Saturday, August 27, 2016

Caucasus Report

Identity, Motives Of Intruders Onto Georgian Territory Remain Unclear

Georgian police block a street in the village of Lapankuri near Daghestan on the night of what Tbilisi says was an armed incursion from the restive Russian republic.
Georgian police block a street in the village of Lapankuri near Daghestan on the night of what Tbilisi says was an armed incursion from the restive Russian republic.
Official Georgian accounts of the incursion into Georgian territory last week of a group of armed men from Daghestan leave many key questions unanswered. More to the point, the interpretations offered by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Security Council Chairman Giga Bokeria are at odds.

The first Georgian reports early on August 29 said troops and Interior Ministry special forces had trapped a group of armed “saboteurs” in the Lopota Gorge close to the Russian-Georgian border and secured the release of five local men whom the intruders had taken hostage. The Georgian Interior Ministry initially announced that “one intruder from Daghestan” had been killed. Just hours later, the ministry reported the release of two further groups of hostages and the death of at least 10 of the infiltrators, who were described as “terrorists.”

The men killed were said to be “mostly” Russian citizens from the North Caucasus republics. No clue was offered as to the ethnicity or citizenship of the others.

According to a more detailed account on August 30, the intruders captured on August 28 an unspecified number of border guards mobilized to search for the five missing local residents. They agreed to keep just one senior border guard as a hostage, releasing the others and the five local men. An Interior Ministry official came to convey to the intruders a demand from the Georgian authorities to surrender, which was rejected. Two militants then accompanied the Interior Ministry official to a location where he could liaise with his superiors; he led them into an ambush and both were shot dead. The other intruders were killed in a separate gunfight, in which the Georgian special forces personnel also died.

Caucasus Strategic Research Institute director Mamuka Areshidze pointed out that it is “odd” that 11 intruders were shot dead but not a single one was injured or taken alive for interrogation. The special forces units tasked with neutralizing the group should have been capable of shooting to incapacitate, rather than to kill.

Georgian President Mikheil SaakashviliGeorgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
Comparing Georgian and Russian official statements and media reports, Georgian political observers have listed three possible explanations of what actually happened.

The first is that the intruders were dispatched by Russia into Georgian territory with some unspecified hostile intent. There is no hard evidence to support or disprove that hypothesis, and little hope of obtaining any unless one or more of the surviving intruders is tracked down, captured, and interrogated.

Moreover, if the Georgian authorities suspected that the FSB was behind the incursion, why did they not make every effort to take at least one of the intruders alive in the hope of embarrassing Moscow by extracting from him a confession that could be broadcast on TV? 

The second is that the men were members of the Islamic insurgency who crossed into Georgian territory. This is what, the website of the Daghestan wing of the insurgency, says happened. The website denied that the group planned any “operations” on Georgian territory, but did not explain what their purpose there was. It also dismissed as “lies and slander” Georgian claims that the intruders took hostages.

The third hypothesis is that the Georgian authorities staged the entire operation for PR purposes to incriminate Russia. There is a precedent for this kind of scare-mongering. In March 2010, a Georgian TV channel broadcast a 30-minute report of an alleged new Russian attack on Georgia coinciding with a Russian-backed coup, only to announce once it finished that the events had not, in fact, taken place.

The obvious argument against that hypothesis is the casualties sustained by the Georgian side. The only circumstantial evidence to support it, according to Center for Human Rights head Ucha Naneishvili, is that local residents said the intruders spoke Georgian to the hostages.

Official Georgian statements are vague and inconsistent.

Speaking on national television late on August 29, when efforts to round up the remaining interlopers were still continuing, Saakashvili did not say outright that the men entered Georgia from Russia, merely that a “well-armed and well-trained armed group appeared on the Chechen and Daghestan section of the Georgian-Russian border” and took Georgian citizens hostage. He said the men were “destroyed” in a shootout after they ignored repeated demands to surrender.

Saakashvili compared the incident to what he termed the “export to Georgia by Russia in the 1990s” of the ongoing turmoil in the North Caucasus. Saakashvili mentioned in that context renegade Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev, but at the time of Basayev’s involvement in the 1992-93 war in Abkhazia, neither Chechnya nor the North Caucasus as a whole was experiencing “turmoil.”

By the same token, Chechen field commander Khamzat Gelayev and his fighters did not retreat south and establish a rear base in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge until after the battle at Komsomolskoye in March 2000. And Gelayev was certainly not acting on orders from Moscow.

Saakashvili stressed that today, unlike in the 1990s, Georgia has emerged as a strong enough state not to permit “turmoil, instability, and violence on the territory of our neighboring country to spill over into Georgia in any form.”

The following day, by which time the “main phase” of the operation against the intruders was said to be over, Saakashvili imputed to them two objectives that imply they were acting at the behest of the Russian authorities. Saakashvili said they sought, first, to test the combat readiness of the Georgian armed forces, and second, to “stage a provocation” that could “directly or indirectly…serve as a pretext for our country’s invader.” He did not explain why, in that case, the intruders should have taken hostages rather than simply kill any Georgians they encountered to prevent them from sounding the alarm.

Late on August 29, however, National Security Council Secretary Bokeria said that while it is impossible to confirm or rule out any connection with Daghestan until the identity of the “militants” is established, it is plausible that they had links with insurgent groups in Daghestan, and “obvious” that their presence in Georgia was connected with “developments there,” by which he presumably meant the reported buildup of Russian troops and armor in recent weeks in three western districts of Daghestan bordering on Georgia.

It is, of course, possible that the Georgian authorities initially assumed that the incursion was masterminded by Moscow, and realized only after verbal contact was established with the intruders that it was not. Alternatively, they may have inferred at an early stage that the men were insurgents from Daghestan but killed them all the same, in order to perpetuate the uncertainty over their true identity and why they crossed the border and thus, by extension, the suspicion that Russia may have been behind the incident.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ingush from: Ingushetia
September 03, 2012 13:13
I believe the Islamic insurgents were duped into thinking, after their discovery by hostile Georgian forces, that Georgians will not attack their Caucasian brothers. They were wrong and now after the murder will use a different approach toward them.
P.S. Kadyrov, instead of laying claims on Ingush or Dagestani lands should raise the question about Kistin and Pankissi Vainakh people reunification. Georgins need to be pushed out of Vainakh lands.
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa, canada
September 04, 2012 13:47
another russian ethnic cleanzer comment, 10 years ago mr ingush, the ossetians cleaned out the northern part of ingushetia of the ingush people , your memory is failing you . Sakartvelo people are not going anywhere and unlike the ingush , Georgians defend their land and will reclaim their territories when the russian economy collapses, the ruble is now worth less than 2 cents or the price of a tissue paper
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 04, 2012 22:23
Another self-proclaimed specialist of the Caucasus!!!!!
"10 years ago mr ingush, the ossetians cleaned "
1992 was not 10 years ago it was 20 years ago. Go back to school. Basic math highly recommended.
"the ossetians cleaned out the northern part of ingushetia of the ingush people"
Eastern part of North Ossetia was ethnically clensed of Ingush people. Not northern. Geography recommended.
"Sakartvelo people are not going anywhere and unlike the ingush"
Actually unlike Georgians, Ingush were able to return back to North Ossetia.
"Georgians defend their land and will reclaim their territories when the russian economy collapses"
When Russian economy collapses Chechens will have no money and they will milk the cow named georgia. Don't relax yet.
P.S. In 1992 underequipped, unorganized Ingush people fought against 60,000 strong Russian-Ossetian armies longer than heavily equipped and US trained Gruzins in 2008.
P.P.S. Pankisiya and Kisti lands are Chechen. Prepare yourselves for new shrinkage. Russia is ready.
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
September 05, 2012 12:34
mr anonymous, are you a ghost, what do you know about anything Russia is ready alright, for an economic collapse . 300 year of Romanov rule evaporated in less than a month, the ussr collapsed in than 18 months , the ruble is worhtless and so is your russian master. as for geography , so i missed ou by 20 kilometers , as for the time period I must be having fun because time is flying by, as for the Ingush , they are victims just like everyone else in the area, Why are'nt you fighting with your chechen bethren in the north caucasus or are you just another armchair coward. MR ANONYMOUS
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 05, 2012 21:27
Ingush are not victims. You are a victim

by: Ingush from: Ingushetia
September 03, 2012 13:34
Per Georgian news the so-called Islamic hostage takers released the "hostages" including 5 military border guards, one of them was the head of the sector. For this "thankful" Georgians backstabbed the mujahedeen and shot them into their backs. After the pursuit they lost three of their "fearless" warriors and decided to stop pursuit just like their Russian brothers.
In Response

by: Porky Pine from: USA
September 04, 2012 04:27
Dear Ingush,
17 Mujahedeen crossed to Georgia in full gear and arms and took hostages; what do you expect the Georgian government to do? to give them the Medal of Honor and thank them for their good services to the Nation?
It would have been exactly the same situation if Georgian gangsters would have taken hostages they would have been eliminated as well;
In a successful state the only acceptable policy is zero tolerance for crime.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 04, 2012 11:06
Porky do not worry you saw the wind and will harvest ... soon. By the way prepare Saaka he will be on the paylist after Putin. Couple of trillion dollars a year will be OK.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 04, 2012 11:09
BTW the mujahedeen didn't cross into Georgia. It is Kistin territory and as we all know, besides some uneducated Porkies, the Kistins are Chechens whose land and property was given to Georgia by Georgian leader Joseph Stalin. As usual Chechens were robbed.
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
September 04, 2012 13:58
The enemy is russia and its imperial designs for the region, the chechen website kavkaz center is silent on the subject , they know their enemies enemies are their friends. I hope the arab world recognizes the new countries of chechnia, dagestan, ingushetia as independent entities, russia is a loser country anyways. As for you Jack from the usa, get a life you dont have one
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 04, 2012 22:25
Enemies of Chechnya are Russia and Georgia and they fought them both, unlike uneducated Ingush who still believe in chivalry and don't realize than gruzins are the enemies of the free Caucasus.

by: Jack from: US
September 04, 2012 00:21
Russian reports of the incident are reliable and truthful: the whole story was a hoax perpertrated by freedom fighter Saakashvilli to attract attention to his waning into oblivion figure. He probably just wanted US government to send him some more cash "to fight for freedom"
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 04, 2012 11:14
Lets educate you in English 101:
Read outloud:
"Dudaev was killed on April 21, 1996, by two laser-guided missiles when he was using a satellite phone, after his location was detected by a Russian reconnaissance aircraft, which intercepted his phone call. The telephone homing equipment was supplied to Moscow by the USA National Security Agency"
"Doku Umarov is wanted by Russia and the United States for terrorists acts. The United States has offered $5 million for information leading to his capture"

by: Vano
September 04, 2012 01:10
Identity: Chechens, Ingush, Kisti (all togeter Vainakh)
Motives: Military maneuvers
Intruders: Georgians. Vainakhs are not intruders, they operated on their territory which is Kistin land.
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
September 04, 2012 14:06
Vano, check your history books Georgians also known as Iberians existed long before the so called vainakhs peoples . Most of the caucauses peoples were pushed into their regions by the mongol invaders in the 13c the facts are there to read. vano why dont you take up arms against your bethren friends or are u just another yellow coward.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 04, 2012 22:31
"Georgians also known as Iberians existed long before the so called vainakhs peoples "
Now that is funny, considering the fact that Vainakhs lived in the Caucasus since 100-80 century before Christ per American scientists who studied Nakh-Dagestan languages.
P.S. The name Caucasus comes from Vainakh anscestor Kavkas per Georgian chronicler Leonti Mroveli.
Educate yourself then you won't sound like you sound right now.
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
September 05, 2012 12:45
, the history of the Caucasus starts with the Greeks who discoverved the region long before 100 bc, like 5000 bc. I dont make this up MR Anonymous . Since your a nobody , who can take you seriously.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 05, 2012 21:30
As I said before math is highly recommended to you gruzin. Chechens and Ingush lived in the Caucasus 10,000-8,000 BC that is 100-80 century BC.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 05, 2012 21:37
Greeks came to the Caucasus 5000BC? Now that is funny. Considering that Greek civilization is about 8-6 century BC.
Compared to Chechen-Ingush civilization 100-80 century BC
In Response

by: uber mario from: uberland
September 06, 2012 06:57
Read here, where is the evidence of "Kavkas is the father of Chechens" claim ? İf you find, it means you are really Chechen :)))) because you love fables.

"...The word Caucasus derives from Caucas, the purported ancestor of the North Caucasians.He was a son of Togarmah, grandson of Biblical Noah's third son Japheth. According to Leonti Mroveli after the fall of the Tower of Babel and the division of humanity into different languages, Togarmah settled with his sons: Kartlos, Haik (Georgian:ჰაოს, Haos), Movakos, Lekos ( Dagestanian Lak people), Heros (Kingdom of Hereti), Kavkasos, and Egros (Kingdom of Egrisi) between two inaccessible mountains, presumably Mount Ararat and Mount Elbrus..."

Real Chechen people (Nokcho), came from East Armenia to Caucasus. Assyrians pushed them to North. Their real name is not Chechen, real name is Urartu. They are invaders as Mongols, Tatars, Avars, Azeris, Adygean Cossacks...

In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
September 06, 2012 07:42
Anonymouse, you do realize that the Kartvelian peoples (Georgians, Svans, Mingrelians, Laz) have been in the south Caucasus since the Neolithic period (earlier than 10,200BC).

Most Chechens and Georgians get on well, and those with any brains deride modern Russian attempts to "divide and rule"

Tell me Anonymouse, are you a Russian troll?
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
September 06, 2012 19:34
For mr anonymouse, ( laugh), you referred to me as a gruzin, i am not gruzin nor what to be, also i dont get my references, unlike you, from wikipedia. . The canadeli katsi
In Response

by: Daniel from: Toronto
September 10, 2012 16:02
Peter, or Andrew/Andro, or whomever:

Modern day Georgians have no connection to Iberians, and this is a dubious claim at best. Georgians are originally from Persia and the Middle East, and thus cannot claim any antiquity or ancient roots from the region as can Chechens, Circassians, etc. Instead of insulting people, perhaps you yourself should re-educate yourself on Caucasus history. BTW, most of the Caucasus doesn't consider Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan true natives, as they are all of Turkic or Persian descent.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 12, 2012 06:20
yes yes, Circassian Adyge Cossacks and Urartaic Chechens are most autochtone people of Caucasus :))) so then, this fable for only nationalist children.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 12, 2012 22:01
Daniel, even Georgian XI century chronicler Leonti Mrovelli admitted that Kaukas (Russian: Kavkaz, English: Caucasus) was the ancestor of the Vainakh tribes: Chechens, Ingush, Batsbi, Kist, and others which were eliminated in warfares.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 13, 2012 10:24
You chechni Kurdish man. Whats your evidence ? Show me a book, i want to read it. Linguists find ancient Urartaic-Kurdish people has cotact wiith Chechens. And genetics show Chechens J2 came from east anatolia. G2a Circassian Adygea are Cossacks, German Cossacks, invaders. Conquered but they lost their identity, they assimilated in west Caucasian people.

Chechens only can say this : "We are humen. We love humanity. We will leave killing, and being wild. Accept us, we want to live in Caucasus with peace."
In Response

by: Jim West
September 13, 2012 13:13
"The Nakh–Dagestanian languages are the closest thing we have to a direct continuation of the cultural and linguistic community that gave rise to Western civilization," Nichols says.[2]
In Response

by: prof. from: uberland
September 13, 2012 18:00
Nakh-Daghestanians ? :)))) You wanted to say "assimilated Dagestanian Dargins, Didos" = %50 of today's Nakhs.
J1 type chromosome = Dagestanians, Caucasian Albanian people.
J2 = İngush-Chechen = East Anatolians.
G2a = Cossacks, Circassians = Northeast European nomads.

In Response

by: Jim West
September 13, 2012 23:48
IJ (including J1 and J2) are Caucasian groups. You must be a ruski "prof" who bought his diploma in ubergrad.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 14, 2012 10:54
Yes, J2 is "anatolian". =)) Turk you are funny in your attempts to bind Chechens to Turkey.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 15, 2012 16:11
your maps are showing truthes. but "migrated" truths. chechen people are rest of Urartu. İngush people are Scythes. Circassians are Cossacks. Migrated to Caucasus,and lost their culture, assimilated in native Caucasians.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 16, 2012 16:11
Turk we all came from somewhere. However your primitive stories are baseless. First of all its not genes which unites Chechens, Ingush, Dagestan, Circassians. It is Islam. and secondly, smelly Nazism ain't going to work in the Caucasus. Now bug off.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 16, 2012 19:31
Yes :) first u are telling you are Chechen and most native people on the Caucasus. But if you have some problems, you need neighbours and u are saying you are "all North Caucasians". İf you have a bigger problem you are being Muslim... :)))

Look georgians. They are telling "we were the king of kavkasians, the iberians". But if they have any problem with Caucasians they say "we are Orthodox and bretheren of Russians"... :)))

O people, you are politicians. Not men ! not a good Muslim or not a good Christian ! you love profits and talk big.

In Response

by: Anonymous
September 17, 2012 11:39
Smelly Nazism is in the past. All Caucasians, with the exception of Georgians and Armenians who are Christians, know unite or die.

by: Mamuka
September 05, 2012 11:03
Very curious-- in Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili is trying to use this incident to his advantage. Also, according to, some of those killed in the armed group were seen in the Pankisi Gorge a few days before the attack. Could they have been trying to get into Russia from Georgia? Or is this all just the usual Caucasian hysteria?
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 06, 2012 00:29
No Mamuka it is Georgian hysteria not Caucasian. Caucasians are pretty cool about the news.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
September 06, 2012 12:30
Ah, Anonymouse the Russian troll......
Keep on with your divide and rule BS, Caucasians are sick of it.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Tbilisi
September 06, 2012 05:54
There may be another scenario.
What if those chechens/kists were trying to get into Russia (may be also connected with recent activity in Dagestan) and Georgian secret services trapped them in there and started the shoot out, obviously to gain political benefits ahead of the elections.

In that theory though, a) i don't think the 11 dead men were very professional in whatever their profession is.
b) I don't think everything went well according to initial Georgian plan.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
September 06, 2012 08:32
Putin is trying to destabilize the situation in Georgia,he concentrates killing units in Dagestan their task -drive to Georgia guerrilla freedom fighters.. among them FSB agents and traitors..aim -to provoke unrest in Georgia..

Putin is an enemy of civilization and humanity, he hates people, that is why he flies with cranes...
In Response

by: ani from: us
September 06, 2012 15:03
at list this teritory doesnot belong Russia, so Russia get out from threr
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
September 06, 2012 19:37
in complete agreement, the canadeli katsi
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 10, 2012 18:32
It is more than that, not "among them" and not only "FSB",
"Oboroten's" in Caucasus, Spetcnaz, GRU and old KGB.
This one acted prudent, Dagestanies were among them,
Probably missguided by GRU "Amir" were not Ivan-hams.

If Georgia let some of "brothers" go - it would be a secret.
Isn't it why Russian provokers, like Ingush, so persistent?
Sniffing-out such possibility Rashka? Insulting Ingushes?
Ingushes looked like Georgian Noblemen, during Aushev.

Now they look like second sort Rusians, serving Russia,
Sniff and lie like Soldginitcin against Stalin, as "Ingushes"
And poping-up with such agenda in all topics, at parasha
Of bad smelling Imperial Russia. "Mal zolotnik no umnyiy".
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 11, 2012 02:28
As for Putin, he must hate people, distances himself,
Except few Prussians, like in movie "Pure Nastya",
The role-model of the half-Prussia Prince of elfs,
Rephrasing Brits: "An Empire to Build for Ya!"

It is why, being beyound approach by people,
In posts, lately - in which he blaims innocent,
The comments are not allowed. The crippled,
By his lies admit own "guilt" by mouthes shut.
Very smart Eugenio. Free Europe Putin staff?

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 07, 2012 05:56
All articles on "Free Europe" involving former USSR and East Europe, or at least interests of Russia, are lies or incinuations,
based on lies or incinuations, or seed doubth against non-Russians.
USA paying money to CIA and Gelena, staffed by Russians, being Russian scriblers, lie for Russia, or seed doubth against non-Russians.
Since after 1954 pact to resurect colonial empires, Germans and
British trained Russian officers of Special Forces to mortify population of whole nations by cut-off heads and other
They did it in Afghanistan, Caucasus, Georgian Abkhazia and other places.

They still doing it and also sitting on "Free Europe" forums, helping expand Russian Empire, while Merkel and Putin smiling at each other, conspiratorishly, - for USA money.
They are "terrorists" and they lying against me - those that already got my mother be killed by CIA in USA, like Eugenio, Jack and so on.

Russian army and agencies and its allies are not only
head-cuting-off beastial macaques, trained by Germans and British, they are also many different regular and special units,
including some old friends from places like Dagestan that during WW2 were mostly fighting against nazi Germany.
Most likely the violators of Georgian territory were not obligated, like Umarov's GRU, sons or grandsons of WW2 war criminal, murder hostages.
During Basaev's attack on Dagestan, Putin prazed allies of Russia - brave Avars in Dagestan.
Russian infiltrators in Georgia probably were accompanied by Dagestanies that free to chose, unlike GRU slaves of Russia.
Maybe not for long, Russia provoke Dagestan too - to invade and cleanse it as they did from Chechnia through Abkhazia.
So, they chosen be prudent, but refused abandon their mission,
maybe it was also some missunderstanding - it is why it ended
as it did.
Maybe Georgians even let some of them go back, who knows!

But what a bestial lying avalanche of commentaries of Russia
are down here!
What a mascarade of pretending be various nationals from Northern Caucsus and Georgia comment down here, lying and trying to turn all nationalities and nations against each other!
Only a foreigner or an idiot wouldn't be striken by agly Russian smell of rediculous "neskladuhas" of vulgar "raskol'niks"!

by: Paul from: Ipswich
September 13, 2012 20:26
There are documented example of the Sakashvili team staging events before... Kurcha in 2008 being one of them..
and read page 13... Im sure these guys have been crossing for a long time, but why choose now to kill them.. its an election and as we know its in the ruling parties interest to keep people in a state of high tension... these guys paid with their lives for bad timing...
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 15, 2012 11:20
As it was explained before they are not crossing. It is territory of Chechnya which Georgia illegally occupies.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.