Clashes between protesters and police in Pankisi. Screenshot from the 'Caucasian Knot' video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WOd5bOftv4

07 December 2019, 12:31

HPP construction aggravated confrontation among Pankisi residents

The Georgian Govt's plans to build the "Khadori-3" hydroelectric power plant (HPP) have split residents of the Pankisi Gorge into two camps; the conflict was exacerbated by the political confrontation.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on November 27, Vasil Mutoshvili, a Pankisi resident, was killed in the village of Sakobiano, Akhmeta District of Kakheti, and four persons were wounded. The conflict broke out among the local residents, who stick to different viewpoints on the HPP construction in the Pankisi Gorge.

"There has been a long conflict of the Kavtarashvili family with the Mutoshvili one, which escalated in 2012, prior to parliamentary elections in Georgia," Mamuka Areshidze, a political analyst and the head of the Caucasus Strategic Research Institute, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

"With the start of the HPP construction, and especially after the dispersal of the April rally, the conflict escalated and the murder was the culminated thereof," he said.

The construction of the HPP will improve the road and energy infrastructure in the Pankisi Gorge, but for the local residents, water and pastures are more important, and the villagers are afraid of losing them, Georgian economists note. Human rights defenders and the opposition criticized the Georgian authorities for aggravation of the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.

The detainees Kavtarashvili and Khangoshvili have confessed to the murder of Vasil Mutoshvili, as it follows from the video of the court session of the Telavi City Court, posted by the "Reginfo" News Agency, which was watched by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Pankisi residents don't believe that the above detainees were real killers. "Arbi Kavtarashvili and Ramaz Khangoshvili are just dummies, while real culprits are senior family members," Aslan Saubarishvili, a resident of the Pankisi Gorge, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on December 7, 2019 at 05:42 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Beslan Kmuzov; Source: CK correspondent

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