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Life in the Small Town of Adigeni

April 18, 2007


The story begins like a fairy tale but ends as a melodrama. There are difficult conditions in the small town of Adigeni, which have resulted in many abandoned houses and in many young people leaving.

Once Upon a Time…

There was a small town of Adigeni. It was founded in 1931 as an administrative center for the district. Since that time, the district has developed bit by bit. A bakery, a print shop, lemonade factory, a cannery, a branch of the Tbilisi Enterprise Union named in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Soviet Union, a workshop and auto-service center all opened. At that time, eighty percent of residents in the town were employed.

That was once upon a time… “Every enterprise that functioned then has now been shuttered. My words are no exaggeration of the situation. I would say that compared to what came before, everything is now dead in the district,” said deputy governor of the Adigeni Municipality.

“During the time that Khrushchev was in office, the district center was abolished and the small town of Adigeni became a village. In 1965, the town regained its status of the district center and everything started to develop again. Amiran Mekvabishvili was appointed to the position of the First Secretary of Regional Committee. It was time again for development. Organizations, factories, mills worked. There were a lot of people in the town. At present the personnel has been reduced at many offices. There are no people in the district,” seventy-four-year-old Pavle Merabishvili recalls with regret.

How Can You Keep a Young Person Here?   

Young people have abandoned the town of Adigeni. “How can you keep a young man here?” locals ask. The effects of migration are seen in maternity homes and nursery schools. “Maternity homes have less work now. I have worked here since 1992. Before, there were approximately 450 births a year. Now there are only 70 or so..,” said Liana Kapanadze, a doctor at the Adigeni maternity home.

“I have worked at the nursery school for 35 years. Now we have less children of course because economical situation is hard and young people leave native district in order to find ways to earn their living,” said Tina Kometiani, a director for the Adigeni nursery school.

Flats for Low Prices 

The small town of Adigeni begins at the Forest Department building, then comes an enormous sawmill, and finally residential buildings appear. The dilapidated buildings make a horrible impression on a visitor. Wooden booths are placed alongside the narrow, pockmarked road. People earn their living from those booths. Everything gives the impression of extreme poverty.

“While property has terrific prices in Georgia, the situation is the exact opposite in Adigeni. You can buy a three-room flat for seven hundred dollars. A lot of houses are locked and abandoned. People prefer to live in the village because they can get food there easier. The poverty made town people dependent on the land. That’s why flats have such a low price,” said Petre Aghlemashvili, a local resident.


Unemployment is the biggest problem in the district. Men standing in the street the entire day start to give a picture of the situation.

“Employment is difficult in the district. There are no governmental organizations with which young people can find work. There used to be an industrial enterprise for many years in Adigeni. At present, the industry has been totally destroyed in the district and the young are unemployed. I worked in law enforcement and when a person had finished serving his term in prison, we were responsible for his behavior. We were obliged to find some job for him. However, now, not only former prisoner, but a person with high education cannot find one. Consequently, most of young people in Adigeni are addicted to either alcohol or drugs now,” said Efrem Aghlemashvili, the chairman of the Veteran’s Council.

The Road -- An Achilles’ heel  

The road leading to the small town of Adigeni is in the poorest condition. Transport almost never runs here. You must take a bus in the morning. In the afternoon no bus goes to the regional center of Akhaltsikhe.

“Where do we have a road? If it is not too urgent, we never leave town. In the past, public transport was much better,” said Givi Stefnadze.

Prospects for the District

Despite nonexistent industry in the district, locals think that there is a list of various fields that would be very successful and profitable for the district. There is the natural fruit industry, bottling of unique water of Flate, mining of the clay-fields in the district area and collecting of sweetbrier and many other medical plants.

 The Biggest Sorrow

“Nobody cares about Adigeni. The facades of buildings were painted in all the towns and cities of Georgia, but they did not do it in Adigeni. It is not too important to make something beautiful only on the surface, but what is important here is the attention. It is good when government remembers you. However, everybody has forgotten about us,” said Adigeni residents.

One more example to demonstrate the fact that the authority has forgotten about the small town is that the funds allocated to families after they were damaged by a landslide have not reached the district, yet. Most of victim families have sheltered their relatives. Nobody thinks to keep promise…

Gulo Kokhodze, Adigeni