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Home / THE GREATEST POSSIBLE BESIEGE OF TBILISI!

THE GREATEST POSSIBLE BESIEGE OF TBILISI! 2

Creeping annexation of Georgian territories is still underway. The process has already been assessed as a provocation; however, the question now is how adequately the process is being monitored and analyzed, and this question, along with some other ones, has not been answered yet.

Erecting “border signs” on the territory of Georgia by Russia seems to be something new for international community (we mean the aftermath of the Cold War- after the Berlin Wall teardown), as are the hybrid wars waged by the Kremlin. However, Georgia, a small state in the Caucasus having 900 kilometers of land border with Russia, is an obvious example of such wars and border “experiments”.

 

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(Photo by Davit Mdzinarishvili)

Unfortunately, official Tbilisi has not been able to adequately demonstrate the hugest pressure from Moscow since the day of gaining independence.

Infringement on Georgian state border started as back as the day of gaining independence; significant sections of the state border were immolated as result of occupation of Tskhinvali and Abkhazeti regions. Russia tailored the role of a mediator and dislocated its military units under the status of “peacemakers” on the territories of both regions.

Kodori Gorge (a strategic gorge) created problems in Abkhazeti, while the villages of Didi Liakhvu Gorge (Tamarasheni, Kurta, Kekhvi, etc.) – in Tskhinvali region. There were repeated attempts of seizing Kodori Gorge, among them in April 2002 when a large airborne force was dropped in Azhara village (about 14 helicopters, including combat and cargo ones; number of troops landed was one hundred).  Attacks on the villages of Didi Liakhvi were interminable (after the 2008 intervention, the villages stopped existing).

 

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(Photo by Davit Mdzinarishvili)

Starting from 1993, the situation on the land border with Russia was escalating from time to time.

The length of the state land border between Georgia and Russia amounts to 894 kilometers and out of that number over 100 kilometers are disputable.  Special Standing Commissions were formed that were assigned with the task of studying legal and other aspects on specific sections of the border.

A former high official of the Border Department, retired Colonel Gela Khutsishvili recalls that in 1993-1994 Russia willfully seized a section of Larsi, while in 1997 – it seized all three tunnels. During the same period of time, Russia seized Eshmaki (Evil’s) Bridge – a roundabout way.

As back as the second part of the 1990s, Pichvebi in Khevsureti, the traditional Georgian territory near Mutso Range, and Atsekhi were disputable ones. Based on the 1999 Agreement, the territory remained under Russia; however, later Georgian party presented the materials of 1920 proving that it was Georgian territory. Anatoria Castle, the oldest sacred place of the population of Khevsureti (mountainous region of Georgia), pasture and mowing lands, totaling to 10 square kilometers, remained under Russia. Russian border troops appeared on the territory at the mouth of the Andaki and Arguni rivers.

 

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(Photo by Davit Mdzinarishvili)

Situation is similar near Daklo Mountain – Russians have advanced on the territory of Georgia.

If you look at the map closely, and especially at the altered borders after the 2008 intervention, it becomes obvious that Russia is forming” the front defensive layer”.

Russian troops control 25 out of 43 passes of the Caucasus.

Border defense experts are talking about new challenges.  The section of Beshta-Akhalsopeli poses particular threat since Russia is willing to connect it with Avareti-Kakheti highway and expand it up to Guimri (Armenia). This is of strategic importance for Russia. It should also be noted that the process counts many years and has not started recently. Colonel Khutsishvili recalls that as far back as 1997, Viktor Chernomidin accosted Georgia twice and requested to place check-points there (Russia was going to fully fund the construction of the facilities, but Georgia wouldn’t agree). A little later, Russia asked Georgia again to let Russian troops move through the territory to attack Chechnya from the South; however, the response was negative once again.

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(Photo by Davit Mdzinarishvili)

Russia is working and making planned steps trying to establish land route with its military base located in Guimri. In order to do so, it needs several roads, not a single one. One will be the road from Tskhinvali region that has obviously been occupied, and the other – Avareti (Dagestan)-Kakheti (Akhalsopeli) road. In case the two roads are put into operation, Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia will find itself besieged.

If you look at the map, you will find out that Akhalsopeli village (Kakheti region) is along the same line with Tskhinvali region where Russia occupation base is; Abkhazeti is also along the line where, again, Russian military units are dislocated. Presently, there is no road between the military bases in Tskhinvali and Abkhazeti regions. However, if they have the third point – Akhalsopeli (Kvareli) – Russia will construct the road and, consequently, will occupy all the rest of the regions (Mta-Tusheti, Omalo, Khevsureti, Asa, Kazbegi, Truso, Racha, and Svaneti).

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(Georgian peaceful protest, Russian “border guards”, the tunnel in Larsi, 1997, photo by Davit Mdzinarishvili)

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