“People’s Army” in Zugdidi [Video]

2012.04.19 ავტორი:

Today, from Zugdidi, about hundred volunteers of different age have been taken a five - day training on the Senaki Military Base. Meanwhile, in recent days reported about formulation of illegal armed groups. The opposition calls them “Illegal armed formations”, government – “Reserves.


Let’s discuss how this is related to the information released by the reserve; who are the leaders of these groups in the countries, where they live and why the supporters of ex-president Gamsaxurdia call them the “People’s Army”.


They say there is the split among the supporters of ex-president. 

The active supporter of ex-president LuizaTevzadze owns information about the armed formations in Samegrelo, but the goals of these groups is unknown for her. She is afraid that the government can use them for pre-election campaign. According to the information by Tevzadze, in Zugdidi these groups are led by the former supporters of ex-president Gamsaxurdia – Anzor Chkheidze and Vakhtang Zarandia.


Tevzadze says the so-called volunteer leaders are responsible for meeting the districts: the countries of low and high zone; the zone of town. The town is divided into 20 district.



Chkheidze is in charge of the villages of the low zones: Darcheli, Ergeta, Anaklia, Ganmuxuri and Kakhati. Zarandia is in charge of the villages of the high zones: Jizashkari, Chakvinji, Kulishkari, Grigolishi.


According to the information by Chkheidze to get the volunteers into the People’s Army has been started since November. In his interview with tspres.ge he says that the “army” was formed to protect the streets of town and villages. Asked why the need to protect their villages, Chkheidze says: “from the natural disasters and aggression by foreign power”.


According to the information by Anzor Chkheidze, the army being under his control includes about 1500 fighters; they are training on the Senaki Military base. They have already been given military uniforms and shoes; weapons will be awarded according to the numbers and the appropriate use.

Anzor Chkheidze confesses he was asked for being leader of the “People’s Army” by Defense Ministry officials KobaAkhvlediani.


“Koba Akhvlediani fought with us in previous years. He is Colonel, the deputy minister level… His people asked me to be the leader of the reserves groups… I couldn’t refuse: we are the friends; my conscience couldn’t let me do right. It was in November.”-says Chkheidze. He excludes the use of the army in order to carry out pre-election campaign.


According to the report by Chkheidze weapons will be awarded to the people “who can run, jump, use a gun…” not to order ones.

-“There are the districts; every village has its own leader. He asks the settlers who wants to go to the 5-6 day reserves… You know, we are in conflict with Russia; “something is always expected; we must protect our villages and town”-says Chkheidze. 



The leader of the battalion “Odishi-Jikha” VakhtangZaradania was too close person and right hand of ex-president Zviad Gamsaxurdia. In 2003 he was detained for illegal possession of weapons by the “National Movement”. Zarandia was sentenced of seven years; Two years ago he was pardoned by president.


Vakhtang Zarandia says that under his control are about 100 hundred volunteers in Jikhashkari”. He reports he is the accountable the Ministry of Defence like Chkheidze.Zarandia says that the information spread about any gangs is “invented story” by opposition; they don’t have enough people to carry out election campaign; they don’t have the supporters. So they have only one way: to blame army reservists on lie. No one will interfere with anybody. The opposition will see who is whose supporter.”-says Zarandia. He claims that if the government commands him about raiding he will not take a gun in his hand. 


Theaddressesof the groups: Petriashvili, Rustaveli, Gurtskaia


In Zugdidi, in the house number Petriashvili 24 lives a single man VataApsandze. For 4 months there have lived 5 men. The neighbours don’t know who they are. In his private conversation the owner of the house says that his residents are the former guerrillas, but he doesn’t have any information about their activities. Apsanadze takes 200 GEL a monthly rent. One of the residents refused to video and in his private conversation he claimed he was not the member of any group. 



At the beginning of Rustavelistreet near the Samaia Garden, some “military people” rented a two-story unrepaired house last year. According to the saying by neighbours they often go in military uniform with weapon. The neighbours also say that there often come the people “seen on TV” on their “SUV”. They don’t khow what is happening in their neighborhood; some of them say they are the guerrillas.


Two men going out the house in Rustavelistreet did not answer the questions by tspress.ge and came back into the house. They only claimed they were not the guerrillas.


The settlers of Gurtskaiastreet say they have new residents in the neighbourhood but they are not going in the military uniform; they are wearing plain clothes. 


To find out whether the residents of Gurstkaia, Rustaveli and Pertiashvili streets have any connection with the ministry of Defence, tspress.ge got in touch with Press Secretary of the Ministry, Salome Makharadze.


She reports: “The Ministry of Defencedoies not won any military units, living in rented homes. It is another nonsense from the opposition. We have our soldiers only in the tents or on the bases.


Some days ago, the Minister of the Ministry of Defence Bacho Akhalaia estimated the spread information about formations in the same words. 



Translator Nino Jagodnishvili   


 Funded through Democracy Commission Small Grants Program, the U.S. Embassy in Georgia



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