Hundreds of Georgians displaced by the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia could face a fresh upheaval this week as evictions of Internally Displaced Persons from illegal temporary shelters in Tbilisi get underway. While government officials claim the evictions are unavoidable, critics argue that the policy will sacrifice what progress these individuals have made in rebuilding their lives.
The evictions, expected to start on January 20, will affect nearly 1,500 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, who, during the chaotic days that followed Georgia’s 2008 war with Russia, took up residence in empty Tbilisi buildings not classified as official shelters.
Residents of the 22 buildings affected by the decision are a living mosaic of Georgia’s turbulent past: displaced individuals from the 1992-94 conflict in Abkhazia share makeshift kitchens and bathrooms with families who fled fighting in South Ossetia two years ago. Over the years, both generations of IDPs have gotten married, given birth, gone to university and attempted to integrate into Tbilisi life.
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Molly Corso is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.