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Russia to restore road to Kakheti

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, July 4
Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze states that he has not discussed the issue of restoration of the Russia-Georgia road within the framework of the Georgian-Russian bilateral dialogues recently.

The restoration of the roads at the Dagestani section of the Russia to Georgia road began on July 2, according to Russian media. This road was closed in 1992.

As head of “DagestanAutoDoor”, Zagid Khuchbarov said “30 billion rubles will be spent to build the Avaro-Kakheti road section.” According to Khuchbarov, Ramzan Abdulatipov, the president of Dagestan, is paying a great deal of attention to this project.

"Russia does not need permission to build something on its territory. I contacted my colleagues and I asked him about it. They did not have any information about this issue,” Abashidze stated.

Minister of Infrastructure of Georgia Elguja Khokrishvili that there was no knowledge of the project on the Georgian side and that there was no planned collaboration.

“There was no communication with the Georgian side regarding this issue. There is not any agreement on this topic. If they are going to begin rehabilitation works on their territory, we will not be against this decision, as they have the right to carry out rehabilitation works on their territory. As for the Georgian side, there was no communication and a joint project is not being planned in this regard at this moment”, Khokrishvili said.

For those who have to travel from Dagestan to Kakheti, opening the road would be good news. Russian citizen Shamil Shamilov told the Public Broadcaster that he currently has to use the Vladikavkaz route, which takes 12 hours to get to Kakheti. “I live in Daghestan, I have relatives here, I have to go to the region quite frequently. In case the road is opened, I will require just two hours to drive here,” Shamilov states.

However, an analyst in Caucasus issues, Aleko Kvakhadze, states that opening the road might entail serious threats to Georgia. According to the analyst, in case of some confrontation between Georgia and Russia, Russia might very successfully use the road for its tanks and block the Kakheti region in a short period.

“Prior to the August war, Russian President Vladimir Putin openly expressed his interest over the road, whether the road would be able to transport tanks and heavy weapons or not,” Kvakhadze said.