Statement of the Georgian Parliament,

The government of the Republic of Georgia has always attached great importance to relationships between Georgia and Russia, considering them as a key factor of stability in the Caucasus region, very important for today’s world.

Though there were rather justified alternative ideas in that regard, the Georgian authorities chose the policy of cooperation based on relationship with Russia, as exemplified by the attempts to position tripartite peacekeeping forces in the Tskhinvali region and to settle the Abkhazian conflict politically, which was reflected in the document adopted as a result of the talks held in Moscow on September 3. Unfortunately, that initiative of the Georgian side did not bring any desired results. Despite the fact that the agreement of September 3 was signed by the Russian President, it was followed by rough interference in Georgia’s internal affairs by the Russian Supreme Soviet, reflected in unprecedented decisions of September 1992 and numerous statements of top officials, which actually sanctioned the tragedy in Gagra and Leselidze. With the mass shooting of civilian Georgian population and the policy of ethnic cleansing, the tragedy showed that armed Abkhaz separatists together with Russian reactionary forces apparently followed a violent way of disrupting Georgia’s territorial integrity.

The violent policy cannot be justified by statements about protecting the Russian-speaking population. The Russian-speaking population in Georgia was in no danger even during the state of war, unless we take into account the shelling of the civilian population by Russia’s own militaries, which resulted in killing of people of different ethnic groups, and scattering of over 60000 refugees in many towns and villages of Georgia.

The Georgian side is aware of numerous facts that confirm immediate involvement of Russian armed forces in the conflict on the side of the extremist separatists. Here are only some of the facts:

On February 2 and 9 1992 the Russian army immediately participated in the shelling of Sukhumi and populated areas around it, laying the bombs directly on the area of the Sukhumi market, which killed 13 innocent civilians, including ethnic Russians;

On October 5 the Russian armed forces shot down MI-24, a helicopter of the Georgian armed forces;

On October 13 they shot down a Georgian aircraft SU-25;

At 18:40 on November 5 two Russian SU-25 aircraft opened fire on a Georgian battalion at the River Gumista;

At 18:45 on November 15 positions of the Georgian military units and military police located on the River Gumista were air-attacked.

At 13:15 on November 18 civilians were killed by an air attack on settlement Kulasuri.

At 18:00 on December 4 two Su-25 aircraft launched air strikes against the Georgian armed forced on the Gumista and on settlement Tskhenistskali.

On December 10 Russian aviation shelled village Akhaldaba in Ochamchire District where no military operations were going on. The attack killed 11 citizens.

There was also a notorious attack on the helicopter of the head of the state in October this year.

A ceasefire agreement was achieved at the end of November 1992, which was strictly fulfilled by the Georgian side and stipulated withdrawal of the Russian armed forces from the city of Sukhumi and its surroundings. Yet Russian paratroopers still remain in the former military laboratory in Eshera and take an active part in the hostilities. There are also paratroopers remaining in Sukhumi.

It was the Eshera laboratory area from which the Sukhumi market was shelled.

Russian military air and naval forces control the sea and air in the conflict area, which promotes smuggling of large quantities of arms into the region. All these facts are a rough violation of basic requirements of both international and Georgian law.

The Georgian side has repeatedly stated and confirms today that it would not interfere with transportation of humanitarian goods to Tkvareli provided that they were would be at the Sukhumi airport, since arms, ammunitions and armed mercenaries are transported from Gudauta with direct assistance of the Russian air forces. This requirement has been systematically violated, so the opposite side should have the full responsibility for the tragedy that happened after the crashing of Russian military helicopter MI-8. Consideration should be also given to the fact that the crash site is located at a distance of over 20 km from the zone controlled by the Georgian side.

It is apparent that the Russian armed forces deployed in Abkhazia have become a side in the conflict that together with the separatists who they have armed and with Russian reactionary political circles implement an imperial policy for disrupting Georgia’s territorial integrity. These military units even do not obey the former Transcaucasian Command that the Georgian side has had and will try to have civilized relations with.

Russians have made it a rule to blame Georgia for all cases, and frequently even for their own crimes. We suspect that a similar reaction could also follow this statement of the Georgian Parliament. Moreover, high-ranking Russian officials attach the status of peacekeeping troops to the Russian military units deployed in Abkhazia without consent of the Georgian side, and in the same time, at high forums categorically threaten by using these troops against Georgia. They forget that these units were uninvited on the territory of the country, and that if it were not for the direct involvement of the Russian army units deployed in Abkhazia against the interests of Georgia and mass participation of Russian citizens in the separatists’ military formations, peace negotiations between Georgians and Abkhazians would have been a success and the scale of the conflict and victims would have been much smaller.

Even in the difficult situation of today, the government of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic consisting of Georgians, Abkhazians, Russians, Armenians and representatives of other ethnic groups is actively functioning in Abkhazia’s capital of Sukhumi.

The situation is aggravated by mass media. Certain groups seem to be interested in further escalation of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.

Following from the above, the Georgian Parliament demands that the Russian armed forced would immediately withdraw from the conflict area.

The latest Russian-Georgian relations apparently confirm that the aggressive factor increases in the Russian politics, which causes a danger to the stability not only in the Caucasus but also globally. The development of this trend is confirmed by the clashes of Russian people’s deputies at their 7th Congress and the Congress’s call to parliamentarians of the former Soviet republics to establish a new confederation.

If these political attitudes of mind won in Russia, the attempts to revive the Empire by forcible methods would become stronger. As mentioned above, similar recurrences of the Russian imperial policy apparently apply to the Georgian state. The global threat of strengthening of this dangerous policy was confirmed by the famous speech of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Plenary Session of the European Conference in Stockholm on December 14 1992.

It should be also noted that during preparation of the agreement package the Russian side tries to conduct the talks from the position of strength, taking advantage of the hard economic and political situation in Georgia. It ignores some moments that are critical for our country’s interests, such as the return of Georgia’s own property and terms of the temporary presence in and withdrawal of the Russian armed forces from Georgia.

In the situation of unprecedented interference in Georgia’s internal affairs, when the second round of the talks between Georgia and Russia ended without any realistic results in Moscow, the Parliament believes it would be problematic to continue the talks.

In this regard, the Parliament of Georgia will get back to the issue of practicability of the Russian-Georgian relations later on, depending on the Russian authorities’ attitude to the state sovereignty of Georgia and its territorial integrity.

A critical condition for building good neighborly relations between the two states would be immediate termination by Russia of the aggression against Georgia from its territory.

Tbilisi, 17 December 1992

(Bulletins of the Parliament of Georgia, ##. 1-4, 1992-1993, pp. 280-284/Translation from Georgian))