In the last period, more and more letters spread over where the authors describe in light colors how safe and hospitable became Pankisi Gorge, how kind and ready for help are people there and wait for rich tourists in their own “Guest Houses” and Camps
The fact that all is a funny false, was confirmed last week on Palm Day when the peaceful and touristic region rebelled against the state power
According to the owners of the “Guest Houses” their region is calm, but sometimes they add that in free areas, tourists must keep distance from relations with local youth, in order to avoid complications, rubbering, and quarrel. Small groups of extremal tourists describe scarce local sightseeing and say with exiting that “bearded man allowed us to shoot photos of the local Wahab’s Mosque”.
Nobody fixes fact that in no sites of the civilized world exists a necessity of obtaining permit for photo-shooting a church or a mosque. I am sure these tourists will never have a wish to speak with a bearded man if they could know that just half years ago he, together with fanatic armed crowd was fighting against unarmed persons of other religion, somewhere in Syria desert. There are many such “heroes” in Pankisi , some of them try to remain in “shadow” and even in cases of parties and funeral abstain themselves to join the gathered people, while the other – vice versa, always try to be active, become successful businessmen, like the brothers Pareulidze who are at the same time the orthodox Wahab and rich businessmen. At present, a change in the community leadership is an agenda. The Elders’ Council created by support of the state power, ha completely lost the confidence of locals in favor of those born in 1980s, that is not characteristic for the people from, mountainous regions. One of the worthy representative of this generation is 33 years old Ashab Pareulidze, son of Idrise, who received the theological education in Saudi Arabia. At the end of 2017 and early 2018 he received a title of Pankisi “Jamaat Amir: and is responsible for crewing new fighters for the so called Islmic Republic and even sent the first group there in Summer of 2018. In that group was the former military serviceman of Georgian army during 2014-2015, 23-years old isa Khangishvilim son of Yusuf. Ashab Pareulidze’s precedent Ali Pareulidze was 38 years old when arrived in Syria for redemption of crime, as the locals from the neighboring villages say. He was accused of misappropriation of money transferred from Syria for “Pankisi Jamaat”. Representatives of our special services indicate also that such acts of Ali Pareulidze even caused reduction of number of recruits in the terroristic organizations
Even one glance at the Pankisi Gorge is enough to understand that a life there is too far from the idyll some travel agencies describe in order to attract international and local tourists. unfortunately, about 300 young people from this region were participating in the middle east terroristic organizations and, have an experience of the partisan war. A part of them even today fights in different countries, including Ukraine and Afghanistan . if add to them potential criminal elements, who are now well familiarized to the radical thinking and consider themselves to be “high standing” than Christians and traditional Islamists (by some reasons they failed to leave the country despite of their wish, or are still underage), it will become more understandable how serious is for the State and the public the threats coming from them, while a perspective of reintegration of Kists who live now “in middle centuries” is not visible.
The problem should be resolved with multi-directed approaches, when in line with a strong law enforcement and legislative measures the consistent humanistic steps must be made. Besides, the so called Amiras should necessarily be restricted maximally in their influence and, a man must be punished for receiving this title like in case of “thief in law” Any attempt of such implications must be punished and any attempt of imposing such the life-style must be prohibited and rooted out, by help of church servants. Besides, the social-economic conditions are to be improved with ensuring employment, etc. Of course this is the long-term process but it should have to be started even yesterday
Founder of Eurasian Institute