DRI: Akhalgori residents appeal to the authorities to cancel the new rule imposing additional barriers on freedom of movement
The residents of Akhalgori are allowed to move to the territory controlled by the central government only for 10 days a month. The road connecting with occupied Akhalgori - the so-called Razdakhani checkpoint is open from the 20th to the 30th day of every month. Since special permits are issued at a slow pace, not everyone has yet benefited from the right to travel.
According to the information available to the Democracy Research Institute, the road has been opened, but only for pedestrians. The Akhalgori-Tbilisi municipal passenger route has been cancelled. As a result, for the residents of the occupied territory, the one-way fare is about GEL 100 - by private taxi to the Russian checkpoint and from the Georgian checkpoint to Tbilisi. On the way back, the municipal bus drives passenger from Tserovani to the dividing line only in the morning hours. Locals are unable to use it according to the existing schedule due to family issues or work. The cargo of some passengers cannot fit in the transport, which creates additional difficulties.
According to the local, the Georgian checkpoint has recently established new regulations. Those, who do not have registration in Akhalgori and/or Akhalgori is not written as a place of birth in their identity document, will not be allowed to drive to the Russian checkpoint. The population has to walk one and a half km between the Georgian and Russian checkpoints. An alternative to this is to hire the transport of a person who has registration in Akhalgori.
In the past, the passengers who wanted to go to Tbilisi tried to fully use the time left before the closure of the checkpoints. In the evening, they used to return by taxi or take transport from Didube to the village of Odzisi, the last stop of which was at the Russian checkpoint. The relatives of the Akhalgori residents or persons accompanying them could also go freely to the Russian checkpoint. In addition to drivers, the new regulation will affect many locals. The only solution is to apply to the Akhalgori municipal administration in Tserovani for a special certificate. It should be noted that a similar problematic rule was in effect in 2008-2012 and created a lot of problems for the local population.
The Democracy Research Institute believes that any changes in the existing regulations should be adjusted to the interests of the population as much as possible and should not complicate the existing situation. The above-mentioned changes make the difficult living conditions of the Akhalgori residents even more unbearable.