Tribute to Georgian Heroes of the August War

Throughout history, Georgia has had numerous heroes to give tribute to. During the breezy summer days of August, memories formed 11 years ago haunt Georgia. The August War of 2008 left 192,000 people displaced and over 400 Georgian civilians and soldiers dead. Given the number, it’s impossible to tell the story of each fallen hero in the Russo-Georgian War, but Georgia Today would like to present and remind you of a few heroes whose stories prove that heroism never dies.

Giorgi Antsukhelidze, 24 at the time.
Born in 1984, in the village of Alvani, Kakheti, Giorgi joined the Georgian Armed Forces in 2001. He then served in various units of the Georgian infantry headquartered at Senaki and Vaziani. Junior Sergeant Antsukhelidze served as an assistant gunner in the 41st Battalion of the 4th Infantry Brigade during the Russia–Georgian war of August 2008.

In January 2009, two video recordings were spread online showing soldiers in South Ossetian uniforms torturing a captured Georgian soldier.The relatives identified the Georgian soldier as Antsukhelidze. The video footage shows the militants, speaking in Ossetian and Georgian, interrogating the prisoner; the captured soldier in a Georgian uniform – Antsukhelidze - is shown being repeatedly beaten and replying to each question: "I have no idea". One of the torturers is heard shouting in Ossetian: "Look, what a tough guy!". He went missing on August 9, 2008 during the battle of Tskhinvali as the Georgian forces were advancing into the Shankhai district of Tskhinvali.  DNA testing identified his corpse in late December 2008. He was buried at the fraternal cemetery of Georgian soldiers at Mukhatgverdi near Tbilisi. The killing of Giorgi Antskhulidze left his wife Maka Chikviladze widowed and their two children fatherless.

Having an Order of Vakhtang Gorgasali, 1st class already to his name, then President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili posthumously awarded Giorgi Antsukhelidze the Order of National Hero in April of 2013. Antsukhelidze's name was given to a NCO school operated by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia in November 2013. He was also honored by President Giorgi Margvelashvili in his inaugural speech in November 2013.
Tbilisi has a street named after Giorgi Antsukhelidze in the so-called military town of Isani district.

The neighboring street of Antsukhulidze has been named after his fellow soldier, another fallen hero of the Russo-Georgian war – Ushangi (Shmagi) Sopromadze.

Ushangi Sopromadze, 25 at the time.

Ushangi Sopromadze’s story is much like any other warrior from the August War: he stood by his principles and took his last breath loving his motherland and defending its interests.
Junior Sergeant Ushangi (Shmagi) Sopromadze was born on June 5, 1983 in the village of Dzevri. During the August 2008 war, he served in the 1st Battalion of the Georgian Armed Forces. Trying to pull his wounded fellow warriors out, he was taken captive. Sopromadze was tortured for several days for information he would not give up. When he refused to stand on the state flag, the occupants executed Sopromadze by firing squad.

The opening ceremony of the street named after Ushangi Sopromadze took place yesterday, August 8.

Dimitri Jailovi, 37 at the time.

Dimitri is another fallen hero of the August War 2008, without much fame or a street to his name. However, we still remember his story.
Dimitri Jailovi was born in Kutaisi on March 10, 1971. Already a father to three children, he started contractual works at the age of 27. Jailovi served as a driver in the signal battalion. He left home on August 1 to join the army guarding the territories of the building conflict near Senaki. When the enemy was bombing the Senaki base, Dimitri took the wounded soldiers to the hospital. He delivered the hurt to the destination twice successfully. When Jailovi was on his way to the base to help out fellow soldiers for the third time, his younger brother who also served in military asked Jailovi to stop, as the situation was getting worse. Dimitri refused, saying that he could not abandon the wounded boys. Jailovi was blown up before his brother’s eyes, dying immediately on the scene.

Not all heroes were soldiers in the August War of 2008.

Goga Abramashvili, 41 at the time, was a surgeon.

Born in 1967 in Sighnaghi, Abramashvili got into Medical University in 1985. He worked in the Gori Hospital in 2008 as a physician. The August War was not his first battle, as he had served in the military service sometimes as a doctor, sometimes as a doctor's assistant. He died on August 11, tragically and heroically, helping the wounded, refusing to leave the hospital even under evacuation.

It is impossible to fit all heroic stories from the August War in one article for there are so many. It is possible, however, to have all of them in our thoughts. Especially now that it’s August…

Image source: USA TODAY.
By Nini Dakhundaridze


09 August 2019 11:47
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