A Photo Exhibition “The Tragedy of South Ossetia” and screening of the feature film “Olympius Inferno”, to commemorate the third anniversary of the repulse of the Georgian aggression by South Ossetia with assistance of Russia (August 7—12, 2008), jointly organized by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and the Embassy of the Russian Federation in India on August 5, 2011.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation in India, said that Russia acknowledged the independence of South Ossetia and another Transcaucasian Republic Abkhazia in order to prevent the regional humanitarian disaster. The Russian troops remain on the territory of these republics with the sole purpose of defending its citizens, and all the responsibility for the events of August, 2008 and for the continuing abnormal situation in the Russian—Georgian relations lies entirely with President M. Saakashvili and his inner circle. Mr. Karmalito said that Georgia is a country with which Russia has been very close for centuries and shares common history and tradition, and Russia will always consider Georgian people as friends. He added that the people of South Ossetia unequivocally expressed their will for independence during the referendum in 1992. About 95 per cent of South Ossetians chose to become Russian citizens, and in that situation, the Russian Federation had no other option but to protect its citizens and force the official Tbilisi to talk peace.
Making his observation, Major Dalbir Singh, Secretary, All-Indian Congress Committee, pointed out that under the cover of darkness, the Georgian aggressors have attacked South Ossetia, practically destroying its capital, the quiet town of Tskhinval, killing the Russian peace-keepers, civilians, old men, women and children. This treacherous bloody attack, backed by the silent approval of some Western countries, has become the logical crescendo of the adventurist politics of the Georgian president M. Saakashvili. The Georgian aggression and the genocide of the South Ossetian people were stopped only by the resolute interference of Russia. He also said that Russia calls for negotiations between Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which are vital for the development of these three republics.
While making an overall assessment of the situation in Georgia, Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu, Foreign Policy Analyst, Assistant Director, Indian Council of Social Sciences Research, noted that the conflict in the region ended with the signing of the peace plan by Russia and Georgia on August 16, 2008, and the agreement contained a provision that allowed Russia to implement additional security measures on a temporary basis ahead of the arrival of international ceasefire monitors. The salient feature of the new geo-political reality is that geographical factors are closely linked with the politico-security issues. The main argument illustrates that the excessive emphasis on the geo-political and geo-strategic aspects led to an increased security threats and security risk in the South Caucasus region, which in a way led to a global security concern.
Sharing his impressions, Brig. Arun Sahgal, Joint Director, Institute of National Security Studies, deplored the interference by the Western forces in the region, which in the long run has resulted in great catastrophe to human lives, while Russia has deployed the peace-keepers to restore peace and tranquility, stability and security there. The US involvement in the Transcaucasus region has evoked strong overall criticism, and the US interest in the South Caucasus region began in 1994, spearheaded by two camps: the department of defence and oil industry. Georgia is too keen in developing close ties with NATO, and Georgia’s interest in NATO peace-keeping operations signifies effective support for NATO’s expansion in the South Caucasus region, which in a way increases security concern for Russia, he said.