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Russian Duma creates group around “Genocide of South Ossetians by Georgians”

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, September 12
Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin stated that the legislative body has set up a working group which will discuss an appeal of occupied South Ossetia’s Parliament asking the Duma to recognize the “genocide of the South Ossetians in 1920 by Georgia.”

The group will be led by Viktor Vodolatsky, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on CIS Affairs.

“A unanimous decision was made to set up a working group to study this issue properly. Then the working group will submit its proposals as the topic presented by colleagues from the South Ossetian parliament is very serious,” Volodin said.

He also noted that the deputies of the Russian Duma could not turn aside the appeal of the de facto Tskhinvali MPs.

“They have the evidence, the facts that they cite. Therefore, we believe it is right for the working group to involve historians, those who can explain the situation more specifically,” Duma spokesman said.

He added that information would be requested from both sides – occupied South Ossetia and Georgia, expressing hope that the latter will also communicate when discussing the issue.

“We would like the Georgian side to present the materials they have to objectively evaluate the situation. The accusation is very serious. It should be based, of course, on arguments, on objective evidence. Once the working group gathers the necessary materials and proposals, we will come back to this issue again and make a decision,” he noted, adding the Russian side will be “maximally objective.”

De facto South Ossetian parliamentarians sent the appeal regarding the “genocide of South Ossetians in 1920” to the Russian leadership, the State Duma and the Federation Council on July 31.

The statement reads that "the 1920 events were not appropriately assessed, and the masterminds and those behind the genocide of South Ossetians were not held accountable."

The appeal says that the Georgian troops “eliminated most of the residential communities in South Ossetia” and that “several thousand people were killed, which was between 8 and 25% of the whole population, according to different assessments."

Georgian Parliament Speaker, Archil Talakvadze says this is not the first attempt from the Russian side to revise Georgian history.

“Georgian history can be read, but not rewritten or changed…The use of historical themes for political conjuncture is considered as very risky, especially in such a region as the Caucasus,” he said.

The Speaker added that Georgia is not focused on opening old wounds or searching for conflict topics, but reconciling with the people from the occupied regions.

Georgian historian Giorgi Otskhmezuri believes the decision of the Russian Duma is another step similar to the so-called borderisation, underway at the occupied regions of Georgia.

According to him, this topic does not have an international perspective and the Georgian side should not get engaged in discussions.

“The absurdity of this issue should be mentioned very briefly, it can be done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Georgian side should complete talks over it,” he said.