ISET Economist Blog

Khevsureti Fact of the Day
Saturday, 19 November, 2011

A fascinating mountain region at the border to Chechnya, Khevsureti is quite isolated. According to a 2006 report by the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus, annual household incomes in the Shatili district of Khevsureti are:

    • 70-80 kg of melted butter, half of which is family consumed and half sold. Income is 175 – 200 Euro (2.5 Euro per kg.).
    • 600-800 kg of cheese, 70-80 kg of which is family consumed and the rest sold (2 Euro per kg). Income is approximately 1400 Euro.
    • Cattle are also sold (cows, calves). Income is 1500 - 2000 Euro.
    • The total annual income from cattle-breeding is between 2500 and 3000 Euro.

Better roads would boost incomes, as transportation costs on the road from Shatili to Tbilisi are double the transportation costs on the average Georgian road.

Ironically, in the last 30 years, Khevsureti has twice come close to becoming a transit corridor between Georgia and Russia. In the 1980s a railway project was started that would have connected Tbilisi and Vladikavkaz, via the Shatili district. The project would have taken 15-20 years, at a cost of 1.6 billion roubles. Starting in the Glasnost period, the project encountered protests and never went beyond a few concrete arches which are still visible on the road to Shatili.

The second time Shatili almost became a transit corridor was in the 1990s, when Chechen insurgents build a makeshift road, in an attempt to establish a road connection between the Chechen Republic and the outside world.

The views and analysis in this article belong solely to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the international School of Economics at TSU (ISET) or ISET Policty Institute.