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Kazbeg district drifting away2009-09-28 12:36
A new separatist movement is brewing on Georgia's northern border. Ossetians of 33 Georgian villages supported by Daryal movement dream of joining North Ossetia and have already applied for South Ossetian and Russian citizenship.
This summer Daryal leader Gairbek Salbiev met with the South Ossetian leadership arousing great concern in Tbilisi. The Ossetian public figure asked for no less than South Ossetian citizenship which will help to obtain a Russian passport. President Edward Kokoyty helped him to meet the right people from Moscow and promised to find ways to satisfy the request. The demands of the villages are not political - they are based on most essential everyday needs.
As Sabliev told Regnm IA these villages have become depopulated over the recent years due to growing confrontation between Georgia and Russia that resulted in ban on passage via Upper Laz checkpoint. It should be mentioned that for a long time Kazbeg district people enjoyed a visa-free regime since Vladikavkaz is much closer than Tbilisi or other Georgian towns. Besides the residents of Ossetian villages have close family ties with people of North Ossetia and constantly travel there and back. This all stopped in 2006 with the checkpoint closure. Then many preferred to settle down in Russia - not in mountain villages with unstable electric power supply. As a result many houses were abandoned to be pillaged after the August 2008 war. "Des village is completely destroyed. I received photos of houses with broken windows and dismantled roofs from Karaty Kay village (the Karaevs' village). Georgians force Ossetians to sell houses and burn them in case of refusal. The police take no measures against the smashers being powerless to do anything. Neither the authorities in Tbilisi notice all that", - Daryal movement leader complained.
According to him the rest of the Ossetians just have no chance to change the situation, even the local elections are falsified by the Georgians. "They brought people that had never lived in the territory of the rural council who voted the right way. Eventually a Georgian became the local leader and the Ossetian candidates were simply crossed out. This is democracy in Georgian style Mr. Saakashvili shows to the whole world", - Salbiev grins.