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Georgia has launched criminal proceedings against 1700 deserters2008-12-24 13:14
This was reported by the new head of Georgia's Joint Staff Vladimir Chachibaya. The soldiers involved did not arrive on time with their units once they left the conflict zone in South Ossetia. 70 of them have already been convicted and are serving out sentences as deserters. Investigations are continuing over the others.
The military expert Irakli Sesiashvili told Vremya Novostei that the soldiers in this instance were paying for the blunders of the leadership. According to him, "we should not be talking about deserters, but about the absence of any effective leadership in the army".
His comment is corroborated entirely by the soldiers themselves. Back in September the Yerevan TV station ALM broadcasted an interview with one of the participants in the August events who crossed into Armenia following the retreat from Tskhinvali.
"The authorities deceived us from the start," he maintained. "They said that they were taking us for exercises in Samtse-Djavakheti and the Gori region. But the column suddenly turned towards Tskhinvali. We were brought up to the artillery positions, and a bit later we found ourselves literally a few kilometres away from the city. The Ossetians were shooting at point-blank range onto the positions where we were standing. We were ordered to advance. But where could we go? Who were we meant to fight against? In this pitch black nobody had a clue what was going on. We were poorly-trained and not battle-hardened at all and we thought we had been brought for exercises, but were suddenly thrown into a proper bloodbath. Panic set in amongst the lads, noone was thinking about attacking, we began to retreat in a hurry, many just started running..."
Let us remember that the Georgian parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the war pointed to a whole series of blunders and shortcomings in the military agency. The report noted that the Joint Staff had not devised a plan for an organised retreat and demonstrated "weakness in planning military operations."
Late last week part of a secret document written by American experts on the state of the Georgian army leaked to the American media. The report states that in the Georgian armed forces decisions are made impulsively, and representatives of the military command are appointed to high positions thanks to personal connections rather than professional qualities.
The expert Koba Liklikadze, who has also made a detailed analysis of the current state of the Georgian army, agrees with much of the Americans' assessment. Moreover, he affirms that the evaluations by Georgian experts pre-empted the conclusions made by military researchers from the USA.