The destroyed city, a pungent smell of smoke and blood: memories of the August 2008 war by the employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia


The war of August 2008 found Elbrus Kochiev at the outpost of the OMON of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia. He, along with his colleagues, was waiting for an order, which still did not come. Instead, there was a war. Elbrus remembered those few days from August 8 to 12 for the rest of his life, as he himself told IA “Res”.

At that time, Kochiev was working in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the Department for the Protection of Public Order. He was the Deputy Head of the Department.

“On August 6, groups were created at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which included grenade launchers, machine gunners, machine gunners, because the situation was difficult and it was necessary to be ready for anything. On August 7, we were sent to the OMON building, where we were awaiting orders. We were to be sent to a post in the village of Galuanta. But the trip fell through because a full-scale war began to exterminate our people,” said Kochiev.

Divided into groups of four fighters, they moved in different directions of the city.

“In that chaos, you can’t catch everything with your eyes, but the broken city, the fear of our residents, the acrid smell of smoke and blood, I remember for a long time. People were afraid because the enemy was merciless. As an example, in the basement of the Alan Hotel, where the Tskhinval residents were hiding, there was only one entrance and it was also an exit. The Georgian tankers, knowing that civilians, not military men, had taken refuge there, began to shoot point-blank at the entrance to the basement. People were in prison. Fortunately, they had a walkie-talkie, and they called for help. We managed to save them,” Kochiev recalled.

He has also recalled the blown-up tanks, the tower of one of which today serves as a monument at the entrance to the building of the Ministry of Justice. According to Kochiev, fierce battles took place in that place.

“When we got to Peacekeepers Street, tanks were already burning there. It so happened that in this place there were guys from different groups: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB and others. I remember that Barankevich and Bibilov came. They made a formation right next to the building and divided the streets between groups, which would go where to clean-up the city from the еру Georgian army. And everyone went in his own direction,” said the participant in the military events.

All this time, Kochiev, along with his comrades, more than once got into street skirmishes. Without the appropriate weapons at hand, they still somehow managed to defend themselves.

"We have been involved in street shootings more than once. Georgian "cobras" fired at us and retreated. They had such tactics. Of course, we couldn't knock them out, because we only had small arms, but we defended as best we could," he said.

Russia saved us

Kochiev clearly remembers how the Russian army entered Tskhinval. The first thought that came to mind, was, "We're saved!"

“I remember a Russian tank stopped, and a young guy got out, covered in soot. If only they knew how happy we were. After the entry of Russian troops in the city, sweeps began. We were sent to the village of Leningor. Gennady Laliev was our head then. On the way, a woman ran out to us from one village and began to ask us not to go there, fearing an ambush by Georgians and our death. We calmed her down and moved on. When we got to Lenigor, Georgian women came out to us and asked if we would kill them. Of course, we reassured them. Unlike the Georgian troops, our servicemen and militias have never used aggression against civilians of Georgia,” Kochiev has stressed.

Kochiev's mother spent all this time sitting with her neighbors in the basement. She knew nothing about the fate of her son. Only on the ninth of August Kochiev was able to find his mother. According to him, when she saw him, she burst into tears. He himself also could not hide his joy because nothing had happened to her and she was alive.

According to Kochiev, only the August events were a five-day war, and the war was long-term, because Georgia had been shelling South Ossetia for many years, organizing genocide against the people.

“Until 2008, we were under constant shelling. We, the youth of that generation, spent our adult lives under bombardment. And now we have a peaceful, calm life. Peace came after 2008. Nobody dies anymore,” he said.

Kochiev has stressed that the suffering of the people stopped after 2008.

Zarina Khubaeva
Мой мир