In early June, we visited the villages of Tvaurebi and Odzisi located near the occupation line.
The village of Tvaurebi
Tvaurebi is located on the right bank of the Ksani River in the Lamiskani community of Kaspi municipality, 18 kilometers from Kaspi. Tvaurebi borders an area, which is currently controlled by Russian border guards. Due to security measures, the village can be accessed only by passing the Georgian police post located at the entrance.
Tvaurebi is 750 m above sea level. The village enjoys the status of a highland settlement and the benefits provided by the relevant law.
According to the 2002 census,
140 people lived in the village, compared to 81 in 2014. 88.9% of these population are Ossetians and 9.9% are Georgians.
Locals say that only 40 households are left in the village, most of which are older people. There is no school or kindergarten in the village. The village has an outpatient clinic, but does not have a pharmacy or grocery store. People have to walk about 4 kilometers to buy essential products in Lamiskana.
According to the locals, the village lost its pastures after the war and they cannot use the land close to the barbed wire due to the lack of security guarantees. Orchards are virtually the only income of the locals. They say they had been selling their products on the Akhalgori market before the 2008 war, which is now impossible. Most of the respondents mentioned that the barbed wire cut them off from their close relatives, which is a matter of their particular concern.
The residents of the village complain about the poor state of internal roads and the pollution of the irrigation wells as well, which significantly hinders agricultural activities.
The village of Odzisi
Odzisi is located in the Mchadijvari community of Dusheti municipality. Despite the fact that it borders the occupied territories, it is possible to move freely in the village. At the end of the village, along with the Georgian police post, there is the so-called Mosabruni checkpoint, which is currently closed. This very checkpoint allowed the people of Akhalgori to move to the territory controlled by the Georgian government.
According to the 2014 census, 513 people live in the village.
Locals say there are currently about 400 people in the village.
The villagers mostly complain about unemployment and the lack of opportunities for the young people. The main problem is drinking water and its quality. The internal roads of the village are also in poor state. Another problem is the unfinished construction of a ritual hall, which has been ongoing for about 10 years.
There is no pharmacy or shop in Odzisi. As we were told, it is possible to buy bread in several private houses. Locals have to go to a nearby village to buy food and other essentials.
Despite the fact that, like the village of Tvaurebi, Odzisi is located 750 m above sea level, it does not enjoy the status of a highland settlement. As far as we are informed, the issue of granting the status to the village has already been considered and supported in the first reading by the Committee on Regional Policy and Self-Government. Given the difficult economic conditions of the population, it is important to resolve the above issue in a timely manner and grant the village the status of a highland settlement as soon as possible.
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The project “Supporting Human Rights Protection at Front Line” is being implemented with the financial support of the European Endowment for Democracy.
Main results of the first national population census of Georgia 2002, volume II.
Population census 2014. National Statistics Office of Georgia (November 2014) https://www.geostat.ge/index.php/ka