Official portrait of Saroi Garnica, 1988
|1st President of Lemovicia|
1 March, 1980 – 1 November, 1992
|Vice President||Otxando Azcargorta (1980-1992)|
Otxote Sasiambarrena (1992)
Izydor Domzalski (1992)
|Preceded by||Eztebe Tolaregain (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Izydor Domzalski|
Bonifatsiy Saroy Dijahurov
14 May 1922
Hojkocija, Narozalica (present-day Goikoetxea, Lemovicia)
|Died||18 May 2008 (aged 86)|
|Political party||National Syndicalist Union (1979-1992)|
|Years of service||1943-1992|
Saroi Garnica (Lemovician: Сароі Ґарніца, Miersan: Saroi Garnića, Narodyn: Сарои Гарніца, Saroy Harnica), also known as Saroi Diagurov (Lemovician: Сароі Діяґуров, Miersan: Saroi Dijagurow, Narodyn: Сарои Діягуров, Saroy Dijahurov, b. 14 May, 1922, d. 18 May, 2008) was a Narozalican soldier turned Lemovician politician, and a war criminal.
Born to an Episemialist priest and his wife, from an early age, Saroi Garnica was drawn to the military. Despite setbacks, such as the death of his father during the Great War in 1933, Saroi Garnica continued his studies until 1940. For three years, he studied at a seminary, before joining the Narozalic Armed Forces, where he served until the outbreak of the Second Narozalic Civil War in 1979: that November, he sided with Eztebe Tolaregain when he declared the independence of Lemovicia from Narozalica.
During the Lemovician War of Independence, Garnica helped secure Lemovician independence from Narozalica, and by December 1979, the last Narozalic forces left Lemovicia. After the war of independence, Saroi Garnica quickly became the de-facto leader of Lemovicia, and in the February 1980 elections, Saroi Garnica became the first elected President of Lemovicia, and was inaugurated on 1 March, 1980.
However, just over a week after his inauguration, Garnica saw the outbreak of the Lemovician Civil War. Over the next twelve years, Garnica was involved in the management of the Lemovician Armed Forces, as well as the day-to-day administration of the country. However, his actions strengthened Lemovicia's status as a pariah state, and following the end of the civil war in 1992, he handed power to a collective presidency.
In 1994, he was arrested and was sent to Ashcombe to be tried before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws of war. After being convicted in 1999, he spent the rest of his life in prison before his death in 2008.
Saroi Diagurov was born on 14 May, 1922, to Episemialist priest Diagur Haritzov, and Lonora Haritzov, as the third of five children, and the youngest son, in the town of Hojkocija (present-day Goikoetxea, Ilunabarra, Lemovicia). A middling student in school, he was more interested in the military and physical activity, as opposed to "academic studies." However, Diagur Haritzov wanted him to join the clergy.
During the Great War, Diagur Haritzov served as the army chaplain, but died in battle in 1933, leaving Lonora Haritzov to raise her five children alone. Despite this, Saroi Diagurov continued his studies, until graduating in 1940. During the next three years, he briefly studied at a seminary before ultimately joining the Lemovician Armed Forces.
In 1943, Saroi Diagurov volunteered to join the Narozalic Armed Forces, as he believed that it would fulfill his "God-given destiny," and as he had long expressed an interest in joining the armed forces. Shortly after joining the Armed Forces, he was sent to fight on the front lines in the ongoing Solarian War.
After the end of the Solarian War in 1946, Saroi Diagurov decided to become an officer within the Narozalic Armed Forces. While there, he became deeply fascinated with military history, as well as military tactics. However, as an excellent student, he wound up becoming a commissioned officer by 1951.
Over the next two decades, Saroi Diagurov continued rising through the ranks of the Narozalic Armed Forces, as he was deployed mostly to the frontier regions of Narozalica. During this time, Diagurov started getting interested in politics, although he had little interest of actively participating in "the politics of some far away city."
By 1973, Saroi Diagurov became a colonel general, and was stationed in the Province of Lemovicia. As colonel general, Diagurov became privately critical of the Narozalic government under Vilem Gardos, and his increasing authoritarianism. After the resignation of Sava Tokar from the military in 1978, and the subsequent revocation of Tokar's honours and medals, Saroi changed his surname to Garnica, and while he considered resigning from the military, decided not to, as he feared that his resignation would make him unable to "lead an effective force" to liberate Lemovicia.
War of Independence and de-facto leader
After the declaration of Lemovician independence from Narozalica on 21 November, 1979, by Eztebe Tolaregain, Saroi Garnica immediately ordered all units under his command to support Eztebe Tolaregain against the Narozalic Armed Forces. Throughout the Lemovician War of Independence, Saroi Garnica quickly became the de-facto leader of Lemovicia, and by the following month, as Narozalic forces withdrew from Lemovicia, Garnica wielded extensive influence in the governing National Syndicalist Union.
Although he officially had no power besides his military command, Garnica played an influential role in shaping the Lemovician government, with Garnica and Tolaregain co-writing the Lemovician constitution, which made Lemovicia a national syndicalist state, and one of the first far-right governments in Euclea since the defeat of the Etrurian Revolutionary Republic in the Solarian War. Garnica instituted many of the governmental policies during this period: however, his lack of political experience made him an incompetent administrator, despite his excellent military skills. During this time, Lemovicia became a pariah state.
In January, Garnica and Tolaregain called for a general election to elect the President and the newly-established National Assembly. The governing National Syndicalist Union was initially split between Tolaregain and Garnica, but Garnica's military experience allowed for him to become their nominee for the Presidency.
As no other parties were allowed to run, Saroi Garnica spent the next month campaigning to build a "Lemovicia for the Lemovicians," and to end "foreign control over the Lemovician economy" by instituting national syndicalist economic policies, while preserving the "traditional values" of the Lemovician nation.
On 1 February, 1980, Garnica won with 98.6% of the vote for the presidential elections, while the National Syndicalists gained 86.3% of the vote in the parliamentary elections, and obtained around 96.4% of the seats in the National Assembly, in what was deemed to be fraudulent elections.
Over the coming month, Saroi Garnica and Eztebe Tolaregain cooperated in the transition to Garnica's presidency. At the same time, tensions began to grow between the Lemovician and Miersan communities, with the latter demanding independence from Lemovicia.
Presidency and Civil War
On 1 March, 1980, Saroi Garnica was inaugurated as the first official President of Lemovicia under the Lemovician constitution, succeeding acting president Eztebe Tolaregain. That day, he named his cabinet, with his right-hand man, Otxando Azcargorta being named as Vice-President. Shortly after his inauguration, he attempted to have Lemovicia apply to join the Community of Nations, but was vetoed by Narozalica: when Narozalica demanded that Lemovicia give up its Miersan-majority areas in exchange for joining the Community of Nations, Garnica rejected it.
However, just a week after his inauguration, protests broke out in Sechia: his decision to send the Lemovician Armed Forces to violently suppress the protests: this decision would lead to the breakout of the Lemovician Civil War between the Lemovician government, the Liberal Democratic opposition led by Otxote Sasiambarrena, and Miersan separatists who proclaimed the establishment of the Miersan Republic under Izydor Domzalski, by the end of the month.
Thus, he declared a state of emergency, effectively suspending the constitution, and giving him de-jure dictatorial powers, even though observers noted that Garnica ruled as a de-facto dictator long before the declaration of the state of emergency. With his newfound legal powers, Saroi Garnica instituted a policy that rounded up all "traitors" in Lemovician-controlled territory, and intern them in camps in southern Ibaiak, with the intention of "repatriating them to their native motherland (i.e. West Miersa)" at the end of the war.
In 1982, he ordered the attack on Zubiharra during the pre-arranged Christmas truce between the opposition forces and government forces, in an example of perfidy. This allowed government forces to recapture the Zubiharra pocket.
While he initially stayed in the capital of Topagunea, even during the first battle of Topagunea in 1981, with the start of the second battle of Topagunea, Saroi Garnica moved his headquarters to his hometown of Goikoetxea, so that in the event Topagunea fell, he would continue to lead the war from the city of Goikoetxea. However, after the battle ended in a stalemate, Garnica returned to Topagunea in 1984. He briefly left Topagunea in 1986 during the third battle of Topagunea for Goikoetxea, but return in 1987.
Throughout the Lemovician Civil War, Saroi Garnica remained heavily involved in the Lemovician Armed Forces, as well as in the day-to-day governance of Lemovicia, with many observers believing Garnica was involved in ordering Operation Storm and Operation Michael to take place in 1988, and in engaging in ethnic cleansing of the Miersan population from the area.
However, his government's actions led to the increasing isolation of Lemovicia on the international stage, and by late 1991, with a military stalemate, war-weariness among the population, and the fact the government may not be able to continue fighting past the end of the following year, Saroi Garnica was forced to participate in the Alikianos Accords that ended the war, which mandated a new constitution, and a temporary caretaker government comprised of Garnica, Otxote Sasiambarrena, and Izydor Domzalski.
In the October 1992 elections, Saroi Garnica ran on behalf of the National Syndicalist Union for the National Assembly: however, the party was banned by the election authorities, and Garnica was prohibited from becoming Premier. Thus, on 1 November, 1992, Saroi Garnica handed over power to the newly-elected government, and left office.
Arrest and trial
For the next two years, Saroi Garnica lived a quiet life near his hometown of Goikoetxea at his berria with his family. However, in June 1994, Garnica was arrested by the Lemovician Police Force. Garnica did not resist, and was sent to Ashcombe to be tried before the International Criminal Court on the charges of crimes against humanity (ethnic cleansing, persecutions on political, racial and religious ground), and violations of the laws of war (perfidy, and hostage-taking).
Garnica pleaded not guilty to all charges when the trial began on 21 November, 1994, and chose to defend himself. He argued with regard to the crimes against humanity that the Miersans in the country "had forfeited their rights to civilian protection, as they were brought in to Lemovicia as a result of population transfer, and thus were not subject to these protections, as well as pointing out that the Miersan separatists also conducted ethnic cleansing of Lemovician-majority communities under their control.
For the violations of laws of war, he alleged that as the Miersan separatists did not wear a distinctive uniform or other distinctive signs visible at a distance at the start of the war, he argued that "it was a clear intention that they were not going to follow internationally-recognised principles of law."
On 5 October, 1999, he was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of all charges, and it was decided that he would serve his sentence in Estmere. On 9 November, 1999, he filed an appeal, with the intention of defending himself, but his appeal was rejected on 22 May, 2001, with his conviction and sentence being upheld by the International Criminal Court.
For the rest of his life, he remained in prison: while he received the occasional visit from his wife, Loxa Garnica, and his son, Lantz Garnica, he was not allowed any other visitors, except for staff from the prison he was situated at. Despite this, Garnica reportedly never complained about the conditions in the prison.
Saroi Garnica was married to 21-year old Loxa Altzova in 1953. Together, they had three sons: Erro Garnica, born in 1955, and died during the Lemovician Civil War in 1981, Lantz Garnica, who was born in 1958, and Hodei Garnica, who was born in 1961. They also had two daughters: Xixili Joangain, born in 1957, and Iturrieta Echabarriabatiz, who was born in 1963. Their relationship was, according to Loxa Garnica, "friendly and positive," and they remained married until Garnica's death in 2008.
At the time of his death, Garnica was survived by four of his five children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandson, although he only met three of his six grandchildren, and never met his great-grandson, due to visitation restrictions.
He could understand basic Miersan, but rarely used it, particularly after his accession to power. After his accession to power in 1979, he began learning Gaullican, and by 1992, can comfortably carry out a simple conversation in Gaullican. In his final years, he learned Estmerish, mostly to communicate with the prison staff.
Saroi Garnica's political views were initially inspired off that of Tadeusz Czyzewski, as Garnica found Czyzewski's "conservative socialist" views, particularly as he found his economic policies to be "just for all people of the land," as well as agreeing with Czyzewski's social conservatism.
However, by the 1970s, he became a national syndicalist, particularly as he found its ideas of Lemovician nationalism and national syndicalist economics enticing, as well as its idea of social conservatism, particularly the gender roles and natalist policies for ethnic Lemovicians: thus, independence, Garnica sought to institute national syndicalist policies over the country.
At the same time, he became privately critical of the Miersan presence in Lemovicia, as he believed that their continued presence in the country was not only a reminder of "the foreign yoke," but also made them a potential fifth column for the Miersans to take over Lemovicia, and make the Lemovicians a minority in their own land. Thus, during the Lemovician Civil War, he urged that all Miersans be interned until the end of the war, whereupon they would be deported to West Miersa, and their properties to be seized in order to "make a Lemovician nation-state."
He also expressed hatred to the Savaders, with Garnica once saying in 1984 that "even a cockroach infestation is better than all the Savaders in [Lemovicia]," and urged the removal of the Savaders from Lemovicia "by any means possible."
Saroi Garnica was baptised into the Episemialist Church at birth, given the name of Bonifatsiy (Narodyn: Боніфацій, Lemovician: Боніфаціо, Bonifatxio, Miersan: Bonifacy), as his birthday fell on the feast day of Saint Boniface.
Throughout his life, he was a devout Episemialist, with Garnica saying that the faith was "his rock in times of tribulation." However, following Lemovicia's independence, he supported efforts to establish a church in communion with the Episemialists to succeed the Metropolitanate of All Lemovicia. Despite his advocacy, these efforts never came to be, and to this day, it still remains under the jurisdiction of the Narozalic Episemialist Church.
Health and death
For most of Saroi Garnica's life, he suffered no medical problems, except for a shrapnel wound that he acquired during the Solarian War, which was successfully treated. A doctor in 1978 wrote said that "Diagurov was a broad and relatively short man, who is in impeccable health for his age."
However, beginning in the 1980s, Saroi Garnica's health began deteriorating: by 1986, he was diagnosed with diabetes, and by 1989, his eyesight reached the point where he required glasses, while all official documents had to be typed in block letters. Despite this, Saroi Garnica continued to be in "good spirits," even as his health continued deteriorating throughout the next two decades. In 2004, it was reported that after suffering a fall, he was no longer able to walk. By 2007, it was reported that he had gone blind.
On 16 May, 2008, Saroi Garnica was admitted to the Count Fairmaiden Hospital after suffering a stroke, in a critical condition. Despite efforts of doctors to save him, he died on 18 May, 2008, four days after his 86th birthday.
Upon his death, the Lemovician government refused to allow his body to be returned to Lemovicia for internment, despite Garnica wishing that he be interred in his hometown of Goikoetxea, as the government felt that allowing his body to return to Lemovicia would be a "grave insult to all of those who died or suffered as a direct or indirect result of the policies he implemented."
Thus, Saroi Garnica was buried in an unmarked grave at a prison graveyard, as although his body was claimed by his son, Lantz Garnica, he was not allowed to return the body to Lemovicia. The unmarked grave was specifically to prevent vandalism by opponents, and to prevent his grave from becoming a site of pilgrimage for his supporters.
Saroi Garnica's legacy is largely seen as negative on the international stage, as well as the Miersan community in Lemovicia, which former Premier Fabian Duch saying in 2019 that "Garnica's decision to try and expel us from our land has shaped everything else that has happened in the past forty years." Surveys have repeatedly had a near-unanimous negative opinion of Garnica among Miersans.
Among ethnic Lemovicians, he is seen in a more positive light, as he helped lead Lemovicia to independence, although even among most ethnic Lemovicians, they are critical of his ideology, as national syndicalism was believed to have hampered Lemovicia's development, and increased tensions between the Lemovician and Miersan communities. As of 2018, 42% of ethnic Lemovicians were "somewhat supportive," "supportive," or "very supportive" of his policies, compared to only 4% of ethnic Miersans.
Since the end of the Lemovician Civil War in 1992, the government has ordered all statues dedicated to Garnica be taken down, and positive portrayals of Saroi Garnica have become taboo in Lemovician society.