Андрей Илларионов (aillarionov) wrote,
Андрей Илларионов

Блоггинг из Гори - Гога Аптциаури

"About five minutes ago, I spoke with Major General Borisov and he was quite candid. (He smelled of alcohol, which I suspect had something to do with his candor.) "Russia is a superpower that will not allow anyone to intimidate it," he told me, and added, "Let the Americans try to arm you again, and we'll see what happens to them"...

"...General Borisov is back... Then he leaves in the direction of the village of Khashuri, where Russian troops have apparently detained French Ambassador Alain Fournier. Governor Vardzelashvili says the ambassador was detained on his way back after accompanying an aid shipment to Sachkhere, in western Georgia. My French journalist colleagues are confirming that version"...

"...One of the most important events was a visit by a Council of Europe delegation headed by PACE Monitoring Committee co-rapporteur Matyas Eorsi. The delegation met with Gori Governor Vardzelashvili, who told them about the situation in Gori. He told them everything -- stories of how Russian soldiers walk around drunk, how they disturb people, knocking on doors and asking for alcohol.

After the meeting, Eorsi left to see buildings that had been bombed by Russian forces. He saw burned-out houses and bombed buildings. One bomb had fallen in the yard of a kindergarten. Eorsi also saw places devastated by looters -- two banks among them -- and stressed that under the Geneva Convention, the occupying power is accountable for every crime that is committed during the occupation -- so, Eorsi said, Russia is to be held responsible for everything that went wrong here..."

"...Governor Vardzelashvili was called in after Russian troops at one of the checkpoints between here and Tskhinvali halted an aid shipment. When he arrived and demanded that they allow the supplies to go through, the exchange got pretty heated. The Russians then placed Vardzelashvili in detention, accusing him of using inflammatory language. It took a phone call to Major General Borisov to get the governor released, about half an hour later..."

"...Obviously, people are very curious to know why the Russians left Gori, only to return a couple of hours later. When I spoke to Lomaia, he offered his own version of what happened. He thinks the Russians wanted to repeat what they did in Poti yesterday. There, we understand, the Georgian side was deeply concerned about the port being left unprotected, so the huge amount of goods that is stored there -- some destined for Georgia, some for Armenia, some for transit to Central Asian countries -- was left out in the open. According to Lomaia, Georgians asked the Russian forces to allow for some sort of protection, and the sides agreed to let 20 Georgian police officers go in and start guarding the port. But once those officers actually entered the port, they were followed by Russian armored vehicles. The police officers were arrested, disarmed, and taken to Senaki. Negotiations for their release were continuing until this evening. (Lomaia wasn't aware whether any agreement had been reached yet.) 

 Tonight, the National Security Council secretary is convinced that the same trick was planned for Gori. When the Russians took down their last checkpoint inside Gori at 7 p.m. tonight, Lomaia says they expected the Georgian authorities to bring in police forces. And had that really happened, Lomaia thinks, those police forces would have shared the fate of their colleagues in Poti -- i.e., the Russians would have returned to town and disarmed and detained them. Lomaia thinks the Russians would have claimed that some kind of provocation was being planned against them by those armed police officers, or that they were armed groups posing as police officers, and so on. The result would be to prolong their withdrawal and "justify" a Russian presence in Gori..."


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