National Geographic uncovers tragic story of people living in conflict zones between Georgia and Russia-occupied territory
21 May, 2018
National Geographic uncovers tragic story of people living in conflict zones between Georgia and Russia-occupied territory
National Geographic uncovers the Russian intervention of Georgia in August 2008, also known as Russo-Georgian War. 10 Years have passed since the war, yet it still remains a painful issue of Georgians. As a result of Russia’s assault, 228 Georgia’s citizens and 14 police officers, 1 747 were injured. About 150,000 people were forced out of their homes, with 30,000 among them remaining refugees to this day. 169 soldiers deceased and 5 were missing in action, although due to no
trace of them being found for 2 years and no signs of them being alive reported, they are now officially considered deceased.

Alexandra Genova, author of the article published on National Geographic, starts describing the situation in conflict zones by talking about the village of Nikozi, which rests just south of Tskhinvali (so-called South Ossetia) border and which was heavily bombed during the Russo-Georgian War in 2008.
geotv.ge
10 Years have passed since the war

“At the time of the conflict, Isaiah, a metropolitan bishop, led a congregation that included people on both sides of the border. He chose to stay in South Ossetia with a portion of his community for three years, until finally returning home to Nikozi,” reads the article.

The article tells the story of people living on shifting borders between Georgia and Russia and their daily life full of intense terror and fear. They have to live in absolute chaos – as Russia’s illegal borderization on Georgian territory still continues, some people just wake up in the morning and find themselves on occupied territories - their home now sits on foreign soil and their money becomes worthless. The community members find themselves, their schools, and their places of business unexpectedly under occupation.
geotv.ge
Eighteen-year-old Mariam lives in Nikozi village near the southern border of South Ossetia. Her village was bombed during the Russo-Georgian War in 2008—a memory she says she'll never forget

“Fear, thick and unyielding, is a constant for many Georgians living along the shifting borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian-supported separatist territories that were once governed by Georgia—and officially still are according to the United States and the majority of the international community,” tells the journalist of National Geographic.
geotv.ge
A mother and daughter walk along a road that leads to and from Tserovani, a village created for Georgians forced to flee Tskhinvali (South Ossetia)

According to the article, the regions declared their independence in the 1990s and have been under dispute for decades. During the Russo-Georgian War in 2008, Russian forces invaded the territories and have continued to move their administrative borders farther and farther into Georgia.

The author of the article stresses the fact that the borders are not currently recognized by much of the world. However, they have real and serious effects on the people living in the area.
geotv.ge
Children play outside in Dvani village, located on the southern border of South Ossetia

The journalist talked with Georgian photographer Daro Sulakauri, who has spent nearly 10 years documenting this volatile region.

It is worth mentioning that Daro Sulakauri has recently published a photo project on the villages bordering the breakaway regions of South Ossetia (Tskhinvali Region) and Abkhazia. Her project focuses on people who live right at the occupied border lines to the breakaway regions.
geotv.ge
This bridge, in Napati village, was previously one of the main border crossings

According to the photographer, it is the “psychological games” imposed on those living on the borderlines that she finds most problematic.

As a Georgian child of the nineties, she says tensions with her neighboring country were a pervasive part of her daily life. “You never know how safe you are,” says Sulakauri. “I felt this when I was walking around visiting the [borderline] villages. There is no one around. If you scream out, no one will hear you.”
geotv.ge
Nine-year-old Nana plays in her yard in the village of Khurcha on the southeastern border of Abkhazia. One of eight siblings, she is a folk dancer who hopes to become famous

As Daro Sulakauri told National Geographic, Georgian villagers out for a walk may suddenly find themselves across a newly moved border—facing fines, arrest, or detention. “There are also a lot of cases where farmers lose cows because they will wander over to occupied territory and never come back,” she added. “This is a big issue when a lot of their income comes from their cows.”
geotv.ge
A child takes a swim in the Enguri River, which is used as the borderline of the Russian-supported separatist territory of Abkhazia. The river was previously known as a good location for safely crossing into Abkhazia, but recent installation of barbed wire fencing and surveillance equipment has stalling those crossings

The worst thing is that people living in conflict zones lose their family members, the do not have the opportunity to get proper education and they have to live in crushing poverty.
geotv.ge
Children in Tserovani board a school bus

Daro Sulakauri photographed 84-year-old Georgian citizen Data Vanishvili through a barbed wire fence. Sadly, he woke up one morning to find his home on the other side of the border and his money worthless.

“It is a really sad situation for him,” she says. “Since he got a pension in Georgian Lari (GEL), when he wants to buy bread he would call his neighbors and give them money over the barbed wire fence and then the neighbor would buy the bread and give it back to him. He's trying to survive somehow.”
geotv.ge
A family stands near their corn field in Pakhulani village

The journalist also stresses the fact that despite the terrible life conditions, the locals still maintain resilience and a warm-hearted optimism. Daro Sulakauri felt this most keenly among the children. “They're so pure, but they are also grown up because of what they have gone through,” she said.

All photos courtesy Daro Sulakauri

The first image depicts a brightly lit cross, erected after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, stands on the road leading to the village of Dvani. Photo courtesy Daro Sulakauri

Related stories;

Living on the Shifting Border of Georgia and Russia – The New York Times

Georgian photographer depicts the creeping borders in her country

Russia's illegal borderization on Georgian territory continues! - What EUMM says

Georgian soldier who died in occupied Tskhinvali Region buried with honor

US Assistant Secretary visits occupation line: "We call on the Russia to withdraw the recognition of these regions"
Print
Other Stories
Russia was at an undeclared war with Georgia for years - Matthew Bryza
I think anybody who has observed how Russia has been conducting its war in Ukraine should realize that Russia was at war with Georgia, an undeclared war for years,
Tbilisi Park is due to open in Buenos-Aires
Tbilisi Park is due to open in the capital of Argentina, Buenos-Aires. The decision was recently made by the city parliament.
Young people detained by occupying forces in the Truso gorge
Some young Georgian hikers have recently been detained by armed forces in the Truso gorge. They have been accused of illegally crossing the so-called border into the occupied Tskhinvali region.
Wildfire in Khashuri, Tseda village
Fire broke out yesterday in Khashuri, Tseda village, in the forest.
Travel between Ukraine and Georgia for both countries’ citizens to be allowed only by electronic ID cards
The Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze has announced that the citizens of Georgia and Ukraine will be able to travel in and out of both countries using only electronic ID cards.
Why does the Georgians love John McCain?
John McCain, Senator, and former Presidential candidate of the USA died on the 25th of August, 2018. He was diagnosed with lioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer last year.
The IBSU Conundrum
Teachers, students and students-to-be all took to the streets when the news broke that the International Black Sea University, one of the most highly regarded universities in the country, wouldn’t be admitting new students into its ranks this year.
Angela Merkel arrives in Georgia
German chancellor Angela Merkel has already arrived in Georgia.
German media about possible reasons for  Merkel’s visit to Georgia
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Tbilisi today, expectations are high and both the Georgian and German media are speculating about the possible results of the visit.
Angela Merkel to visit Georgia on August 23
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Georgia on the 23rd of August. Her plan is to visit the Caucasus states of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Georgian presidential candidate to Journalists –“Shake your brain!”
“Journalists should shake their brains” – said Georgian presidential candidate, Salome Zurabishvili to journalists.
What does Giorgi Margvelashvili own?
The presidential election will be held on 28th of October, 2018 in Georgia. The President Giorgi Margvelashvili has not yet confirmed his participation in the election.
"Father returned for mother ... then the bomb landed …”
10 years on, this is a different August. But this month is a time of remembrance and of hard memories and hurt.
The World talks about the 2008 war
On the tenth anniversary of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, 20% of Georgia continues to be occupied by Russian military forces who also seem intent of further encroachment on Georgian territory.
Georgia hosts high ranking guests for the 10th anniversary of the 2008 war
Ten years have passed since the Russian military intervention in Georgia,in August, 2008.
 10 Years Anniversary of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia – “Mission supports stability and security on the ground”
10 years have now passed since the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia and still we face a huge daily threat. Certain parts of Georgia continue to be occupied even today.
Heroin seized near Georgia-Azerbaijan State Border
Border Police from the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs have arrested a 28 year old individual.
After ten years from the 2008 war, borderization continues
It is ten years since the 2008 August war between Russia and Georgia.
Multinational Noble Partner training 2018 has launched
The multinational Noble Partner training 2018 commenced on the 1st of August.
National Democratic Institute publishes the latest survey
Poll results released today by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia show growing dissatisfaction about the state of the country’s economy, environment, and political climate going into the presidential election.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze needs 5 more Regional Governors
At a recent Government press conference Mamuka Bakhtadze, the Prime Minister of Georgia, announced that new Governors for the following regions are required:
German government plans to recognize Georgia among safe countries
The German government will shortly approve a law, which enables the countries such as Georgia, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria to be recognized as safe countries
Latvian MEP Andrejs Mamikins about Georgia’s prospects for EU membership
Georgia is a country that wants to become member of the EU, but how does it look from Brussels?
Military equipment and techniques created by Georgians
Delta is a Military, Scientific and Technical Provider.
What does Georgia contribute to the NATO alliance?
The idea that Georgia should join the NATO alliance was first suggested back in the 1990s. However nobody believed it would become a reality
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.09.2018
22.09.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6193
2.6193
EUR
1
EUR
3.0693
3.0693
GBP
1
GBP
3.4651
3.4651
RUB
100
RUB
3.9538
3.9538
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6193
EUR
1
EUR
3.0693
GBP
1
GBP
3.4651
RUB
100
RUB
3.9538