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Trip to the Gali Sea in Abkhazia

Olga Fedorovna and Leonid Petrovich Medvedev visited a base that was once a center for training Soviet rowers, and now is a sad sight. In the material two videos – before and after the war.
In the south-east of Abkhazia, almost at the very border with Georgia, lies the Gali reservoir. It is surrounded by picturesque mountains and is so large that it is called the sea. The Gali Sea is as beautiful as the famous Ritsa Lake, only on the shores you will not find any cafes, boats or tourists.
In the Soviet period, on the Inguri River, cascade hydroelectric power stations were built, with a capacity of more than one and a half million kilowatts. Today, only a few blocks are functioning, but they uninterruptedly provide Abkhazia and Western Georgia with energy.
Nearby is the ghost town of Gal. In the years 1905-1906 he was the center of a large agricultural region of Abkhazia. This area was called the Samurzakan Republic in honor of its ruler.
Most of the area is located on the Colchis Lowland, so the prevailing landscape is flat or hilly. Samurzakan was the most densely populated and most agriculturally developed region of Abkhazia. In these parts fertile conditions for citrus orchards, tea and nut plantations. The weather is warm all year round.
30 years ago, rowers from the USSR national team traditionally prepared for the summer season at the rowing base 10 km from the Georgian border on the Gali reservoir. There were national championships and other all-union regattas.

A few days ago Olga Fedorovna and Leonid Petrovich Medvedev visited these places and visited the rowing base, or rather, what was left of it after the war. The trainers were accompanied by a conductor, Malkhaz, who told a lot about the past and present of these places.
The Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-1993 turned one of the richest regions of the country into a wasteland. For two years the Georgian and Abkhaz peoples found out their relations, fought for the land, destroyed each other. The Gali district suffered more than others, so now it is so strikingly different from the rest of Abkhazia.
After the failure of the army, most of the Georgian population of Abkhazia left their homes and returned to their homeland. Gali district was dehydrated. At the end of 1993, only old men could be found in the looted villages. Later, residents returned here, but a huge number of Georgian houses are still empty. Nobody restores them and does not inhabit. The same fate befell the rowing base. From the former center of sports training were only memories and dilapidated walls.
The war ended more than 20 years ago. However, neither culture, nor sports, nor art yet show signs of life. The economy is in decline, the settlements look deplorable, the inhabitants are in poor condition. The stations have been destroyed, the railways have been dismantled, the opening of the airport in Sukhumi is only in the plans so far.
Nevertheless, various projects are being developed in the Gali district, the purpose of which is to restore the economic and social infrastructure. Agricultural production is gradually increasing, trade is developing. Time will pass, and this area may again become one of the highly developed and prosperous territories of Abkhazia.
Slowly but surely, relations between neighboring nations are improving. Malkhaz says that the locals understand the absurdity of the situation and do not want to conflict. Many of them are sure that it is the Americans who are to blame who have quarreled between Georgians and Abkhazians, and now they are doing the same trick with Ukrainians and Russians. “In Abkhazia, no one will fight again,” Malkhaz is convinced.
The case of sneakers, which attached legs
Malkhaz remembers the times when peace reigned in Abkhazia, and Soviet rowers came to train. He also remembered Vladimir Parfenovich, who, long ago, on the eve of the Olympics, stole running shoes. The event was funny!
Vladimir Vladimirovich came to the training, took off his shoes and, as usual, left his shoes on the raft. Only he sailed away from the coast, as if out of nowhere – the boy appeared on a canoe. Dogreb to the raft, quickly grabbed the sneakers and was like that! The 47-size footwear of the kid was, of course, useless, but Malkhaz could not let go of such a trophy. What was the indignation of Parfenovich, when he discovered the theft! Creek stood on all the Gali Sea, while the athlete did not bring other sneakers.
However, Vladimir Vladimirovich is no longer mad at Malkhaz. They talked on Skype and agreed to exchange gifts. One of them will receive a new pair of sneakers, and the other – a felt hat “Svanka”, a real Caucasian artifact.

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