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Monday, 24 October 2016


The film that is bound to displease Saakashvili

2008-10-31 09:20

On 28th October a closed press screening of the documentary film "War 08.08.08. The art of treachery" took place in the "Art" cinema in Moscow. It is dedicated to the tragic events surrounding the Georgian military aggression in South Ossetia in August. The film is made up of clips from news bulletins and eyewitness testimonies.


The film was created by the internet TV station, and it is available to be viewed freely on its website. But only representatives of Russian and foreign media, embassies of the leading world powers and CIS states, UN and EU missions in Russia, as well as South Ossetian and Abkhazian representatives were invited to the press screening in Moscow. Following the conclusion of the premiere the guests exchanged their opinions.

The evening did not pass without incident. A couple of hours before the showing it was discovered that entry was forbidden for Georgian journalists, who were outraged at this. The cinema's management explained that this measure had been taken to avoid any provocations, because officials from Abkhazia and South Ossetia were present in the auditorium. However in the end the matter was settled, and the journalists were offered apologies and were allowed in.

But I am sure that the entire audience instantly forgot this unfortunate episode as soon as the first clips of the film appeared on the screen.

It showed Mikhail Saakashvili's television address to the residents of South Ossetia. At the bottom of the screen was a caption which said that the Georgian president was speaking four hours before his troops invaded Tskhinvali. And he spoke, for a long time and with feeling, about his great love and enormous respect for the Ossetian people. Four hours before!.. And as the producers of the picture remind us, three days before the Georgian authorities had begun to evacuate women and children from Georgian villages located on South Ossetian territory. You can't help thinking: what hypocrisy! And it is difficult to escape the thought that the attack had been cold-bloodedly planned beforehand.

However the executive producer of the film, State Duma deputy Konstantin Rykov, was not being deceitful when he explained before the showing that it was not the film-makers'(these are script-writer Kirill Benediktov, director Aleksey Akimov and journalist Elena Kondratyeva) intention to stoke up hostility between the nations. He said: "We really want people in Georgia too to watch our film. It's just that for peace to ensue, all I's must be dotted and all t's must be crossed."

This is exactly what we saw on screen. That is to say, clips showing episodes of the military conflict, the terrible image of a city of which 70 per cent had been destroyed, testimonies given by eyewitnesses - Tskhinvali residents, who spoke painfully and tearfully about their friends and relatives being killed by shells, mines and bullets before their very eyes. They also spoke about those who tried to save themselves by fleeing the city along the Zara road, but ran into the bullets of Georgian soldiers. The majority were old people, women and children.

That is the bitter truth. The film really excels with its trustworthiness, incisiveness and honesty. Which is all shown, for example, in the clips of the seized archives of Sanakoev's (head of the so-called alternative government of South Ossetia) administration and his secret service. In these, receipts from thousands of Georgian residents of the enclave were discovered, proving that they received firearms, above all machine guns, from Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs. And representatives from the Ossetian authorities declare that these people can in no circumstances be considered civilians, therefore these Georgians have deprived themselves of the right to return to their native villages.

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