A Georgian Diary

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A Georgian Diary

Thomas Dworzak

The Russians invaded Georgia on August 8th, while George W. Bush was in Beijing attending the Olympics. Twenty days passed and Barack Obama was officially named the Democratic Party candidate for the 2008 presidential run. In the meantime, the escalating harsh conflict in Georgia left Europeans and Americans aghast.


Very strong diary, socially educating and photographically inspiring.
This presentation really stinks. Is USA turning into USSR? Sad to see this propaganda, even though the job's made clean and professional.
Whoever says that war started when georgians started bombardment of ossetian city are WRONG. War started 2 georgian peacekeepers were killed on 6th of august by ossetian bandits. Russia was supposed to be a peacekeeper, how come ossetians were armed so well?
Thomas Dworzak, how much money have you got for this "true story"???
thank you- the experience is haunting
As the Russian official military paper Krasnaya Zvezda has stated in one of the interviews on September 3, the Russian 58. army (regular army, not peacekeepers) was moved to S-Osetia already before August 7. On August 7, they were moved to a location in Tshinvali. This happened BEFORE the Georgian attack on Tshinvali on August 8.08.
The Russian invades Georgia after that free Ossety has been attacked by georgian's troops with the help of US mititary advisers. The facts are the facts ... and we're fed up that Europe is the playground of Nato since 1949 !
The multimedia presentation was top notch. I loved the use of video and music which blended in beautifully with the still images. However, the title "Russian Tanks Invade Georgian" is only half the story. I spent a fair amount of time in this region, and though I love the Georgians, their food and their generosity, I'm worried that this story is being spun in the same manner as the war in Iraq was. where 80 percent of American believed that Bin Laden and Iraq were behind 9/11, though, ironically Bin Laden wanted to overthrow Saddam. This story is being treated by the press in the same manner. Most people I talk with don't know that Georgia tried to invade Souther Ossetiia first which precipitated these events. For those interested in understanding the complexity of this story please read Michael Dobb's piece in the Washington Post (We both have been in the region extensively) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/14/AR200808... And read this in this Asian times: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/14/AR200808... Thomas caught one very important aspect of the story that needed to be told, but this is quagmire that needs to be understood from all sides before we find ourselves in another Iraq because of ignorance of the events occurring. I'm afraid this story is being reported in the same manner as Iraq was before the lead-up to the war.
Yes, THIS story starts with 8th of August - Russian Invasion. Yes, we, the Georgians, have moved troops into Tskhinvali at night - form 7th to 8th of August. We did not bombed the city. Our troops have answered the heavy bombardments from Ossetian side - from 3rd to 7th of August they attacked Georgian villages and we had to answer to that - since the russian peace keepers didn't stopped Ossetians. Nobody is interested what was happening there before. Unfortunately nobody. BTW - Thanks to Magnum and Thomas for this great compilation.
one-side, very narrow view. dull...
Amazing photographs Thomas. Regardless of who started it all.... the photographs are powerful and it is always the innocent civilians who suffer. With Alex's photographs the two of you provide very moving bodies of work. Extremely effective MIM piece. One of the best.
Unfortunately, the photographer has not the pictures from Tshinvally, specially, about night on 7 of August, when Georgian artillery and planes pounding the sleeping city all night.
Thank you Thomas to see around world real situacion. You have made and now making very big work for Georgia ( also for Caucasus) . I am very glad to meet you . (In Freedom Squer) .
thanks Thomas for helping us to see and understand real fact of Russian ocupation of Georgia, It made me cry, not only your photoes also that fact that we live in totalitarian country (Russia)....... THX THX THX a lot
"georgians got fucked" (dworzak) because they tried to fuck osetians it's just a good example of historical justice remember what nato did to yugoslavia, remember idependence of kosovo without shots from tskhinvali (osetia) this essay is just a piece of western anti-russian propaganda you disapointed me very much, dear magnum
bravo!!thank you thomas!! It was great pleasure to meet you here!
I think person who has covered almost all the conflicts in Caucasus for ages (including Chechnya) has clear understanding who started the war and why, thank you Thomas for a an amazing essay, as a Georgian it made me cry.
August 29, 2008) – Recent satellite images released by the UN program UNOSAT confirm the widespread torching of ethnic Georgian villages inside South Ossetia, Human Rights Watch said today. Detailed analysis of the damage depicted in five ethnic Georgian villages shows the destruction of these villages around the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, was caused by intentional burning and not armed combat. All of this adds up to compelling evidence of war crimes and grave human rights abuses. This should persuade the Russian government it needs to prosecute those responsible for these crimes. Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch “Human Rights Watch researchers personally witnessed Ossetian militias looting and burning down ethnic Georgian villages during their research in the area,” said Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch. “These satellite images indicate just how widespread the torching of these villages has been in the last two weeks.” The new satellite images, taken by a commercial satellite on August 19, were analyzed by experts of the Geneva-based UNOSAT program, which is part of the UN Institute for Training and Research and produces satellite-derived mapping in support of UN agencies and the international humanitarian community. UNOSAT experts identified visible structures on the images that were likely to have been either destroyed or severely damaged. The expert analysis indicates clear patterns of destruction that are consistent with the evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch researchers working in the region. Among the images publicly available from the UNOSAT website (http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/) is a map marking satellite-detected active fire locations in the ethnic Georgian villages around Tskhinvali. The map shows active fires in the ethnic Georgian villages on August 10, 12, 13, 17, 19 and 22, well after active hostilities ended in the area on August 10. On these dates the lack of cloud cover allowed the satellites to view those locations.
Since July 31, Russian state television channels have been airing inflammatory stories about Georgian forces firing on South Ossetia’s administrative center Tskhinvali, inflicting civilian casualties and causing a refugee exodus to North Ossetia (Russian TV Channel One, Rossiya TV, NTV, Itar-Tass, July 31-August 3). The allegations are not verified by any independent source nor can they be, given Russia’s exclusion of any meaningful international monitoring in South Ossetia, disabling the OSCE and precluding Georgian air surveillance. Moscow’s propaganda wave closely resembles previous ones in the continuing political warfare against Georgia. For their part, leaders in Tskhinvali threaten to escalate the hostilities deeper inside Georgian territory, using “their own forces,” that is, a proxy war. “We will force [the Georgians] out from the conflict zone ourselves. I state once again that we have the necessary troops and equipment [sil i sredstv] to do this,” the South Ossetian “president” Eduard Kokoity warned (South Ossetian Press and Information Committee, August 3). The Russian-delegated “prime minister” and “security council secretary” of South Ossetia, Yuriy Morozov and Anatoly Barankevich, appeared on Russian television channels with lurid stories that Georgians had killed six South Ossetian civilians and wounded twice as many and that South Ossetian troops had in turn killed 29 Georgian soldiers. They also alleged that Georgians were forcing a mass exodus of children and women from South Ossetia to North Ossetia. These officials also threatened to take the hostilities deeper inside Georgia, with ostensibly South Ossetian forces (South Ossetian Press and Information Committee, Itar-Tass, August 1, 2). North Ossetian leaders, meanwhile, seem unwilling to be dragged into a confrontation and are downplaying the anti-Georgian accusations. North Ossetian President Teymuraz Mansurov and other officials in Vladivkavkaz have not backed up those atrocity stories and have explicitly denied that any refugee exodus was under way (Interfax, July 31, August 1, 2). Moscow has every interest in fostering a brink-of-war atmosphere. Having pressured Georgia heavily in Abkhazia in recent months while allowing a temporary lull in South Ossetia, Russia is now shifting the pressure onto this front. As in previous years, Moscow deems the month of August propitious for staging military incidents in Georgia, while European officials take their vacations. This year, however, may differ from previous ones in that Russian and proxy forces could stage the seasonal clashes both in Abkhazia and in South Ossetia, and possibly with a higher intensity. Russia’s recent moves in Abkhazia had suggested that an incursion into the upper Kodori valley could be expected in mid-August. This remains a distinct possibility and may be accompanied by an incident in South Ossetia, ostensibly “in response” to Georgian “provocations” there, on the “evidence” of Russian state media. Moscow is now forcing Tbilisi to guess which option it is considering using: escalation in both areas, or a main action in one of them and a side show in the other. Apart from the usual goal of military intimidation, Moscow has some novel motives this year to escalate tension to an unprecedented level. First and foremost, it wants to demonstrate that NATO would court danger and risk a breakdown in relations with Russia, if the Alliance approves a membership action plan for Georgia at one of the upcoming NATO meetings (December 2008, April 2009). Germany’s insistence at the April 2008 NATO summit, that the unresolved secessionist conflicts disqualify Georgia from a membership action plan, has emboldened Moscow to demonstrate ever more aggressively that the conflicts are indeed unresolved. Second, by stoking tensions in South Ossetia and anxiety in European institutions, Moscow seeks to force Georgia to return to negotiations in the Joint Control Commission (JCC), which Georgia quit in March of this year. With its grotesquely unbalanced composition (Georgia, Russia, South Ossetia, and Russia’s North Ossetia, plus the OSCE as a passive observer), the JCC had only helped perpetuate the “frozen” conflict, i.e., Moscow-controlled instability.
It is worth taking sides only if you are paid well enough.
Not Russia started this war.
Your story begins a day late. On Friday the Georgians launched an artilary barrage-decimated a city,for what and provoked by whom? Now on top of 300,000 refugees and IDP's, Georgia has another 175,000 IDP's to ignore like they do the rest. Yes the Georgians got fucked in a big way, but what would you expect in a country that names a street after George Bush. I was there too and made alot of pictures -I saw it another way-it is quaint to think of Georgia as a fledgling democracy, but anyone who has spent some time there realizes democracy is only a word that coneals moronic and corrupt policy, as well as a callous disregegard for Georgian citizens, and anyone else not playing by a rather narrow set of rules. Who picks up the pieces now? Maybe Sakashvili should have considered that in the 1st place. Georgians got fucked by their own government-37,000 soldiers take on an army of over a million-anyone surprised at the result? Apparently they expected George Bush to ride to the rescue on his trusty steed, they are still waiting, needless to say.
And again. All sories starts from russian invasion to Georgia. And noone story starts from bombing Tskhinval by georgian troops. Peacfully sleeping town was attacked by rocket launchers in next night after declaration of the cease fire by georgian goverment. Why you do not want to show this side of the conflict?


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