The government of Abkhazia has to fight with the public to pass the “apartment law.” After the local councils of Gulripshi and Pitsunda, the Gudauta District Council is now opposing the adoption of the “apartment law”.
Scholars and representatives of the “creative intelligentsia” oppose the law. Editor of the Chegemskaya Pravda newspaper Inal Khashig, together with Aamta Foundation expert Alkhas Dzhindzholia and lawyer Said Gezerdava, discuss the economic and legal components of this project and the negative public sentiment around it.
According to the presenter of the program, Inal Khashig, he does not remember a greater social activity in the history of the statehood of Abkhazia than that caused by the “apartment law.” The so-called Abkhaz intelligentsia was especially active, considering this law harmful to Abkhazia.
Khashig asked lawyer Said Gerzedav to evaluate the law from a legal point of view. According to Gerzedava, the law has many legal shortcomings, in addition to the fact that it is conceptually unacceptable and contrary to the interests of Abkhazia.
“Apartments, or more correctly, apart-hotels, are a property complex. A property complex that may consist of not one, or two, but several apartments. Accordingly, the apart-hotel comes with a plot of land and all the infrastructure. In this regard, we must pay tribute to the creators of the law; they set out in great detail what kind of infrastructure is possible on the territory of the apart-hotel. There is also public land there, even including walking areas. There may also be commercial premises, cafes, and even banks are mentioned. We can imagine what a colossal number of complexes could arise there. These could be entire isolated microdistricts,” says Gerzedava.
The lawyer also emphasizes the problem that will concern the access of law enforcement officers to the territory of the apartments. “Look at how the possibility of access to this territory is formulated. In urgent cases, it turns out that representatives of law enforcement agencies and other control bodies can enter the territory of this facility. That is, it is, in principle, closed to visits by ordinary citizens, and not only by citizens but also by representatives of government bodies. This is a very serious problem,” says the lawyer.
Alkhas Dzhindzholia also agrees with him, who considers this bill a very big threat and does not see any benefit in it for Abkhaz society. “We are faced with the most terrible, main enemy that we have not yet encountered, with huge money, capital, for which there is no conscience, no homeland, nothing at all except itself. There are no people for him, no countries for him. How to deal with this? Just listen to each other, holding hands, roughly speaking,” says Dzhindzholia, adding that Abkhazia is “approaching the abyss.”
The participants in the conversation also noted a possible influx of population and an aggravation of the demographic problem, which is a serious issue for Abkhaz society. According to them, we are talking about 70 thousand people, about whom government officials say that they will not become part of Abkhaz society. However, opponents of the law do not believe this claim, fearing that the Abkhaz people will become an even larger minority in Abkhazia.
Alkhas Dzhindzholia also emphasized Abkhazia’s infrastructure problems, which may not be able to withstand the influx of so many people: “Abkhazia’s water supply is bursting at the seams. There are no new water intakes, the pipes are outdated, etc. This needs to be addressed. Water quality, sewerage, we all had to deal with rotavirus infection. Water quality, there are no water treatment plants anywhere in this country. There were pipes stretched far out to sea and they had already rotted and were leaking somewhere. You triple, double all the consumption and waste, what will happen, imagine what will happen.”
According to experts, the threat to the private tourism sector is also an important issue. “Imagine how many beds can be created in the apartments. This area will attract Russian tourists; probably, the private sector will simply die, because it will not be able to compete with the landscaped territory, with the relative comfort of the apartment building. This agenda and consequences are completely not in the interests of local entrepreneurs. The private sector is not only people who rent out their homes but also private hotels, large and small. We know that the price tag for staying in a hotel is high, but maybe the price tag for an apartment will be much more affordable. Look what serious competition there will be in this regard,” Gerzedava concludes.
The panelists also discussed ways to circumvent this law. According to them, there are several ways for this – for example, if the initiator of the bill withdraws the law or if parliament abandons it due to low support from deputies.