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South Ossetia marks limit2011-11-07 11:50
South Ossetia is actively fitting out its state border with Georgia by stretching barbed wire. Not long ago there appeared special signs indicating the border line. Naturally, Georgia is not taking part in the process but has claims, as was seen at the recent quadrilateral meeting in the near-border village of Dvani.
South Ossetia is now focused on an extraordinarily dramatic pre-election campaign though it finds time to carry out a no less important state activity - fit-out of the border with Georgia. Over the past few weeks there appeared green plates fixed on grey posts indicating the line of Georgian-Ossetian border along rural paths.
These are ordinary signposts with no checkpoints or border guard offices in the vicinity. There is no barbed wire either. These signs are a sort of thought-provoking information. Yet, for locals living on both sides of the border this information is utterly important. Despite the efforts of Russian border troops deployed in recently constructed military bases near Georgia, the border has many holes. Residents of Georgian and Ossetian villages know they live on the border. But they don't know where the line goes. This fact creates lots of problems. In South Ossetia illegal border crossing is a crime. Consequently, residents of Georgia who found themselves on the adjacent territory by accident, are regularly taken to the pre-trial detention facility of Tskhinval.
Georgia has a different way of punishing Ossetians for this transgression. Since Georgians don't recognize the border, Ossetians can cross it freely - formally. In reality the situation is this: the nearest Georgian village has reinforced police groups that get hold of residents of South Ossetia and take them to Gori. Should these people be set free, they get back without cars and their belongings.
If the border went along a desert, there wouldn't be any problems. Yet, the pre-border territory is densely populated with lots of villages on both sides of the border. Farming lands go right along the line of the border. So conflicts between local residents and Russian border guards frequently occur.