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Life in the Gali district: When school is abroad2012-12-20 18:15
A serious conflict is brewing at the border between Georgia and Abkhazia between the population and the Russian border guards based here. Residents of border villages of the Gali district complain that development of the border fortifications is destroying the habitual way of the economy in the region. However, this is only part of the problem. The people complain even more about the inhuman treatment by the Russian military.
Our edition has received a petition from residents of Nabakevi, one of the villages of the Gali district of Abkhazia bordering with Georgia. It is addressed to President Alexander Ankvab, the head of the Abkhazian government, members of parliament and the leadership of the Gali district. Copies were sent to the command of the Russian border troops in Abkhazia and international human rights organizations. The strangeness of treatment is that, unlike any other such documents, it is anonymous and is being spread via non-public channels. However, if you know the realities in Gali, here is nothing strange for you. The most valuable information here is that the people are afraid to speak out, and it is very difficult to explain them that a public statement would be much more effective way to
solve their problems.
The fact that the document appeared among the villagers of Nabakevi was confirmed in a conversation with the Big Caucasus by the head of the village administration Nani Kardava and a local Elder Zaira Ekhvaya. However, they both say they have not read the text.
From the text of the document it is easy to imagine the mood of the population. People do not hide their emotions when listing the specific claims to the Russian border guards. These claims are really serious.
"With the arrival of the Russian military the hell has come to us, not the defense of our interest! People cannot normally drive up to their homes, it is impossible to move from one lane to another. We cannot use transport, so we have to walk. Border guards have dug over half of the village; we cannot use the pastures, fields, nut plantations, orchards, corn fields and the land in general". "Recently, there happened several cases when they prohibited ambulance vehicle with a seriously ill woman to cross the official post, and this ended tragically. Woman has died! And when the relatives of deceased were carrying the body near the Nabakevskaya military base, one of the soldiers shouted, "Why are you arranging a parade here!" Then immediately soldiers rushed to them and started checking the accompanying documents, and this was inhuman! The woman has died because of felonious, inhuman treatment of border guards; they even do not let to bury her!"
Now let's try to understand the story without emotion. Russian border guards are located at the border between Georgia and Abkhazia after the 2008 war and the subsequent recognition of Abkhazia by Russia, in accordance with bilateral agreements. In Abkhazia, the presence of Russian troops is considered the main guarantee of non-renewal of the war with Georgia. Russian border guards are physically located in the Gali district, where almost the entire population is ethnic Georgians (Megrelians). And this, in a sense, is a factor creating tension. Local Georgian population is politically active.
Of course, local Georgians have no reason to feel sympathy towards the border guards, whether Russians or Abkhazs. On the other hand, between the people living on both sides of the Inguri River (the river separating Abkhazia and Georgia. - Ed.), there are close ties - family, household, etc. The construction of a full-fledged border - this is a stress for the locals in any event.