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How Azerbaijan captures Georgia2012-01-13 12:26
Georgia and Azerbaijan are historical and strategic allies. Today, it is a rear example of good-neighbourly relations in the Caucasus. Still, Azerbaijan is gradually conquering Georgian land without any war, occupation or aggression. It is done not by official Baku but by nature: the Alazani river bed slowly shifts towards Azerbaijan.
Our correspondents went to see the rapid and dangerous river doing its black deed, altering the state boundary between Georgia and Azerbaijan at will. It happens in the village of Erisimedi situated in the east of Georgia not far from regional center Dedoplis-Tskaro.
River Alazani, which is known due to "Alazanskaya dolina" ("Alazani Valley") famous brand, is indeed capricious. After the abundant snow melting in spring, the river overflows along its entire length, washing away fields, gardens and plots of the small villages in the east of Georgia. It is very seldom that Alazani gets back to its original bed afterwards. In Soviet times and earlier, there was no boundary here. After each local flood, peasants restored their life, looked at the way the river bed had changed, made conclusions and set up fields in a new place. The silt drifted by the river was very good for agricultural structures.
Things changed after the boundary between Georgia and Azerbaijan was opened here, especially within the last five years when it turned into a "real" one - with soldiers, dogs and watchtowers. Now each patch of land getting behind the border for purely natural reasons may become a pretext for a big scandal. The main point is that the peasants can no longer move across the river and back in search of land. So long as Alazani favours Azerbaijan, Georgian farmers are at a loss.