Objection to the "new" trade corridor of Georgia-Russia in Tskhinvali?!
The economic and transport policy of the Georgian authorities is aimed at increasing cargo turnover with the Russian Federation. The issue of corridors connecting the north with the south is political and causes serious dissatisfaction in the Georgian opposition political circles. The recent tragic events of Shovi and Guria, and even more so the Partskhaladze case, have overshadowed discussions about the transport corridors with Russia and their geopolitical and economic expediency. However, in South Ossetia, on the contrary, this issue seems to be attracting more and more attention, and "closer ties" between Georgia and Russia seems to cause dissatisfaction and anger among South Ossetians.
The dissatisfaction started after Tskhinvali learnt about the meeting of the Georgia-Russia Business Council in Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia, Russian Federation), the topic of discussion of which was the transit of Russian cargo through South Ossetia. This idea implies that Georgia should let the trade transport coming from Russia pass not only through Larsi, but Roki as well. For South Ossetians, this news was doubly disturbing. First of all, they view the above as the use of the South Ossetian territory for the economic interests of Georgia, whereas the scars of the 2008 war are still alive and the Tskhinvali Ossetians still have distrust and anger towards the Georgian side. And secondly, Russia intends to deepen economic relations with Georgia by using the territory of South Ossetia and by neglecting its interests, which in the eyes of the Tskhinvali people is tantamount to betrayal by a friend and patron. This last concern is strengthened by the fact that, as it turns out, no representative of Tskhinvali, neither from the government nor from the business circles, attended the meeting held in Vladikavkaz.
This concerns are further strengthened by the fact that the people of Tskhinvali are aware of the resistance to Russian economic projects in Abkhazia. As the source of the Democracy Research Institute reports, South Ossetians are worried about the fact that they cannot mobilize themselves against the economic projects and steps of Russia that ignore the dignity and interests of South Ossetians. This concern is primarily directed towards the opposition of the de facto authorities, which has not protested on this issue. All this may also indicate that as South Ossetians feel this dissatisfaction, realize their own inability to resist, and have the example of the organized protest of Abkhazians, a similar protest may start in South Ossetia as well.
Obviously, the de-facto government of South Ossetia also has information about this dissatisfaction in Tskhinvali. As the source of the Democracy Research Institute reports, a comment by an anonymous author was spread via the Telegram channel, which confirmed that a meeting had been held in Vladikavkaz and that no representatives of the de facto government of South Ossetia had attended it. Due to the fact that the de facto government has not made any comments on this matter and has not evaluated it, the Ossetians of Tskhinvali perceived this anonymous author of the comment as a representative of the de facto government. Such obfuscation and lack of communication between the de facto government and society representatives is obviously risky, and the probability that South Ossetians may resist Russian economic projects like Abkhazians is quite valid.
The mentioned discussions are not limited to Tskhinvali and also take place in Akhalgori. According to the source of the Democracy Research Institute, Akhalgori Georgians fear that the recent policy of the Georgian government to get closer to Russia will further distance Akhalgori from the rest of Georgia. They know that this trade corridor will pass between Roki and Ergneti, which gives them the feeling that the Mosabruni road will operate only partially and the movement of citizens will again be restricted.
The Georgian political spectrum is currently focused on other issues, and the information space of Georgia is not open to the concerns of Georgians or Ossetians living in the territory of South Ossetia. The given situation, which leaves South Ossetians and Akhalgori Georgians in uncertainty, requires from the political spectrum or at least from non-state actors and the media to conduct discussions about what is happening in Russia-Georgia relations regarding South Ossetia, and this discussion should be available to the people living beyond the dividing line, so that the information vacuum and the uncertainty they are kept in by the de facto government and the Russian occupation forces do not increase their security risks.