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Do Russian Soldiers Also Participate in Pre-election Campaign of Abkhazia?

28.10.2009
   Controversial news are spread about introduction of additional Russian military forces in Gali district.
                   
                                                                          Geronti Kalichava, Zugdidi

Russian armed forces introduced additional forces in Gali district on October 27. Giorgi Baramia the head of the legitimate government of Abkhazia stated at the special briefing on October 28.

“About 500 soldiers and heavy military vehicles were deployed in the villages of Chuburkhinji and Saberio in Gali district. Military vehicles are moving towards “Enguri Power Station” all night long and all roads are controlled in the area” said Baramia. According to his information, few days ago about 350 Russian soldiers and vehicles entered the village of Meore Otobaia in Gali district. Such reinforcement of the Russian military forces is very dangerous and provocations might happen. We appeal to international organizations to react properly on the urgent situation in the conflict area and in entire Abkhazia. Military escalation is also expected” said Baramia.

The Human Rights Centre interviewed people on the bridge Enguri coming from Abkhazia. Residents of the villages of Chuburkhinji, Saberio and Dikhazurga in Gali district say that they did not notice any movement of Russian soldiers in the area. According to them, Russian military units have not appeared in the abovementioned villages since June of 2009.

Respondents tell that Abkhazian soldiers are deployed at the checkpoint at the Enguri Bridge and not Russians. Women from Gali district said Abkhazian policemen do not create any problems for them at the checkpoint. “They just request 100 or 200 Russian rubles from us to cross the bridge. We do not encounter any other problems. When we do not have money, we just ask them and they let us go. Nobody demands us to take Abkhazian passports either. We still use red Soviet Passports. They said we can use them before 2012,” said people from the occupied villages.

Paata Davitaia, vice-speaker of the parliament of Georgia also commented on the introduction of additional vehicles and soldiers into Gali district. “They reinforce the border and I think it is connected with the so-called presidential elections. Gali district is mostly inhabited by ethnic Georgians whose votes are very important for Bagapsh. Russian soldiers will use additional force for the oppression of ethnic Georgians,” said Paata Davitaia.

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