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Georgian-Abkhazian war: Armenians against Armenians2012-04-11 15:59
The Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993 took many lives. In the fightings, representatives of many nations, including the Armenians, have died. Alexander Gasparyan, the direct participant of hostilities, shared with us his memories. He talks about the cruelty of war, the unarmed recruits, and how the representatives of the Armenian people had to take up arms against each other.
"I came to Abkhazia August 14, 1992. I served in the first brigade of the 114th Battalion of Avaz. It was a military unit of infantry; we had two tanks for the whole battalion. At the same time, one of them had no tracks. We also had sub machine guns, grenade launchers (5 for the whole battalion) and machine guns.
A lot of my good friends, people close to me, whom I knew since the war in Karabakh, served in our brigade. The team consisted of both Armenians (Loew Kuchukyan, Garik Kazarian), and Georgians; moreover, Armenians were in the minority. All of them survived. In fact, as I know, about 450 Armenians took part in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, although, I can not vouch for the accuracy of this information.
During the storm of Labra (one of the highest points in Abkhazia, near Ochamchiri) a lot of the Armenians, living there, have suffered. I want to dwell on my memories about the Baghramian's battalion. During the war we often worked together. They fought bravely. In the early days of the war, many Armenian families, living in Abkhazia, have been hit hard, and not from direct military action, but from the looting. There were cases of robbery, violence against women. These developments forced many Armenians to take up arms and defend their families. That time it was not clear who was fighting whom, who is on whose side. Everyone who had a gun in his hand regarded himself as almost all-powerful and omnipotent. After our troops entered Labra, I saw with my own eyes two armed men with assault rifles trying to rob the local Georgians and Armenians. They shot off leg of a girl and forced her father to bring all the values from house! We stopped them and punished.
In April 1993, after our troops took possession over the settlement of Otara Armenian, we took out 67 families of Armenians from the encirclement under the crossfire of artillery and led them to the Georgian-Armenian border. I've received a commendation from the Catholicos of All Armenians for this.
The Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, in my opinion, was notable for the lack of coherence on the level of the high command, generals. I am sure we lost the war because of this, as well as because of betrayals.
July 2, 1993, at 5 am, the sea landing took place in Labra. It was bloody battle. Only 37 people survived of the 155 people, nine of them were injured. But we were able to break out of encirclement. I'll tell you why it happened: shortly before the battle we got reinforcements, around 100 people, and they all were unarmed.
July 4th, we stormed again; we reached a crossroads in the direction of Tamysh and Labra. We ended up under sniper fire; our two tanks were shot down. Russians fought on Abkhaz's side - the Moscow 9th division of the "blue berets".
July 9th, we returned Labri. There was relentless struggle for this point.
Abkhazians were organized much better, Russia helped them. I have not met Abkhazians during the war, there were the Kabardians, Ingushs, Chechens, Meskhetian Turks, Russians.