DRI: “Passportization” Process of Akhalgori Population has Recommenced

According to the information the Democracy Research Institute was provided with, the passportization process in occupied Akhalgori has recommenced. Ossetian citizenship is granted to people who, due to the permanent closure of the checkpoint, are unable to move to the Georgian-controlled territory, receive their pension, and are therefore left without the means of livelihood for a long period of time.

Currently, several dozen people of retirement age have acquired citizenship with simplified procedures. After submitting the necessary documents, they will be assigned an Ossetian pension.

For Akhalgori population, the so-called “Mosabruni” checkpoint was last opened on January 24, 2020, for a limited time. Movement was allowed only for those who were receiving a pension in the Georgian-controlled territory and for several dozen people with the proper permits.

Due to the restrictions on freedom of movement and artificial barriers in this direction Georgian citizens living in the uncontrolled territory are in the position where they have to make a difficult choice. In order to earn a living, they have to relinquish their Georgian citizenship. According to the Democracy Research Institute, the population was put in this position because of the Georgian central government’s less effective policy, which has failed to provide assistance to one of the most vulnerable group - pensioners living in the occupied territories.

We have repeatedly stated that the people living in the occupied territories face different challenges from the people living in the Georgian-controlled territories, therefore, special support mechanisms should be created for them.

The Democracy Research Institute once again calls on the Georgian authorities, together with the existing programs, to develop a different state program of financial assistance for each pensioner living in the territory uncontrolled by the Georgian government.