The War in August, 2008. Three years later. Aleda Bestaeva

Tue, 09/08/2011 - 12:03

In Russia we were waited by our family and friends, and behind us was the hostile Georgia

Each inhabitant of South Ossetia has his own history of the Five-day war in August, 2008. Our readers are well enough familiar with sequence of the basic events and the main persons involved in the events of the August war, which third anniversary will be marked the next week.

However, the political-legal estimation of those events is not stated hitherto. Meanwhile the brutal attack upon the civilians of South Ossetia has changed a political situation not only in the Caucasus, but also all over the world. Maybe, the whole life will not be enough to understand the influence of the Georgian aggression, led by Saakashvili, on the people who have endured this nightmare, which ended tragically for hundreds of thousands people. Till now participants of the events come to the editorial office of "South Ossetia", telling about the striking facts endured by them personally which could lay down in a basis of a modern film-blockbuster. Recently a young girl has come to our office, her name is Aleda Guramovna Bestaeva, she was born on December, 18, 1992 in Tskhinval. Now she lives in the village Khelchua, Tskhinvalskiy region, she is the first-year Ossetian philology student of the South-Ossetian State University, she is married and she has a two- year- old son. She has told us an unusual history when during the five-day war she has found herself in the enemy’s territory and has described the events of her rescue:

In 2008 I was 16 years old, at the beginning of August I was at home with my family in Khelchua

As it is known, bombardments of Tskhinvalskiy region by Georgia have begun long before August, 7. I remember well that evening: we were sitting in the court yard till late, disturbed by the political situation which was very strained. By midnight the terrible roar was resounded, and we understood that the massed bombardment had begun. It was clear that Tskhinval was under bombardment. We, naturally, did not go to bed. My husband Uruzmag Kisiev was at his post, located on the height near the village Sarabuk. He got through to me and advised me together with his parents to go to the village Satikar where our relatives lived. We thought that Satikar was a safer place. However, the events developed absolutely in another way. At daybreak the sounds of the missiles were approaching to our village. The disturbed inhabitants at dawn gathered together and in search of refuge went to the nearest settlement. It was made a decision to go through the wood as it seemed a reliable refuge. But, when we were working our way through the wood, the missile exploded nearby. We were frightened very much. People became panic-stricken and scattered all over the wood. Everybody began to move by separate groups. I with my neighbours was going through the wood the whole day. When the sky was darkened, the exhausted fugitives understood that they had lost their way. Then my fellow travellers decided to come back. In total, we were about 12 persons. Men and women of different age - all of them were the inhabitants of the village Khelchua. I kept more close to my thoroughly familiars: Julietta Kisieva, Lia Maisuradze and Ketino Kisieva. We were tired so much and were wandering around the wood in the darkness. There was a Georgian village Chareb next to Saticar. At night we reached this village and sent Lia Maisuradze (ethnic Georgian) to find out a situation. We were sure, that nobody would touch her, even if the village was besieged by the Georgian military men, because she was an ethnic Georgian. We were not afraid of the local dwellers - the Georgians,- our villages are located nearby from each other and we had no any international collisions with them for these years. Lia Maisuradze soon returned together with several local dwellers of Chareb. They offered us to have a rest, supper and spend the night in their village. However, we did not plan to stay too long in Chareb; the situation was unstable and unpredictable. Our purpose was to pass through the villages Snek and Eltura, to reach the village Dzher –the territory of Ossetia inaccessible to the Georgian armed bands. It was the route, which was followed later on by the escaping civilians (old men, women and children) of the villages Dmenis, Satikar, Sarabuk, and Kokhat. But the Georgians who had sheltered and fed us, seeing a state of women and old men, dissuaded us from leaving at night, and we spent disturbing night in Chareb. Tired after the heavy day crossing of the wood, I soon fell asleep. At daybreak about five o`clock a roar of shells awoke us, we realized that the village bombardment had begun. One of the heavy missiles exploded next to our house. As soon as I left the house, two large-caliber shells hit it one after another: the back wall of the house crashed, and then the second explosion was resounded. All has happened so instantly, that not everybody being in the house had time to run out and take cover. The terrible turmoil has begun. The master of the house Vakhtang Razmadze (now he lives in Tskhinval with his family) was seriously wounded in his stomach, his face was scratched with splinters. I and Ketino Kisieva tried to render him the first aid. We washed the wound with vodka and dressed it. One of my companions Julietta Kisieva was also wounded. She had the missile wound of her kidney, the wound seemed to be small and we did not pay attention to it. But soon she began to faint. It should be noted that as soon as the missiles hit the house, the chaos began and the people in panic were running out. When the shooting stopped, the women were helping the victims, but in 30 minutes intensive firing resumed. Probably, the Georgian military men had fixed a position of people and decided to exterminate us. Firing was persistent. Everybody rushed to escape in the wood. This nightmare lasted about an hour. Next to the Ossetian refugees the civilian Georgian peasants were also taking cover from the bullets of the Georgian armed formations. As soon as the shooting ceased, we rushed to the house as there were the wounded there. We pulled them in safe- in our opinion -shelter. It was some kind of a lumber room next to the house. However, those days there was no one square metre of safe place in Tskhinval and Tskhinvalskiy region. When I ran out of the house to the shelter, the shots were resumed again, and I understood that the enemy was attacking. The fear seized our consciousness more and more. Someone has offered to run into the wood as the Georgian troops were approaching closer to the village. At some moment I jumped up, and overturned a large glass vessel on myself. It hit my head and was broken. I could make some steps, but I began losing my consciousness and fell down. I could not run any more. I remained in the cellar of Vakhtang Razmadze with the wounded men. I had a brain concussion and cuts on my body. Ketino Kisieva was also wounded and she was with me with her mother Lia Maisuradze when I had fainted. Having regained consciousness, I realized that the village was occupied by the Georgians. I was dumb with horror. Vakhtang Razmadze was groaning from pain of his wounds. The ambulance car from the Georgian village Ksuis came and the wounded were delivered to some Georgian village. I was muddled and hardly understood what was happening. As if in a dream, I saw the armed Georgians, making orders. It was the tent military hospital developed somewhere in Gorijsky region. All the wounded men were rendered the first aid here, and then sent to the hospital in Gori. The will and fear left me. I gradually realized that during the large-scale operations I found myself in the enemy clan. The only thing I remembered was what Lia Maisuradze had ordered me- not to utter a sound, because it was evident I was an Ossetian from my ascent. So Lia Maisuradze actually saved us, saying that I was her daughter, and Julietta Kisieva – her sister. We were delivered to the hospital in Gori, where all of us were rendered the first aid. After having some medicines the ability to analyze the situation returned to me, I could understand all the difficulty of our position. As we all had wounds of different character, they wanted to send us to different medical institutions. But Lia Maisuradze achieved that we were delivered together to the hospital in Gori by separate transport, insisting thus that we are the members of her family. In Gori Julietta was directed for operation as she felt worse. I and Lia Maisuradze`s daughter Ketino were in one ward. There was one more wounded old woman with us. At some moment Ketino and I began whispering in Ossetian. It was noticed by our nurse. She asked us directly: "are you Ossetians? » We could not utter a word out of fear. She began to calm down us, telling that she, too, was the Ossetian and that she was worried about our further fate. Lia`s sister lived in Tbilisi and it was made a decision to leave there, - it was absolutely clear, that it was not another way out. All this time my mother, my husband and other relatives unsuccessfully tried to learn something about our destiny. As the phones were discharged, it was no any possibility to keep contact with our relatives. On August, 10 Ketino, Lia and I have arrived in Tbilisi. Revival reigned here. It should be noticed that all Tbilisi was overwhelmed with panic that the military actions would soon be spread all over Georgia. People in wild turmoil were leaving Tbilisi, hoping to take cover in villages. When we were in Gori, we heard that Tskhinval had been sieged by the Georgian troops, and the villages of South Ossetia were left by their inhabitants. All people, surrounding us, were exulting about it and being happy, informed each other about it. The information that Tskhinval had fallen was being spread by word of mouth, and the Georgians were celebrating noisily with champagne drinking. However in Tbilisi we had already heard the other news. As if Saakashvili was asking about an armistice and all inhabitants were leaving the city, being afraid of the further events. There were conversations on inevitable war in all territory of Georgia and the approaching terrible catastrophe. As soon as we charged our phones, I called my mother. It was on August, 11. She turned out to be at the representation of the RSO in the Government of the RSO- Alania at the office of Stanislav Dzhioev. I was made a decision to address to the frontier service management of the Russian Federation to help to rescue the wounded men who had found themselves in so dangerous position. Meanwhile, Lia Maisuradze found Julietta Kisieva in the hospital of Kaspi. When Lia returned to Gori to take Julietta the city had been actually left by its inhabitants and the nurse of the hospital told her that all patients had been evacuated in hospitals of Kaspi after the mass panic in Gori on August, 10. The doctors refused to discharge Julietta from the hospital as she was in a grave condition. However Lia had no time for formalities. The hospital was overflowed with the wounded and killed (their bodies were lying nearby all over the hospital). We, without any ceremonies, took her away, and by taxi went to Russia through Krestoviy pass. When we, at last, reached the frontier post in Lars the Georgian frontier guards started to play a trick over us saying that within three years even a fly had not crossed the border. The frontier guards categorically did not want to let us passing, explaining that the check point was closed, and it was not possible to cross it. However we so were tired of all ordeals that weThe War in August, 2008. Three years later. Aleda Bestaeva were ready to spend the night at the outpost or even at the check point gate. It was obvious, that there was no another way out. Ahead of us was Russia where we were waited by our families and friends, and behind us was hostile Georgia, brought into chaos created by the war, unleashed by itself. By the night Julietta felt worse and fainted. We desperately addressed to the frontier guards again. Seeing our resoluteness and Juliette’s state, the frontier guards started to yield. They said: "the Russian frontier guards will shoot you, if we release you on that side, and then shift the blame onto us". Almost after the 12 hours negotiation our requests were heard. We crossed the border and found ourselves in embraces of our families anв friends, painfully waiting us for long hours. In Ossetia the cases when military events touch destinies of generations - members of one family- are frequent. Aleda Bestaeva was not born yet when her father Guram Bestaev had been killed by the Georgian bandits on April, 6, 1992. "Ossetia has said goodbye to one of her best sons. The bullet of the Georgian murderers has interrupted life of the brave defender of Ossetia Guram Bestaev. The name of Guram Bestaev is added to heroic annals of Ossetia. Guram was born in 1959 in the village Khelchua, (Naniaturi) Tskhinvalskiy region. He was everybody's favorite among the fellow villagers as he had never offended anybody. He always respected adults, and was indulgent towards children ", - is written in the newspaper "SO" for 1992, which has turned yellow from time. Guram has given his life for his native Ossetia, hoping that his children will live in the peaceful Ossetia. From the very first days of confrontation to the Georgian fascism Guram was among those who protected our Native land. It’s impossible to count now, how many sleepless nights he spent at the posts, what were his hopes and plans at that moment …Today his small grandson lives in the recognized independent Republic where one can feel the memoirs of war more, than the events in today's life. The brilliant future of this boy, all our children and the future generations depend on us –its citizens and on our future Republic.