Georgia marks anniversary of death of national hero Antsukhelidze in Russia-Georgia war

This month will also mark the 38th birthday of Antsukhelidze., 09 Aug 2022 - 12:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian public on Monday marked fourteen years since the death of national hero Giorgi Antsukhelidze, a servicemember captured in the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 before being tortured and killed by Russian forces and troops of the de facto authorities of the occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region. 

Conscripted into the Georgian Armed Forces in 2001, the 24-year-old Junior Sergeant entered the 2008 conflict as an assistant gunner in the 41st Battalion of the 4th Infantry Brigade. 

On the second day of hostilities he was captured by Russian forces and Tskhinvali troops during the battle in the central Georgian region, before being beaten to death.

Footage of his torture, recorded on a phone of one of his captors, was shared on the Internet in January 2009, months after the conflict had ended, and showed Antsukhelidze being interrogated and then tortured, after refusing to comply to humiliating orders.

The Georgian Defence Ministry shared the video in memory of Giorgi Antsukhelidze. 

Antsukhelidze was considered missing until November 2008, when his identification was confirmed by genetic examination of bodies of soldiers transferred to the Georgian side. He was buried at the Mukhatgverdi Fraternal Cemetery near Tbilisi. 

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

The war between Russia and Georgia took the lives of 169 servicemembers and professionals of the Ministry of Defence, along with 19 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and 224 civilians. 

Around 30,000 citizens of Georgia were forced to abandon their homes in the now-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region.