Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nani Bregvadze postpones planned Jubilee Concert in Saint Petersburg

Famous singer of Russian romances Nani Bregvadze has postponed her Jubilee Concert which she was to perform at the Academic Cappella in Saint Petersburg on September 26.
Singer Vakhtang Kikabidze has also refused to perform in Russia and has rejected the Order of Honour decoration offered by the President of Russia. The actor is protesting against Russian aggression in Georgia.

MIA Issues Data on Russian Troops in Georgia

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has released data on the deployment of the Russian military at various locations on Georgian territory as of August 27. “All locations and numbers given here are double-checked,” the Ministry said. “MIA could not verify all information available and the actual number of both Russian military equipment and personnel on the ground may be much higher.”
Russian Illegal Checkpoints in Georgia
The locations of Russian illegal checkpoints in Eastern Georgia, including Shida Kartli, other adjacent areas of “South Ossetia” and “South Ossetia” itself, according to MIA sources as of August 27 2008, are:
1. Perevi (Sachkhere district)2. Ghodora (Sachkhere district)3. Muguti (Znauri district)4. Ali (Khashuri district)5. Ptsa (Kareli district)6. Variani (Gori district)7. Karaleti (Gori district)8. Shavshvebi (Gori district)9. Ergneti (Gori district)10. Tsiara (Java district)
Note: There are approximately 60 Russian servicemen and 4 armoured vehicles stationed in each of these places. The vehicles often move from one place to another “patrolling” the nearby territories and villages.
11. Ikoti in Akhalgori district (this post has 7 infantry combating vehicles, 1 armoured vehicle, 6 Ural-type vehicles, 2 Gaz-66 vehicles, 1 military power shovel, 1 mobile medical unit, 2 grenade-launchers, trenches, 100 Russian servicemen)12. Approximately 15 armoured vehicles are stationed between the villages of Meghvrekisi and Brotsleti in Gori district.13. 1 km north of Odzisi in the Akhalgori district (there is 1 armoured vehicle, 15 Russian servicemen)14. The village of Mosabruni in the Akhalgori district (there is 1 armoured vehicle, 15 Russian servicemen)
Note: Russian servicemen and armoured vehicles on the newly opened checkpoint north of Odzisi and Mosabruni were redeployed from other checkpoints.
The locations of Russian checkpoints in Western Georgia according to MIA sources as of August 27 2008 are:
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Region
1. Teklati (near city Senaki), on the area of the former mechanical plant (5 armoured vehicles, 1 crane, 2 Ural-type vehicles, 1 vehicle with communication systems, 1 UAZ-type vehicle, 1 four wheel drive car, 1 large army tent, trenches, 40 Russian servicemen)
2. Pirveli Maisi (Khobi district), near a former Georgian police checkpoint (2 armoured vehicles, 2 Ural-type vehicles, 1 UAZ-type vehicle, 1 large army tent, trenches, 40 Russian servicemen)
3. In Poti between the villages of Shua Khorga and Chaladidi (Khobi district), so called Poti Minor, near the turning to Kulevi oil terminal (4 armoured vehicles, 2 Ural-type vehicles, 1 large army tent, 30 Russian servicemen)
4. Menji, Bakaraia neighborhood (Senaki district), in the grounds of the sanatorium 10 metres from the railway line (3 armoured vehicles, 4 Ural-type vehicles, 2 cranes, 1 military power shovel, 1 large army tent, 40 Russian servicemen)
5. Kantisubani, on the Tsalenjikha-Chkhorotsku road section (3 armoured vehicles, 2 Ural-type vehicles, 1 large army tent, trenches, 30 Russian servicemen)
6. Crossroads at the entrance to the villages of Chale and Muzhava in the Tsalenjikha district (3 armoured vehicles, 1 Ural-type vehicle, 20 Russian servicemen)
7. Chkhorotsku, at a former airfield, near the Senaki-Chkhorotsku highway (3 armoured vehicles, 2 Ural-type vehicles, 1 vehicle with electricity generator, 2 large army tents, 40 Russian servicemen)
8. Nabada settlement, at the entrance to Poti (2 armoured vehicles, 1 Ural-type vehicle, 1 UAZ-type vehicle, 1 military power shovel, 1 large army tent, 30 Russian servicemen)
Upper Abkhazia/Kodori Gorge
9. Gentsvisi10. Omarishara11. Sakeni12. Chkhalta13. Kvapchara
Note: Due to the extremely difficult situation in the region, obtaining accurate numbers on Russian and Abkhaz military deployment is difficult. All sources report substantial Russian and Abkhaz deployments in the region.
In addition, the Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff, Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, stated during a press conference on August 22, 2008 that the Russian armed forces had established new checkpoints in the following locations:
14. Khudoni 15.Jikmuri 16.Ochamchire17.Gupagu18. Meore Gudava 19. Anaklia 20. Mount Kvira
Note: The Russian side has not denied the existence of the abovementioned checkpoints.
Total number of personnel and vehicles:
• Russian servicemen: 970• Armoured vehicles: 66• Infantry combating vehicles: 7• Grenade launchers: 2• Ural-type vehicles: 22• UAZ-type vehicles: 3• Gaz-66 vehicles: 2• 4x4 type cars: 1• Military Army tents: 8• Cranes: 3• Military power shovels: 3• Vehicle with communication systems: 1• Vehicle with electricity generator: 1• Mobile medical unit: 1

Imedi TV to resume news broadcasts on Monday

Imedi TV will resume its news programming on September 1, it has said in a televised announcement. Imedi TV resumed partial broadcasts in early May, but without news coverage; movies and TV series are its output at present.

The Imedi media holding, including both a TV and radio station is now owned by Joseph Kay, a distant relative of late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, who took over the holding in a controversial deal after Patarkatsishvili’s death in February, 2008. The Georgian daily, Rezonansi, wrote on August 30, that the senior management of Imedi TV – in charge of news and political programming - is now composed of people with close links with the authorities. It also noted sarcastically that Imedi TV might become a “Rustavi 3” – a reference to Rustavi 2 TV, which is a private television station, but regarded as the government’s mouthpiece.

Georgian Foreign Minister visits Turkey

Eka Tkeshelashvili, Georgia’s Foreign Minister, arrived in Istanbul on Saturday to meet her Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, the Georgian Foreign Ministry has reported. The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement on August 26 saying that Georgia’s territorial integrity was important for Ankara. After her trip to Turkey, Tkeshelashvili left for Brussels, where EU leaders will discuss the Georgia crisis on September 1.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky – Russia is interested only in territory, they need Abkhazians and Ossetians as servants

According to a statement made by Russian Liberal Democrat Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russia is interested only in the territories it has recognised and needs Abkhazian and Ossetian people as servants. “Russia does not need Abkhazian and Ossetian people, but their territories. There is no reason to hide this. After achieving this we will make them servants”, Zhirinovsky stated.

Italian Catholic bishops offer EUR 1 M for urgent needs

Italian Catholic bishops have offered EUR 1 Million to Georgia to meet the urgent needs of the population. In response to an appeal by His Holiness Benedict XVI, who last Sunday invited the whole world to contribute generously to the needs of people involved in the war, the President of the Catholic bishops of Italy, Cardinal Bagnasco the Archbishop of Genoa, has declared that the Italy’s bishops have offered to make an initial contribution of 1 million Euro for the purchase of humanitarian aid. A further collection will take place in all Catholic churches in Italy for the needs of Georgia.

Similar collections are taking place in Catholic churches all over the world. The Vatican Embassy will provide details of the amounts eventually collected for this purpose.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia recognize each other

South Ossetia and Abkhazia plan to conclude an agreement in which they recognize each other’s independence, the “Ambassador to Abkhazia” Robert Kokoev has declared. They also intend to formulate an agreement on military cooperation. Kokoev says that South Ossetia and Abkhazia have recognized each other previously, but the signing of a new document is planned. As previously reported, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “independent Republics” on August 26.

Grigol Vashadze holds meetings

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mr. Grigol Vashadze met with Mr. Sandor Jolsvai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary and Mr. Vilmos Hamikus, Director General for Security Policy and Non-Proliferation, on August 29. During the meeting the sides discussed the Russian aggression towards Georgia and the ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population at the occupied territories. The sides also discussed the necessity of stronger EU involvement.On the same day Deputy Minister Vashadze also met Peter Semneby, the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus, and discussed the same issues. As Vashadze stressed, Russia keeps violating the six-point agreement. Russian troops are still present in Georgia outside the territory of the conflict zone, continue their ethnic cleansing of Georgians, specifically in Akhalgori which is not in the conflict zone, and separatists are being supported in arranging a new administrative border.

President of Venezuela backs recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez considers Georgia's leader a “puppet” of Washington and is backing Russia in its conflict with Georgia. Chavez declared in his weekly national broadcast that the Russians “did what they had to do” in response to what he called a military provocation in the Georgian province of South Ossetia. Chavez accused Washington of sparking the conflict, saying Georgia's troops were armed and trained by the United States. He did not elaborate, but added that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is “nothing but a puppet of the U.S. Empire”.

Russia to justify itself at ‘G8’ Summit

Boris Grizlov, the Chairman of the State Duma, will outline Russia’s position on the Georgian - Ossetian conflict at the G8 Parliamentary Summit in Japan on September 1. International issues, including the existing situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, will be discussed at the summit.
Within the framework of the summit, the Chairman of the State Duma will hold individual meetings with representatives from Japan, Germany, France and Italy.

Vladimir Putin – Russian peacekeepers to be withdrawn only when security measures are taken

According to the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, Russian peacekeepers will be withdrawn from the security zone only when security measures are taken in the region. “During my talk with Sarkozy, we clarified that we were not going to annex the Georgian territories. My target is only to guarantee security in the conflict zone. Russian peacekeepers do not intend to remain there forever. We consider that it is Georgian territory. We would just like to avoid another conflict. That’s why Russian peacekeepers will be withdrawn from the security zone only when security measures are taken” Putin said in an interview with TV –ARD of Germany.

NAPR resumes work in Gori

The Gori office of the National Agency of Public Registry of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia resumed working on August 29. The Gori office was attacked by marauders during the war period; they took away office equipment and hardware. The NAPR has managed to re-equip the office.
All interested parties can apply to the office for registration services.

Russia closes its Embassy in Georgia

Russia has closed its Embassy in Tbilisi following Georgia's announcement that it is severing diplomatic ties with Moscow. Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze had declared on August 29 that Georgia had broken off diplomatic relations with Russia.

Giga Bokeria meets Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

The First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mr. Giga Bokeria, held a meeting with Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, on August 30. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne informed the First Deputy Minister about the activities of the Children’s High Level Group in Georgia within the framework of its educational programme for disabled school children, as well as outlining EU actions concerning humanitarian aid delivered to refugees from the conflict zone. Bokeria thanked the Baroness and her committee for their work and expressed the readiness of the Georgian side to support the activities of the Children’s High Level Group in Georgia.