Georgia commemorates Russia-Georgia war hero Giorgi Antsukhelidze

A woman places flowers on the grave of war hero Giorgi Antsukhelidze. Photo by Ministry of Defence of Georgia., 18 Aug 2016 - 17:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

Today is the birthday of Georgia’s national hero Giorgi Antsukhelidze, who heroically sacrificed his life for his country in the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. He would have turned 32 today.

Antsukhelidze was one of the hundreds of men who lost their lives in the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 but in the days after the clash he became a household name when videos surfaced showing him being tortured.

This afternoon Georgia’s Defence Minister Levan Izoria, head of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze, and other officials from the Ministry visited the Kojori Sergeant Training Centre, which was named after Antsukhelidze, to pay respects to the fallen hero.

Today is the birthday of a hero, a Sergeant who wrote part of Georgia’s history. He, with his bravery, love to his home country and devoutness, even excited the enemy. He was 24 when he gave the most precious gift, his life, to the motherland,” Izoria said. 

Georgia's Minister of Defence Levan Izoria speaks at today's ceremony honouring the fallen hero. Photo by the Ministry of Defence. 

The Minister believed Antsukhelidze was "a bright example” for military servants and the entire country for how they should love and respect their homeland.

In 2013 Antsukhelidze was posthumously awarded the Order of National Hero by the Georgian Government for his services to his homeland.

Shortly after the five-day war videos of Antsukhelidze being tortured were leaked on the internet.

The two videos, which were widely circulated online, showed Antsukhelidze being interrogated and tortured by South Ossetian and Russian militants.

The footage showed militants interrogating Antsukhelidze, forcing him to kneel and ordering him to kiss the ground. The captured soldier was then repeatedly beaten after he replied to each question: "I have no idea". One of the offenders was then heard shouting in Ossetian: "Look, what a tough guy.”

The Russia-Georgia war lasted five days and following the armed conflict 228 Georgian civilians, 170 soldiers and 14 police officers had lost their lives.

The war displaced 192,000 people in Georgia. Many were able to return to their homes after the war but as of May 2014, more than 20,200 people remain displaced.