves as a part of the USSR, but it turn, the USSR shall recognize the sovereign right of Georgian People to restoring Georgia’s statehood, including its legal, political and economic aspects.  The Acts like of 7 January may not facilitate to stabilizing the situation and to weakening the tension, just the opposite, they encourage separatists and extremists to act more vigorously.  Just right after adoption of the aforementioned Order the situation has dramatized in the region accompanied with bloodshed.

The current explosive situation may be regulated only with suspending the validity of Your Order and with Your position, which in fact should comply with the position of the President of the USSR – i.e. he/she should protect the sovereignty of the Union Republic, without any bias; he/she should repulse the forces, which find ethnic-crises as the only way for retaining the Empire.  However, we all understand that no one can turn back the clock of history.  Indeed with Your power you can pose resistance to the national-liberating movement in Georgia, but what will be the price of your victory?! And will it be a victory at all?!

We believe that You, honorable Mikhail Sergeevich, will obtain further insight into Georgians’ aspirations and try to understand the depth of the decision regarding gaining the genuine state independence.  Our nation strives to establish completely new relations with the Union Republics.  Hopefully, You will not exchange some instant political considerations for the fate of the Georgian people, as well as of others living in Georgia, including the majority of Ossetians – who stand ready to struggle hand in hand with Georgians for the fair goals.

It should be taken into account that the majority of Ossetians living in Georgia would like to establish the peace and accord in the region, to develop the culture, and for these purposes they do not find it necessary to have artificially created Oblast, or the republic.  The situation in the North Ossetia is a vivid example of this, where the level of nation-cultural autonomy is rather law.

The sooner the Union authorities realize the real situation in Shida Kartli and take the relevant position, the better the situation will be stabilized in the region.

The separatists shall understand that they cannot rely on the support from the Center and they have to reconcile with their unsuccessful attempt.

We believe in victory of the truth!

Chairman of the Supreme

Councilof the Republic of Georgia Z. Gamsakhurdia

12 January 1991

(Newspaper “Abkhazetis Khma” /Voice of Abkhazia/, # 8, 12-5 January 1991)