Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 129

According to an investigative report in a reputable Moscow weekly, military information indicates that the two "unidentified" airplanes which bombed the Chechen village Roshni-Chu last month, killing 28 civilians (not a single combatant), belonged to Russia’s Group of Forces in the Transcaucasus, headquartered in Tbilisi and commanded by Col. General Fyodor Reut. The aircraft took off from the Group’s air base at Vaziani. The bombing was widely seen as aimed at rekindling full-scale hostilities in Chechnya. (17)

The Tbilisi-based newspaper Droni has recently reported, quoting reliable sources, that Reut’s headquarters helped Georgia’s former State Security chief Igor Georgadze to escape to Russia. When he felt that he was being followed in the wake of the August 29 assassination attempt against Shevardnadze, Georgadze went with his bodyguards to the Russian Group of Forces headquarters in Tbilisi, was driven to Vaziani air base, and was flown to Moscow in Reut’s personal plane. (18)

Vaziani, which the Soviet military and their Russian successors never left after 1991, is one of the bases earmarked for long-term Russian use under the September 15 Georgian-Russian agreement on military basing rights, still unratified by Georgia. Gen. Reut is said in Russian military circles to enjoy Defense Minister Pavel Grachev’s personal favor. The Roshni-Chu case is being investigated by Russia’s Military Prosecutor General’s office which seems bent on yet another cover-up. Georgadze, wanted by Georgia for his role in the attempt on Shevardnadze’s life and other politically-inspired terrorist acts, is being sheltered in Moscow by the Internal Affairs Ministry which has openly refused to carry out the civilian Prosecutor General’s arrest order.