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Georgian-Abkhaz border: bribes or duties?2011-12-23 21:10
In the near future Abkhaz authorities plan to bring order to the border with Georgia in due form. Since 1993 the Ingur river has been an informal border line between two countries. In reality, however, the border is accessible as a wide open door. Soon the situation will be fixed right: Abkhazia will detach from Georgia in earnest.
Rows of barbed wire running through garden shrubs, watch towers, booths that seem to be monuments in the middle of nut estates, sheep dogs bustling outside sheds, some Slavic faces turn up occasionally. The situation along the Ingur river is similar to what happened on the Soviet frontiers at the time of the Cold War. Actually, the world is following a different path: borders get opened. Not here. This fact can be treated in different ways but surely relations between two enemies - Abkhazia and Georgia - are not getting better. For the time being Russian troops are the only guarantee of peace in this spectacular place.
"Come here, dear man, buy these potatoes from Akhalkalaki. If not, here are apples from Gori, - an old lady invites customers in the market of Gal. The market in Gal town of Abkhazia inhabited mostly by Georgians is open three days a week. This is the greatest sale of Georgian goods. Potatoes from Akhalkalaki and apples from Gori is a sort of recognized brands of Georgian agriculture. Apples are naturally sweet and cheap as compared to foodstuffs brought from Russia.
Apples and potatoes are not the only cheap goods brought to Abkhazia from Georgia. Agricultural products, clothes and consumer electronics - this all can be bought in Georgia and resold well in Abkhazia. Any economist would consider this situation as normal. These countries have different economic structures. Tourism in Abkhazia is progressing with the agriculture getting weaker. This is no good, but that's the fact. Georgia too is facing problems in agriculture, but there are millions working in the industry, and they have to sell what they produce somewhere. In a situation like this Abkhazia becomes a good market.
Thus, despite a severe conflict between Abkhazia and Georgia, selling activities on the border are prospering, so to say. From the point of view of Abkhaz law, this is illegal. Officially the border is closed, and economic relations are cut. "Trading with Georgia, Abkhazia feeds the enemy's economy", - is number one argument of those in Abkhazia who oppose trade and economic relations with the neighbor.