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Georgia Keeping Its Land Off-Limits for Foreigners

Farmers harvest grapes in Kakheti, one of Georgia’s leading agricultural regions. Georgia outlawed foreign ownership of its agricultural land, formally enshrining the ban in the constitution on September 26. Side effects of the move have already been felt in many sectors of the economy. (Photo: Asian Development Bank via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Every month Yuriy embarks on a 17-hour drive from Donetsk to Tbilisi, crossing the tense borders between the Ukrainian war zone and Georgia. He presents an array of identification papers – a Ukrainian passport, a Russian passport and Ukrainian separatist-issued documents – to get through the various checkpoints.
 
He has been hauling his belongings and home furnishings – tiles, wallpaper and even a tandoor oven – from Ukraine to get ready for his new life in Georgia. A retired coal miner, Yuriy used his savings to build a house just outside Tbilisi, far from the chaos of eastern Ukraine.
 
Still a work-in-progress, the two-story house features four bedrooms and a sauna. A rugged, heavyset man, Yuriy labors up the stairs to show the best part – an enviable view of a massive water reservoir. “But you should really come back after I get this thing going,” he said, winking conspiratorially and pointing at a moonshine contraption down in the garden.
 

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.

Georgia Keeping Its Land Off-Limits for Foreigners

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