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Russian passports for Akhalgori residents2009-01-16 15:27
As local residents report, Russian passport forms have already been prepared in the regional administration.
The Akhalgori region of South Ossetia is populated mainly by Georgians, and since the war of 1992 was governed from Tbilisi. But on 16th August Russian troops entered there, and the region came back under the control of Tskhinvali. After which politicians and the media in Tbilisi began to ceaselessly express their outrage at this disastrous situation and the enforced ‘passportization' of the Georgian population. Tskhinvali responded by refuting these accusations, arguing in particular that there was no ‘passportization' going on in Akhalgori.
According to information on the Tbilisi site abkhazeti.info, gleaned from the newspaper Rezonansi, the issue of ‘passportization' in Akhalgori arose in September. Back then a working group of the South Ossetian government arrived in the region for the first time. The deputy prime minister Lolita Bedoeva, who was also the minister for youth affairs, gathered the Akhalgori residents together and told them straight out:
"Anyone who takes a Russian passport will remain living here, everyone else will have to leave."
However, a few days later Bedoeva was summoned back to Tskhinvali. After which the agitation over the ‘passportization' subsided for a while. A local resident Anatoly Margiev was appointed head of the regional administration, and he started to bring Georgians who had left the area back to their homes, guaranteeing them security. But the prospect of an upcoming change in passports appeared once again, if we are to believe abkhazeti.info along with Rezonansi, a few days ago. For example, the following testimonies from local residents are cited.
Natela T: "Our neighbour saw with his own eyes stockpiled Russian passports in the regional office. Where we live they have already given us our salary in roubles (instead of lari), but the Ossetian administration is still not saying anything about passportization. What's going to happen next, I can't say."