Friday, February 13, 2009

Evgeniy Poddubniy, ‘Tv-Center' channel reporter

August 2008. 3 days of War. 100 days after.

Told by journalists, who were in South Ossetia.


No right for life

It became clear in the morning of August 8, that the Georgian generals and government began the war not with their Ossetian colleagues, but with the civilians of South Ossetia. The night firing of Tskhinval left no doubts in this statement. Nobody could imagine such war is possible in the modern world. To fire the sleeping city and the people who were sleeping, from "GRADs", only because the president of Georgia cheated when he said there will be negotiations instead of the war. This is the cruelty that can't be justified. It's a crime. Long before the first shot, the Georgian government deprived Ossetian people of their right for life.

No right for death

Another event that influenced the confrontation course, happened on August 8. The Georgian tanks were already in the streets of the city. The defense of Tskhinval was getting weaker. The soldiers didn't have even cartridges for their rifles. The lack of information about the Russia reaction to the Georgian aggression was negatively influencing on the military courage and the mood of civilians. The tanks came close to the ‘SSPM' headquarters, they were firing directly at the houses, at the Republican hospital. The journalists were hiding in the bathhouse located on the territory of Russian peacekeepers headquarters. A lot of people were preparing themselves to die, no one believed in the ‘happy end'. But then the secretary of South Ossetia Security Council general Anatoly Barankevich arrived to the disposition of the ‘blue helmets'. He was followed by several dozens of soldiers.

No right for help

On the August 9 we broke through to the Republican hospital. The photos we took there, became the main evidence of the humanitarian catastrophe in Tskhinval. I was worried about my friend Sergey Tskhovrebov - he's a surgeon and I knew ‘if he stayed alive - he would be in the hospital'. Sergey met us at the first floor of the hospital. The doctors made a morgue on one of the rooms and were putting corpses there. I told Sergey that his wife Anya was alive. He was hugging for at least 10 minutes. All the injured were in the basements as well as the people of the neighborhood. I saw for the first time that the tanks were firing at the hospital. I still can't understand how could a Georgian soldier ‘pull a trigger'.

No right for future

One nurse came to us and said that we should take several photos in her house not far from the hospital. In several minutes we entered her house. A man met us. He took us to his bedroom not saying a word. He took off the blanket from the bed -his dead wife and daughter were lying there. He carried the burned bodies into the house.

- How should I live now? - he was asking quietly, a father and a husband, who lost everything that worth living. We were keeping silence.

No right for truth

On August 9 we were watching Georgian TV-channels. There was nothing truthful in the reports we saw. On the screen Georgian ‘GRADs' were firing Tskhinval, but the voice-over was ensuring it were Russian systems of the volley fire which were razing Gori to the ground. Our friends and colleagues which were in Moscow told that the Western Medias were showing all the same. We wished the CNN or BBC reporters were in Tskhinval during the War. I think in this case they just wouldn't be able to lie.

I was in Vladikavkaz on August 15. I met my friends, I told them what I saw. We were happy we stayed alive and we were satisfied with our work done. But none of us could smile or feel happy. We couldn't forget the man who lost his wife and daughter, a girl who was calming her mother, people who were burying their relatives in the gardens and yards between the shellings, and the words of the Georgian president, that made the city sleep quietly. We can't forget it all even now.


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