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Saakashvili has started the struggle for liberation2008-11-13 09:37
On 10th November the Georgian president said that his country was under no circumstances reconciling itself to Russian troops being located "on its territory".
"We will do everything we can not to give in to the provocations by the occupiers," Saakashvili told journalists at a press conference in Akhalkalaki. "We must understand that Georgia has entered a difficult and long struggle to liberate its land. Having Russians on our territory is very difficult for us to take, it really violates everything."
In this case, the president was enraged for two reasons - Russian forces being located in the village of Perevi bordering Ossetia and the issuing of Russian passports to Georgians in the Gali region of Abkhazia. A day earlier the media centre of the "Abkhazian government in exile" reported yet another crime committed by the Russians: soldiers had entered the village of Chuburkhindzhi in armoured transporters and taken Georgian identity cards off residents. They then pointed machine guns at them and made them sign documents confirming their desire to obtain Russian citizenship in the next two days. This is followed by a well-worn propaganda cliché: in recent days there has been total calm in the region, but the residents have been panicking.
"Georgians living in Gali will accept Russian passports only if Tbilisi gives them permission to have dual citizenship," reported the same media centre. "Otherwise the Georgian population intends to leave the region's territory. Life there is becoming increasingly tough. The local population is being constantly terrorised."
As an illustration the television channel Rustavi-2 recounted that the "Russian occupiers" had taken all weapons off the local population. Even registered hunting rifles. At the same time they also took away Georgian identity cards.
The television company Imedi reported that Georgians who are leaving Abkhazia are seeking refuge in the border region of Zugdidi. And it related that 10 families from the village of Nabakevi had abandoned their homes after Abkhazian and Russian soldiers began to carry out joint raids confiscating hazelnuts which were stored there.
"It's all lies!" retorted Abkhazia's Interior Minister Sergey Shamba. According to him, even in August when an operation was being carried out in the Kodori Valley against armed Georgian units, not a single Georgian left the republic. "People now just hope for a quiet life. What would they leave their native homes for? Tbilisi needs misinformation to again raise the issue of the nationalist policies that we are supposedly carrying out."