After the notorious war that began two years ago, apart from about forty Georgian villages, large tract of the wood was also seized on the territory of Shida Kartly occupied by Russia. The local population mainly used that wood and the people living in the conflict zone had no wood problem before in fact.
Except for a large forest of Java that was fully confined in the borders of separatists after the first war of Samachablo, also following parts were in the region: Liakhvi reserve (entire line of upper part of Didi Liakhvi canyon), Akhalgori forest, Tsvnelisi forest, (sources of Proni gorge) and a small forest of Vanati. Besides, there were small tracts of the forests to the east of Patara Liakhvi gorge which were actually fully slashed.
In the end, a rather unfortunate picture faces us and as a result it transpired that wood will not be available for the absolute majority of Shida Kartli population and it will last in this way until Russian occupation troops leave the region.
Representatives of Georgian authority promised Georgian population living in the region that they would bring up wood supply for them in the nearest one week so not to be any threat of cold for their families. Last year, the local population was assisted by German govement and the population of Georgian villages of the lower part of Didi Liakhvi somehow overcame the winter using the wood bought by the grant allocated by German power. The problems are analogical this year too and at the beginning of winter of each year the great part of Shida Kartli population have to live in the hope of the help.
Vasil Shanarishvili, local inhabitant: “It’s already three years we have not been able to go to the forest for wood. Everybody who crossed the controlled area for wood was caught. Some were beaten and some were even put in prison. Well, you know how severe the winter is in our part of the country and a human being can not stay there without wood. Last year the Germans brought us wood and they have promised us to help us this year too. How long will it last so? Now, when there has been a war just recently, some people still think about us and assist us. As time passes, we will be perhaps fallen into oblivion like the people driven away from Abkhazia and I have no idea what we can do then.
As far as I know, wood was not available for everybody last year and some people even cut the fruit trees not to be dead with cold in winter...
– I did not hear anybody did it in my village, but in the lower parts of the village
( villages of Gori region are meant which are located to the east part from the central way) which are not considered as conflict zones, many people really cut the trees. But they had no other way out in fact. Lots of people have no money for buying wood. Gas line has not been laid yet and even it is laid people will not be able to pay for it. Hence, those people decided to cut all the trees in the garden. It is regrettable to cut fruit trees of course but on the other hand that’s far too little trees for them.
What do the Russians say about disallowance in the forest?
– They say that that is their border and we must show them the visas for crossing the borders. There is no other way of making more fun of us though when we are asked visas for going to the forest. Some people even tried to offer money to the Russians but they refused to take it. As it seems, they are given a strict order on not letting the Georgians get close to the place they are standing”.
As we mentioned above, the big part of Georgian population are still waiting out aid and they hope they will be supplied with wood. In the region it is rather cold already and many inhabitants sent their children to the relatives’ to the capital city for the hope of having the wood soon so that their children can come back home.
Giorgi Kristesiashvili, peasant of Samachablo: “In winter there is such terrible frost in our part of the country that you can be sure you are in Siberia. It is bitter cold now and my cousin said for a joke that the Russians came to our country and brought their weather too. The wood should have been bought, cut and made it ready already up to now, but wood is rather expensive. We have no money for purchasing it and we are still awaiting out their promise to be fulfilled and provide us with wood. Well, we have to do nothing but expect”.
Ossetian people who live beyond the demarcation line are also conceed with the problems related to the next winter. Although, in Tskhinvali there is a real humanitarian catastrophe, the separatists won’t give up and make shallow statements as if in so called South Ossetia the population have better living conditions than any other inhabitants in Georgia. In addition, Russia promised Kokoity to transfer him up to 7 billion Russian rubles next year. However, neither the Russians nor separatist exactly know whether they start building a new military base or new cottages for the families of Russian officers.
Head of Tskhinvali marionette-like regime Eduard Kokoity said in the interview given to the agency “Reuters” that he expected 6,8 Russian rubles from Russia the following year which would be spent on the construction in the Republic. Besides, he said that Tskhinvali as well as Moscow had a right to define what the sum would be spent on. According to Kokity’s statement, finances are controlled by so called the Ministry of Finance of the Republic.