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Uncontrollable borders of Georgia2010-12-03 15:30
Usually Georgia loses territories as a result of armed conflicts. Still, as it turns out not only chaos and wars reduce the area of the Georgian state. The hole-ridden border and mismanagement steal hectares of near-border lands taking them to neighboring states. "Crawling annexation" of Georgian lands is not initiated by crafty neighbors: it's Georgia's lack of resources to control borders. Presently, the republic's parliament is discussing a special law on near-border territories that, however, will hardly bring serious change.
In Soviet times it was not important where exactly the border of a republic was. Georgia was quite lucky here: most part of its borders went along the Main Caucasus Ridge that has been a natural border for many states since ancient times.
Nature itself created Georgia's ideal boundary. Today, however, Georgia risks losing a lot of square kilometers of land even on its northern side.
Mamuka Areshidze, an expert for all occasions, suggests adopting the so-called "mountain law" or a law on near-border territories to reflect necessity of demarking the country's distinct borders not only in the mountains, but in the South too, where the whole villages are breaking away. While the draft law is being discussed by parliament the situation is getting worse.
Branches of the Caucasian Ridge do have lots of dangerous "holes". These days Tbilisi is beating alarm about the village of Mutso lost high in the mountains of Khevsureti district on the border with Chechnya and Ingushetia. Two shepherds live in that long-forgotten place. When armed groups were crossing the border unhindered, these men were accused of poor border control.
Now, as it turns out, there is a threat the territory will be occupied by Dagestanis allegedly setting up homes in that area.
Khevsureti is a too inconvenient place for living: snow-covered from October up to May the only occupation there is cattle breeding. Independent Georgia was failed to ensure normal living standards and people moved downwards.
The second problem of Georgia's northern border is Mamisoni pass. Early in summer 2009 a big scandal flared up when it was found out that the border guards had moved nearly 20 km away from the border line blowing up an old bridge.
Standing on the top of Mamisoni pass one can see three states - Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia. Last June Georgian border guards moved their border-guard station away from the pass exposing 70 square kilometers of the territories. It was decided in Tbilisi that mountain slopes are de-facto left to Russians or Ossetians.
Old Nikolaevsky bridge on the military Ossetian border was blown up by border guards for security purposes. Apparently to stop Russians and Ossetians from penetrating into the territory of Georgia.
Naturally, Georgian opposition considers these events as a conspiracy. Not without a reason though. At the time of the USSR the territory that Georgians abandoned was part of the South Ossetian Autonomous District. In early 1990s Ossetians renounced these highlands and several empty localities were annexed to Georgia's Onski district.