South Ossetian conflict zone

As a result of Georgia-Russia 2008 war, Georgia has lost control over the territory called “South Ossetia” or “Samachablo” with ethnic Georgians forced to leave the area due to South Ossetian guerilla looting.

Several thousand Russian troops are being positioned on the Georgian-South Ossetian border and inside region’s capital – Tskhinvali. South Ossetia remains to be an inaccessable territory with Russia being an exclusive patron of the de-facto local government and population.

Pictures are taken 2.5 years after the war.

Exiting Tbilisi-Gori highway to Tskhinvali – S. Ossetian capital
Road to Tskhivali
Via Georgian villages
Villagers awaiting transport to Gori, Tbilisi and other central destinations
Caucasian mountain range in the background
One of the closest Georgian villages (Tkviavi?) to the Russian demarcation line
Men hanging out next to the improvised butcher’s shop
One of the numerous Georgian checkpoints near de facto border
Inside imposed “Buffer Zone” between Russian/Ossetian and Georgian sides
“Buffer Zone” villages look emptier
It is December, 2010
Churches in Arbo
Civilian building of the 19th century
Stone carvings on the church facade
More police control as we are getting closer to the main Georgian-Russian checkpoint
Public school in Tirdznisi, which, according to locals, was burnt down during the war and then rebuilt
Another Georgian police checkpoint
Ergneti – closest Georgian village to Tskhinvali. Used to be center for bootlegged goods, drugs, stolen cars and farm produce from both Georgian and Ossetian sides, before the 2003 Georgian Rose Revolution. Despite its illegal nature, the market positively served as relationship catalyst for the conflict parties.
Destroyed property near Tskhinvali
Tskhinvali is really close but still impossible to reach
The town is, literally, several blocks away
This is where Georgian control ends and Russian one starts – main military checkpoint on the demarcation line
On the way back to Gori. During the war Russian troops covered all of this distance to the town
Entering Gori
Central square
Replacing Stalin’s statue, christmas tree stands in front of the governor’s office
Street in Gori
Old Soviet cinema hall in the background

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