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Ultimatum of the Tskhinvali de-facto authority


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

The representatives of the Government of Georgia and de-facto government of Tskhinvali could not mitigate the Chorchana-Tsnelisi crisis during three months. On November 12, the seventh round of the technical meetings finished without any results in Ergneti village. The parties usually agree only on one issue – to continue the meetings. After the meeting, the deputy head of the Analytic Department at the State Security Service Irakli Antadze told journalists that he expected to hear constructive positions from the representatives of the Tskhinvali de-facto government but they continued speaking with ultimatums and demanded the Georgian government to close the police blockpost in Chorchana village, Khashuri municipality. The Government of Georgia has not changed its position either – the blockpost will not be closed.  In response to that, the de-facto government does not intend to open the closed crossing points in Akhalgori and Perevi. 

“The positions were the same at today’s meeting. We expected the representatives of Tskhinvali side to have more constructive position and we again announced our desire to normalize the situation; however, our positions did not coincide with theirs. We also spoke about the processes related with recent developments nearby Chorchana village. As you know, representatives of the occupation forces directly connected the closure of the so-called crossing points with this topic and we again requested to open them. However, they still refused,” said Irakli Antadze.

Alongside the ultimatums of the occupation regime towards the central authority of Georgia, they conduct illegal activities, like restriction of entry into and depart from the occupied Akhalgori municipality and kidnapping of the Citizens of Georgia from the ABL villages. In the first half of November, the occupation regime arrested five citizens of Georgia; four of them are released by now. However, Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili, detained on November 9, is still in prison. He deliberately crossed the so-called border and the occupation regime sentenced him to two-month pretrial imprisonment. Later, on November 19, the so-called State Security Service of South Ossetia released information that the Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili actively participated in the military operations of 2008 as a military captain of the medical unit of the Georgian Armed Forces. 

“On November 9, citizen of Georgia, resident of Tbilisi, Vazha Gaprindashvili breached the border of South Ossetia and Georgia nearby Ortchosani village, Leningori municipality. Reportedly, he was military captain of military-medical unit of the Georgian Armed Forces and actively participated in the 2008 August War as a doctor,” the statement of the Tskhinvali de-facto KGB reads.

Gudushauri National Medical Center, where the detained doctor works, states that the accusations of the Tskhinvali de-facto authority are absurd. The family of the doctor also calls it disinformation and his wife Tamila Lapanashvili states that in August of 2008, Vazha Gaprindashvili never left Gudushauri medical clinic during one week and the doctors and medical recordings in the clinic also confirmed the same information. According to Tamila Lapanashvili, during the August 2008 armed conflict, the Gudushauri medical clinic was working under emergency. 

Georgian doctors requested release of the doctor Gaprindashvili in the “Action of White Gowns”. The US Embassy in Georgia requested immediate release of Vazha Gaprindashvili. EU ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell made statement about illegal arrest of Vazha Gaprindashvili. “We consider Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili as victim of hard situation at Division Border Line,” the Ambassador said.

On November 17, the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality of Georgia Ketevan Tsikhelashvili announced that the Georgian detained doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili will be released in a few days. 

“According to our information, Vazha Gaprindashvili will be released in a few days. His does not have health problems and we have received this information from several resources,” the State Minister stated. 

On November 19, the de-facto president of South Ossetia spoke about Chorchana-Tsnelisi crisis during the meeting with the Geneva Co-Chairs. He directly connected the closure of Akhalgori and Perevi crossing points with the recently opened Georgian police blockpost nearby Chorchana village. Local news agency Sputnik-Ossetia disseminated information about it, which reports that the de-facto president compared the Georgian police checkpoint in Chorchana village with the “splinter in a leg.”

“When a person has a splinter in a leg, it hurts entire body. It is necessary to remove the splinter to kill the pain. Just imagine that the state is a human body, which wants to remove the splinter from the leg. This checkpoint is the splinter, which hurts our body – our state. Sometimes you need surgery and doctors to kill the pain. I think, you are the doctors and you can resolve this problem. It is your competence; furthermore, it is your duty to resolve this problem and assist the Georgian side to implement this task,” Bibilov said.

It is curious whether the Tskhinvali de-facto president bargains with the opening of the closed crossing points and release of the detained doctor or his statement about a splinter and a doctor was a simple coincidence or a direct message? Neither Tskhinvali de-facto government nor the Government of Georgia speaks about this issue openly. However, the State Minister for Reconciliations made another statement on November 21 after her meeting with the family of the doctor. “Non-conditional release of Vazha Gaprindashvili is the main priority for us and the state bodies actively work for that,” Tsikhelashvili said and it raised more questions whether de-facto government demands the Georgian authority something in exchange of the freedom of the doctor. 

One of the leaders of the Development Movement Soso Vakhtangashvili told humanrights.ge that most probably the Tskhinvali de-facto government uses the issue of the closed Akhalgori crossing point and release of the Georgian doctor for bargaining with the Government of Georgia; major topic of the bargain is the police checkpoint in Chorchana village.

“The Tskhinvali de-facto State Security Service also made statement about possible bargaining over the release of the Georgian detained doctor, where they indicated that it is connected with their request to close the Georgian police checkpoint in Chorchana. They do not clearly state that the doctor is imprisoned to bargain with the Government of Georgia but they underline that the situation was escalated with the Chorchana-Tsnelisi developments,” Vakhtangashvili said.

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