Georgian civic activist living in Russian-occupied Akhalgori: ‘it’s no Wuhan, its Akhalgori’

Akhalgori became under the Russian control after the Russia-Georgia 2008 war. Photo: Tamar Mearakishvili., 07 Feb 2020 - 11:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian civic activist Tamar Mearakishvili, who lives in Georgia’s Russian-controlled Akhalgori district, has released the photos of Akhalgori, with no people walking on the streets and lights rarely coming from windows.

Mearakishvili, who is politically persecuted by de facto authorities of Tskhinvali, says that many people have left the district since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war, when Russia expanded its control on Akhalgori.

It is not Wuhan [a Chinese city, the epicenter of the outbreak of the new coronavirus], these are empty streets of Akhalgori,” Mearakishvili wrote on her Facebook page.

Starting from early September 2019 crossing points between Akhalgori and the rest of Georgia have been closed by de facto authorities, creating severe humanitarian situation on the ground.

Mearakishvili wrote last month that around ten people have died in the district due to delayed medical aid.

Locals, who buy vital everyday items in the rest of Georgia, have been deprived of their fundamental right of moving freely.

The reason for the closure was the opening of a police post on the Tbilisi-administered territory, in the village of Chorchana, by the central Georgian government at the end of the summer of 2019. 

The de facto leadership says that the police post  ‘is too close to our country and poses security threats to our population.’ 

They say that the crossing points will reopen after the police post is dismantled which Tbilisi refuses to do.

After the five-month closure the de facto authorities opened the crossing points only for pensioners at the end of January 2020, stating that pensioners will be allowed to receive their pensions on the Tbilisi-controlled territory once in two months.