Natia Parekhelashvili, Shida Kartli
If up to now the occupation fences and barbed wires were protested only by the residents living on the territory under control of the central authorities of Georgia, now there are single cases of protest from the occupied territory. As an example of such protest can be considered an action by an ethnic Ossetian man the resident of Frisi committed one month earlier, breaching the occupation fence with his car and entering village Ditsi, where he met the local inhabitants, spoke to them, and as he was returning back to Frisi through the breached occupation fence the occupation forces opened fire on him. They have also launched an investigation against him.
Vano Sauri from village Ditsi was the one who met the ethnic Ossetian coming from the occupied territory.
“He said he was a guy from Eredvi, they did not let him go and I breached the fence. He was cursing both at Ossetians and Georgians. He spoke Georgian. If he had not said so, no one could guess he was an Ossetian. He stayed here for a while, then he turned the car and headed for the fence again. As it turned out later, he was from Frisi. Maybe he came from Eredvi, but is living in Frisi now. He said he had a Georgian wife,”- Vano Sauri recalls.
During the Easter, 4 ethnic Ossetians from occupied Dzukaantkari came to Khurvaleti, they paid their respect to a grave of their relative in Khurvaleti and returned back to Dzukaantkari. The local inhabitants also witnessed the mentioned fact saying they have nothing against Ossetians.
“The Russians were not present at the occupation line that day, I was watching how the Ossetians came over, they spoke Georgian and Ossetian, they came to the grave and returned back, when they crossed the line and were at the side of their controlled territory they were placed in the car of Militia and taken away,”- tells us one of the residents of Khurvaleti.
Notwithstanding the fact that the occupation regime has actively resumed the preparatory works for the illegal borderization, what do these two cases stand for?! Humanrights.ge approached Paata Zakareishvili, the former State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, who now carries on the work for regulating the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhazian conflicts as a representative of civil society. Zakareishvili says that the occupation fences and barbed wires bear the concept of the Berlin Wall and the total fencing causes an opposing reaction among the residents of the occupied territory.
“These barbed wires bear the concept of the Berlin Wall as their purpose is not to allow the residents of the occupied territory enter the rest of Georgia. Whereas in the past the barbed wires were put through the line of 5 km, that made possible to get around these 5 km and cross the so called border, now this distance has increased to 20 km, and eventually it is difficult to get around and the residents have to breach the fence. Exactly this happened in the case of Ditsi, presumably a drunk man was fed up with the silence, hypocrisy and he applied this kind of protest. It should be noted that breaching the occupation fences and crossing the border in such a way is rather a hardline approach. We should also admit that this is not common but frequently occurs, where a large part of the residents living in the occupied territory break the installations of the unlawful borderization coming to the rest of Georgia secretly without any noise. The statistics of the de facto government also confirm such facts as they fine those who get there from our side as well as their own citizens who come over to the territory controlled by the central authorities of Georgia. We became aware, when discussing annual reports at the meetings in the Ergneti format, that 80% of the arrested persons were the residents of Tskhinvali,”- states Paata Zakareishvili.
Lia Chlachidze, living in Ergneti several meters away from the occupation line, has been working for years in the direction of public diplomacy between Ossetians and Georgians. Chlachidze says that since the military operations of 2008, the residents of the occupied territory become certain of two things day after day: The first is that neither Georgians nor Ossetians were and are interested in the war and tension, and the second is that a life and development within the territory limited with occupation fences and barbed wires is already considered impossible.
Lia Chlachidze: “People are fed up with isolation and so called closed borders and we have seen it on Easter when a resident of Frisi breached the occupation fence with his car and arrived to the center of Ditsi. This was a protest from his side against the established situation. His words speak for themselves as he cursed both at Ossetians and Georgians, but I think the real addressee of his cursing was the occupation regime, which made the life complicated for both Georgians and Ossetians. The occupation regime turns Tskhinvali and adjacent villages into a ghetto, and breaching of the occupation fence was the protest exactly against this making me to recall the Berlin Wall. Sooner or later, the occupation installations will share the fate of the Berlin Wall as Ossetians and Georgians will destroy them together. Beside this fact, during Easter, four locals from occupied Dzukaantkari came over to Khurvaleti, they visited a grave of their relative, and they were inviting Georgians standing nearby to join them. People are fed up with the occupation fences irrespective of the side they are living at. Our State has to use this situation: it is a fact that people do not want any more to live in a limited space. Broader steps has to be taken in the direction of peaceful policy and confidence building.”
The occupation regime has problems in keeping the citizens within the territory limited with barbed wires and fences of which speak the statistics and the statements of the de facto authorities. So called State Security Committee of Tskhinvali releases a statement regarding the breach of the occupation fence near Ditsi, reading as follows: “ the analyses of such incidents indicate to the fact that there are irresponsible citizens who follow the attitudes of Georgian politicians, special services and some nationalist organizations controlled by them not recognizing the sovereignty of the republic of South Ossetia and taking measures to destroy the state border of South Ossetia.”
The occupation regime during the last two months resumed the preparatory works for the borderization of Takhtisdziri-Dirbi and Gogeti-Tamarasheni areas. According to the representatives of the anti-occupational movement, as a result of the creeping occupation we lose additional territories, but according to the information of the State Security Service the above territories are not being occupied and the preparatory works for the illegal borderization are being carried out at the occupation line.