Putin: Georgia Occupied Abkhazia in 1918

"Georgia, with help from German troops, occupied Abkhazia in 1918, and Georgian troops were even crueler in South Ossetia during 1919 and 1920. This was essentially what is called genocide today," Russian President Vladimir Putin stated yesterday during a meeting with journalists.

When journalists asked Putin about the sanctions against Georgia, the Russian President said that it would take a lot of time to give a complete answer.

"But I will tell you my thoughts in short. In order to understand what I am guided by in this, we should take a look at our past, at history", Putin said.

The Russian President tells his own version of how Abkhazia and South Ossetia were united into Georgia.

"Ossetia joined the Russian Empire, if I remember correctly, in 1774. Both northern and southern Ossetia came together, as an independent state. Abkhazia did the same in 1810, also as an independent country, a principality.

"Later some events took place within that single state. South Ossetia became part of the Tiflis Governorate. There was no Georgia at the time, but the Tiflis Governorate.

"Abkhazia developed so: when the Russian Empire fell after World War I, Georgia made attempts to absorb Abkhazia; an independent country of Georgia was established, and, with help from German troops, it occupied Abkhazia in 1918”, he told journalists.

As for the Tskhinvali (so-called South Ossetia) region, Putin explained that in 1919-1920 Georgia arranged a genocide there.

"The occupiers were very cruel, and Georgian troops in Ossetia in 1919 and 1920 even more so. This was essentially what is called genocide today", he noted.

“During the Soviet era, it was decided to establish the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia, which included today’s Georgia. It wasn’t even Georgia. The Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia was established during Stalin’s time, and Abkhazia was included. By the way, human rights activists never note this, which is strange.

"However, on Stalin’s orders, the NKVD, governed by Beria, took very harsh measures on Abkhazians in order for Georgia to absorb this territory and the Abkhazians.

"This is a grim legacy that one of the first Georgian presidents simply ignored when he took Adjara and Abkhazia’s autonomy. All of this resulted in an explosive and fratricidal war.

"At the time, I tried to convince Mr Saakashvili. I said, “Mr Saakashvili, do not take any military actions against Abkhazia or South Ossetia.” I said the same to the Americans: “No, under no circumstances.”

"And what happened? They started a war. The result? It is well-known today. Russia had to acknowledge the independence of these republics and protect the Abkhazians and the South Ossetians.

"As for Rustavi 2 TV journalist Giorgi Gabunia, who insulted him during the live broadcast, Putin stated that this fact should not be taken seriously.

“The rest is secondary. Curses and swearing are not so important, so they should not be taken seriously. No need to respond to what some bad guy says”, he added.

By Ana Dumbadze 

10 July 2019 11:15