Zurab Samushia, leader of the shadowy Georgian White Legion, made an unusual appearance yesterday on Russian state television. Samushia maintained that the White Legion operates in Abkhazia not only without Tbilisi’s authorization, but also against official Tbilisi’s will. He stated that the White Legion has its bases and ammunition depots in an area controlled neither by Tbilisi nor by Abkhazia, situated on the Abkhaz side of the Georgian-Abkhaz demarcation line. White Legion fighters commute across that demarcation line, but never carry arms while on Georgian-controlled territory.
Samushia dismissed as “absurd” Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze’s demands that the White Legion disarm and disband. The legion is out of Georgian reach or jurisdiction. Its members–ethnic Georgians from Abkhazia–are bent on avenging the ethnic cleansing, Samushia stated. He disclosed that he was once a teacher at the engineering college in Sukhumi and was evicted with his family from Abkhazia. Samushia described Russian troops in Abkhazia as “enemies,” on a par with the Abkhaz authorities whom they support (Russian Public TV, “Vesti” program, September 16).
KARIMOV IN ISRAEL.