"Another strategic task is to set up support fund for the social and economic development of the regions near the conflict zones, in Mingrelia
(northwest Georgia) and Shida Kartli [central Georgia bordering North Ossetia]," he said
They regret that foreign ships put in to the shores of Mingrelia
only to try selling their own goods on a new market while finding local products not suitable for European usage because of their "lack of perfection." (82)
Ossetian and Abkhazian conflicts (not to mention the civil war that was conducted in Gamsakhurdia's home-region of Mingrelia following his ousting in January 1992) might have been avoided with the result that Georgia might have proceeded to peaceful and prosperous independence with no shrinkage of borders.
As there were Russian-language schools during Soviet times in Mingrelia, it can be concluded that not all Mingrelians will necessarily be fluent in Georgian, though most probably are; however, by no means all ethnic Mingrelians know Mingrelian, as many were brought up in a purely Georgian-speaking environment.
Georgians from the neighboring provinces of Imeretia and Mingrelia
were the second choice, on the basis of geographical similarities (and implicitly religious ones as well).
It was presumed that Iran might support insurgencies in Kurdistan along the proposed route of the BTC pipeline, following the example of the Russian government, which likely incited unrest in Georgia's Mingrelia
region shortly before the final decision by the countries involved that the BTC project would indeed be realized in 1998.
Abasha is in eastern Mingrelia, the district Gamsakhurdia hails from.
Not only did the Russians arm the South Ossetians in their vicious eighteen-month war of independence; when the Abkhazians, living in the autonomous republic to the west of Mingrelia, first rose up, in late 1991, they accused the Russians of supplying the Georgians with weaponry (which they were, under the terms of a previous agreement) at the same time as the Georgians were denouncing the Russians for arming the Abkhazians.
Thus, when authorities in Mingrelia
requested in 1834 that local Orthodox clergy be exempt from the task of keeping metrical books because of their poor education and limited literacy, the Synod's office in Tiflis responded that the introduction of such records "is indispensable for the good of Mingrelians themselves in their exercise of general civil rights and in religion." Later, in 1905, the chancellery of the viceroy of the Caucasus noted that the development of "civil consciousness" (grazhdanstvennost') among Muslims was producing ever-greater need for documentation based on metrical books, while "the absence of those civil acts impedes progress among Muslims"--for example, by blocking their access to educational institutions.