Residents of occupied Akhalgori forced to get special passes to enter rest of Georgia

The de facto authorities of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) decided to introduce the special passes at the end of last year, but the enforcement process has been postponed.Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 03 Apr 2019 - 18:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

Inhabitants of the Akhalgori district in eastern Georgia, which is now occupied by Russia, will have to get special passes in order to be able to visit the rest of Georgia.

The de facto administration of the occupied region has already launched the application process for locals to decide whether or not to issue the cards.

Civic activist Tamara Mearakishvili living in Akhalgori says that the step aims to further hamper and complicate the free movement of locals.

Until now the so-called passport of the de facto republic was sufficient to leave the area.

The only “checkpoint” opened by the de facto authorities of Tskhinvali at the so-called border with Georgia is located in Akhalgori, with about 400 crossings on a daily basis, the European Union Monitoring Mission told last month.

In 2002, before the Russia-Georgia 2008 war 7,703 people lived in Akhalgori, 85 per cent of them ethnic Georgians.

There are no official figures about the local population as of today.

Unofficially the figure stands at 1,500-2,000 individuals as others were forced to leave the district during the Russia-Georgia war and now live in the Tserovani settlement, near the town of Mtskheta.