“OSSETIANS SHOWED ME SECRET DOCUMENTS”
15 May, 2014
“OSSETIANS SHOWED ME SECRET DOCUMENTS”
Exclusive interview with Teimuraz Jerapov, former minister of so-called South Ossetia

On 31 December 2013, the de facto government of South Ossetia released a man, who was sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment, and conveyed him to the Georgian side. Teimuraz Jerapov, former Minister of Economy of the South Ossetian Provisional Administration, was tried by the Tskhinvali court on 15 November 2010. He was accused of forceful seizure of the authorities and infringement of constitutional order.
Q. – You said
that you were in Kurta on 7 August 2008. What was going on there?
A. – On 7 August, I woke up late at night, at 11.30 pm. They told me that Mamuka Kurashvili declared that we were starting the restoration of the constitutional order. A bit later after this, shooting started in the direction of Tskhinvali. Explosions didn’t stop for the entire night. It was about 3 am and we were in Saneblidze’s study when the head of the division of the Interior Ministry forcefully came in. He said the Russian army was advancing and that we had to retreat from Java. He said he didn’t like it because he remembered bad experiences and he also said that it was planned to decoy the Russian army in Tskhinvali and attack it there. But it was calm outside; we heard no shooting on the morning 8 August.
When I went out, I saw 5-6 women with babies on the road. I stopped the car, got out and told my deputy to somehow accommodate and drive them out. I went back to the administration building. It was around 8 or 9 pm when I walked over to the Georgian villages. They were almost completely empty, only some elderly people were left and they were being taken out by the Red Cross. My deputy called me to say that our forces were retreating and that I’d better do the same. I walked 26 kilometers to Tkviavi. I remember stopping at Tsveriakho. No shooting was heard anywhere. The silence was a bit ominous. I thought to myself that if there was war going on, then why was there no noise? Two military cars passed by. Probably, the only sign of war was the left military equipment. It seems that after the fighting at Java our divisions got the order to retreat, so our soldiers were coming back and the Russians were following them but there was no shooting.
Q. – How did you find yourself in Tskhinvali prison?
A. – Seven months prior to my arrest I managed to go to Tskhinvali. After this war I felt responsible for every Georgian and Ossetian who died there. When I was arrested, I was first taken to Java for some time and then moved to Tskhinvali where they put hand-cuffs on me.
I honestly think that if the Russian army leaves and nobody interferes with our business, on the same day Georgians and Ossetians will sit down at a table and have a good feast.
Q. – What interested them most of all during your interrogations?
A. – I was amazed…They showed me about 80 photos. I, Sanakoev and the administration employees were almost in each of them. Our meetings were also photographed. I don’t know who took them or why. 40 days later I was taken to prison.
Q. – What do you think about the reconciliation of Georgians and Ossetians?
A. – Neighbors and even brothers have conflicts. Nothing extraordinary happened with us either. I think we have no other way except reconciliation, but this needs the right policy and the strengthening of economic ties. In prison I spoke with more than 300 Ossetians and none of them were contented with the Russians, but they said they had no choice. Abkhazians are still in a worse situation than the Ossetians. Today, for them being with the Georgians equals rescuing. Since coming into power Saakashvili worsened the relations between Georgians and Ossetians every day. After our reconciliation, he confronted us again. What business does he have in Ukraine today? Let’s mention the Kodori Gorge – what did the Russian army have to do there? He specially prepared this gorge for the Russians. Do you remember how you transferred Akhalgori, the Kodori Gorge, villages of the big and little Liakhvi Gorges to the Russians? Do you know what’s going on in these villages now? Only ruins are left. Do you remember all this? If you do, then you should be ‘proud’ of yourself.




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