Disinformation: On the USSR General Staff Map, the David-Gareja Monastery Complex is Located Fully Within Georgian Territory

Verdict: FAKE NEWS

A Facebook user, priest Giorgi Tevdorashvili, posted a publication where he claims that the Davit-Gareja Monastery Complex is located fully within our territory on the USSR General Staff map.

Priest Giorgi Tevdorashvili

David Gareja. USSR General Staff map designed in 1958. Clearance level: Confidential. Map scale 1:25,000 (250 metres in one centimetre). 1942 geographic coordinate system. Baltic system of heights. This is the most accurate map ever published in the Soviet Union whilst the authorities made deliberate distortions to mislead foreign intelligence through these mass produced maps.

The copied map includes the Davit Gareja Monastery Complex fully within the Georgian borders… On this section of the map, the right side of the border is Georgia (the border is displayed as a black dashed line!...)

Border Georgia Gareja Azerbaijan

The Davit Gareja Monastery Complex comprises 16 monasteries. Of them, 13 are clearly located within Georgian territory and all maps confirm this. There is an ongoing dispute in regard to the Chichkhituri and Udabno section and negotiations are in progress on where to draw the border whilst Bertubani is not located within Georgian boundaries based on any map, including the one brought by Davit Khidasheli (see the map). This is also confirmed by the letter of Georgian Academy of Science which says that territories were transferred to Soviet Azerbaijan as a result of the Soviet government’s decision.

The map, posted by the Georgian priest, shows clearly that the Udabno section and the Chichkhituri tower are located at the border and are disputed territories. The highlighted part in the map is only the central part (David’s Lavra) of the Davit Gareja Monastery Complex. This part is not disputed territory on any map. There are questions in regard to the Chichkhituri and Udabno monasteries whilst Bertubani is deep inside Azerbaijani territory.

Bertubani’s location is not at all discernible at the map. It is not disputed that the Davit Gareja Monastery Complex is part of Georgia’s historical and cultural heritage. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, only two-thirds of the borders have been agreed between the parties. That is why Georgia was engaged in negotiations with its strategic partner Azerbaijan even under the previous government.

On 7 October 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia detained Iveri Melashvili, a Georgian MFA employee, and Natalya Ilichova, a Georgian MIA employee, on the Davit Gareja Case. They are charged with acting deliberately to transfer part of Georgian territory to a foreign power.