Georgia Marks 27 Years since the Fall of Sokhumi

Georgian officials, opposition leaders and ordinary citizens are commemorating the 27th anniversary of the fall of Sokhumi on September 27, 1993, marking the end of armed conflict in Abkhazia in 1992-1993. To mark the event the national flags were lowered to half-staff on all government buildings across the country.

In a written statement, President Salome Zurabishvili highlighted that “except the enemy, there is no winner in a fight between brothers… Abkhazians, as well as the rest of Georgian citizens should internalize that only together, with joint efforts, can we heal the wounds of the past and lay a foundation for the bright future of next generations.” President Zurabishvili did not attend the ceremony, instead her advisors laid a wreath at the memorial of fallen Georgian soldiers on Tbilisi’s Heroes Square.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said that September 27 “is the day of torment… the gravest tragedy for us all, both Georgians and the Abkhaz,” adding that “there is no winner in the war.”

“Today, 20 percent of Georgia’s territory is occupied [by Russia] and, we should commit to everyday work, so that our children, together with the Abkhaz, both Abkhaz and Georgians, live in an economically strong, just, European, educated state,” PM Gakharia underscored.

In her remarks, Tea Akhvlediani, State Minister for Reconciliation said: “All of us recall how Sokhumi has been emptying of Georgians, whom were leaving their hometown behind, followed by tears shed aplenty and tragic histories.”

“I believe that our efforts to reconcile the societies divided by the war will further strengthen,” Minister Akhvlediani went on, adding that “this effort is aimed to unite our country and to make dignified living conditions for our citizens, that I am convinced will yield the results.”

Tbilisi dispatched troops to the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia in summer 1992 to protect the Abkhazia section of the Russian-Georgian railway.

The government troops were forced to withdraw from the region in September 1993, following the attack on Sokhumi on September 16, 1993, by Abkhaz militants and mercenaries from the Russian Federation. The attack has occurred in violation of the July 27 ceasefire that implied the withdrawal of heavy Georgian weaponry from Sokhumi and its surroundings.

September 27 is associated in Georgia with the loss of control over Abkhazia and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians that occurred in that region. Reportedly, more than 12,000 people died during the armed conflict. Around 300,000 remain displaced.

More to follow

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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