The New York Times reports:
A parliamentary hearing on the origins of the war between Georgia and Russia in August ended in a furor on Tuesday after a former Georgian diplomat testified that Georgian authorities were responsible for starting the conflict.
Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Tbilisi’s former ambassador to Moscow, testified for three hours before he was shouted down by members of Parliament.
A former confidant of President Mikheil Saakashvili, Mr. Kitsmarishvili said Georgian officials told him in April that they planned to start a war in Abkhazia, one of two breakaway regions at issue in the war, and had received a green light from the United States government to do so. He said the Georgian government later decided to start the war in South Ossetia, the other region, and continue into Abkhazia.
He would not name the officials who he said had told him about planned actions in Abkhazia, saying that identifying them would endanger their lives.
American officials have consistently said that they had warned Mr. Saakashvili against taking action in the two enclaves, where Russian peacekeepers were stationed.
Mr. Kitsmarishvili’s testimony in front of a parliamentary commission, shown live on Georgian television, met with forceful and immediate denials. One commission member, Givi Targamadze, threw a pen and then lunged toward Mr. Kitsmarishvili, but was restrained by his colleagues.
The chairman of the commission, Paata Davitaia, said he would initiate a criminal case against Mr. Kitsmarishvili for “professional negligence.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria, who appeared on short notice to comment on Mr. Kitsmarishvili’s testimony, called the allegations “irresponsible and shameless fabrication,” and said they were “either the result of a lack of information or the personal resentment of a man who has lost his job and wants to get involved in politics.” Mr. Kitsmarishvili was fired in September by the president.
Mr. Kitsmarishvili walked out amid the furor on Tuesday. “They don’t want to listen to the truth,” he told reporters.
Of course, none of this should surprise dispassionate observers. I wonder what the various stenographers and their enablers will say.