Georgians living in Gali

Rusudan Velidze analyzed the living conditions of the Georgian population living in Gali, in Abkhazia. For those unfamiliar with the circumstances, these mostly are (Georgian) Megrelians, and the area is under control of the de facto Abkhaz authorities.

The researcher, on a CRRC research stipend, conducted face-to-face, in-depth interviews with 60 respondents in 2005. After the change of the Georgian government in 2003, the number of population returning to Gali increased, but their economic condition remains harsh.

Some of Velidze’s main findings include: most of the respondents believe that the war was triggered artificially and that Shevardnaze’s government contributed to the escalation of the conflict. As for the current government, the population trusts it more and hopes that the territorial integrity of Georgia will be restored.

After establishing Georgian schools in the district, the educational problems are more or less resolved. There are 32 Georgian schools, charging a monthly fee of 4 to 7 GEL. The level of education is good. But healthcare remains one of the major problems. The healthcare system is disorganized and there exists only one hospital in the district, which lacks medical supplies and qualified doctors.

The main information source for the population is television. Georgian, Russian and Abkhaz TV channels are available in the district. Velidze also reports that the Georgian population does not have any relationship with Abkhaz people and do not know much about their everyday life.

A Georgian language report is on our Website, and more detail available from Velidze directly.