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12 Aug, 2008 01:08

Moscow’s Georgians and Ossetians united in misery

As conflict engulfs their homelands, in Moscow, Georgian and Ossetian nationals are trying to comprehend what has been happening. They have issue a common message: peace is what they want most.

Tengiz Begishvili is from Georgia. He moved to Moscow sixteen years ago but still has lots of relatives and friends back in his native country.

Watching the reports from the battlefield in South Ossetia, he says that what is happening there is beyond his understanding.

“What should be done first of all is to hold a ceasefire,” he said. “We, Georgians, call Ossetians our brethren, and we can't believe so many people have died or lost their homes in the last four days.”

As a representative of one of the world's biggest Georgian ex-pat communities – more than a million live in Russia – Tengiz is confident that an understanding can be found between Georgia and Russia.

“I can put it straightforwardly – there are no problems between the Georgians and Russians,” he said. “I have a very good relationship with Abkhazians, Ossetians and Russians. And it hurts greatly to watch this conflict between Georgians and Ossetians.”

Those who want to help ease the humanitarian problems have been visiting Moscow’s Ossetian community. These days it's full of volunteers packing essentials that were brought here by people of different nationalities. Everything from bedding to toys will be delivered to refugees from South Ossetia as soon as possible.

Trouble binds

At the Georgian embassy in Moscow, people with an interest in the Ossetian tragedy are gathering.

Oleg Taraev’s father and brother are in Tskhinvali now, but he says the trouble has brought together many nations.

“In those four days we all – people from South and North Ossetia, Abkhazia, Russia, Dagestan, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria – have been sticking together.”
It's not the first day people have come to the embassy, and while their identities change from day to day, their call to stop the violence remains.