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Chapter 8 of "The Georgian - South Ossetian Conflict"



Appendix 1: Chronicle of Events of the Conflict, 1989-1992

8 List of Literature

Books and Publications:

Anderson, Benedict: Imagined Communities, Verso London 1983.

Besancon, Alain in Conquest, Robert (ed.): The Last Empire, Hoover Institution Press 1986.

Brass, Paul R.,: Ethnicity and Nationalism, Theory and Comparison, Sage Publications, New Delhi 1991.

Bremmer, Ian and Ray Taras: Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States, Cambridge University Press 1993.

Brown, Michael E. (ed.).:”Causes and Implications of Ethnic Conflict” in Ethnic Conflict and International Security, Princeton University Press 1993.

Connor, Walker: The National Question in Marxist-Leninist Theory and Strategy, Princeton University Press 1984.

Cousens, Daniel: Preparations for rehabilitation actions in South Ossetia and the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone, internal EU document, Tbilisi, 1997.

Dale, Catherine: “Abkhazia and South Ossetia: Dynamics of the Conflicts” in  Pavel Baev and Ole Berthelsen Conflicts in the Caucasus, PRIO Report no. 3/96, Oslo, 1996. 

Dehdashti, Rexane: Gewaltminderung und Konfliktregelung in ethnosozialen Konflikten. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen internationaler Akteure in der Kaukasusregion, unpublished dissertation, Frankfurt am Main 1997.

Diuk, Nadia and Karatnycky, Adrian: The Hidden Nations, William Morrow and Company 1990.

d'Encausse, Hélène Carrère, in Denber, Rachel (ed.): The Soviet Nationality Reader, Westview Press 1992.

Draculic, Slavenka: Balkan Express, Viborg 1993.

Eriksen, Thomas Hylland: Ethnicity and Nationalism. Anthropological Perspectives, London, Pluto Press 1993.

Gagloiti, Yu. S.: Yuzhnaya Osetiya, Tskhinval(i), 1993.

Gellner, Ernest: Nations and Nationalism, Blackwell Publishers Oxford, 1983.

Gurr, R. Ted: Minorities at Risk, United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington D.C, 1993.

Hall, Stuart: “Old and New Identities, Old and New Ethnicities” in King, Anthony D. (ed.) Culture Globalization and the World-System, Macmillan Education LDT, 1991.  

Helsinki Watch: Bloodshed in the Caucasus, Violations of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in the Georgia-South Ossetia Conflict, Human Rights Watch, New York, 1992.

Hobsbawm, Eric and Terence Ranger: The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Hobsbawm, Eric: Nations and Nationalism Since 1780, Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Hunter, Shireen T.: The Transcaucasus in Transition Nation-Building and Conflict, CSIS, 1994.

Ignatieff, Michael: Blood and Belonging, Journeys into the New Nationalism, Vintage, London, 1994.

Jones, Stephen, in Gitelman, Zvi (ed.): The Politics of Nationality and the Erosion of the USSR, St. Martin's Press, 1992.

Jones, Stephen, in Bremmer, Ian and Ray Taras (ed.): Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States, Cambridge University Press 1993.

King, Charles: Ending Civil Wars, Adelphi Paper 308, Oxford University Press, 1997.

Krag, Helen, in Kühl, Jørgen (ed.): Mindretalspolitik, DUPI, Copenhagen 1996.

Krag, Helen and Funch, Lars: The North Caucasus: Minorities at a Crossroad, Minority Rights Group International, Manchester Free Press, 1994.

Lieven, Dominic and McGarry, John: The Politics of Ethnic Conflict Regulation, Routhledge 1990.

Lomouri, Nodar: A History of Georgia, Tbilisi, 1993.

Menteshashvili, Avandil: Some National and Ethnic Problems in Georgia (1918-1922),Tbilisi, 1992.

Parsons, Robert in Smith, Graham (ed.): The Nationalities Question in the Soviet Union, Longman 1990.

Posen, Barry R.: “The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict”, in Brown, Michael E. (ed.) Ethnic Conflict and International Security, Princeton University Press 1993

Roe, Paul: The Intra-State Security Dilemma: Ethnic Conflict as a ‘Tradegy’?, COPRI working papers 18, 1997.

Rana, Swadesh: Small Arms and Intra-State Conflicts, UNIDIR, Geneva, 1995.

Saakashvili, Mikhail: Conflicts Related to Ethnic Groups in Georgia, Description and possible ways to peaceful and constructive settlements, unpublished paper, Oslo 1992.

Sakvarelidze, Avtantil, et al.: On Ethnic Composition of the Population of the Georgian Republic, Tbilisi 1993.

Siukayev, N.V.: Dve Tragedii Yuzhnaya Osetiya, Vladikavkaz 1994.

Skurbaty, Zelim: A Letter to an Editor, p.4, unpublished paper, Malmö, Sweden, 1991.

Smith, Anthony: National Identity, Penguin Books, London, 1991.

Smith, Graham: The Nationalities Question in the Soviet Union, Longman 1990.

SNU: Nationalitetsproblemerne i Sovjetunion, 1990.

Snyder, Jack: “Nationalism and the Crisis of the Post-Soviet State” in Brown, Michael E. (ed.) Ethnic Conflict and International Security, Princeton University Press 1993

Suny, Ronald Grigor: The Revenge of the Past - Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union, Stanford University Press 1993.

Suny, Ronald Grigor: The Making of the Georgian Nation, London 1989.

Suny, Ronald Grigor in Cohen, Stephen F. (ed.): The Soviet Union Since Stalin, London 1980.

Totadze, Anzor: The Population of Abkhazia - The Ossetians in Georgia, Tbilisi, 1994.

Vioti, Paul R. and Kauppi, Mark V.: International Relations Theory, Macmillian Publishing Company, New york, 1993

Wallensteen, Peter: Från krig til fred, Om konfliktlösning i det globale systemet, Almqvist & Wiksell Förlag AB, 1994.

Weston, Marta Cullberg and Burns, A.: Georgia On Our Minds, Report of a Fact-Finding Mission to the Republic of Georgia, July 1994.

Wind, Marlene, in Sørensen, Christen: Europa. Nation - Union, Fremad 1992

Wæver, Ole et al.: Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe, Pinter, London, 1993.

Zaslavsky, Victor, “Success and collapse: traditional Soviet nationality policy” in Bremmer, Ian and Ray Taras (ed.): Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States, Cambridge University Press 1993.

Zhorzholiani, G., et al.: Historic, Political and Legal Aspects of the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict, Tbilisi 1995.

Journals and Papers:

Birch, Julian, “Ossetia: a Caucasian Bosnia in microcosm”, Central Asian Survey, 1995, 14 (1).

Fuller,  Elizabeth, “South Ossetia: Analysis of a Permanent Crisis”, Report on the USSR, 15 Feb., 1991.

Forsber, Tuomas, Terrible Territoriality? In Nielsen, Ib, et al., “Intra State Conflict: Causes and Peace Strategies. Report from a COPRI Symposium, 3-4 May 1997, COPRI Working Papers, no.:16, 1997.

Habermas, Jürgen, “Citizenship and National Identity”, Praxis International, 12:1 April 1992.

Hansen, Greg, “Humanitarian Action in the Caucasus: A Guide for Practitioners”, Humanitarianism and War Project & Local Capacities for Peace Project, Occasional Papers of the Watson Institute no.:32, Brown University, 1998.

Henze, Paul, “The Demography of the Caucasus according to 1989 Soviet Census Data”, Central Asian Survey, vol.10, No.1/2, 1991.

Hobsbawm, Eric, “Whose Fault-Line is it Anyway”, New Stateman & Society, 24 April 1992.

Hobsbawm, Eric, “What is Ethnic Conflict and how does it differ from other Conflicts”, Anthropology Today, February 1993.

Jung, Dietrich: “From Inter-State to Intra-State War: Patterns and Trends in War Development since 1945”, in Nielsen, Ib, et al., “Intra State Conflict: Causes and Peace Strategies. Report from a COPRI Symposium, 3-4 May 1997, COPRI Working Papers, no.:16, 1997.

Kaldor, Mary,  “Yugoslavia and the New Nationalism”, New Left Review, 147, 1993.

Kaufman, J. Stuart, “An ‘international’ theory of inter-ethnic war”, Review of International Studies, 22, 1996.

Nielsen, Ib, et al., “Intra State Conflict: Causes and Peace Strategies. Report from a COPRI Symposium, 3-4 May 1997, COPRI Working Papers, no.:16, 1997.

MacFarlane, Neil S., et al.: “Armed Conflict in Georgia: A Case Study in Humanitarian Action and Peacekeeping”, Occasional Papers of the Watson Institute no.:21, Brown University, 1996.

Møller, Bjørn, “Ethnic Conflict and Postmodern Warfare. What Is the Problem? What Could Be Done?”, COPRI Working Papers, no.:12, 1996.

Nodia, Gia, “Political Crisis in Georgia”, Current Politics and Economics of Europe, Vol.2, No. 1/2, 1992, p.39.

OSCE Mission to Georgia, “A Less-Known Aspect of the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict, unpublished paper, Tbilisi, July 1996.

Roeder, Philip G., "Soviet Federalism and Ethnic Mobilization", World Politics, Vol.43, No.2 1991.

Sampson, Steven, “Kiss Me I’m Serbian!:Etniske konflikter i Østeuropa”, Politica, 24. årg., nr.4, 1992.

Saroyan, Mark, "Beyond the Nation-State: Culture and Ethnic Politics in Soviet Transcaucasia", Soviet Union/Union Soviétique, 15, No. 2-3, 1988.

Scherrer, Christian P., “Intra-state Conflict, Ethnicity and Mass Violence”, COPRI Working Papers, no.:22, 1997.

Slider, Darrell, "Crisis and Response in Soviet Nationality Policy: The Case of Abkhazia, Central Asian Survey, vol.4, No.4, 1985.

Slider, Darrell, “The Politics of Georgia’s Independence”, Problems of Communism, No.-Dec. 1991.

Suny, Ronald, "The Revenge of the Past: Socialism and Ethnic Conflict in Transcaucasia", New Left Review, No.184, 1990.

The Current Digest, “South Ossetia: A Georgian vs. Russia War?”, Vol.XLIV, No.24, 1992.

Vorkunova, Olga, “The Genesis of Intra-State Conflicts at the Threshold of the Third Millenium”, Nielsen, Ib, et al., “Intra State Conflict: Causes and Peace Strategies. Report from a COPRI Symposium, 3-4 May 1997, COPRI Working Papers, no.:16, 1997.

Appendix 1: Chronicle of Events of the Conflict, 1989-1992

Besides events directly concerning the Georgian - South Ossetian conflict I have also added major events concerning Abkhazia and the political civil war of Georgian - these in italics.   

1988                                     South Ossetian movement Adamon Nykhaz formed by Alan Chochiev.

June 1988                            60 leading Abkhaz sent a letter to the 19 Party Conference of the CPSU in Moscow requesting  the recreation of an independent Abkhaz Union Republic - with special treaty ties to Georgia.

November 1988                       Massive demonstrations in Tbilisi (100,000); demanding an end to discrimination against Georgians in the autonomies. 

18 March 1989                       Mass meeting of Abkhaz at Lykhny, Abkhaz ASSR, demanding restoration of the sovereignty of Abkhazia as existed prior to 1931.

Spring 1989                          Alan Chochiev’s open letter to the Abkhaz people supporting their struggle for independence against Georgia.

9 April 1989                         Demonstrations in Tbilisi in protest of Abkhaz demands and for Georgian independence. Soviet Interior Ministry troops interferes and kills 22 people, mainly women and young people.

26 May 1989                        Anniversary of the declaration of Georgian independence in 1918. Clashes   between irregular groups of Georgians, encourage by Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and local Ossetians.

July 1989                             Armed clashes in the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi over the establishment there of a branch of Tbilisi State University.

August 1989                         The Supreme Soviet of Georgia puts forward a new language programme for the Republic: Georgian language to be used in all public spheres of society.

September 1989                       Adamon Nykhaz and a group of Ossetian workers address an appeal to the USSR Council of Ministers, the USSR Supreme Soviet, and the CPSU Central Committee protesting that the Georgian language programme is “anti-democratic and unconstitutional”; they ask for the question of unification of North and South Ossetia to be discussed at the CPSU Central Committee plenum of nationalities. Later that month, the Supreme Soviet of South Ossetia announces that Ossetian will be the official language of the region.

10 November 1989                       The Supreme Soviet of South Ossetia demands that the status of South Ossetia be changed from autonomous oblast to autonomous republic.

November 1989                       Supreme Soviet of Georgia calls the claims illegal and put forward a law on sovereignty, stating that the Supreme Soviet of Georgia has the right to veto any Soviet law which goes against Georgian interests. Georgian authorities respond by firing the First Party Secretary of the oblast.

23 November 1989                       Zviad Gamsakhurdia organises what he calls “a peaceful meeting of reconciliation”. Takes thousands of people, in buses and cars, to Tskhinvali; Ossetians block the road and clashes take place, several people are wounded.

March 1990                          Representations of informal groups from North and South Ossetia apply for membership to the Assembly of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, and are admitted.

Summer 1990                       Georgian Parliament annuls all of Georgia’s treaties with the Soviet Union and adopts the Georgian constitution of 1921.

August 1990                         Djaba Ioseliani, leader of the Georgian paramilitary group ‘Mhedrioni’, comes to Tskhinvali, in his own words, in order to calm fears and assure that Georgia has no hostile intentions.

August 1990                         Supreme Soviet of Georgia passes an election law banning any party whose activity is confined to specific areas of Georgia from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

20 September 1990                       South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast declares independence as the South Ossetian Democratic Republic. Appealing to Moscow to be recognised as  independent subject of the Soviet Union.

21 September 1990                       Supreme Council of Georgia declares South Ossetian move illegal and unconstitutional.

25 September 1990                       Abkhazia adopts a Declaration of Sovereignty (not independence).

28 October 1990                       Election to the Georgian Supreme Soviet, boycotted by South Ossetia and Abkhazia , ends in victory for the Round Table-Free Georgia coalition headed by Zviad Gamsakhurdia.                      

9 December 1990                       Elections to the parliament/Supreme Soviet of South Ossetia. According to Ossetian sources 72% of the republic’s population took part in the elections, which exceeds the percentage of the Ossetian population.

11 December 1990                       Georgian Supreme Soviet cancels the result of the elections in South Ossetia and votes to abolish the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast as a separate administrative unit within the Republic of Georgia.  

12 December 1990                       Shooting episode in Tskhinvali, two Georgians and one Ossetian dead; one is Gamsakhurdia’s bodyguard (Ossetian version). Unidentified men open fire on a car with passengers of Georgian nationality, killing three and seriously wounding two (Georgian version). State of emergency declared by                          the Georgian parliament in the Tskhinvali and Djava regions, Russian and Georgian MVD troops dispatched. Commander of Georgian MVD troops, General-Major G. Kvantaliani appointed as mayor of Tskhinvali. According                            to South Ossetian sources, with the consent of the ministry of internal affairs of USSR, Georgian militia disarm the South Ossetian militia.

16 December 1990                       South Ossetian Supreme Soviet confirms the decision made on 20 September 1990.

December 1990                       At the end of the month, following talks between officials from Georgia, Ossetia and Moscow, a conciliation commission is created; without results.

January 1991                        Supreme Soviet of Georgia passes a law on the formation of a National Guard.

January 1991                        In the first days of the year several Georgian militiamen allegedly assassinated in Tskhinvali.

5-6 January 1991                   Several thousand Georgian troops enter Tskhinvali and commit atrocities overnight; the war starts.

7 January 1991                       Soviet president Gorbachev, issues decree condemning South Ossetian declaration of independence and Georgian parliament’s abolition of South Ossetian autonomy; calls for withdrawal of Georgian troops. Georgian Parliament refuse to comply.

January 1991                        At the end of the month, Ossetians succeed in forcing the Georgian troops out of Tskhinvali to the hills around the cit. According to Ossetians, Georgians start shelling the city. According to Georgians, Ossetians start  burning down Georgian houses in Tskhinvali. 

29 January 1991                       Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of South Ossetia is invited for talks outside                                 Tbilisi but as he gets there he is arrested and put to jail.

February 1991                       Georgians cut electricity supplies to Tskhinvali and block the road by which                              the city receives food and other supplies. At the same time, Ossetians block the Georgian-populated villages around Tskhinvali from the rest of Georgia.                              

5 February 1991                       Russian central television describes the situation in Tskhinvali as “worse                                 than Leningrad in 1942. The entire city is without heating and electricity....there is no food”.

March 1991                          Moscow and Tbilisi sign a protocol pledging to establish a joint commission of the Russian and Georgian Ministries of Interior Affairs to assess the situation in the region, to disarm all illegal armed formations and settle the refugee question.  

17 March 1991                       All-Union Referendum on Gorbachev’s proposed Union Treaty. Georgia refuses to participate - Abkhazia and South Ossetia participates and vote in favour.

31 March 1991                       Referendum on independence held in Georgia. 98% in favour - neither South Ossetia nor Abkhazia participates.

9 April 1991                         Formal declaration of the restoration of the state of independence of Georgia.

May 1991                             The Supreme Soviet of South Ossetia votes to abolish the self-proclaimed South Ossetian Democratic Soviet Republic and to restore the oblast status under the Russian Federation.

August 1991                         Failed coup attempt in Moscow, heralds the collapse of the Soviet Union.

September 1991                       Opposition to Gamsakhurdia taking shape, following his failure to condemn the August coup in Moscow and Gamsakhurdias increasingly undemocratic rule.

November 1991                       Russian Parliament threatens Georgia with economic sanctions if failed to take steps to end the conflict and restore South Ossetia’s autonomy.

December 1991                       The Soviet Union dissolves; Gamsakhurdia refuses to ally Georgia to the Commonwealth of Independent States (SNG).

December 1991                       Russian MVD troops leave Tskhinvali and, according to Georgian sources, give their arms to the Ossetians.

21 December 1991                       Uprising and fighting in Tbilisi between opposition and supporters of Gamsakhurdia.

19 January 1992                       Referendum in South Ossetia to join the Russian Federation and reunite with North Ossetia.

January 1992                       Gamsakhurdia ousted and an Interim State Council is established. Fighting continues till February.

March 1992                          Shevardnadze appointed as Chairman of the Interim State Council. Subsequent international recognition of Georgia, despite the fact that Tbilisi did not control all of claimed Georgian territory (e.g. South Ossetia and Western Georgia (Mingrelia) Gamsakhurdias regional powerbase) and that Shevardnadze had been invited to assume power on the back of an illegal coup d’etat.     

May - June 1992                       ‘Zviadists’ (supporters of Zviad Gamsakhurdia) rally in Tbilisi, armed clashes in the streets.

15 June 1992                        Statement by the Chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Khasbulatov, describing the Georgian actions in South Ossetia as genocide, which could force Russia to consider the South Ossetian authorities’ request to join the Russian Federation.

18 June 1992                        Near Tskhinvali, three combat helicopters, with Russian Air Force identification marks launch attack on Georgian units and villages. At the same time, armed formations begin to attack from the direction of   Tskhinvali using tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

20 June 1992                        Shevardnadze makes a statement condemning Russian armed forces open participation in the conflict on South Ossetian side.

3 June 1992                         Abkhaz Supreme Soviet passes a resolution terminating the validity of the 1978 Abkhaz Constitution and thereby reinstating their 1925 Constitution.

24 June 1992                        Shevardnadze and Yeltsin meets to discuss the question of South Ossetia and agree in principle on a cease-fire and the establishment of a Joint Control Commission. 

14 July 1992                         Russian peace-keeping operation starts (three-sided peace-keeping forces - Russians, Georgians and South Ossetians) upon agreement between Russian government, the Georgian State Council and of the Supreme Soviet of South Ossetia.

Mid July 1992                       Escalation in the political civil war in Western Georgia, between Zviadist forces and government forces.

Early August 1992                       Georgian Interior Minister and a member of Parliament taken hostage by Zviadist forces who reputedly held them in Gali, Abkhazia.

13 August 1992                       Georgian troops enter Abkhazia in order to control acts of terrorism on the railroad (main link to Russia) and to release the taken hostages. Meeting no  further resistance they continue to the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi where  they attack the Abkhaz Parliament building. The situation escalates into major military confrontation and soon into outright war.

17 September 1992                       UN mission in Abkhazia established.

3 December 1992                       CSCE (now OSCE - Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) mission established in Georgia. The OSCE and the UN in this way decided on a division on labour between the two conflicts.

25 March 1993                       Law adopted by the Georgian Parliament guaranteeing citizenship to all currently living on Georgian territory and willing to sign an oath of loyalty. Abkhaz recognised as a state language in Abkhazia equal to Georgian.

August 1993                         Gamzakhurdia’s forces launch attack on Shevardnadze’s forces in western Georgia and takes control of three key towns there and subsequently the strategic port of Poti at the Black Sea coast, as well as parts of Abkhazia. Leaving the government forces of Georgia in Abkhazia squeezed between these forces and the forces of the Abkhaz.

27 September 1993                       Abkhaz forces takes the capital of Abkhazia - Sukhumi. Tens of thousands of Georgians flee (total estimates say up to 240.000). Simultaneously Gamzakhurdias forces advance and soon after begins moving east towards Tbilisi.

8 October 1993                       Georgia joins the Commonwealth of Independent States (SNG) and makes agreement on Russian military bases in Georgia. This agreement is however not ratified yet as Georgia holds it as a bargaining chip for a final settlement on South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

14 October 1993                       Russian seaborn force lands at Poti in western Georgia and helps defeat Gamzakhurdia’s forces.

November 1993                       Fighting continued in Abkhazia as the Abkhaz took control of the whole territory determined as the Abkhaz ASSR prior to the conflict. Gamzakhurdia’s forces defeated by the end of December.

March 1994                          Parliamentary elections in South Ossetia leading to the replacement of the radical nationalist leadership by the former leaders of the Communist Party there. Line of independence form Georgia is maintained along with unification with North Ossetia within the Russian Federation.

June 1994                             CSCE initiates dialogue between Georgia and South Ossetia in North Ossetia.

15 August 1994                    CSCE proposal for a framework for a constitutional model as a political solution for the Georgian - South Ossetian conflict. The proposal is rejected by both parties. 

May 1996                             Shevardnadze and the South Ossetian leader Ludwig Chibirov sign a ‘Memorandum on measures for providing security and joint confidence’ in which the two sides renounce the use of force. This has been followed up by several meetings between the two leaders and their respective heads of governments.

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