“What we are seeing now is the result of Putin’s imperialism,” Zakarishvili said. “In 2008, you heard the same rhetoric about Georgia as you hear about Ukraine now. That the government in Tbilisi was being provoked, that the Russian-speaking population was being threatened by Georgians and that Russia had to ‘liberate them.’ What we are seeing is a new geopolitical war started by Putin. In Georgia, then Crimea in 2014, and now all of Ukraine follows. It is a modern Russian imperialist war.”
The bench along the main road stands in the sun, in the distance the great peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. Three men argue, wave their arms, and rest sticks on their legs. “We are not safe here, there is no real security here. How can we protect ourselves here, if we don’t have weapons? And even if we have weapons, what can we do against Russia?”
If you walk around in my Argentina, between dogs and old people barking, you will understand this feeling. What can they do here against the war? Here they simply live their lives. Or maybe it’s the other way around in life.
At the end of the village, the road is blocked by tires, camouflage nets and soldiers. On top of this is Tsinvali, the capital of South Ossetia. Russian soldiers on the brink there. Borders cut through backyards and orchards in some places. For the inhabitants of the border area, the enemy is still very visible and close.
“Since the war in Ukraine, a tense situation has arisen in our country,” says Lea Chlatchidze. “The police are asking everyone to be extra careful, otherwise there could be a provocation.” This is what they fear in Ergnetti and the neighboring villages, an accident, a mistake that leads to another war. “No one knows what’s going on in Putin’s head,” Shlashidze said.
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