Georgian Archpriest Responds to Putin’s Alternative Version of History

Georgian Archpriest Ilia Chigladze has responded to Russian Presiden Vladimir Putin’s “alternative version” of how Georgia “occupied” the currently Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions.

"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 at a meeting with journalists on July 9.

Archpriest Ilia Chigladze published a thorough statement through social media in response to Putin’s statement and in answer to his version of history, presenting historically justified facts. In his statement, the Archpriest addresses Vladimir Putin directly.

“Mr. President, Vladimir Vladimirovich, 

"I would like to respond to your statement: unfortunately, either you know history very badly or you lie deliberately. In 1774, Ossetia became part of the Russian Empire, but at the time it was the Republic of North Ossetia. No land existed called South Ossetia. That territory, Shida Kartli (Samachablo), which the Russian colonialists called South Ossetia, has been the heart of Georgia, the historical, cultural center and an integral part of our homeland, for centuries. Geographically and historically, there was only one Ossetia and not two.

"In the 17th century, the Ossetian diaspora from North Ossetia crossed the Caucasian ridge and settled on the land of Java, the Kingdom of Georgia. At the beginning of the 20th century, not a single Ossetian family was present in Tskhinvali, but Georgians, Armenians, and Jews were living there. Convertion of the city of Tskhinvali into an Ossetian settlement was carried out by Bolshevik Russia. At the time of the annexation of the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti (Eastern Georgia) by the Russian Empire in 1801, Tskhinvali was as much a part of Georgia as Tbilisi, Gori, Mtskheta, and Telavi.

"As for Abkhazia, indeed, when the Russian Empire annexed Abkhazia in 1810, at that time it was a self-governing principality, a vassal entity of the Ottoman Empire, as were other Georgian principalities. The dissolution of Georgia into separate principalities was the result of the Ottoman occupation, and this cannot be an argument of your statement and propaganda that Abkhazia was not part of Georgia. Did not Russia consist of small independent principalities until the 15th century?

"Abkhazia is the cradle of Georgian culture and statehood. The official titles of our greatest kings David Aghmashenebeli and Queen Tamar were "King of the Abkhaz, Kartvels, Rhans, Kakhs."

"Your imperialistic ambitions and lack of knowledge in history are familiar to us, but you should also be aware that the Georgian people will never reconcile and will not forgive you the occupation of our lands. Remember, your Georgian collaborators, who constitute a minority in our country and are morally degraded, cannot help you. Throughout its long history, Georgia has overcome many enemies and tyrants, and we will overcome you! 

"God will protect oppressed Georgia and the oppressor will be defeated,” Archpriest Ilya Chigladze writes in his statement.

By Ana Dumbadze 

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12 July 2019 15:52