Georgia Claims Russia Behind February Bombing
MosNews | July 26 2005
Archive: The Hegelian Dialectic in History: Russian FSB caught blowing up buildings
Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili accused the Russian military Monday of being behind a series of attacks, including a powerful car bomb attack that killed three policemen in the eastern Georgian city of Gori in February.
The enquiry into the Gori attack “revealed that Russian colonel Anatoly Sysoyev organized a group of saboteurs who were trained on Russian territory. The group was responsible for several terrorist attacks and organized the attack in Gori,” Merabishvili said in televised remarks that were immediately denied by Russia’s embassy in Tbilisi and officials in Moscow.
“No Russian state institutions could have had any relation to this,” Yevgeny Ivanov, spokesman for the Russian embassy in Tbilisi, told AFP by telephone.
“The claims made by Georgia’s interior minister... do not have any bearing on reality. This is clearly a provocation, reflecting the unfriendly official line of official Tbilisi towards Moscow,” the Itar-Tass news agency quoted a senior official from the Russian army’s general staff as saying.
Three people have so far been arrested in the investigation and six more are wanted, Merabishvili said, adding that the results of the enquiry had been passed to the Russian embassy in Tbilisi, which Ivanov said would be studied. “I hope the Russian side will hand over all the suspects that organised and carried out these terrorist attacks on Georgian territory,” Merabishvili said.
The interior minister said he believed the group was responsible for attacks against power lines and an oil pipeline.
Sysoyev belonged to the Russian army’s main intelligence directorate and was frequently in touch with officials in Moscow, according to the filmed confession of one of the men arrested, Giya Valiyev, who has been charged with carrying out the bomb attack.
The Russian colonel traveled frequently to the Moscow-backed separatist region of South Ossetia and invited Valiyev to join the military intelligence, Valiyev said in the filmed confession. After the bomb attack, Valiyev said he received $1,000 from Sysoyev, who then left for Russia and did not return.
The results of the enquiry into the Gori attack added to tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi that have heightened since pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili came to power in early 2004, vowing to bring the separatist territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are supported by Moscow, under Georgia’s sway.
The blast on Feb. 1 outside the regional police headquarters in Gori, 80 kilometers west of Tbilisi, killed three Georgian policemen and injured 20 people, and came amid an upsurge in tensions between Georgian authorities and South Ossetian separatists.