Crimean Tatar refugees dream of Crimea return: Tatars flee Russian occupation of Ukrainian peninsula
Georgian refugees dream of returning home when Russian occupation ends
11 years ago, the Russian-Georgian war began
The 2008 Russia-Georgia war displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and most of them still live in refugee camps in Georgia. Many of them, deprived of their land and their homes, remain unemployed and still dream of returning to their small homeland – to the territory that is now under Russian control. They told the Voice of America correspondents about this in the Georgian Leger of refugees in the village of Tserovani, located north of Tbilisi..
Bella Beruashvili’s family sets the table in a traditional Georgian style, under a canopy protected from the sun by the same vines that make local wine. At first glance, everything is like in an ordinary Georgian family. However, we are talking about one of the families of numerous Georgian refugees who in 2008 had to leave their homes in the South Ossetian region of Tskhinvali..
“I came here in December 2008,” recalls Bella Beruashvili. – It was a monstrous disaster: shooting, explosions, so we fled from our house. We fled, in what we have, leaving our two-story house with a vineyard of 2 thousand square meters, an orchard, livestock “.
Since 2008, this refugee camp has sheltered 7,000 people. The biggest problem here is unemployment, and it was not easy to adapt to the new life..
“At first we didn’t like this place. All the houses looked the same and were dirty, – says Bella’s daughter Rusudan Morbedadze. “Now that I’ve spent half of my adult life here and this place has become more livable, I feel fine here. Of course, I won’t call it love, but I’m already used to this place, to my new home “.
Many refugee integration projects have been made possible by US financial aid to local charities. One of them – “For a Better Future” is headed by Nana Chkareuli.
“The biggest problem is socio-economic in nature. People need to realize their dreams of work, home, only then they can live with dignity, they can integrate, ”says Nana Chkareuli.
Many of those who were children in 2008 are now young people who look to the future, unlike their parents’ generation who would like to return to their homes, but hopes for this are dwindling..
“We have no hope of returning home,” Avtandil Kakhniashvili admits.
“We really want to return, but we have no hope. The Russians took everything from us and did not return anything, so how will they return our houses to us? ” – says Bella Beruashvili.
“Georgia is unthinkable without these lands. But it will take many years to get them back. We, ordinary people, need to strive for this to happen as early as possible, because life is so short “.
After 11 years of living in a refugee camp, the former life in South Ossetia is becoming a more distant memory for the forced Georgian migrants every day. And yet, some of them still dream of returning to their native places..