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Trading in the shadow of the Winter Olympics

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Trading in the shadow of the Winter Olympics


People from the breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia cross the border into Russia to buy and sell daily.

The cross border trade takes place just a few kilometres from Sochi.

Security has been heightened with a ring of steel erected to keep extremists out of the Olympic zone six kilometres from the Games Park. Some traders fear the crackdown could restrict their movement.

“Every day we cross the border, bring a little and sell our goods. We do it as we must eat – we have to do something. In Abkhazia of course there is work but very little. And about the Olympics, well we want our Russia to win, we cheer for Russia of course,” explained Mukhmunad Ashabokova who sells tangerines.

Abkhazia’s status is disputed by Russia and Georgia. Many Western nations do not recognise it and consider it part of Georgia though Tibilisi is not in control.

Moscow recognised the country as an independent nation after Russian forces crushed the Georgian army in a short war in 2008. The Georgians had in Soviet times administered Abkhazia and were once the majority population.

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