It was war, not revolution, that changed their lives

By Albert Baziani
Brosse Street Journal
Tuesday, February 21 2012

As night falls on a former Soviet secret base, residents are hastily heading to their apartments. People here have much in common but, above all, they want to return home after being dislocated by the 2008 war.

“I never thought there was something special about Rose Revolution,” says Giorgi Nebieridze, 27. “And there was not any change for us until the war started. Democracy had not worked for Georgia.”

As a result of the armed conflict with Russia in 2008, 210 families are living in the Shaumiani IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) settlement in Marneuli Region. Block apartments on this former military base, which housed hundreds of Soviet Russian soldiers some 30 years ago, have now been slightly repaired and turned into a shelter for Georgians and Ossetians who fled the conflict zone.

Giorgi Nebieridze, like the majority of IDPs, is unemployed. He depends on financial support from the state and international humanitarian assistance. Nebieridze says he is desperate to return to his native Liakhvi Gorge to resume a normal life. He believes the time will come when he will be allowed to do so.

“I like winters. Days are so short. It seems the nature is in a hurry as it tries to bring closer the day when I will return home,” says Nebieridze.

Copyright © 2004, Brosse Street Journal.