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Parties agree to adhere to honorary campaign moratorium

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, August 8
August 7-8, the fourth anniversary of the Georgian-Russian 2008 August War has been declared as the days of mourning. Parliamentary chairman Davit Bakradze visited the administrative border with South Ossetia in Ergneti and expressed his gratitude towards the Georgian soldiers who have protected the interests of Georgia from the first days of the war.

Recognizing and honoring the fallen soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the conflict, Bakradze requested that his colleagues and opponents not disrespect the country by accusing Georgia of starting the war. “Let you argue with us about anything, criticize on any issue, abuse us, but do not trample on the hour of our fallen heroes,” he said, reminding that it is Russia that has been fighting against Georgian statehood for two-hundred years.

Bakradze said the occupation line which is several meters away from Ergneti, does not only cross into Georgian land, but the hearts of every Georgian citizen. Confident that Georgia will finally be united, the Parliamentary Chairman encouraged everyone to struggle side by side for breaking down the “wall.”

At President Mikheil Saakashvili’s request, Georgian flags were lowered at every government institution throughout the country as a sign of respect towards the fallen heroes. During his visit to Karaleti village in Shida Kartli on August 6, Saakashvili said no one has managed to change Georgia’s course of action and political choice in spite of all the danger.

Saakashvili said that Georgia will recover everything the enemy has taken during the August War of 2008. He said that while no one has a “monopoly” on the love for Georgia, those who say that Georgia started the war do not love their country.

Georgian MPs observed a moment of silence to honor the memory of hundreds of peaceful civilians and soldiers. Parliamentary Deputy Chairman Gigi Tsereteli said although historically Georgia has always protected its land, August 2008 was a heavy period and the feeling re-lived every year.

Deputy Parliamentary Chairperson Rusudan Kervalishvili called the August War “the most tragic day” in Georgian history. She said for a small country like Georgia it is unimaginable what the Georgian heroes have done for their country.

Political parties participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 1, 2012 temporally suspended their activities on August 7 and 8. The United National Movement’s (UNM) First Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science and Culture, Khatuna Ochiauri, said these two-days will unite the entire Georgian population, irrespective of partisan preferences. She said by lowering the flags, the state emphasized that it never forgets its fallen heroes and stressed that on the anniversary of the tragic August events, political activities and confrontation are not advisable.

Georgian Dream spokesperson Maia Panjikidze encouraged the UNM to keep silence as a sign of apology for the tragic results of their “unwise policy.” She said the coalition had defined from the very beginning of its election campaign that “the most tragic day in Georgia’s modern history” should have been held without the massive activities.

Giorgi Targamadze and Giorgi Akhvlediani, leaders of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), visited the village Shindisi in the Gori region, where they held a requiem for the fallen soldiers among the local population. Targamadze felt emotional after witnessing the museum of military tools made by the local people. “This is the place where Georgian soldiers have shown amazing examples of heroism,” he said.

The Georgian-Russian War of 2008 left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. 20% of Georgian territory is still occupied by Russia today.