17.03.2009 — 08.08.2009
Fighting on the side of the rebellious province South Ossetia, Russia won the five-day battle (8-12 August, 2008) with Georgia. Russia did not carry on war against Georgia state or people of Georgia. The military operation oriented to bring Georgian Government to peace came in response to the wide-scale act of aggression of Georgia, which lead to 2000 victims among civilians from Tskhinvali and neighboring Ossetian villages, tens of thousands people lost their homes and became refugees.
The South Ossetia and Abkhazia problem has a long history. Both republics joined Georgia in the soviet time, and up to that in the time of the Russian Empire they were separate principalities. After USSR’s disintegration by the nation-wide voting it was resolved that the republics will not join the state of Georgia. Georgia has not recognized sovereignty of both republics. Finally South Ossetia and Abkhazia had to resort to arms in order to uphold their independence. After sanguinary events in 1992 Russian peacekeepers were deployed in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
On the night of August from 7 to 8, 2008 Georgia delivered massed fire in Tskhinvali and so started military actions against South Ossetia. The attack lasted all night till the very morning and was shown on television in Georgia. Mass media announced that Georgia “in response to provocations” started military operation aimed at “constitutional control” over the territory of Tskhinvali region in Georgia, as South Ossetia was officially named by Tbilisi.
On August 8 at 01.30 Georgia officially declared war to South Ossetia. The plan of Georgian presidence was to attack Ossetian settlements and force people leave their country and kill everyone who resolves to stay, and finally appropriate the land. The military operation got cynic name “Deserted Land” and this confirms the fact that Georgian actions must be considered as genocide.
In the morning on August 8 Georgian forces invaded the territory of South Ossetia and approached Tskhinvali, the capital. South Ossetia military forces along with Russian peacekeepers faced the attack first, although by the international treaties peacekeepers shall stay uninvolved. Peacekeepers quarters were targeted by tanks and almost fired away.
On August 7 Russian peacekeepers that appeared between the two conflicting parties included 19th division squadron of South Caucasian Military District 58th Army. In total, 600 Russian servicemen were in the conflict zone at that time. They were armed mostly with small arms, grenade launchers, mobile antitank systems and several armor systems.
Finally, as a result of the fire attack by Georgian forces Tskhinvali turned to ruins.
On August 8 at 15:30 the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appended the following declaration, “As you know, Russia has maintained and continues to maintain a presence on Georgian territory on an absolutely lawful basis, carrying out its peacekeeping mission in accordance with the agreements concluded. We have always considered maintaining the peace to be our paramount task… Last night, Georgian troops committed what amounts to an act of aggression against Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population in South Ossetia…Georgia’s acts have caused loss of life, including among Russian peacekeepers … Civilians, women, children and old people, are dying today in South Ossetia, and the majority of them are citizens of the Russian Federation. In accordance with the Constitution and the federal laws, as President of the Russian Federation it is my duty to protect the lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they may be.”
The exhibition presents in true manner the events, chronicles and pictures the five-day war in South Ossetia.