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May 1989

Findings of the Commission of the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies to Investigate the Events which Occurred in the City of Tbilisi on 9 April 1989

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation




The Commission to investigate the events which took place in the city of Tbilisi on 9 April 1989 was created by the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies and composed of 24 persons, among whom were representatives of 9 union republics, state and public figures, well-known scientists and writers, and representatives of the army and church. A.A. Sobchak was elected Chairman of the Commission; Kh. Yu. Aasmyaeh, A.I. Golyakov and V. P. Tomkus were chosen as Deputy Chairmen and S.B. Stankevich was chosen as the Secretary.


In accordance with the assignment of the Congress, the Commission considered its mission to be to explain the actual nature of the events which took place on the night of 9 April in the city of Tbilisi, the reasons for the tragedy, the legality of the decisions adopted at various levels of the Party, state, and military leadership associated with them [the events], and to evaluate a number of the consequences of these events. In the process of the Commission’s work the need was uncovered to respond to a more general issue: the conditions and permissible limits of using Soviet Army sub-units to maintain public order.


The members of the Commission familiarized themselves with documents received from the commissions which investigated these events under the chairmanship of G.S. Tarazevich, the USSR Ministry of Defense, Chairman, General-Major of the Medical Service G.A. Sofronov, and the Georgian SSR Supreme Soviet, Chairman, Professor T.G. Shavgulidze, and also with materials (cipher messages, notes, written reports, stenographic records of meetings, etc.) received from the CC CPSU and CC GCP, the Presidiums of the USSR Supreme Soviet and the Georgian SSR Supreme Soviet, the USSR Ministry of Defense, the command of the ZakVO, the Ministries of Internal Affairs of the USSR and the Georgian SSR, the USSR Procuracy, and other state and public organizations.


The Commission met with the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, General Secretary of the CC CPSU, Cde. M.S. Gorbachev.


The Commission heard the Politburo members who are CC Secretaries: Cdes. Ye.K. Ligachev, and V.M. Chebrikov; USSR Foreign Minister Eh.A. Shevardnadze; Candidate members of the Politburo: First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, A.I. Luk’yanov, CC CPSU Secretary G.P. Razumovskiy; USSR Minister of Defense, D.T. Yazov; USSR Minister of Internal Affairs, V.V. Bakatin;[i] several senior officials of the CC CPSU staff; the leaders of the CC GCP; the leadership of the USSR Ministry of Defense, MVD, the Georgian SSR MVD, the USSR KGB, and the Georgian KGB; representatives of the Main Military Procuracy and the Procuracy of the Georgian SSR; and also the commands of ZakVO, units, and subunits of the Soviet Army, Internal Troops, and militia who took part in the 9 April 1989 operation. Conversations were held with eyewitnesses to the events: militia members [rabotniki]; Georgian SSR Ministry of Health and first aid workers; servicemen of the Soviet Army and Internal Troops; representatives of the public; veterans of Afghanistan [voiny-internatsionalisty]; clergy (including the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Catholicos of Georgia Ilya II); representatives of the Popular Front and the unofficial organizations of Georgia; and individual citizens, in particular, those victims who were treated in medical institutions in the city of Tbilisi.


Materials were studied which had been published in the periodic press and also the numerous letters and telegrams which had been sent to the Commission from citizens who live in various regions of our country.


In the process of their work, members of the Commission traveled to the city of Tbilisi and met with representatives of the Georgian public and ZakVO, and visited hospitals and the military units which participated in the events.


To gain a correct evaluation of the events which occurred in the city of Tbilisi on 9 April 1989 it is necessary to proceed from the idea that the country has entered upon an irrevocably democratic path of development which is meaningless without the constant exercise of the most diverse forms of popular social activity. The main substance of this is the aspiration to express one’s own interests and take a realistic, constructive part in democratic development by legal means, within the bounds of a strict observance of public order. And in these conditions the duty of state authority and law enforcement bodies is to afford realistic guarantees and protection for such activity.


But of course actions of an anti-social, illegal, and violent nature are possible in the course of these processes. And here the duty of state authority is to display firmness and use force within necessary limits.


The principal significance in this connection is an objective evaluation of the situation. Inaction by the authorities against violence and violations of law would be unforgivable. But the use of force against a peaceful meeting or demonstration which results in casualties is also unforgivable. In both cases this is a blow against perestroika and democracy.


Evaluating what took place, the Commission found that perestroika has caused an awakening of national consciousness and an attempt to achieve genuine economic independence and state sovereignty, which today characterize the social and political situation not only in Georgia but in other union republics. The conditions for the tragic events of 9 April 1989 in Tbilisi developed over a long [period of] time.  Signs of a crisis were displayed in them which involved many areas of government administration and public life in the Republic and in the country as a whole.


The Commission notes that in the process of democratization unavoidable differences and extremes appeared in the views and appeals expressed, in the evaluations of trends, and the paths and forms of future political development of the Republic and the entire country. Together with public movements and organizations striving for democratic renewal of the economic and political system of socialism, unofficial organizations appeared in the Republic whose program also contained positions of an anti-socialist and nationalistic nature. Their activity ran counter to perestroika and seriously inflamed the political situation in the Republic.


In these conditions, the most important task for the government and Party leadership of the Republic was to justify its role as the political and ideological vanguard, to act in the spirit of perestroika with the conviction [that it could] influence the mood of people and not permit its own estrangement from the actual development of the political processes of the Republic. However the leadership of the CC GCP did not manage to find contact and establish dialogue with the public. Subsequently, as social processes developed the popularity of unofficial groups increased and the leadership embarked on a course of confrontation. It is this which in particular could explain the circumstance in which petitions to hold demonstrations were greeted with refusal, as a rule, with few exceptions, as a result of which in practice illegal meetings began to be held without previous notification to the authorities. Thus the leadership of the Republic gradually lost control over political processes, Party influence over the masses waned, and its authority fell among the broad strata of the population. This occurred back during the events of 1988,[ii] when only an active political position of the Georgian intelligentsia and an appeal by M. S. Gorbachev to the Georgian people helped relieve the situation. But the leaders of the Republic themselves were already inclined to use force by then.


Unfortunately the necessary changes in the position and actions of the Georgian leadership did not subsequently occur.


The Commission thinks that such facts as the self-isolation of the leadership of the Republic and the inadequate, at times panicky, evaluation of specific situations, and the inability to positively influence the situation with political methods were some of the main causes which led, in the final account, to the tragic consequences of the events of 9 April in the city of Tbilisi.




At the end of March and the beginning of April 1989, a serious worsening of the political situation occurred in connection with events in Abkhaziya,[iii] which served as a direct pretext for the unofficial organizations to hold an unauthorized multi-day demonstration in front of Government House in Tbilisi. However by 6 April, the anti-Abkhazian nature of the demonstration had sharply changed, in connection with the replacement of the leadership of the Abkhazian Oblast’ of the GCP, and an extremist demand was advanced for the withdrawal of Georgia from the USSR. At the same time, many urgent issues troubling the public were discussed at the demonstration. Thousands of citizens participated in it (from morning to late evening). Hundreds of demonstrators remained at Government House at night. All this led to the disruption of the operation of transportation and of several government institutions in the center of the city and to breaches of the peace in the capital. The appeal of the CC GCP, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and the Council of Ministers of the Georgian SSR broadcast on republic radio and television had no positive effect on the demonstrators. [The] organizers [of the demonstrations] sent their representatives to work groups, higher educational institutions, and schools with a call to begin a strike and join with the demonstrators, and they resorted to picketing. Many higher educational institutions and schools suspended classes.


However, it is necessary to stress that a majority of workers and employees of the capital of Georgia did not support these calls and continued to work.


In the course of the demonstration, irresponsible calls to disobey the legal instructions of authorities were spread, and slogans of a nationalistic, anti-socialist, and anti-Soviet nature were advanced, in particular: “Down with the Communist regime!”, “Down with Russian imperialism!”, “USSR the prison of peoples!”,  “Down with Soviet power!”, “Liquidate Abkhazian autonomy!”, etc. The organizers of the demonstration continued to inflame the situation and called for the demonstrations, strikes, and hunger strikes to continue until 14 April.


Thus, the political situation in Tbilisi on the eve of the events of 9 April was characterized as an emergency and demanded the adoption of urgent and crucial decisions from the leadership of the GCP and the government of the Republic.


The Commission notes, however, that in the course of the investigation no terrorist acts were identified and no facts were established indicating that there was a real attempt to seize power or that there were politically motivated incidents of violence or assaults [pokusheniya] against workers of government and Party organizations, Party members, or citizens of non-Georgian nationality.


It is typical that the demonstration was accompanied by such a passive form of protest as the declaration of a mass multi-day hunger strike (more than 100 [people] at Government House took part in a hunger strike).


It was necessary to stop the unauthorized demonstration during this period, but this task should have and could have been carried out by the authorities who were entrusted by law with ensuring public order the authorities of the Republic MVD. The Commission notes that the MVD of the Georgian SSR and the Directorate of Internal Affairs of the city of Tbilisi did not perform the responsibilities entrusted to them to stop the unauthorized demonstration, although, according to a statement of the Georgian MVD, they repeatedly raised with the leadership of the Republic the issue of stopping the demonstration that was underway in front of Government House and restoring the normal situation in the capital with the aid of the forces at their disposal. However, this suggestion was not approved by the leadership of the Republic for fear of complications in the form of mass demonstrations by the population which, in their opinion, the available forces of the Internal Troops and militia could not handle.


The leadership of the Republic considered that this measure could have been implemented on condition that a curfew was introduced, for which additional military subunits needed to be brought in.


Therefore they decided to appeal for help to the Soviet authorities. At 8:35 p.m. on 7 April, a well-known telegram,[iv] prepared by the Second Secretary of the CC GCP, B.V. Nikol’skiy,[v] was sent to the CC CPSU over the signature of the First Secretary of the CC GCP, D.I. Patiashvili. In the opinion of the Commission, the evaluation of the political situation in the Republic contained in this telegram did not completely correspond to the real state of affairs and was not a sufficient justification for concentrating military subunits in the city of Tbilisi and introducing a state of emergency (curfew).


The Commission notes the existence of serious oversights and violations of law committed by both Soviet as well as Republic authorities in the process of preparing and implementing measures to stop the demonstration at Government House in Tbilisi on the night of 9 April.


A meeting was held in the CC CPSU on 7 April 1989 under the leadership of Politburo member and CC CPSU Secretary Cde. Ye. K. Ligachev in which the following took part: Politburo members Cdes. V.A. Medvedev, N.N. Slyun’kov, V.M. Chebrikov; Candidate members of the Politburo Cdes. A.I. Luk’yanov, G.P. Razumovskiy, D.T. Yazov; Chairman of the USSR KGB, V.A. Cde. Kryuchkov; Deputy USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Cde. V.P. Trushin.[vi], and a number of senior officials of the CC CPSU staff. The issue of the situation in Georgia was examined.


The work of the meeting was not recorded and its conclusions were not documented. One can judge the content of the decisions worked out only from the explanations of the participants of the meeting. At the meeting consent was actually given to granting the verbal requests of the leadership of the Republic to make Internal Troops and Soviet Army subunits available. A directive of the General Staff of the USSR Ministry of Defense and an order of the USSR MVD were issued on this basis to send the corresponding military subunits to Georgia.


It was recommended that the leadership of the Republic collectively discuss the situation which had arisen and find a way out of the current situation using political means.


A warning was made about the need to observe extreme caution and to use troops only in an exceptional situation. The leadership of the Republic was informed by telephone that, in view of the current situation, it should make specific decisions about the use of the troops being sent to Georgia jointly with the command of ZakVO. Thus it was not recommended at that moment that a state of emergency be introduced and a curfew be declared in the city of Tbilisi.


The Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, M. S. Gorbachev, returned to Moscow from a foreign trip on 7 April 1989 at 11:00 p.m. and was informed about the situation in Georgia. He then made a suggestion to send Cdes. Eh. A. Shevardnadze. and G.P. Razumovskiy to Georgia.


The next day a second meeting was held in the CC CPSU devoted to the situation in Georgia. It was led by Politburo member and CC Secretary Cde. Chebrikov, V. M. The participants were the same as on 7 April 1989 with the exception of Cde. Ligachev, Ye. K., who had gone on leave. Politburo member Cde. Eh. A. Shevardnadze and USSR Minister of Internal Affairs Cde. V.V. Bakatin were also present at the meeting. As [had occurred] the day before, the work of the meeting was not recorded and the decisions made were not documented. By this time an enciphered message of 8 April 1989 had been received signed by D.I. Patiashvili,[vii] saying that the situation in the city was stabilizing and was under control. Cdes. Eh. A. Shevardnadze and D.I. Patiashvili had an exchange of opinions by telephone. Referring to the stabilization of the situation on the night of 7-8 April, Cde. D.I. Patiashvili considered the arrival of Cdes. Eh. A. Shevardnadze and G.P. Razumovskiy to be unnecessary and the participants of the meeting agreed.


Thus the dispatch to Georgia of subunits of the Internal Troops, special militia subunits, and troops of the Soviet Army was done by agreement of the above meetings in the CC CPSU on 7 and 8 April. This was in contradiction to existing legislation according to which the right to make such decisions belonged not to Party, but to the appropriate government agencies. Such a decision-making procedure leads to virtual inaction of the constitutional agencies of Soviet power, as happened in this case.


At the Republic level the plan of measures to normalize the situation in the Republic, including measures to introduce a state of emergency and bring in troops from the Transcaucasian Military District, was first adopted by the Bureau of the CC GCP and then approved by a meeting of Party activists of the Republic held on 8 April 1989. At this meeting of activists an evaluation of the situation was given, a plan of measures to normalize the situation was approved, and a decision was made for all of the activists to go to the demonstration, take part in it, and try to convince the participants to stop the demonstration and normalize the situation. However, this most important decision was not carried out by the Party activists.


The issue of halting the unauthorized demonstration was repeatedly discussed by the Bureau of the CC GCP. The decision to halt the meeting was adopted by the Bureau of the CC GCP on 8 April. At a meeting of the Defense Council of the Republic held the same day, the issues associated with this were discussed, in spite of the fact that it had no authority to do this. The time to carry out the operation was determined later by a narrow circle of people (Cdes. D.I. Patiashvili,  B.V. Nikol’skiy, K.A. Kochetov[viii], and I.N. Rodionov.[ix] considering that toward morning the fewest number of people remained in the square, as a rule, no more than 200 (hunger strikers and their relatives).


The Commission notes that the decisions made at the meetings of the Bureau of the CC GCP and the Defense Council of the Republic were not documented properly or in a timely manner, which gave a number of participants at the meeting an opportunity to deny their participation in the adoption of the decision to halt the demonstration in front of Government House.


The supervision of the preparation and the conduct of the operation to halt the meeting and to develop a plan of operations was entrusted to the Commanding General of the ZakVO, General [-Colonel] I.N. Rodionov, as the one senior in rank and on the basis of the authorization given to him by a decision of the Bureau of the CC GCP, subordinating to him all the men and equipment made available to bring order to the city.


The Commission thinks that the senior officials of the CC CPSU staff present at this time in Tbilisi (V.N. Lobko, V.S. Buyanov, and A.Ye. Selivanov[x]) could have helped the Party leadership of the Republic both in a correct evaluation of the existing situation and in stabilizing and improving the situation by political means.


On the evening of 8 April 1989, an instruction of the Georgian SSR Council of Ministers was issued, signed by the Chairman of the GSSR Council of Ministers, Cde. Z.A. Chkheidze, by which the Georgian SSR MVD was directed to enlist servicemen of the Internal Troops and the Soviet Army in taking measures to remove the demonstrators from the area adjacent to Government House. This is the only document about halting the unauthorized demonstration in Tbilisi not adopted by a Party, but by a government body. However, the order contained in the instruction to involve servicemen in carrying out this task is illegal since the government of the Republic had not provided such authority.


At the same time the Commission notes that the Presidium of the Georgian SSR Supreme Soviet (Chairman Cde. O.Ye. Cherkeziya[xi]) removed itself from making the necessary constitutional decisions in the developing situation.


The marshalling of troops and the preparation for the operation to halt the unauthorized demonstration occurred in the following manner:


Right after the meeting in the CC CPSU on 7 April 1989, a verbal instruction followed from the USSR Minister of Defense, General of the Army D.T. Yazov, to Generals K.A. Kochetov and  I.N. Rodionov to go to Tbilisi, where they were to act in accordance with the situation as they saw fit. On the same day (7 April 1989 at 4:50 p.m.) the Chief of the General Staff, General of the Army M.A. Moiseyev[xii], issued a directive on behalf of the Minister of Defense to send an airborne regiment to the Tbilisi area to place the most important facilities under guard and organize monitoring of the main roads leading in and out of Tbilisi. At the same time three military units of the Tbilisi garrison were brought to full combat readiness.[xiii]


On order of Deputy USSR Minister of Internal Affairs I.F. Shilov[xiv] subunits of the Internal Troops and special militia subunits (OMON), totalling more than 2,000 men, were also sent to Tbilisi from various regions of the country.


After their arrival in Tbilisi on the evening of the same day, Generals K.A. Kochetov and I.N. Rodionov met with the First and Second Secretaries of the CC GCP, D.I. Patiashvili and B.V. Nikol’skiy. At this meeting the Party leaders of Georgia again insistently requested that a curfew be introduced, referring to the lack of a sufficient number of troops. Only then was the illegal decision made to make a show of military force.


On the morning of 8 April 1989, three squadrons of combat helicopters overflew the city at low altitude and about noon combat equipment with armed soldiers proceeded through the streets of Tbilisi along three routes and past the demonstrators.


This action played a provocative role. In reply, individual groups of demonstrators resorted to further violation of the law: they began to seize transport equipment and used it to close off both the exits from Rustaveli Avenue and the exits to the streets adjacent to the Avenue (29 buses, trolleys, and heavy duty vehicles were used in all; six of the vehicles had their tires deflated). At the same time people began to gather in the square. Toward evening a demonstration of women was held around the residence of D.I. Patiashvili, demanding that troops be withdrawn from Tbilisi.  No one talked to with them; subsequently the women (numbering about 700) went to the square and joined the demonstrators. Thus the show of military force directly resulted in a sharp increase in the numbers of demonstrators. In this complicated situation it would have been more advisable to hold off with a decision to forcibly stop the demonstration, but having lost the capability by that time to realistically evaluate and manage the processes which were occurring, the Party leadership of the Republic did not see any way out of the given situation other than to use force.


General I.N. Rodionov, charged the Chief of the Operations Directorate of the USSR MVD Internal Troops Staff, General Yu. T.Yefimov[xv], who had arrived in Tbilisi on 7 April 1989, with developing a specific plan of operations to force the demonstrators out of the square in front of the Government House.


The plan of operations and the schedule of troop operations were signed by General the Yu.T. Yefimov and Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Sh. V. Gorgodze, and then approved by General I.N. Rodionov.


An order with the assignment of missions to individual subunits was given verbally. No reconnoitering with subunit commanders took place.


The operation to stop the demonstration began on 9 April at 4:00 a.m. and ended tragically. The Commission notes that violations of both the procedure for making such a decision and its realization were committed while introducing the curfew in Tbilisi on the evening of 9 April on the basis of a resolution of the Presidium of the Georgian SSR Supreme Soviet.




According to the decision approved by the leader of the operation, General-Colonel I.N. Rodionov, by 3:30 a.m. on 9 April troops were concentrated on Lenin Square; they were charged with the mission of forcing the demonstrators from the square in front of the Government House along Rustaveli Avenue to Republic Square. They consisted of the 4th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Independent Special Purpose Motorized Rifle Division (4-y MSP OMSDON), Moscow City-650 men; a special purpose militia detachment (OMON), Perm’-120 men; OMON, Voronezh City-40 men; the Higher Militia School (VShM), Gor’kiy City-450 men; the 8th Motorized Rifle Regiment (8-y MSP), Tbilisi-650 men; the Georgian SSR MVD-250 men; and an airborne regiment (VDP)-440 men.[xvi]



The following took part in the operation: 2,550 men, 6 armored personnel carriers (BTR), 8 airborne combat vehicles (BMD), 4 fire trucks, and 2 ambulances.


Before the start of the operation General-Major Yu. T. Yefimov verbally assigned the following missions to the commanders of the subunits:


The 4th MSP is to move slowly along Rustaveli Avenue from Lenin Square to Republic Square to force the demonstrators to the line - the “Iveriya” Hotel [sic].


According to the written explanation by Yu.T. Yefimov, approved by an MVD Commission under the chairmanship of Deputy Minister V.P. Trushin, the mission assigned to the 8th MSP was described otherwise than it was written in the decision, namely:


The 8th MSP is to move at the start of the operation with two battalions to the square in front of Government House along Chitadze and Chichinadze Streets, where they are to cut off a group of hunger strikers from the main mass of demonstrators in the square.


VShM (Gor’kiy City)—moving behind the 4th MSP is to close the exits to Rustaveli Avenue from adjacent streets.


A similar mission was given the OMON units. The commander of the firefighting unit was assigned the mission of extinguishing any fires that broke out and with instructions to pay special attention to the armored vehicles accompanying the troops. The mission to disperse the demonstrators using water was mentioned in the decision but it was cancelled afterwards by Yu.T. Yefimov and Sh.V. Gorgodze.[xvii]


VDP (consisting of two battalions)-move in a line behind the 4th MSP with a mission to take the square in front of Government House, Rustaveli Avenue, and the streets adjacent to it under guard. Be ready in case of need to help the 4th MSP.


The Internal Troops were equipped and armed with the following to carry out the missions entrusted to them: helmets, bulletproof vests, rubber truncheons; 50% of the personnel had shields, the officers had their personal weapons with them (“PM” pistols) with two clips. A crew to use the “Cheremukha” special agent and directly subordinate to the acting commander of this regiment, Lt. Col. A.M. Baklanov, moved in the 4th MSP.


At 2:50 a.m. on 9 April 1989, the Chief of the Directorate of Internal Affairs of Tbilisi City, Col. R.L. Gventsadze, spoke to the demonstrators, calling on them to disperse before the troops used force. In his words, the demonstrators did not let him speak in front of a microphone and he was forced to use a portable megaphone. Forty-five minutes before the start of the operation, the Catholicos of Georgia, Iliya II, appealed to the demonstrators. The speech of the Catholicos was heard in deep silence; after his call to reason a 7-minute silence settled in and then a common prayer, “Otche nash”, followed. The demonstrators maintained order and calm and there were no visible signs of fear: many sang and danced. Then one of the leaders of the unofficial groups, I. Tsereteli,[xviii] spoke out with a call to not disperse, to not offer resistance, to maintain calm, but best of all to sit (“they don’t beat sitters!”), which many of them then did, mainly in the area of the stairs of Government  House. He concluded his appeal at 3:59 a.m. At 4:00 a.m. General-Colonel I.N. Rodionov, gave the order to begin the expulsion operation.


The Commission notes that the actual situation in the square by that time (the presence of 10,000 people), and the readiness with which the participants of the demonstration intended to continue it, required especially deliberate and cautious decisions in conducting the operation. But none of these circumstances were taken into consideration in an exchange of opinions by telephone between D.I. Patiashvili and I.N. Rodionov. These officials displayed flagrant irresponsibility in unquestioningly confirming the earlier adopted decision.


At 4:05 a.m. four BTRs [armed personnel carriers] appeared on Rustaveli Avenue in the area of the Government House. They crossed the entire width of the avenue, and people let them them do so without hindrance, withdrawing in part toward Government House and in part toward the Artist’s House and the Kashveti Church [khram, literally “temple” or “shrine”, but later referred to correctly as a church]. The armored vehicles were followed by extended lines of troops, which at 4:07 a.m. stopped at the line from the entrance to the Artist’s House to the right lawn in front of Government House. Thus the main mass of demonstrators were left at the stairs of Government House.


Lt. Col A.M. Baklanov suggested to the demonstrators by megaphone that they vacate Rustaveli Avenue and warned them that force would be used if they refused. It should be noted that many did not hear these warnings due to the noise in the square.


When the troops arrived at their forming-up positions, the demonstrators started to leave the square; however, they were not given sufficient time to disperse. Thus it was also not taken into consideration that almost all the exits from the square were closed off by transport vehicles, that is, the evacuation routes were sharply restricted. Three minutes later the operation to force people from the square continued.


The troop lines of the 4th MSP began to hem in the demonstrators both toward Government House and along Rustaveli Avenue. Thus the majority of the demonstrators located to the left of Government House continued to remain in place, involuntarily preventing the free exit of those people hemmed in from the front. The situation was seriously aggravated by the fact that at this time the 1st Battalion of the 8th MSP, following the verbal order of General-Major Yu.T. Yefimov, began to move to the square from Chichinadze Street. As a result of the movement of the line of servicemen on one side and the increasing density of the mass of people provoking resistance from the demonstrators on the other, a crush began in the area of the right lawn. It is here that most of the dead and victims [sic] of the civilian population were found. Among those who received injuries were also many militia workers and servicemen.


At this stage, some of the demonstrators actually ended up surrounded, that is, squeezed between servicemen and demonstrators who had been unable to leave. A frantic confrontation occurred. The use of rubber truncheons and toxic substances with the grossest violation of instructions and the use of small entrenching tools in dispersing the demonstrators actually turned into savage treatment of Soviet people.


Having studied all the documentary materials available to it, the Commission has come to the firm conclusion that there are no convincing arguments justifying the advisability of bringing a company of a Soviet Army airborne regiment into an operation to force people from the square.


According to the explanation of General Yu.T. Yefimov, when the line of troops was moving forward along Rustaveli Avenue, because of a widening of the avenue in the area of Government House the left flank allegedly was exposed which created, in Yu.T. Yefimov’s words, a real threat not only of a penetration into the rear of the servicemen by the demonstrators, but their encirclement.


To close this gap, at General Yu.T. Yefimov’s request, General I.N. Rodionov allocated a company of paratroopers and thereby allowed Soviet Army servicemen to get involved in performing functions uncharacteristic for them, grossly violating the General Staff directive about entrusting army subunits only with missions to guard especially selected facilities. In the opinion of the Commission there was no real threat of a disruption of the operation to expel the demonstrators in this situation, hence there was no need to bring in a company of paratroopers.


By 4:21 a.m. the clearing of the square in front of the Government House had been concluded. The 1st Battalion of the 8th MSP joined up with the 4th MSP, which continued the expulsion of the demonstrators.


At this stage of the operation, the Internal Troops, overcoming the active resistance of the demonstrators squeezed along Rustaveli Avenue, used the “Cheremukha” special agent. According to the reports of the leadership of the Internal Troops, the special agent was used by: the first line-Dzhordzhiashvili Street to L. Ukrainka Street; the second line: Lunacharskiy Street to Chavchadze Street; the third line-in front of the Communications Building.


Because of increased resistance on their approach to Republic Square (the exit was blocked by trolleys and buses), Lt. Col. A.M. Baklanov independently gave an order to use the non-standard product K-51 containing a toxic agent, CS. Four grenades were used, one of which did not work.


The unauthorized decision by Lt. Col. A.M. Baklanov to use product K-51, who later concealed the fact of the use of this product, ought to be specially noted.

The accuracy of the description of the lines of use of toxic agents provokes doubt. According to copious testimony of the victims, they were poisoned at earlier approaches (right at Government House and the Kashveti Church).


An incident of a rifle wound to the head of one of the demonstrators took place at the completion of the expulsion operation.


The Commission notes that the special agent was used by the 4th MSP in violation of a current regulation (see Attachment No. 1 to USSR MVD Order No. 0507 1970*).  There are residences from the first line of the use of the special agent to the end of Rustaveli Avenue (beginning with the “Tbilisi” Hotel). In Point 23 of Section III of the regulation it mentions warning the civilian population before using a special agent and even evacuating them. However, General Yu.T. Yefimov, ignoring this requirement, gave the order to use “Cheremukha” in a residential area. The same occurred at the next lines. There is information that individual servicemen entered living quarters, where they used the “Cheremukha” special agent.


* - The Attachment is not being published.


The Commission notes with special alarm the premeditated attempts by the Internal Troops leadership to hide the fact itself of the use of toxic agents.


The use of the “Cheremukha” special agent was officially admitted on 13 April, but under pressure of incontrovertible evidence.


Next there was a gradual admission of the use of various modifications of “Cheremukha” and CS gas (product K-51).


For a long time representatives of the Soviet Army also denied the fact of the use of small entrenching tools.


It is appropriate to mention that information about the demonstrators and their intentions was reported by commanders and political workers in distorted form when instructing the servicemen who had been enlisted in the operation.


Thus, a combined analysis of the actual progress of the operation to expel the demonstrators permits us to reliably state that only as a result of the grossest violations of current law, regulations, and instructions, bordering on criminal negligence, on the one hand, and the illegal actions of the organizers and some of the demonstrators, on the other, did it end tragically. The business of the investigation is to look into the degree of culpability both of the conduct of the leaders who approved it and the direct agents [ispolniteli] as well as those demonstrators who committed illegal acts.




The Commission has familiarized itself with the initial medical documentation (the medical history, the outpatient records, the forensic medical examination reports, etc.) of various institutions and organizations of the USSR Ministry of Health, a report of a USSR Ministry of Defense commission, the findings of the Medical Subcommission of the Georgian SSR Supreme Soviet, the findings of the USSR Ministry of Health Institute of Forensic Medicine, the report of the International Red Cross medical mission to the Georgian SSR, and a number of other documents regarding the medical consequences of the events which took place in Tbilisi on 9 April of this year.


Members of the Commission conducted additional scientific research and consultations with specialists enlisted for this purpose.


An analysis of available information permits a determination of the scale and nature of the medical casualties associated with the operation to expel the demonstrators.


The total number of demonstrators in the confined area at Government House and the television studio building has not been established, but according to estimates it was 8-10,000. The number of women apparently was close to 50%. It is also known that among those who took part in the demonstrations were many adolescents and elderly people. The weather was described as moderately warm (+9oC), high humidity (90%), and the wind was calm.


The location of the events was well lit by street lights. The density of the demonstrators grew from the periphery of the square by degrees to Government House where the hunger strikers (more than 100 people) and the leaders of the demonstration were located.


A medical aid station of the city health department had been operating in the Artist’s House as of 4 April.


The “expulsion” operation was carried out at night (4:00 a.m.-5:00 a.m. local time). This circumstance needs to be specially noted inasmuch as at nighttime a person’s reactions and immunity to harmful factors is sharply reduced in accordance with the nature of biological rhythms.


It has been established that rubber truncheons, “special agents”—toxic irritants—small entrenching tools, and in one case (according to a finding of the forensic medical commission) firearms were used against the demonstrators by the “expulsion forces”. For their part, the demonstrators used makeshift objects against the “expulsion forces” as resistance grew.


According to data from the medical aid station personnel, the arrival of the first wounded demonstrators-women, adolescents, and men-was noted five minutes after the start of contact with the “expulsion forces”. The influx of the injured in the next 5 minutes became massive. The medical aid station spaces were soon completely filled. Therefore many people were given medical aid in the street. In view of this, additional first aid teams and ambulances were called in.


Testimony has been recorded of cases in which servicemen impeded medical workers rendering aid to the victims. The documents of the first aid vehicle depot of Tbilisi city note six cases of attacks on ambulances with damage to them.


Many participants in the event—civilians, militia workers, and civilians—received injuries of different kinds and severity. The tragic result was that 16 demonstrators died at the site of the incident and three died soon after in a hospital. There were no cases of deaths among servicemen and militia workers.


Some difficulty is being encountered [in trying to make] exact determination of the number of victims, both of demonstrators as well as of servicemen and militia workers. Nevertheless the Commission has sufficient material to characterize the medical consequences of the events of 9 April as a whole.


According to information of the Georgian SSR Ministry of Health, during the expulsion operation and for several hours afterwards, 251 people visited hospitals in Tbilisi, of which 183 were hospitalized. In succeeding days, an undulating growth in the number of those who turned for medical aid (13, 21, 27 April, and 5 May) occurred. During the period from 9 April through 9 May, the total number of those who came to medical institutions was from three to four thousand. About 500 in all were hospitalized, and at the present time about 1000 people are on the dispensary registry and undergoing treatment.


According to information of the Georgian MVD, in the course of the events 37 militia workers of Tbilisi City were injured; 22 of them were injured from the actions of servicemen. According to information of the USSR MVD, the number of servicemen who were injured was 69, but the report of the USSR MOD commission produced data that a total 152 servicemen were injured (132 Internal Troops, 22 Soviet Army), of which 26 were hospitalized (22 Internal Troops, 4 Soviet Army). According to a report of the USSR Procuracy, 189 servicemen were injured in these events.


The Commission established that of the 20 Soviet Army servicemen mentioned in the Ministry of Defense report in fact only three received injuries in the course of the events under examination.


The damage to the health of those who took part in the events of 9 April was expressed both in the form of injuries, poisoning by toxic substances, or a combination of both, and in various psychological and emotional disorders of the “mass catastrophe syndrome.”


The demonstrators suffered 290 casualties: contusions-40%, closed head injuries-30%, wounds-20%, and various fractures-10%.


A selective analysis of the medical histories and a poll of a part of victims permits us to establish that the majority of injuries (including head injuries) were inflicted by the rubber truncheons; in 21 cases the injuries were associated with the use of a small entrenching tool. It was often noted that people with serious injuries also had been poisoned by toxic substances (combined injuries).


An analysis of the course of the illnesses of people who turned for medical aid due to poisoning presents great difficulties.


The Commission especially notes the fact of concealment of the use of toxic substances on 9 April and then incomplete information about this issue (the use of CN-on 13 April, the use of CS-on 3 May), and the belated and insufficiently systematized testing for the presence of toxic substances at the site impeded the diagnosis and treatment of those affected and created an extremely unfavorable and tense social situation.


This circumstance, as well as the panic rumors, the concealment of the use of toxic substances, the uncertainty in the diagnosis, and also the published calls to go for medical help-all this and several other circumstances promoted the undulating nature of the number of treatments for medical aid during the succeeding month.


Cases of the “secondary effects of poisoning” occupy a special place in a number of these phenomena, for example the outbreak of doctor’s visits [obrashcheniya] on 28 April after flowers were moved from Government House to the church. The circumstances connected with this event have not been sufficiently identified up to now.


The Commission thinks that even in such cases, when based on complaints of a worsening of health, there were indications only from the victims themselves of contact with toxic substances, these cases could have been classed on a sufficient basis as a display of a “syndrome of a reaction to a mass catastrophe.”


In all, about 300 victims of toxic substances were recorded (including 19 servicemen and 9 militia workers). The main mass of them involve people who had been poisoned on 9 April in the square in front of Government House and in several other places along Rustaveli Avenue. In the clinical severity of injury they (according to the evidence of the USSR Ministry of Health commission) were distributed in the following manner: serious-2%, medium severity-7%, slight-91%.


Data about the place, type of toxic substances used, and the nature of the injury suffered was contradictory. However, thanks to the results of detailed research testing of the air, soil, vegetation, clothing, and tissue of the corpses, and also a survey of the victims and eyewitnesses, the Commission was able to clear up these questions to a considerable degree. According to the testimony of victims on the special dispensary registry, [the following] were poisoned by chemical substances: immediately in front of Government House-49%; in the area of Rustaveli Avenue-Chitadze Street-15%; near the First Middle School-9%; at the “Rustaveli” movie theater-3%; and in the area of the Kashveti church-24%. A comparatively small part of the demonstrators were poisoned on Rustaveli Avenue adjacent to Republic Square and also on several neighboring streets.


From this information it ensues that the main places where toxic substances were employed were the square in front of Government House and in the area of the Kashveti church, which does not coincide with areas of toxic substance use referred to by the leaders of the operation.


As follows from the report of the USSR Ministry of Defense commission, three weeks after the events on Rustaveli Avenue in the sector from Pioneers House to the Communications Building the presence of CN and CS was observed in the soil and in two tests even in the atmosphere (in an underpass), which can indirectly confirm the use of a considerable quantity of toxic substances.


The use of chloroacetophenone (KhAF, CN) is indisputably admitted in the form of “Cheremukha” products and the substance CS in K-51 grenades (a toxic irritant substance).


In four tests of the soil taken in the area of Rustaveli Avenue around Government House and the Kashveti church, the research of the Tbilisi State University Chromato-Mass Spectrometry Center also found chloropicrin (a toxic asphyxiant). No explanation has yet been found for its appearance in these tests.


The experience of the use of so-called “police toxic substances” both in our country and abroad shows that the use of these substances within established rules does not lead to serious consequences. Cases of serious poisoning are extremely rare, and fatal outcomes are unique. The picture of the intoxication of the demonstrators in Tbilisi differs remarkably from the usual cases of the use of such types of toxic substances.


It is characterized by its massive nature, a considerable number of poisonings of medium and great severity, and with specific features of a clinical manifestation in the form of signs of “neurotropic” activity.


The Commission thinks that it could have appeared as a result of a combination of a number of circumstances and factors:


1. The circumstances of the weather situation-high humidity and calm wind, which impeded the dispersal of the gas cloud and created a high concentration.


2. The use of toxic substances in a dense mass of people deprived of the opportunity to leave the afflicted location.


3. The use, from the testimony of eyewitnesses and victims, of toxic substances in the form of an aerosol at a distance close enough to perhaps have created a critical concentration of toxic substances.


4. The combination of toxins with physical injuries and psychological stress, which aggravated the clinical finding of injury (a “neurotropic effect”).


5. The increase of the degree of toxic activity of toxic substances on an organism at nighttime in connection with the reduction of the organism’s resistance.


It ought to be noted that the factual data and the ideas presented are not sufficient to completely exclude the probability of that some of the victims were poisoned by some other unidentified toxic substance.


The question of identifying the direct causes of the deaths of the 19 demonstrators occupied a special place in the Commission’s work.


The materials and findings of various groups of experts received by the Commission gave an unambiguous explanation of the factors which led to the deaths of the victims.


In this regard the Commission brought in a group of scientists, and specialists in the field of pathological anatomy and forensic medicine who studied all the available material and came to the conclusion the direct cause of death of all those who died, with the exception of one case of serious skull and brain injury, was suffocation (asphyxia). In the opinion of specialists in the field of asphyxia two simultaneously operating factors played a role-both the compression of the body and the inhalation of chemical substances, which the corresponding macroscopic and microscopic data point to. The combination of the inhalation of chemical substances and the compression of the body mutually intensified their negative effect and served, in the opinion of the specialists, as the reason for the deaths of the victims. In two cases there were additional circumstances in the form of concomitant illnesses.


Nevertheless, it is not possible in each specific case to precisely determine from the available materials the predominance of one or the other factor in the development of asphyxia. The findings of the specialists have been sent to the USSR Procuracy.




The tragedy which occurred on 9 April 1989 in Tbilisi, the deaths of innocent people, caused deep pain in the hearts and consciousness of the Soviet people.


The members of the Commission of the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies share these feelings and express sincere condolences to the families, relatives, and friends of the victims and also to all who suffered on that bitter April morning.


The events of 9 April inflicted a significant blow to perestroika and shook our entire society. The show of force, the damage to the health, and the deprivation of people’s sacred gift—life—are incompatible with common human moral principles and values.


The Commission turns to all citizens of the country with an appeal-the most acute problems which life puts before us, conflicts, and misunderstandings can only be resolved by political methods, dialogue, and persuasion.


The Commission calls upon all Soviet people not to allow the sad events of 9 April in Tbilisi to be used to incite mistrust and hostile attitudes toward the Soviet Army.


The Commission calls upon the Congress of People’s Deputies and the USSR Supreme Soviet to draw up and adopt laws strictly regulating the use of force within the country as a top priority.

On the basis of the available materials, the Commission of the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies comes to the following conclusions:


1. The reasons for the tragic events of 9 April 1989 in Tbilisi were that under the conditions of democratization of the entire public and political life of our society, the leadership of the Republic did not manage to direct the acute and dynamically developing processes of perestroika in Georgia, properly evaluate the situation in the Republic, and make adequate political decisions.  


The former Secretaries of the CC GCP  D.I. Patiashvili and B.V. Nikol’skiy bear responsibility for the political and other consequences of the events of 9 April 1989 in Tbilisi.


2. The organizers of the unauthorized demonstration at Government House (I. Tsereteli, Z. Gamsakhurdia[xix], G. Chanturiya[xx], and other leaders of unofficial organizations) should bear criminal, political, moral, and other responsibility for their actions. In the course of their actions they committed various breaches of the peace, issued appeals to disobey legal demands of the authorities, and when a real threat of the use of armed force was created, did not take measures to stop it [the demonstration] and thus did not try to prevent the tragic outcome of the events.


3. The decision to sent sub-units of the Internal Troops, the Soviet Army, and special sub-units of the militia were formalized by a directive of the USSR Ministry of Defense General Staff (Cde. M.A. Moiseyev) and by an order of the USSR Minister of Internal Affairs (Cde. I.F. Shilov) after a meeting in the CC CPSU on 7 April 1989 (chaired by Cde. Ye. K. Ligachev). Inasmuch as the subject was not simply about troop redeployment but was actually about carrying out operations, introducing individual elements of a state of emergency in the city of Tbilisi, establishing control of entrances to and exits from the city, and taking the most important public and government buildings and other facilities under guard, it ought to be recognized that these decisions were made in gross violation of the law.


4. The instruction of the Georgian Council of Ministers (Cde. Z.A. Chkheidze) of 8 April 1989 to clear the square in front of Government House of demonstrators and to carry out other measures to preserve public order involving the participation of Internal Troops and subunits of the Soviet Army was illegal since existing legislation does not provide the government of the Republic with such authority.


5. Serious violations were committed during the preparation and execution of the operation to clear the square, manifested in the fact that the operations plan was not corrected in accordance with the actual situation. It was insufficiently studied by the commanders of the sub-units, reconnoitering was not done, and the men and equipment of the Tbilisi city government Directorate of Internal Affairs were not brought into the operation in due measure. In spite of the USSR Minister of Defense’s order, paratroop sub-units were used not to guard facilities but to expel demonstrators. Gross violations of public order were committed by the use of special agents; in particular, non-standard special agents (product K-51) were used, and rubber truncheons and small entrenching tools were used illegally.


Generals K.A. Kochetov, I.N. Rodionov and Yu. T. Yefimov bear personal responsibility for these violations and oversights which led to the tragic consequences.


The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Sh.V. Gorgodze, who removed himself from execution of his direct responsibilities, also bears responsibility in due measure.


6. In the opinion of the Commission, the officials, who issued the order to use special agents and [heavy] equipment on the demonstrators on 9 April in Tbilisi, should be called to official and other forms of account. According to current regulations these “are used in exceptional situations to stop mass unrest accompanied by pogroms, brutality, destruction, arson, and to repel mass attacks on official and administrative buildings, the premises of public organizations and other important facilities, and also in cases when the violent actions of violators of public order threaten the lives and health of citizens, the members of Internal Forces units, and the civilian militia.” The Commission has established that on 9 April 1989 in Tbilisi, no grounds to take such measures existed.


7. During the operation to halt the demonstration by clearing the square in front of Government House and Rustaveli Avenue, bodily injuries of varying degrees of severity (including injuries from the use of special agents—tear gases) were inflicted on the demonstrators, servicemen of the Internal Troops and the Soviet Army, and militia workers. Nineteen demonstrators died (mainly women). The Commission perceives the need for criminal liability of the specific individuals guilty of the deaths of people and the infliction of serious bodily injuries.


8. It is also necessary to resolve the issue of the senior officials who:


- violated Point 59 of the Internal Troops Combat Duty Regulations, which prohibits the use by the “Cheremukha” special agent against women, adolescents, children, and in other specifically mentioned instances;


- violated current regulations according to which it is categorically prohibited to use a rubber truncheon against women, children, the aged, invalids with obvious signs of disability, and also to hit people in the face and head;


- used articles with CS tear gas, which is not approved for use in the Internal Troops, at the concluding stage of the operation to expel the demonstrators.


9. The Commission raises the question of the responsibility of those people who permitted the violation of the guaranteed rights and legal interests of citizens when introducing and implementing the curfew in the city of Tbilisi.


10. Political, moral, and in necessary cases, legal responsibility should be borne by any official of both Party and government bodies who permits the concealment of the fact of use of special agents of the “Cheremukha” and article K-51 types containing CS gas.


11. The Commission notes that in the periodical press many items have appeared based on rumors, conjecture, false reports, and a distorted picture of the real course of events. Thus, the Commission has not found evidence of the existence or operation in the square of specially formed groups of guerilla extremists, or the allegation that the first wounded and killed supposedly appeared even before the troops came in contact with the demonstrators.


The widely spread information about the multitudes of people who reportedly were missing after 9 April and the use by demonstrators of specially prepared silent [kholodnoye] weapons and firearms has also not been confirmed.


The Commission notes the lack of facts behind the statement by General I.N. Rodionov at the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies that “a real threat of the seizure of vitally important facilities of the Republic had been created” by 9 April. Neither the reports of KGB organizations, nor the official reports of the Republic MVD, nor any other document contain any specific facts of this kind.


The Commission notes a positive aspect in settling the conflicts between the civilians and military during the curfew in effect in Tbilisi was the organized actions of the veterans of the war in Afghanistan, which facilitated the normalization of the situation. The Commission also notes that, while performing their official duties in difficult extraordinary conditions, many militia workers not only helped medical personnel in the evacuation of the victims but they gave medical aid themselves to the injured civilians and hunger strikers.


In conclusion the Commission submits the following suggestions for the consideration of competent government bodies:


1. Party organizations which accordingly consented or made decisions at the federal or Republic level about sending troops and conducting this operation acted according to a long-held procedure and in the face of the decisions of the XIX Party Conference about the need to delimit the functions of Party and government institutions. In a state committed to the rule of law, the decisions of Party organizations at any level can have obligatory significance for institutions of state power and administration, including the Army, only after they are embodied in a legal act of a competent state institution, a law or a government decree.


In this regard an urgent need has occurred for an acceleration of the practical division of functions of Party and government institutions by making the necessary changes in existing legislation and corresponding Party documents.


2. The events of 9 April in Tbilisi pointed out obvious flaws in existing legislation and the practice of making the most important state decisions about introducing a special situation [osoboye polozheniye] or state of emergency using subunits of the Soviet Army to maintain and restore public order inside the country, in particular the possibility of using the armed forces to resolve internal conflicts directly on the basis of decisions adopted by Party, not government organizations.


A clear and exhaustive legislative regulation of the substance and the procedure for introducing martial law (in the case of the armed conflicts) a special situation (in the case of internal unrest) or a state of emergency (in the case of disasters) is required, excluding the situation which developed in Tbilisi when the introduction of a curfew assigned a subunit of the Soviet Army the mission of maintaining public order, which should only be handled by MVD personnel.


3. It seems advisable to review the question of increasing the strength of the Internal Troops and manning them on a mainly professional basis. It is necessary to determine legislatively the procedure and mechanism for using federal and Republic subunits of the Internal Troops.


4. It is necessary to prohibit legislatively the use of the Soviet Army to put down mass unrest, stipulating the possibility of using Army subunits for these purposes only in exceptional cases directly stipulated by law—by a decision in each individual case by the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet with a subsequent report to the USSR Supreme Soviet.


5. The rights and responsibilities of militia and Internal Troops personnel need to be spelled out legislatively as to when they perform their responsibilities which are associated with halting illegal activities and mass disorder.


6. The Commission directs attention to the need to strengthen the investigatory group on this case by bringing in workers from the Georgian SSR Procuracy and taking additional measures for the quickest possible conclusion of the preliminary investigation of the case which was brought in connection with the events of 9 April 1989 in Tbilisi.


7. The powers of parliamentary commissions created by the Congress of People’s Deputies and the USSR Supreme Soviet need to be spelled out legislatively, in particular the need to provide for the responsibility of officials for giving Commissions knowingly false testimony.


The Commission expresses gratitude to the governmental and public organizations and also to all citizens and officials who gave assistance in its work and helped established the truth.


Chairman of the Commission: A. Sobchak


Deputy Chairmen of the Commission:


Kh. Yu. Aasmyaeh, A. I. Golyakov, V. P. Tomkus


Executive Secretary of the Commission S. B. Stankevich


Members of the Commission:


S. A. Andronati, N. P. Bekhtereva, G. A. Borovik, B. L. Vasil’yev, O. G. Gazenko, V. L. Govorov, D. S. Likhachev,

V. P. Lukin, V. A. Martirosyan, V. M. Miroshnik, N. A. Nazarbayev, K. V. Nechayev, R. K. Odzhiyev, R. Z. Sagdeyev,

V. F. Tolpezhnikov, V. I. Fedotova, E. N. Shengelaya, P. V. Pet’ko, A. M. Yakovlev


[i] V. V. Bakatin, as of 1988 USSR Minister of Internal Affairs.

[ii] Reference to the mass demonstrations and strikes in Tbilisi in the autumn of 1988.

[iii] This is about the demonstrations for Abkhazian self-determination, which became widespread in the spring of 1989.

[iv] See April 7, 1989 telegram from First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, Dzhumbar I. Patiashvili, to the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

[v] B. V. Nikol’skiy, Second Secretary of the CC GCP.

[vi] V. P. Trushin, First Deputy USSR Minister of Internal Affairs, General-Colonel of Internal Service.

[vii] See April 8, 1989 telegram from First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, Dzhumbar I. Patiashvili, to the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

[viii] K. A. Kochetov, First Deputy USSR Minister of Defense, General of the Army.

[ix] I. N Rodionov,. Commanding General of the Transcaucasian Military District, General-Colonel.

[x] V. N. Lobko, Inspector of the CC CPSU Party Policy and Personnel Work Department; V. S. Buyanov, Senior Organizer of the CC CPSU Ideology Department; A. Ye. Selivanov, Senior Organizer of the CC CPSU Party Policy and Personnel Work Department.

[xi] O. Ye. Cherkeziya, Chairman of the Presidium of the Georgian SSR Supreme Soviet.

[xii] M. A. Moiseyev, Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces since December 1988, [General of the Army].

[xiii]Editor’s note: The Chief of the General Staff is ex-officio a First Deputy Minister of Defense and, as such, has the legal authority to issue orders in the Minister’s name.

[xiv] I. F. Shilov, Deputy USSR Minister of Internal Affairs, General-Lieutenant of Militia.

[xv] Yu. T. Yefimov, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Internal Troops; Chief of the Directorate of Combat Service of the USSR MVD Main Directorate of Internal Troops, General-Major.

[xvi]Translator’s note: Although not noted here, the parent “Moscow” division was the elite USSR MVD Internal Troops Dzerzhinskiy division actually headquartered in nearby Reutovo designated to quell civil unrest; it was used in October 1993 during the “White House”-led “coup”.

[xvii] Sh. V. Gorgodze, Georgian SSR Minister of Internal Affairs, General-Lieutenant of Internal Service.

[xviii] I. S. Tsereteli, one of the leaders of the movement of unofficial organizations in Georgia, chairman of the National Independence Party of Georgia.

[xix] Z. K. Gamsakhurdia, son of the Georgian writer K. S. Gamsakhurdia. He has participated in the dissident movement since the end of the 1950s and had been subjected to repression. In 1989 he the most prominent leader of the opposition movement in Georgia.

[xx] G. O. Chanturiya, one of the leaders of the opposition movement in Georgia; chairman of the National Democratic Party of Georgia.

Report of a commission headed by A.A. Sobchak on the April 9 events in Tbilisi that resulted in the deaths of 19 demonstrators.


Document Information


TsKhSD, F. 89 (Collection of documents, Xerox copy). Published in Istoricheskij Arkhiv 3 (1993), pp. 102-120. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg


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