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How has Georgia’s anti-contraband crackdown changed Shida Kartli?

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STORY
One month after the November 2003 Rose Revolution, Georgia’s new government began what became a massive anti-contraband campaign against breakaway South Ossetia. The aim was simple: return South Ossetia to Georgian control by cutting off the territory’s separatist leadership from its economic lifeline – the millions of dollars in contraband goods that flowed, unimpeded, from its territory into Shida Kartli and other Georgian regions.

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PROMISES vs. RESULTS
To weaken South Ossetia’s separatist leadership, the Saakashvili administration initially targeted the breakaway region’s contraband trade with neighboring Shida Kartli. Critics argue the plan backfired. Check out four government promises on this issue and their results.

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AT A GLANCE
Population: 309,900
Size: 4,808 sq. km
Main Town: Gori (pop: 48,900)
Average salary: 85 GEL ($47) per month


Legendary Roman general Pompey invaded this region around 66 B.C.

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GEORGIAN VOICES
"We know contraband is bad, but people here are poor."

Anonymous,
Shopkeeper, Ergneti

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"We cannot stop contraband 100 percent until we have control over Roki Tunnel"

Guram Vakhtangashvili,
Member of Parliament, Liakhvi Gorge

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"I don’t expect anyone to take care of me besides myself and my gun."

Anonymous,
Local Official, Patara Liakhvi

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