Blacklists and restrictions on movement in Akhalgori

In late May, the de facto authorities of South Ossetia tightened restrictions imposed on Akhalgori residents. If up to now obtaining "propusk" (pass) to get to the rest of Georgia had been a long and painful process for most of the residents of Akhalgori, it has now become impossible to obtain such a permit. The Akhalgori district administration published a blacklist of people who were refused to get a movement permit for an indefinite period. The list includes up to 300 names. The criteria or purpose of the refusal are unknown.

According to the Democracy Research Institute, holders of "Ossetian passports" were able to cross the so-called border without "propusk". However, now they have also been blacklisted. They are not aware, on the one hand, of the reason for the refusal and, on the other hand, of the impact the above will have on their movement to the rest of Georgia. The blacklists further strengthen the atmosphere of fear in the region.


The blacklists are attached by another decision of the de facto authorities of South Ossetia, which concerns cars with Georgian license plates. Owners of such vehicles are allowed to drive to the rest of Georgia, but they are not allowed to bring the cars back. At the same time, the fate of those who do not drive to the rest of Georgia by cars with Georgian license plates is unclear, as it seems that they will not be able to move around Tskhinvali because of the Georgian license plates. In this case, not only the owners of the cars will be affected, but also those who used these cars as public transport. Due to this restriction, Akhalgori will be cut off from the villages whose elderly population needs cheap transport to receive basic social and health services.

According to the Democracy Research Institute, the goal of the policy of the South Ossetian de facto authorities, which artificially aggravates the social situation and marginalizes the region, is likely to bring the population of Akhalgori to the point where they will be forced to abandon their homes. This assumption is based on the already identified trend. Recently, the Democracy Research Institute has learned that a teacher from Akhalgori, who was under house arrest, was allowed to leave Akhalgori without the prospect of returning. In addition, the 25 young people, who graduated from school this year (a total of 519 throughout South Ossetia) have the right to travel to the rest of Georgia and study in Georgians educational institutions, although most likely without the right to return to the region.

This situation shows the short-sightedness of the de facto authorities of South Ossetia and the ambiguity of the perception of the real needs of the society. The so-called South Ossetian Republic, since the 2008 war, has received an unprecedented amount of Russian financial aid (per capita), but this could not stop the depopulation of the territory. On the one hand, the ethnic cleansing in the Liakhvi Gorge, and on the other hand, the lack of prospects caused by deliberate isolation from the rest of Georgia, completely changed the demographics of South Ossetia. Even Ethnic Ossetians travel to the Russian Federation and leave their homes, albeit with the prospect of returning. The policy that creates equally intolerable conditions for ethnic Georgians and Ossetians in Akhalgori is illogical.

The Democracy Research Institute calls on the Georgian authorities and international actors to highlight and respond to similar trends both in the Geneva format and in official statements. It is critically important to constantly and proactively inform the public and international actors about the ongoing violations.