Refugees Telling Their Stories

Beka and Giga, brothers, 11 and 10 years old


Beka: we used to live in Kekhvi. I’m a sixth-grader and Giga is a fifth-grader. We used to go to Achabeti – a neighboring village to play football and take wresting classes. We used to walk there. We both love football. Chelsey is my favorite team. They say our school was blown up. I don’t know exactly. I don’t like going to school that much, but still it’s bad if it’s true. I only like literature classes. My grandma stayed in the village. We don’t know anything about her now. 

Some people say Russian troops are withdrawing. My father called grandma and she said she’s together with a neighbor woman and they are ok. She said they only burn houses of those people where they find military uniform or guns. So our house should be ok now. I think they took only clothes and a\other stuff.


I don’t like living in Tbilisi, I prefer home. I used to live here for a year and didn’t like it at all. I’ve got a lot of friends there, in my village. I don’t know where they are right now. I only know about two of them. We went to city council building to ask government for help yesterday and there I met one of my classmates who also escaped with his family. I was so glad to see him.


An elderly man from Kekhvi, Tskhinvali region; didn’t give a name


I was there when the houses were being bombed; bombs were droppiong on every square meter. Three aircrafts and two „MIGS" were bombing. I was sitting there in a cellar like a rabbit and waiting for death. Heavy shootings were on for several days. I had a car of my son at home, so I decided to leave with the car. I ot up very early, at 5 in the morning hoping to get away before shootings started. But I think they wre waiting for me (similing): as soon as I got up, they started bombing. Bpmbs were coming down like rain. Houses were being blown up. Very scared I ran into the house, grabbed whatever I could, dumped in the car and started. I was together with a neighbor guy.


We met Russian troops in Achabeti. The forest nearby was occupied by Chechens. I thought if I managed to get where Russians were based, they wouldn’t drop bombs on me and I’d survive. And I was right.


When I got to Russians, they searched me. I had a couple of shirts with me, I think they liked them and took. Then they looked at me and let me go. I don’t know why, probably because I was an old man they pitied me.


After that I met Chechens on a hill. They stopped me. I got out of the car, walked up to a Chechen soldier and hold him: „how are you, drug?" Then they asked me what I was taking with me. I said I had 10 bottles of wine and offered it to them. They didn’t take. Then they searched me and the car, one of them liked one t-shirt of mine and put on. Then they let me go.


After this I arrived in Gori. My family members had left before. My wife had gone to a nearby village Tkviavi to a funeral couple of days ago, a young guy died there. She’s still there and cannot get out because the tanks are already based there. I cannot get in touch with her anymore. Looks like she’s hiding somehwere and cannot get to Gori.


My house was not destroyed when I left, but as I know it got burnt yesterday or the day before yesterday. People who are still there are informing us about situation there: they burn any house where they find military uniform or police uniform. They loot, rob and kill people. In most cases they rob houses and after that burn. Ossetians are doing this. My tractor was stiolen and they took 400 liters of wine from my house (smiling).


They took the cattle to Vladikavkaz. Ossetians are backed by Russians, so they are free to do anything. I remember a case many years ago, when Ossetians took our cattle. Then some peacekeeper helped our people find them, people recognized their cows and took back. Now if I see that someone has my Chrela and Nisha (names of cows) in Orjonikidze (old name of Vladikavkaz), wouldn’t they feel ashamed?


Three Ossetians lived in our village, we were on evry good terms with each other. Ossetians from Tskhinvali were quite different but our Ossetians were good.


And you know what? Russians killed Ossetians themselves. We watched it with our own eyes. Six aircrafts were bombing Tskhinvali. They did it on purpose – to make it look like as if Georgians did it. But we know the truth – it was Russians, our aviation was not there!


Right now what I’m asking everyone of is to let me go back home. I’ll just put up a roof and sit under it, that’s all I want. I cannot stay here, I cannot breath here, I cannot sleep here, I want home!   


Eshmakurashvili Galina, 61 years old


I am from village Shindisi, Gori. I was down in the bakery when intensive bombing started, six bombs fell right next to my house. I don’t know why I didn’t hear the sound, I must have been very upset and confused. I was alone at home, I opened the doors and was just standing there, for some time I couldn’t even move. I couldn’t see anything in the yard. When I went to street, I saw my neighbors down on earth – the blow from bombs had swept them from their feet. I couldn’t see some of the guys (neighbors) and I was afraid for them. But then it turned out they’d gone to the next village and came back.


My house was not destroyed yet when we left. But the furniture, glasses, dishes were all broken. Still we didn’t leave that day. I was thinking that it would get better. So we were hiding in a neighbor’s cellar for 2 days and nights.


My daughter-in-law and two grandchildren had already left couple of days ago. So we were alone – my son and me. My son stayed there when I left on the 10th. And he left to Sachkhere – where his wife and children are – next day.


There are relatives and neighbors who stayed there, we cannot get in touch with them any more – electricity is cut off and they cannot charge their cell phones.


Here we are more or less ok thanks to god and people. We have enough food now – bread and sausages. We can stay one week more. After that we hope very much that we’ll be able to get back. The villages maybe mined but hopefully they’ll clean it. As long as the walls of our houses are there we don’t need anything else, if nothing worse than this happens we’ll be fine!   





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