From the diary of the Chief of Staff of the Georgian National Guard V. Dzhugeli

Fri, 20/03/2020 - 20:51

June 9, 1920 Tbilisi. Morning. Bad news from Tskhinval. It seems that it is already occupied by the Ossetian gangs. We are hastily transferring forces there and will soon teach these rascals. Ossetian nationalists are our worst and most vigorous enemies. They always take advantage of our difficulties and organize uprisings for us ... Several years ago, by their rebellion, they facilitated the seizing of Batum by the Turks. Last year they helped Denikin, and now they are joining the Bolsheviks! And we are tired of these endless revolts. And we will decisively discourage the South Ossetian gangs from any desire for armed impressionism! And these temporary setbacks do not bother me at all. I know that the last word belongs to us!

All our democracy and all responsible comrades resent the Ossetian rebels. Our great Noah was completely angry with them.

June 10, 1920 Tiflis. Morning. Today, I, Alexander and Zakhary will go to Gori - to liberate Tskhinval and crush, punish our Vendée. Yes, this is a typical Vendée. Worse than Vendée!

Today by noon in Gori our 8 battalions, a horse regiment and two mountain batteries will concentrate - these forces will be more than enough. Koniev, our old, fined, but loyal friend, was appointed commander. Now he must atone for his Sochi failure. <...>

June 11, 1920 Tkviavi. The meeting of the Field Headquarters in the presence of General Kvinitadze. We are developing a plan for tomorrow’s offensive. From the early morning we will start on the offensive with the whole front, having Tskhinval in the center.

Good weather. How long?!

June 12, 1920. The road from Plavismani to Mereti. Dawn. May 12, we went on the offensive on the Red Bridge. June 12, we will attack Tskhinval!

I and Kargareteli, we are going with the Gurians on the right flank. Today we must occupy the height of Kobiant and the right flank will rest against the Vanat fortress.

The rebelled Ossetians are several thousand people. But I know that we will easily crash them and chase them.

June 12, 1920 Sarabuk. 10 a.m. Our convoy has already reached Ortev. The enemy is everywhere in disarray. Almost no resistance! The gang! ... And these traitors must be severely punished. There is no other way! And this is misfortune.

June 12, 1920 Sarabuk. Noon. At 9 a.m. Tskhinval was seized by our center. The gangs fled. We repelled several machine guns from the enemy and took prisoners. Ossetians fled to the mountains and they defended themselves very poorly. We have almost no losses. But among the guardsmen there is a terrible irritation against our vigilant enemies, and therefore several houses have already been burned down. Now is the night. And lights are visible everywhere! ... The rebel houses are on fire, but I'm used to it, looking at it almost calmly. Reluctantly!

Today we had a little panic. There was a rumor that the Ossetians cut us off, and even the commander-in-chief believed this rumor and was very worried ... Then we were laughing a lot.

June 13, 1920 Sarabuk. Noon. In an hour we will be attacking. Our right column, reinforced by the free battalion of Iliko Chachibaya and the mountain battery of Djibo Kancheli, should occupy the Gerisfahsen area tonight, and the left column should reach Kurt a by the evening. And tomorrow we will conduct a decisive general attack on Dzhava! Our column is making a deep detour and should go into the Gubebisi gorge. The weather is good, but there is no certainty that by the evening it will not be bad ... Yesterday there was bad weather, tomorrow I want a clear day. Now we are lying in the shadow of a big nut-tree. Our horses are soundly nibbling the grass, right there is gently murmuring a mountain stream. There is a spring, noisy silence and imaginary, deceptive peace. From time to time you close your eyes and mentally rush back to your pink childhood and forget all the current horrors and cruelties. And the soul becomes so easy, free and joyful. Then you wake up again! And there is no peace for either soul or body. Yes, there is no peace! Everywhere Ossetian villages are burning around us. Terrible reprisal, but there is no other way. We could not find it. And no one could find it! It was necessary either to crush the rebellion and save our democracy, or to destroy our democracy and give triumph to the bloody Vendee. And we did not hesitate to make a choice! We are already tired of words, of exhortations, of requests. <...> But we are old revolutionaries, and we know how to correctly evaluate phenomena. And we know what we are doing! We love freedom, our democracy and the Republic. We serve the case of liberation of the working class. And in the interests of the struggling working class, in the interests of the coming socialism, we will be cruel! Yes, we will! I have already hardened my heart. With a calm soul and with a clear conscience, I am looking at the ashes and puffs of smoke. I am killing the pain of my heart; I drown out the grief of my soul and I am completely calm. Yes, calm! Despite all the suffering and terrible tragedy in which the soul is languishing. Now we are all here - Alexander, Kargareteli, Vlas Mgeladze, Domenty and Vasily. And our Dzhibo. We are getting ready for breakfast and an attack.

June 13, 1920 Curia. Evening. It is raining terribly. We all got wet. We somehow sheltered in a small, abandoned hut. Choking in the smoke, but nothing can be done!

Chachibaya’s battalion is going to the mountain Saboloko. The enemy is firing hard. A high, beautiful alpine mountain. Today we spend the night here, and tomorrow again on attack.

June 14, 1920 Curia. Morning. Spent a hard and cold night. Everybody got wet, but the mood is cheerful. Today is a clear, good morning. For us, good, but for the enemy too evil. Our units have already moved forward. The first company of the Gurians is attacking Geri and is fighting with the enemy. Chachibaya's battalion is climbing on Saboloko. Difficult tiring climb, especially under fire. But, fortunately, the enemy is too bad. Houses are burning! ... With fire and a sword!

June 14, 1920 Geris-Khati. 10 am Gurian first company at 10 o’clock. Seized Geri. Here, two machine guns were working for the enemy and he occupied an impregnable position. But the enemy is very timid and he "was running faster than a fallow deer, faster than a hare from an eagle." We have no losses.

Before their flight, the Ossetians smashed the church. The church itself is nondescript, but it has an excellent location and is very revered in Kartalinia. There is a wonderful, magical view in all directions. If I were in the mood to enjoy beauty! And the lights are burning and burning!. The weather is fine now, but clouds began to gather and there will again be a thunderstorm. Our column is already behind the column of Colonel Chkheidze. Perhaps, it is already in Dzhava.

Ossetians are running and running. They are running to the mountains, to the snowy mountains. And it will be cold there. Very cold! Our Vlas Mgeladze is incessant. He is constantly cheerful. Our mountain battery has to be carried on mules all the time. English mules walk great along mountain trails.

November 14, 1920 Chvrivi. Night. We had to occupy all the heights in battle, but the enemy defended himself very badly, shamefully. He had machine guns and people, he occupied impregnable heights, but nevertheless did not at all withstand our onslaught. We have only a few injured. We have not yet met such a timid, cowardly and treacherous enemy.

But the enemy had real positions. The villages here are located at high altitudes and Ossetians obviously imagined that they were beyond our reach! But now the lights are everywhere ... Burning and burning! Ominous lights ... Some kind of terrible, cruel, enchanting beauty ... And looking at these bright nightly lights, one old comrade sadly sad: "I am beginning to understand Nero and the great fire in Rome." We seized the village of Kimasi and the dominant height above it at 7 o’clock in the evening. Me and Alexander were with the advancing company. I had to climb to great heights. The enemy also occupied it and fired at us with rifle and machine gun fire. Night was approaching and it was necessary to hurry. The guards were perfect in the battle. Many of them were completely barefoot, but they did not lag behind their comrades and they did not have a word of reproach. I silently thanked them. This gave them vigor and energy. Alexander barely moved his legs, but he could not be dissuaded from attacking the mountain. In the same way, was a tireless, despite the disease, Mikhako Bazhunaishvili. He was completely unwell, but he did not lag behind his column. Above all praises were the Gurian scouts. There were sixteen of them. And under the enemy fire, they crossed the swollen Gubebisi and seized a mountain village. It was a feat! The lights are burning ... They are burning everywhere! Today we had to occupy an enormous height. Over a thousand sazhen. And we had almost no losses.

From the book of Ruslan Bzarov "The Ossetian genocide: 1920"