Georgia always has been a multi-ethnic state, where people with different ethnic origin and religious affiliation peacefully co-existed. Akhmeta Municipality and in particular, Pankisi Gorge has been an exemplary model of such peaceful cohabitation.
After the Chechen war of 1999, Georgia received a large group of Chechen refugees. 90% of these refugees still live in Pankisi. Now more than 900 Chechen refugees and naturalized refugees reside in Pankisi Gorge. Since 2009, the Georgian state has been providing them with the Georgian citizenship through naturalization (granting dual Georgian and Russian citizenships).
From 17 villages of Pankisi Gorge, 12 villages are densely populated with Chechen refugees and Kists, they constitute 17% of the Akhmeta Municipality (more than 8400 persons). 50% of them (more than 3000) are 15-25 years old.
The Pankisi Valley
The socio-economic conditions in Pankisi are difficult due to the vacuum of information, remote location and social isolation. Unemployment is high. Only 10% of the entire population is officially employed.More than 50% of the population is between the ages of 15-25. They lack educational, vocational and employment opportunities.
Pursuing a public career is also limited. Even sport/physical activities are becoming impossible, as there is no infrastructure (sport center, stadium) developed. What is an everyday element of life for the youth living in other parts of Georgia is only a dream for those living in Pankisi.