Law
The Fateful F1 Grenade – Details of Iuri Vazagashvili’s Tragic Death
29 January, 2015
The Fateful F1 Grenade – Details of Iuri Vazagashvili’s Tragic Death
The explosion that occurred on January 20th in the village of Karapila shook the entire country because it took the life of Iuri Vazagashvili, father of Zurab Vazagashvili, who was gunned down by the police in his car in 2006. The circumstances surrounding both deaths remain extremely controversial.

“Sixty grams of trinitrotoluene would have left Iuri, who was standing nearby, little to no chance of survival”

The father spent eight years looking for his son’s murderers, confronting the previous government
and not refraining from criticizing the current one as well, since he believed that the policemen who participated in the 2006 incident were promoted rather than brought before the court. He had a meeting planned with several unknown witnesses, from whom he expected to gain important information, but the fateful explosion cut his plans short.
Based on the above circumstances, it seems that the death of Yuri Vazagashvili could have been in the interest of those complicit in the 2006 shooting as well as various political forces. But killing a father at his son’s grave is brutal and cynical to the extreme – it also sends a message or attempts to. As of now, the sender is unknown.
It falls to investigators to determine the perpetrators of the murder, but here we will try to reconstruct what we know of the event and to determine some details:
Iuri Vazagashvili arrived at the village to attend his neighbor’s funeral. He also visited his son’s grave, and this is when the explosion occurred.
This gives birth to questions regarding the type of explosive and the way it was triggered. On the second day after the incident, the independent expert group (invited by Vazagashvili’s family members) stated in an interview that the bomb in question was a factory-built military explosive and not a handmade one. No tiny fragments of any radio-electronic device were discovered at the scene, which may rule out activation of a device from a distance. Usage of a time fuse also seems out of the question, since not only the murderers, but also Vazagashvili himself likely didn’t know when he would arrive at his son’s grave.geotv.ge

“Whoever purportedly rigged Zurab Vazagashvili’s grave with an explosive device would have had military experience (or at least experience with hand grenades), but it would not take a professional bomb technician to arrange such an explosion”

This allows us to make a relatively safe assumption that the device that killed Iuri Vazagashvili was either a hand grenade, an antipersonnel mine or a mortar shell that was rigged for mechanical activation.
When the filming group from Georgian Public Broadcaster arrived at the crime scene several hours after the incident and set up a live feed, it was hard to discern anything specific from the footage. But what immediately caught our attention were several similar wounds on Iuri Vazagashvili’s forehead that resembled those typically inflicted by shards from a Russian-made F1 hand grenade. This and many other small details allow for a hypothesis that Vazagashvili was indeed killed by an F1.
How was the device rigged, then? According to reports, upon entering his son’s final resting place, Iuri noticed that one of the stone tiles was displaced. Apparently, pushing it back into place triggered the mechanism of the F1 that was perhaps concealed beneath it, resulting in an explosion 3-4 seconds later. Sixty grams of trinitrotoluene would have left Iuri, who was standing nearby, little to no chance of survival.
By this hypothesis the grenade’s safety pin would have been yanked off, and its lever pinned down by the tile’s weight, preventing it from exploding unless the tile was moved.
This is an age-old tripwire scheme, which was and is still used in many wars. Usually such devices are placed under bodies of the deceased, killing those who come to take them away.
Judging by everything mentioned above, it can be surmised that whoever purportedly rigged Zurab Vazagashvili’s grave with an explosive device would have had military experience (or at least experience with hand grenades), but it would not take a professional bomb technician to arrange such an explosion. The culprits relied on a psychological factor in their assassination attempt as well – a grieving father would notice any, even the most minute detail of his son’s grave, so it was almost ggeotv.geuaranteed that he would notice the displaced tile and try to push it back into place – if that is indeed what happened.

Tactical overview


A Soviet-produced anti-personnel fragmentation defensive F1 grenade weighs up to 600 grams. It can be thrown at a distance of 25-40 meters, but only from behind cover, since its explosion scatters up to 300 shards of shrapnel in varying sizes at a speed of 700-720 meters per second (for comparison, the initial speed of a 7.62 bullet expelled by an AK-47 assault rifle is 730 meters per second), inflicting harm to personnel within a 70-100 meter radius. However, the “safe zone” is presumed to be no less than 200 meters from the explosion, since the blast can send fragments a distance of over 150 meters.

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