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Georgia, Russia: Tbilisi Reports

Categories: Central Asia & Caucasus, Eastern & Central Europe, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Breaking News, Ethnicity & Race, Governance, Human Rights, Humanitarian Response, International Relations, Politics, Protest, Refugees, War & Conflict

See Global Voices special coverage page [1] 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 [2]:

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 [3]:

[…] 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 [4]:

[…] 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 [5]:

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 [6] (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 [7] (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 [8] (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.