Matt Siegel, reporting for the New Statesman, found exhausted doctors working in the South Ossetia General Hospital in Tskhnvali. A week ago there were wounded civilians and bloody surgical gloves lying in heaps in corridors of the hospital. Dr. Tinati Zakhorova, angrily commented: “This is the fourth genocide against the Ossetian people by the Georgians. How can we go back to living under them?” The real mystery about events in South Ossetian and Georgia is who was involved in planning the initial attack and to what extent is their culpability on the part of President Bush in events that occurred in these sad lands? Siegel met many South Ossetians who believe fervently they need the support of Russia in order to survive against the Georgians. They believe without Russian soldiers their country would have disappeared.
Siegel found evidence of Georgian artillery attacks on the capital. On the other hand when Siegel visited the Georgian city of Gori the exact opposite view was expressed. People wanted Americans, not Russians. Sasha Berdizee, expressed the view of many when he admitted “Misha made a mistake” in referring to President Saakashvili. There is realization Georgia is a tiny country bordering on a powerful Russia which will not tolerate a hostile regime so close to its land.
Georgia’s former Defense Minister, Irakli Okruashvili, claimed that President Mikhell Saakashvili of Georgia, had instructed him to kill a businessman who opposed the president as well as take hostile action against a member of the opposition party in parliament. “I immediately realized it was a trap: if the order was fulfilled, they would later kill me.” He also claimed a former prime minister whose body was found in a friend’s apartment had been killed elsewhere. A spokesperson for the government of Georgia derided Okruashvili’s statements as those of a man who is “out of his mind.”
Standing on the outside and not that knowledgeable of affairs in Georgia, it is difficult to make a judgment about these claims. Where there’s smoke, is there fire?