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The Peacemaker’s Day in South Ossetia2009-07-15 10:09
Almost a year ago, the Russian peacemakers in South Ossetia had no idea that Georgia would attack them, crushing their blockhouses with armor. Much water has flown under the bridges since then. According to the treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, the military located at the borders of the recognized republic are currently helping to protect its boundaries. The Ossetians still keep celebrating The Peacemaker's Day in commemoration of the Russian soldiers who brought peace here in 1992 and who gave their lives for peace in 2008.
Before Presidents of Russia and Georgia Boris Yeltsin and Eduard Shevardnadze concluded the Dagomys agreement on principles of the conflict settlement and brought peacemakers into the region in 1992, South Ossetia had survived two aggressions of the Georgian army.
The first one, held under the leadership of the independent Georgia's first President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, ended with a civil war. Tskhinval was captured. Dozens of thousands of the citizens were turned into refugees; others became militia men. The Ossetian self-defense troops forced out the Georgian military units. In return, the official Tbilisi established blockade of South Ossetia. The energy supply was shut off, which made the people victims to the cold. The roads that provided foodstuffs carriage to Tskhinval were blocked. There were occasional attacks at the Ossetian refugees' columns as it happened during the tragedy near the village of Zar. From time to time, the Georgian army laid down fire upon Tskhinval from the nearest high points.
At the end of 1991, Eduard Shevardnadze came to power in Georgia. He made up his mind to repeat the heroic act of his predecessor and was going to capture the capital of the self-announced republic by force. However, being pressed by the Russian government, Shevardnadze made certain concessions and started negotiations on peaceful settlement.
In June, 1992, the Dagomys agreement was signed. On July 14, 1992 the fire was ceased, and the Joint Peace Maintenance Forces (JPMF) entered the region in three battalions, the Russian, the Georgian and the South-Ossetian, each one of about 500 servicemen. This day became a holiday in South Ossetia and is still celebrated today.
According to the Dagomys agreement, the peacemakers have been protecting the fragile peace in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict for 16 years, providing warranty of non-renewal of the military actions, as the web-site of the Ministry of Press and Information of South Ossetia reports. Still, since 2004, when Saakashvili came to power, the official Tbilisi started a campaign on discrediting the Russian peacemakers. They were accused of having concealed Ossetian weapons, of rotations performed outside the legal checkpoint via the Rokski tunnel, of enhancing the military commitment, creating obstacles for the OSCE observers, of their incapability to prevent firing at the Georgian villages at the border with South Ossetia and etc. The peaceful commitment was referred to not as a neutral force but as a force that had got its own interest; the fact was stressed that Russia was supporting Eduard Kokoity's regime in the terms of economy, issuing Russian passports for the local residents.