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Russians Left Perevi But Did Not Go Too Far

October 20, 2010
Shorena Kakabadze

The international oppression had its output. Today, de-miners work in the village of Perevi where Russian army had been deployed since August of 2008. The representatives of the local authority and EUMM freely move in the village now. However, villagers say that the situation has not been much changed because occupants have not gone too far. The Russian soldiers retreated only at two kilometers to the north.

“Current situation in our village is not de-occupation. It is only starting point of the withdrawal of the Russian soldiers from the area which should continue by all means. Otherwise, we will still feel insecure and unsafe,” said the inhabitants of the Perevi village in Sachkhere district.

“It is very nice that the government congratulates us with the de-occupation. The TV-Channels also report that Perevi is liberated but nobody says that Russians are still in the village of Karzmani in Java district two kilometers away from us. To tell the truth, the Russian soldiers never did any harm to us when they were here. Simply we lived in permanent fear and I think it was enough for being concerned… the situation is the same in the village. We do not know what will happen,” said Nana Gabadze from Perevi.

The village of Perevi is located 20 kilometers away from Sachkhere district and borders with the villages of ethnic Ossetians. Russian occupants appeared in the village in the first days of the armed conflict in August of 2008 and opened checkpoints there. The locals now recall how undesired guests moved around the village by vehicles. However, they did not do any harm to locals; they did not even contact with them.

“They never did any harm to us. Simply, initially people were panicked and many locals fled from the village. Particularly those families were scared who had children. Then we put up with the situation gradually. Everybody could enter the village with the Russian version of the ID proved by the Sachkhere district notary. It cost 9 lari. Sometimes, Russians did not even requested the IDs and let us into the village without any interrogation. They were aggressive only towards local authority and Georgian police,” recalled Perevi residents.

The inhabitants of the village in upper Imereti region, where only 200 families (667 people in total) live, remember aggressive behavior from Ossetian separatists rather than from Russian soldiers. However, they say they had lived in panic and fear since August of 2008.

Despite the liberation from Russian occupants and opening two Georgian checkpoints in the village, the locals state that nothing has changed for them. Simply, Russian army retreated only at two kilometers and reinforced their old checkpoints in the village of Karzmani in Java district.