Tuesday 19 January 2010

Absence of Will‏ - A Documentary by Mamuka Kuparadze


Documentary by Mamuka Kuparadze

Conciliation Resources, Heinrich Boell Foundation and Studio Re

http://www.vimeo.com/8826939 - 48 Min.

Vakho and Teo are twenty-something university graduates from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Born as the Soviet Union collapsed, they've grown up in the shadow of the wars that tore their country apart in the early nineteen nineties. They're too young to remember the fighting, but like everyone from their generation, their lives have been shaped by the legacy of the violence.

In the summer of 2008 Vakho and Teo set out to try to understand for themselves what caused the war in Abkhazia, and why after fifteen years of peace talks the sides are still no nearer to resolving their differences. Halfway through filming, fighting broke out again over South Ossetia. For a few brief days in August, war suddenly became a reality for Vakho and Teo, and as they experienced its horrors first hand, their search for answers became more personal and more urgent.

This is the story of their journey into Georgia's recent past, and of the tough questions and painful truths they faced in their search for the way to a better future.

Source: Heinrich Boell Foundation (PDF)


'Absence of Will': A commentary

Prepared by Metin Sönmez
Editor, CircassianWorld.com & AbkhazWorld.com

The documentary film "Absence of Will'', financed by Conciliation Resources (UK) and the Heinrich Boell Foundation (Germany), produced by Studio RE, and directed by Mamuka Kuparadze, was broadcast in 2009 for the first time. It is of great importance to anyone who wishes properly to understand the Georgian - Abkhaz War of 1992 - 1993.

When I first watched it, I was surprised to find myself watching those responsible for starting the war as they confessed, with regret, the facts that I already knew all too well. While listening to these confession-like statements, the many articles, books and published comments (positive and negative) about this issue flashed across my mind. Then, I decided that it would be a useful exercise to combine elements from these sources and set them alongside the script of the documentary by way of commentary to serve as a guide for those desirous of understanding the 1992 - 1993 war.

I am of the opinion that presenting the facts, which have been so extensively denied and/ or distorted, in such a comparison is of fundamental importance. I provide dates for the conversations shown in the documentary. The citations highlighted in colour are taken from other sources. And to demonstrate the effects of Georgian black propaganda on Georgian society itself, I show some "print screened" comments from various web-sites. My aim is quite specific: to show the effects of Georgian black propaganda with relevant examples.


Related issues


  1. hello. I read your comments to the film on Abkhaz world. but i was not able to comment there as there is no option for that.

    So, after compiling so much sources related to the film...what your conclusion finally, about the Georgia-Abkhazia relations?

  2. Please see end of the commentary.

    '...Experienced Abkhazian expert Liana Kvarchelia writes that Abkhazian society can allow the return only of those Kartvelians [Georgians] who did not fight on the Georgian side and only after they recognize Abkhazia as an independent state. She also says that the same right for return should be given also to descendants of Abkhazian refugees from the Caucasian War of the XIX century, who live mostly in Turkey.'

  3. Yes that is what Liana Kvarchalia says, but what does international laws and customs say? :)

    but, was that reply to my question?

  4. Please see: ''The International Legal Status of the Republic of Abkhazia In the Light of International Law'' by Viacheslav A. Chirikba.

    See also: ''Abkhazia's Liberation and International Law''http://www.circassianworld.com/Abkhazia_Liberation.html

    Well, in an ideal world the international community would not have recognised Georgia in the spring of 1992. It would have encouraged the (then still illegitimate) regime in Tbilisi under Shevardnadze to engage seriously in a negotiation-process, as suggested by the Abkhazians, on restructuring relations between Tbilisi and Sukhum along (con)federal lines. But, no, the opportunity to exercise an influence for the good of ALL the various ethnic groups living within Georgia's Soviet frontiers (including the Georgians themselves) was squandered, and war in Abkhazia was the result.

    The Abkhazians did not seek this war; it was imposed on them by Shevardnadze. And then, having had the audacity to defeat the rabble that called itself the Georgian National Guard, the Abkhazian victors were punished by seeing their broken land subjected to years of isolation and blockade — they were not even given any credit for responding to Yeltsin's request to let Shevardnadze escape from his Sukhum bunker with his life. The international community (including Russia, be it noted), thus, again chose the wrong course of action by backing all of Georgia's demands for support; a short-term boat-link between Trabzon and Sukhum in 1996, allowing passage in and out of Abkhazia without the need to enter Russia, was cancelled under Georgian pressure, and for years the border with Russia over the River Psou was closed to all male Abkhazians between the ages of 15 and 55. Only under the presidency of Vladimir Putin did the situation begin to ameliorate. Since 2006 the Psou-border has been open; there is investment, and building-work has been noticeable all over the capital (especially along the Riviera-type sea-front).

    Given the madness of Saakashvili's actions in S. Ossetia at the start of August 2008, the Abkhazians naturally took advantage of the situation and finally liberated the one portion of their land that remained under Georgian control since the end of the war in 1993, namely the Upper Kodor Valley, into which Saakashvili had quite ILLEGALLY [If you REALLY care international law] introduced military troops (along with an alarming stockpile of offensive weaponry) in the early summer of 2006. What were the Abkhazians supposed to do? Spit in the face of the only state which has manifested a willingness to help over at least part of the 20 years of Georgian belligerence and outright aggression to which the Abkhazians have been subjected? The UN Security Council on the night of 7th-8th August 2008 refused (thanks to the blocking tactics of the USA and the UK) to issue even a call for a ceasefire in S. Ossetia (no doubt in the hope that Georgia would quickly achieve Saakashvili's goal of taking S. Ossetia back under Georgian control, which would have left the way open for a later assault on Abkhazia). In the light of this, is anyone seriously suggesting that the pro-Georgian international community would have lifted the smallest of fingers to prevent a further Georgian demarche into Abkhazian territory? I think not.

    Twenty years ago the distinguished Abkhazian historian Stanislav Lakoba wrote an article on Abkhazia's geo-political position; he entitled it 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil'. The West has had ample opportunity to insert a softening cushion. There is still time for it to do so, because the only obstacle standing in the way is its own series of ignorance-based short-sighted miscalculations.

  5. One Final Point For Abkhazia

    For some 60 years Abkhazia was forced to accept the unwelcome status of being a mere autonomous republic with Soviet Georgia (thanks to the ruling of the Georgian dictator Stalin-'Iosef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili'). For daring to defend our interests in the face of Georgian nationalist aggression, we were subjected to 14 months of savagery. In alliance with our allies from the Abkhazian diaspora or our cousins in the North Caucasus, we succeeded in ejecting the invader and winning the war. All that Georgia under its various leaders/governments has been willing to offer us by way of a settlement is a return the ‘status quo ante’.

    How many examples are there in history where a people after being invaded, losing 4% of their population, and yet finally winning the war have meekly resigned themselves to accepting the selfsame subordinate status they had before the tragedy of a war inflicted upon them? This is something that the Georgian side and their international backers (who have no interest in the fate of minorities but think solely of the ‘big picture’ of preserving territorial integrity, of finding allies in an unstable part of the world, and of securing the flow of oil) would do well to remember.

    Abkhazia is NOT Georgia. Abkhazia is Abkhazia! They should be told by their EU, NATO and US ‘friends’ to accept this fact, find a ‘modus vivendi’ with their neighbours (big and small alike), and then contribute to the creation of stability and prosperity for the Caucasus region as whole. We can all then get on with our lives in the peace that we all deserve.

  6. It is very funny and ironic that Georgians talking about international laws ,while not obeying any international rule or even not obeying to the agreements prepared by themselves. I didn't know that international laws has allowed them to destroy Abkhazians.

  7. ''If you talk about Muhajirs, then Georgians have nothing to do with that...''

    -- In the 19th century the only people in Transcaucasia to fight against Russian encroachment were the Abkhazians, who battled alongside their cousins in Ubykhia and Circassia, whereas Georgia was already allied to Russia and thus helped the tsars to crush North Caucasian resistance.

    Did you know about it?

    And who is responsibility of Stalin and Beria's anti-Abkhazian policy?

    During the early years of Soviet rule, Abkhazia and Georgia were separate and equal union republics. In 1931 Abkhazia was forced to join Georgia, but it retained some autonomy until 1936, when Abkhaz leader Lakoba was poisoned by Georgian party boss Beria.

    Please read the commentary - AGAIN AND AGAIN.

    And your last question: ‘Abkhazia did not formally declare independence until 12 October 1999. And this was in large measure the result of frustration at continuing bad faith on the part of Tbilisi in post-war negotiations. Pace Cornell (p.192), it has not been the Abkhazians who have refused to compromise — one might say that after their military victory, they were fully entitled to declare independence at once (September 1993), and yet they continued to pursue federative possibilities, whilst all that Georgia has offered is a return to the status quo ante bellum (some compromise from Georgia!). After protracted talks and constant last-minute revisions by Georgia a Protocol was ready for presidential signing in summer 1997, and yet at the last minute Tbilisi (not Sukhum) refused (Abkhazian Foreign Ministry Document 325, 25 Dec 1997). Such petty obstructionism continues, for in February 2001 Georgia's UN Ambassador, P’et’re Chkheidze, refused to sign two draft-documents, claiming them “unacceptable for the government of Georgia” — as the respected commentator, Liz Fuller, noted in her Radio Liberty report (4.5, 2 Feb 2001): “Chkheidze's criticism is surprising as the versions of both drafts currently under discussion were proposed by the Georgian side”.

    The 1994 Moscow Accords(*) which formally marked the ceasefire in the Georgian-Abkhazian war delimited a demilitarised zone. Despite this, Saakashvili decided in the spring of 2006 to introduce an armed force that he disingenuously described as a 'police-force' into the Upper Kodor Valley, the one part of Abkhazia over which the Abkhazians had not reestablished control when they achieved their military victory at the end of September 1993, on the pretext of establishing order in an area previously controlled by a local Svan strong-man named Kvitsiani; this Valley was part of the demilitarised zone. No sanctions were taken against Tbilisi by the international community as a result of this blatant infringement of the 1994 ceasefire-agreement.

  8. Perhaps you should ask yourself: What should i learn from the documentary? From the commentary?

    It seems that you did not learn anything. As i said, i strongly recommend you read it again and again. You really need it. Just for yourself, no more...

  9. :) my dear CW, please calm down and dont get overwhelmed. no need to endlessly cite others works and insult people....

    i asked a question and you start digging in Beria and Stalin...come on...this is a past story...are not you tired of this endless agitated arguments on Stalin? who does even care on stalin... you need to look ahead...there is a future not only stalin...and thats what i understood from this film. this film is my future...this film is Georgian society...

    but again, you did not respond what you understand from this film...and if you plan to insult again please dont even bother answering ebcaus it is not interesting to talk with people who only insult and give angry comments


  10. Dear Medea,

    I don't know why did you think i am angry... My point is very clear but unfortunately you can not understand this. That's the problem.

    You have some absurd claims and my answers including informations (with sources) against to your absurd claims. Please look above... You will see your OWN claims and questions. Maybe you already forgot what you write...

    And secondly, please don't tell me lie. Like Saakashvili... If you have a claim. Write it with sources. If you have...

    You are -still- claiming that - i didn't respond what i understand from this documentary.

    And i strongly recommend you look above and read my responses but please, AGAIN and AGAIN. You know why...

  11. @Medea, what did you learn from Kuparadze's film?

    Well said CW, many of them victims of Georgian propoganda. Thanks for bring it to our attention. Thanks for the truths.

  12. so Dear CW you dont publish my latest post? what a inborn democrat you are.....:D

  13. Dear Medea, what did you sent? Please post anything you like. It will my pleasure to publish and response all of them...

    PS. Democrac(y)? When are we going to see a president who came to power with an election, NOT with revolution? When Georgian people can choose their leadership in democratic elections, as we in Abkhazia have done THREE times.

  14. One of my previous post was not posted and i will repeat again...

    your previous replies to my comments reveal lots of anger and i was advising you to calm down and look a head. You insulted me telling that i make "absurd claims" and "lies". I advise you to learn how to argue and discuss with other.

    as for democracy, i am happy that i belong to people who can exercise direct democracy. yes there have been revolutions, but people have right to revolt if they feel they have been treated unfairly by the govt. Unlike in Russia and other places where undesired rulers remain for a long time. Remember French and American revolutions, which changed not only the local governance but the world governance.

    As for "we in Abkhazia" had elections, are not you a citizen of Turkey dear Metin Sönmez?

    but now, wish you a good luck with your desperate comments and post. If you want to see people reading your blog, other than yourself, then learn how to talk with them.

  15. Dear Medea, i still don't know why did you think i am angry. As i said before, i ONLY responded your ''absurd claims'' and ''lies''.

    For example i have asked you how did you find 250,000? It's reminded me Saakashvili. He said 450,000 and 500,000. Could you tell me, is this NOT ABSURD? Could you tell me, is this NOT LIE?

    Right, perhaps you didn't say lie, like Saakashvili. Maybe it's only ignorance... OR as i said before, you are one of the victims of Georgian black propoganda. I think last one... I am sorry to say it but this is fact!

    Abkhazia is also my country Medea. That's why i have used Liana Kvarchelia's quote but UNFORTUNATELY you didn't understand. As always...

    Is Georgia a truly democratic country in view of the events on the streets of Tbilisi in November 2007 (And last year)?

    I also wish you good luck in your comments. First of all be informed and then speak. That's better for you... I strongly recommend you read more books and articles from various sources.

  16. Georgian democracy.

    The wilting petals of Georgia’s rose revolution
    by Salome Zourabishvili, 29 January 2010