Georgia, Russia: Tbilisi Reports

See Global Voices special coverage page on the South Ossetia crisis.

Below are a few posts from bloggers who are currently in Tbilisi, Georgia.

LJ user merienn wrote this (RUS) from Tbilisi on Aug. 11 and 12:

Aug. 11, 2008 – 10:46 AM:

At 6 AM today, Marina called, scared to death: there was an explosion, and their windows were nearly smashed over at Gldani. Turned out the radars […] that serve the international airport were being bombed.

Yesterday, Khelvachauri, a suburb of Batumi, was bombed, Sandro is staying there with grandfather and grandmother and doesn't want to go to the village to my parents.

Khatuna and I were walking with kids [at the park], it's almost empty, and we took them to McDonalds’ – banned in peaceful times, it seems so attractive in the time of war.

Yesterday, crowds of people were marching all over the city with flags, chanting “Sakartvelo” – Mishka didn't understand what was going on.

- There's war now, and we are being bombed, and these people are demanding to stop all this.
– And who's doing the bombing? – Mishka the Ant asked, [his eyes huge with surprise].

I didn't tell him who was bombing us.

- Let them throw these bombs on themselves, I hate them, – Mishka got angry in a funny way.

Just a week ago we were chatting about some sweet trifles – where they do French manicure better, and where I put that swimming suit, and how to train your husband to hang his wet towel on the rope.

Now we are breaking our heads, [trying to figure out] how to get to Batumi with kids and avoid being shot at, where a safer place to take shelter is, who said what the UN Security Council, whether it is true that people got killed in Poti.

There's no panic. […] There was shock on the first day, and then it started feeling as if we've been living like this for a hundred years. Crowds of people are donating blood. We knew that this is how it would be. […]

We are not leaving anywhere. [Because] all they do is wait for us all to leave.

***

Aug. 11, 2008 – 11:54 AM:

[…] There is no Russophobia whatsoever – I've already said more than once that we have very clear boundaries separating the notions of the Russian state and the relations between the peoples. […]

I'll pack a backpack, just in case – warm clothes, water, documents. Refugees have taught us so – the rest doesn't matter.

Though it is unclear where we'll be forced to go – there's not a single place in my country that's inaccessible for the brave fighter jets.

They bombed Gori once more. Bombed Kakhetia.

Sites hosted in Georgia have been hacked, there's no opportunity to access Russian sites, so LJ remains my only platform to keep in touch with the world. […]

***

Aug. 11, 2008 – 07:00 PM:

[…] We've decided not to go yet because it is dangerous. At home, the walls [of a house] help. […]

Value all that you have. Value the fact that you are alive and healthy, that you can watch a movie instead of the news, that you can buy a ticket and go anyplace you like. […]

***

Aug. 12, 2008 – 01:38 AM:

I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow morning. Maybe tanks will enter the city. Mishka is asleep, my little boy, he kept turning around, asking: They aren't bombing Batumi, are they? He misses his brother. I shouldn't have told him yesterday. Though this way he is prepared, at least.

All hope for Sarkozy, maybe he'll convince them – but this is unlikely, too, no one is going to back out at this point – they'll be eating us hot.

Tbilisi-based LJ user dzvirpaso wrote this (RUS) on Aug. 11:

I've just called Ukraine's consul in Georgia, I know him well. He said that he and his family (wife and two children) are here. He said that those who wanted to leave were leaving, but assured me that the situation was stable. I asked whether he thinks if it would be better to leave or not, and he replied that there's no need to at this point, that everything is stable and will soon be over. If something happens, he will definitely call me.

LJ user oleg_panfilov reports (RUS) on the situation in Tbilisi this night:

I've just had a ride around the city – everything is quiet and calm. People are discussing the situation on the phones and that's why it's been impossible to reach friends in the past two or three hours. Some people manage to get through [to my number], ask me what to do, and then the phone goes silent again.

There is panic, of course, but for now only in conversations and discussions. Though there are those who've decided to leave already – mainly to Eastern Georgia, towards Azerbaijan.

I can't get rid of the thought that these people do not want to greet the occupational troops with flowers and wine – even though there's such an effort being done for them, all the demands for Saakashvili to escape… […]

In another post, oleg_panfilov adds (RUS):

[…] Tomorrow there'll be plenty of politics.

Forgot to write that Eka Zguladze, deputy minister of foreign affairs of Georgia, has confirmed to me that tomorrow, in the middle of the day, presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Ukraine are expected to arrive in Tbilisi.

37 comments

  • vladimir

    Oh yea, poor people of Tbilisу they are scared that they could get bombed. What about people of Osetia? They have got bombed and about 2000 of them (2% of the population) are dead now. May be Georgian people should have thought what they were doing when they elected such a president and agreed to his policy

  • Max

    My best friend is georgian. He’s a very good guy. And I believe that Georgian people are so kind ahd have hospitality. I wish the best for them.

  • Marjorie

    Yikes! What a mess!

    Watching western media and Russian media is like looking at two sides of a coin or at night and day!

    The truth lies somewhere in between.

  • Steve

    Maybe peace can be found with Russia and USA for the good of the whole world. We should help each other and settle disputes by talking and comming to understanding.

  • THIS MADDNESS MUST STOP…REGARDLESS.

    please

  • Stephen Adkins

    My prayers go out to the people of South Ossetia, the young, the old, May Peace find each of you. To those who are leaving for safety’s sake, I wish you safe travels. For those who are staying, I wish you safe harbour and security in your towns cities and homes.As an American from Seattle, Washington it is the fabric of my diverse city to wish for peace and harmony;I send from my city to each and every one of you. Stephen

  • […] has a posted a page with blogs about South Ossetia. On Global Voices, several bloggers describe life in Tbilisi over the past few […]

  • Brad

    I am an American, and haven’t been outside of the states. But I can tell those who live in Georgia that they have the full backing of the United States, not only from what they see our gov’t. say but the people are behind them as well. Russia is controlled by a prime minister who is a thug who wishes to regain the former territory of the soviet union, and who would also like to see a return to the old communist ways I’m sure. He is making it happen under the guise of a ‘russian federation’. The European Union seems to have given a rather weak response to the russian invasion, which goes along with every major diplomatic decision they have made in the last 140 years. Stand tall my friends, if I could be there I would be in the trenches fighting them side by side with you. Sometimes democracy has to be paid for with blood, brothers-in-arms.

  • Julia

    I am from the South of Russia. I really respect the opinion of people from other countries, but let me tell something to you. Unfortunately you get very few information for mass media in your countries. Besides Georgian point of view or to be more exactly the Saakashvilly’s point of view is expressed more often than the position of Russia.
    At first, Russia has never attacked Georgia and threatened its sovereignty and has no reasons for doing it. Besides Russia did not enter the territory of Georgia. There were only Russian peacemakers. Maybe someone does not know but the duty of Russian peacemakers was to avoid military actions between Georgia and South Osetia according the mandate of UN. And of course when peacemakers saw that the civilians of South Osetia were attacked they began to protect them. Moreover Russian peacemakers were also attacked. And if Russia did not react the Georgian army would kill not 2000 people but all the 120 000 people, the whole population of South Osetia. Moreover Russia really helps victims of attacks a lot, provides them with medicine, food, water, clothes etc.
    Second, who says about telling stories about victims by newspapers? We do not just read “stories” about dead and injured people? We see that on TV! Real reports! We hear the words of people who lost homes and families! And that is really horrible!!
    Third, again maybe the rest of the world does not know but some hours ago Russian peacemakers found the plan of military actions of Georgia against South Ocetia called “clear field”. That proves that the actions of Georgian forces were planned earlier.
    Finally, we in Russia realize that the policy of Saakashvili does not get the approval among. Georgian people and his actions does not express the interests of his people. His actions are criminal. Analyzing Saakashvili’s policy he can be compared only with a monkey with a grenade!!!

  • CelticIberian Centurion

    This conflict should come as no surprise. When NATO started bombing Serbia, the Archbishop of Belgrade mentioned something to the effect that “NATO was the Beast of the Apocalypse”…..thus, the expansion of the EU eastward including Turkey (the ancient Roman provinces of Pontus Euxinus-Bythinia, Galatia, Capadocia-which bordered with the ancient Parthian Empire; and which covers part of modern Georgia’s Black Sea coast, etc.. Also the conflict in Iraq (the province of Mesopotamia under Rome), fits perfectly into this jigsaw puzzle, of Rome’s (European Union & U.S.), expanding eastward. Thus, for the apocalyptic dreams of King Nebuchanezzar of Babylon, as interpreted by the prophet Daniel to be fulfilled (Daniel Chapter 2), the EU (modern Rome) naturally must eventually control modern Turkey, and parts of the western Caucasus, passing through Mesopotamia, Syria and into Judea, etc., all parts of the Roman Empire during the times of Marcus Ulpius Traianus……

    I hope this serves to clear out, some of these doubts about all this hullaballoo out there in the Caucausus.

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