Georgia’s youth legion pays tribute to national hero Antsukhelidze by climbing peak named after him

The General Mazniashvili Youth Legion on Thursday commemorated the 38th anniversary of the birth of the late national hero Giorgi Antsukhelidze. Photo: the  Youth Legion named after General Mazniashvili, 18 Aug 2022 - 12:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The mountaineering section of the General Mazniashvili Youth Legion, a public organisation offering basic military and camping courses to young people in Georgia, on Thursday paid its tribute to national hero Giorrgi Antsukhelidze by climbing the peak named after the late servicemember in the country’s north-east.

Commemorating the 38th anniversary of the birth of the late 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 central Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region, the group summited the 3276-metre peak in Tusheti region.  

This symbolic move will be made traditional and held every year. Glory to all fallen servicemembers”, the organisation - named the Georgian military leader of the 1918-1921 First Democratic Republic of Georgia - said on social media.

In his comments on Thursday, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said “heroes like Antsukhelidze create the great history of Georgia, strengthen its independence and statehood”. 

The courage of the 23-year-old sergeant, his fortitude in the face of the enemy, and his dedication to the motherland are exemplary for each of us and future generations. I bow before his bright memory", Garibashvili said. 

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 the 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.

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.