Democracy Research Institute reports ethnic Georgian residents of Russia-occupied Akhalgori are leaving the district

The Democracy Research Institute calls on Georgian authorities to use all available mechanisms to  inform the international community about the worst humanitarian crisis in Akhalgori, to take all possible measures to alleviate the situation of the remaining local population in the district. Photo: DRI., 27 Nov 2020 - 13:12, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Democracy Research Institute (DRI) reports that the de-facto authorities of South Ossetia have launched a so-called ‘Family Reunification Programme’, which allows ethnic Georgians  in the heavily-Georgian district of Akhalgori to relocate to areas controlled by Tbilisi where their family members live.

In its statement DRI notes that the most important and dangerous part of the programme is the content of the ‘exit document’, according to which the person leaving the district will not be allowed to return and will not be able to reclaim the property he/she is leaving in Akhalgori.

Despite the conditions of the ‘exit document’, the population left in desperate socio-economic conditions, trying to leave their homes and move to the territory controlled by Tbilisi”, says the DRI.

The DRI reports that there are currently 280 individuals that have expressed their desire to be enrolled in the ‘Family Reunification Programme’.

This number is alarming for Akhalgori, which has been left by a large part of the population since 2008. The de-facto South Ossetian government’s programme is a ‘legal’ way of removing ethnic Georgians from Akhalgori”, says the DRI.

Individuals wishing to leave Akhalgori must first pay all utility bills and fines and submit documents to the local security service. In addition, it is necessary for them to obtain documents proving that their families are really waiting for them on the other side of the so-caller border.

The DRI says the policy pursued by the Russian Federation and the local de-facto authorities over the last years aimed at artificially creating the gravest conditions in Akhalgori in order to completely ‘remove the undesirable Georgian population from the district’, which should be considered a ‘silent ethnic cleansing’.

The Democracy Research Institute calls on Georgian authorities to use all available mechanisms to:

 In early September of 2020 Akhalgori Governor Nugzar Tinikashvili  confirmed that Georgia’s Russia-occupied municipality of Akhalgori was facing  a humanitarian crisis.

He stated that locals were not able to come to the territory controlled by the central government of Georgia to receive quality medical care and pensions as the area was completely closed due to the coronavirus pandemic nearly six months.