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TIMEO DANAOS… More than 30 hundred persons reportedly crossed into Abkhazia from Russia during the last three days, after Moscow and Sukhumi unexpectedly agreed on lifting the COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Although the Abkhaz economy is reeling without Russian tourists, its healthcare is in dire straights, and infection rates have been perking up recently. Russia’s pandemic is considered rather uncontrolled and under-reported, yet as of August 1, the Russian Federation has confirmed over 845,000 cases. Apparently, the Abkhaz medics are unhappy, saying the Russians bearing
gifts viruses might “choke up” the system. Alexander Ankvab, their head of government told them to buck up or pack up.
AXIOS, OR?! Is he truly worthy? That is the cry as the academic council re-confirmed Giorgi Shervashidze as the rector of Tbilisi State University – the country’s oldest. Shervashidze stands accused of lifting 40 pages of his 140-page dissertation from a brochure, without quoting the authors. He denies the charge. Instead, the rector launched a counter-strike against one of his detractors, sociology professor Kachkachishvili, for re-publishing his own dissertation as a book. Truly, plagiarism is becoming a whip, and academia can be quite a nest of spiders.
LINGERING DOUBTS Georgians are significantly less likely to fully trust
the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC), sociologists found comparing 2008 data (75% said they fully trust GOC) with 2019 (only 33% of the surveyed said so). Yet, the outright distrust towards the church did not tick up. Those who have lost their true faith, remain ambivalent, says Dustin Gilbreath (@GilbreathDustin) of CRRC in his recent piece published in Caucasus Analytical Digest. Much of this decline seems to be connected with last year’s infighting and scandals and might even get exacerbated with the GOC’s reticence to adopt safety gestures during the COVID-19 crisis. Yet it is a long-term trend. While secular-minded Tbilisites might celebrate the reduction of the Church’s influence, one must not underestimate the importance of unifying institution, writes Gilbreath.
Georgia remembers the 2008 war in August – the wound that is still fresh. On this day, 4 August 2008, a 30-minute exchange of fire took place in the morning between Tskhinvali-controlled village Dmenisi and Georgian peacekeeping checkpoint on Sarabuki heights. Russian-backed Tskhinvali leader Eduard Kokoity said that 300 volunteers have already arrived from the Russian Federation’s North Ossetia region to help his armed units against the Georgians. Kokoity also says he expects a total of two thousand volunteers.
That’s full lid for today!