20:44, Thursday, 27.02.2020
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Nostalgia or Unbearable Living Conditions-Dukhobors Abandon Villages in Ninotsminda District

The road is difficult. Journey from Tambov District in Ukraine to Georgia and now back to Tambov again. The itinerary once taken by Dukhobors repeats 167 years later. Dukhobors leave Georgia for those places from where their ancestors, blamed for sectarianism, were exiled by the king initially to the Ukraine and then to the Caucasus. The reason of leaving Georgia for Dukhobors is hard social conditions and oppression on ethnic grounds.

50 families of Dukhobors, or 750 Russians moved to Tambov district from Ninotsminda in December. They change their residential area within the framework of the special program "Repatriation of Our Compatriots" initiated by Vladimer Putin, the president of Russia.

Village Gorelovka looks like a market today. Everything is on sale: houses, furniture, and household stuff.

Leaders of Dukhobors have already moved to Russia. Tatiana Chuchmaeva left this year. She always stated loudly that local government was indifferent to their problems and it supported their migration. 

Chuchmaeva was deputy governor of Ninotsminda district for a long time .For the last two years Dukhobors had not had any representative to the local government. Dukhobors claimed that “no one paid attention to our problems". 

It is the third massive repatriation of Dukhabors from Georgia into Russia. Armenian residents of distant villages and Georgian people, damaged by landslide in Ajara Region, settled in their villages. First problems appeared soon after that between old and new inhabitants.
Most local Russians say that the oppression on ethnic grounds has begun and it was one of the reasons for Dukhabors’ repatriation.

Large-scaled repatriation began after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Local Dukhobors settled near the border to the Ukraine in the south-west regions of Russia. The number of Dukhobors initially was 3500 in Javakheti region and finally it had reduced 4, 5 times. Now their total number is about 70 and they too are leaving Ninotsminda in April.

Gulo Kokhodze, Ninotsminda.

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