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Occupied regions in Georgia received substantial financial aid from Russia in 2018

By Levan Abramishvili
Friday, March 29
The State Security Service of Georgia (SSS) published an annual report, according to which, in 2018, there were various challenges for Georgia; including Russian occupation, international terrorism, works of foreign intelligence services and corruption.

The report states, that the main threat for Georgian security is the occupation, occupied regions and the Russian forces that are situated there. The main challenge remains the increasing militarization of the occupied regions, ethnic discrimination of the Georgian population, violations of the rights to free movement and Russia’s informal annexation processes.

The report shows that the occupied regions are heavily dependent upon the Russian Federation’s central budget. According to the existing data, a direct aid from Russia made up 45% (USD 64 mil) of the de-facto Abkhazia’s so-called budget. While the Tskhinvali region’s “budget” consisted of 86% (USD 113 mil) direct aid received from Russia. The remaining amounts of the “budgets” were completed with an indirect aid from Russia.

It is noteworthy that in 2018, representatives of the Russian bank sector started operating in occupied Abkhazia. Which, according to the report, are most probably used for illegal financial operations.

SSS highlights that Russian military contingents present at the occupied territories, as well as intelligence activities create threat not only for Georgia and the region but Europe as well.

Throughout 2018, the occupying forces and de-facto regimes continued the creation of various artificial barriers in order to limit the free movement rights of the local citizens. The illegal process of the so-called “borderization” was persistent using barbed wire fences and barriers, as well as banners depicting a border, etc. Russia continued to place undue restrictions on the local population wishing to cross the occupation line that often ran through their orchards, yards, grazing fields, agricultural plots, and cemeteries.

In 2018 occupying forces still continued to perform illegal arrests. There have been registered 100 illegal detentions in occupied Tskhinvali, while the number in Abkhazia was 28. Illegal detentions, so-called “borderization” and restrictions on freedom of movement grossly violate rights of local citizens, worsens their economic situation, damages the safety of the environment and isolates people living near the occupation line.

In 2018, Georgian citizens, Archil Tatunashvili and Giga Otkhozoria were murdered and Davit Basharuli died in ambiguous circumstances. There were no steps taken by the occupational forces and the de-facto regimes to investigate their deaths and punish those guilty for the crimes. The report says that SSS uses all resources at their disposal so that everyone responsible for ending the lives of Georgian citizens are brought to justice.

Last year has shown that criminological situation, total corruption, absolute ignoration of the civil rights of the people, sense of impunity, as well as socio-economic problems in the regions creates a threat to everyone living there, regardless of their ethnicity.

In the occupied regions, ethnic Georgians are being systematically discriminated against, they are denied studies in their native language. There are policies in place that are geared towards assimilation and the changing of people’s ethnic identities. For years, the right to property has been subject to systematic and gross violations in the occupied regions of Georgia. Hundreds of homes of ethnic Georgians are being destroyed each year to prevent them from getting back to the regions.

The report also mentions various international organizations present at the occupation borders that continue their hard work to monitor and prevent human rights violations that are rampant in the occupied territories. It is important that the international community continues to call on the Russian Federation to bear responsibility for such violations of human rights.