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Georgia, Russia: Blogger From Poti Recounts the Bombing

See Global Voices special coverage page on the South Ossetia crisis.

Here is LJ user pepsikolka‘s account (RUS) of what it felt like when the Russian planes were bombing Poti, her native city (more posts by this blogger have been translated here):

How it all was.

We worried much because of Ossetia, condemned the war and argued, and all of us, everyone who works [for our company], all those who surround me – no one has ever said that it was good that [Georgia] had entered Ossetia, everyone was sorry and upset.

In the evening, on the way back from work, some colleagues were saying that they were taking the children out of the city, what if they start bombing Poti, since it is, after all, a strategically important city, and I protested, saying that this will never happen, that if Russians do decide to help Ossetia (it wasn't yet clear at that point), they'll help the Ossetian people and that would be it.

Around midnight I heard some roaring, ran up to the window and saw shaft of fire, explosions at the port and heard a deafening noise. I didn't even have the time to get scared, I just knew that if a cistern with oil at the terminal gets hit, there'll be fire and an explosion, so I grabbed the phone, called Tengo, Vika answered, screaming – Samira, the port is being bombed. Mama with Alina and our niece were running aimlessly around the apartment, the explosions continued, and we ran downstairs. There were people in the street, they were crying and everyone looked terribly alarmed.

I don't really understand, but some explosions and gunfire sounds continued. Someone was running and screaming that [we should all] leave, as we are close to the port, and we all ran. Planes were flying, there were some lights, and it seemed as if they were being shot at from the ground, I don't know, there was roaring in the sky and one could see the light of either missiles or I don't know what.

We took shelter [inside one building], there were screams all around, women and children were crying.

There was no phone connection, and before that they had turned TV off.

We didn't understand anything about what happened.

Clearly, no one was expecting this.

We went to my sister, to the area that's far off from the port, Mos'ka was sobbing, very frightened, she was born in 1994 and didn't know how we were running in 1992, during the storming of the city of Poti by the Georgian army [and pushing out supporters of Zviad Gamsakhurdia], and her sister Katerina was being born, and we were asking the evacuating Russian army for help. Military doctors did end up delivering Kat'ka at the hospital.

But that was a long time ago.

Now Mos'ka was crying, and so were other children in the courtyard.

They were not bombing anymore, but people were still afraid to enter the buildings.

We began moving towards our house. Next to every building, there were crowds of people who were afraid to go up to their apartments.

A woman nearby was talking on the phone, and suddenly she gave out a heartrending scream, people grew loud, and I felt fear at a subconscious level. I told my sister not to speak Russian. [The woman] was in a state of temporary insanity, mama asked what happened in Georgian, they said that Senaki was bombed, there were the mobilized [men] there, and [the woman's] brother was killed.

We ran home, started calling [family and friends].

It turned out that a bomb hit our terminal, my colleague, a friend, who was working a night shift, got injured with shrapnel, broken ribs, his lungs and head were hurt, too. The reservoirs were not damaged, only the foam station, and a substation at the port. At the port, seven people were killed, I guess, and some were injured. The guy who worked for the Odessa-Poti ferry agent company was killed. They also brought the killed ones from Senaki, the reservists were let go from there, another of our colleagues was injured by the bomb.

People were so frightened that no one was discussing politics, everyone tried to get closer to one another, some people were crossing themselves and whispering prayers.

I was thinking only about one thing, that we should all stick together.

In the morning, we were running away again, because one of the bombs hadn't exploded and they brought in sappers to disarm it.

I was looking out of the window and saw people with bags who were running away, driving away in cars to villages, to Adzharia. My friend Lenka has rented a room in Kobuleti and is staying there with her family.

The city is empty, most stores are closed.

Tengo didn't leave anywhere, we run to see each other from time to time.

Poti hasn't been bombed anymore, we heard some gunshots yesterday, but don't know what it was. I can't even imagine what it's like for those poor people in Tskhinvali.

No one needs this damn war.

I'm not a politician and I don't have politicians in my circle who think that this is how it should be. I do not distinguish between Ossetians, Georgians and Russians. My friend's grandmother is Ossetian, we are Russian, but we have Georgian relatives, son-in-law is a Ukrainian, who the hell cares, the main thing is for this to be over as soon as possible and that no one else dies.

Those of you who write that here, you Georgians are getting what you deserve.

Deserve what? What for? Are we guilty of anything?

Are Georgians some monsters, don't they have the same blood running in their veins as anyone else? Old people are crying and it's unbearable to watch it. And no one has ever told me that all this is because of you, Russians. Not a single person, not once. I admit that there are people who may say this. But I haven't encountered them. Some people in LJ say that if you, the Kuznetsovs, are Russians, why don't you escape to Russia? When people were running away in the 1990s, we stayed, because there was uncertainty both here and there. My mama had chosen the uncertainty here. Because she was born and grew up here, we were all born here, sometime in the 1930s my grandmother, a child then, was put on a train and told that there was no hunger in Georgia, that there was [corn] there. It is our country now, we hold Georgian passports and we are the ordinary Georgian citizens. That's why I feel like tearing myself in two, when I stand on Georgian soil and the Russian planes are flying over me, and I can't imagine that these two countries are fighting against each other.

  • Pingback: Armenia & the South Caucasus | The Caucasian Knot » Blog Archive » Georgia: Russian Bombing Account

  • Pingback:  | Joshua Treviño

  • Ivan_Russian

    People! If you are really aiming to THINK – try to do it by yourself!
    1) Figure it out – Georgia ATTACKED South Osetia with HEAVY ARTILLERY and TANKS 07/08/2008 and (in one night) KILLED about 2000 citizens, DESTROYED Tshinvaly (the capital of S.Osetia) and several smaller towns.
    2) Mere than 2/3 of osetians are RUSSIANS! And S Osetia is NOT a part of Georgia from 1991 yr. (and its never been a part of Georgia before 1920)!!! NOBODY in Russia wants to gain Georgia “back to the USSR” (I meant in borders of Russia). Georgians wanted to be separated and NOBODY tried to keep them in 1991!
    3) EVERY georgian neighbour is ready to declare WAR to Georgian criminal state if it`ll try to repeat S.Osetian scenario. Enough to eat every false your newspaper prints! Just ASK any caucasian about this problem if you are REALLY trying to understand whats happening there! Osetia and Abkhasia don`t want to come back to Georgian borders (ind they will NEVER back).
    4) About “Georgian” agression… DO YOU know that “georian” troops consist of international mercenaries? (of cource not I guess…) So ASK GEORGIANS about it – theirs Saakashvilly tried to moboloze, arm and throw to WAR last night`s CIVILIANS! (they even DIDN`t KNOW about theirs destination and aim) So when thew loocked at this foul “turn” against theirs neighbours – they DESERt by themselves! Most of georgians doesnt want this war! Because it concerns all caucasian brothers nations!
    5) All this act of Saakashvily is only a cause to fire up situation in Caucasus! This way USA can realize its politics of “struggle against russian treat”… A bullshit that helps to spend your money! :)) And MOST OF YOU ARE STILL EATING THIS!!!

    —-
    If you are really trying to THINK – look at USA economics!
    a) at USDollar EMISSION value (all the data from 2005 classified as secret) – they just filled up all the world with $USDollars = uncovered paper money!
    b) at USA trade balance from 1985 (EXPORT-IMPORT)
    c) at USA DEBT (including not only external government debt but also “future obligations” (social for example) – and you will see – EXPANCES of US government always needs a “COVER” (overconsumption is take a place).

    So EVERY action, every politics is aiming to GAIN A MONEY! Yours or smb. else’s!

    If you are still not interesting in TRUTH – so keep your eyes “WIDE SHUT”… and I pity you…

    Ivan (from North Caucasus).

  • Romana

    Ivan, your propaganda has little value. Ukraine may jump into it… on Georgia’s side. Putin is trying the rebuild the old “Soviet Empire”. WW3 began Friday. Russia will lose.

  • Pingback: No One Needs This Damn War : hildring

  • James

    Dear Romana, it is good that not everyone is so quick as yourself and the Georgian government to declare war. Who are you to say that Putin is trying to rebuild the Soviet Union? Your obvious lack of any real information is plain dangerous. Let’s just fight for a resolution of this problem in the most peaceful way possible because despite your convictions, there will be no winners in a third world war.

  • anonymouse

    Ivan

    Have you noticed that majority of former socialist countries condemned “Russian imperialist agression”?
    Romana is right Ukraine, Czek republic, Hungary, Poland, may jump into fry= but not on Russian side.

  • http://BrooksMarshall.com Brooks Marshall

    I am trying to locate Nino Kuprava, who lives in Poti. If anyone has any information on Nino please post. My family and I are very worried about her safety. Thank you. Brooks Marshall (California, USA)

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Georgia_(country)#The_18th_century_and_Russian_annexation Ivan

    Romana: where are you from? Maybe from the moon???
    I was born in Caucasus and I live in Russia and have MANY friends in Ukraine. So specially for you I can assure you that MOST of ukranians are FOR PUTIN and most of them is trying to get in to Russia! They are ready to create a “live schead” just to let our ships come back to Sevastopol. 85% of South-East of Ukraine are russians or relatives! Who talks nonsense about Georgian-Ukrainian alliance? I never heared the Bull Shit of that kind))) Ukrainians just trying to observe the properties of no-helping to any combatant! thats it! Nothing more!
    Of course actual ukrainian president is aiming to NATO too… BUT the people of Ukraine is AGAINST it – otherwise the NATO flag was already streaming above ukainian borders )) forget it, my friend! as a bad dream… )))
    Better look why DO NOT any western TV shows OSETIANS INTERVIEW??? Why??? Can you answer me?
    Maybe because they dont want to show you a REAL story???
    just think about it…

    and one more thing: read encyclopedia to determine what kind of relations was between Russia and Georgia from 1800 year.
    Wikipedia describes it pretty good:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Georgia_(country)#The_18th_century_and_Russian_annexation

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Georgia_(country)#The_18th_century_and_Russian_annexation Ivan

    Romana: where are you from? Maybe from the moon???
    I was born in Caucasus and I live in Russia and have MANY friends in Ukraine. So specially for you I can assure you that MOST of ukranians are FOR PUTIN and most of them is trying to get in to Russia! They are ready to create a “live schead” just to let our ships come back to Sevastopol. 85% of South-East of Ukraine are russians or relatives! Who talks nonsense about Georgian-Ukrainian alliance? I never heared the Bull Shit of that kind))) Ukrainians just trying to observe the properties of no-helping to any combatant! thats it! Nothing more!
    Of course actual ukrainian president is aiming to NATO too… BUT the people of Ukraine is AGAINST it – otherwise the NATO flag was already streaming above ukainian borders )) forget it, my friend! as a bad dream… )))
    Better look why DO NOT any western TV shows OSETIANS INTERVIEW??? Why??? Can you answer me?
    Maybe because they dont want to show you a REAL story???
    just think about it…

    and one more thing: read enciclopedia to determine what kind of relations was between Russia and Georgia from 1800 year.
    Wikipedia describes it pretty good

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