Tskhinvali's selective mobility policy represents a source of corruption and discrimination against Akhalgori population
For months, the de-facto regime of Tskhinvali has been promising the residents of occupied Akhalgori to lift movement restrictions, but so far the issue has not been resolved in favour of the locals. Following the visit of the secretary of the de-facto security council, Anatoli Pliev, and the chairman of the de-facto state security committee, Oleg Shirani, to Akhalgori, the population are hopeful that the issuance of "passes" will be fully restored, they will be able to cross the so-called border and visit their families beyond it. The very fact that representatives of the security sector visited the occupied district to discuss the “pass regime” indicates that the issue of movement of Akhalgori residents is being considered by the de-facto government of Tskhinvali exclusively from the security point of view.
So far, Tskhinvali only allows relatives and family members of single and older people remaining in the district to enter Akhalgori from the territories under the control of the Government of Georgia. Despite the seemingly lighter movement regime, the number of people using this right is unlikely to increase significantly. Due to the fact that the right to move across the occupied territories with a pass is the prerogative of the de facto security committee, for many Georgians who have left Akhalgori, returning to their homes temporarily can be risky. In addition, it should be noted that the de-facto government gives conditional users of this right a certain period of time to use the pass. If the pass is not used within a certain period of time, it will be automatically cancelled.
As for the Akhalgori residents who are not single or older, are physically able to move and want to cross the dividing line for economic or other purposes, the de facto government creates artificial barriers for them. As far as the Democracy Research Institute has been informed, employees of the Akhalgori public sector, including those working in municipal-administrative services, teachers and medical workers (except support staff), are prohibited from leaving the de facto South Ossetian territory.
Artificial barriers to getting a pass push people to pay bribes. This corrupt mechanism is a joint economic activity of the local municipal and security services and is a heavy burden on the economically poor Georgian population.
The selective mobility policy gives immeasurable power to the corrupt officials and puts the residents of Akhalgori under even more painful oppression of corruption. The most serious aspect of this issue is that the residents of Akhalgori do not have any legal or administrative space to solve this problem. Corruption remains the only way to adapt and survive for the part of Akhalgori residents who are captive to the isolationist security policy of the de facto government, although the majority of the population of the district does not have the relevant material or economic resources for this adaptation mechanism.