SUKHUM -- Thirty-seven immigrants were presented today with keys to two- and three-room apartments in a building in the village of Machara in Gulripsh raion restored at the expense of the state.The keys were handed over to the new owners of the apartments at a special ceremony at the State Committee for Repatriation. Present at the ceremony were Feridun Akusba, president of Turkey’s Federation of Abkhaz Cultural Centers; Talat Kapba, head of Cultural Center in İnegol; and Vadim Kharazia, deputy head of the Gulripsh Raion administration responsible for repatriants.
"Last fall our State Committee purchased this building for 55 million rubles ($1.63 million, EUR 1.31 million), and more than 20 million rubles was spent on restoring it,” said State Committee for Repatriation chairman Zurab Adleiba. He said the layout of the building is excellent. It is located a few minutes’ drive from Sukhum, and next door to the Gulripsh Raion administration building.
The Gulripsh administration will soon complete work on providing energy and water supplies to the building, after which the new owners can decorate the interior according to their taste.
Adleiba explained how the apartments were allocated. Naturally, preference was given to veterans of the 1992-1993 War and to families with many children. Most of those who received apartments are immigrants from Turkey. In addition, several repatriants from Syria who returned about six months ago will also live in the new building, together with some from Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Adjara.
According to Zurab Adleiba, the recipients of the apartments include several unmarried couples who have assured him they intend to start a family as soon as they receive accommodation. "We hope that they will keep their word," said the head of the State Committee for Repatriation.
Some immigrants arrived in Abkhazia without their families because they did not have homes of their own. Now they will be able to bring their wives and children here. As it turned out, some of those who received housing have already left for Turkey to collect their families.
According to Repatriation Fund Chairman John Smyr, this is a happy occasion. He congratulated the returnees on obtaining apartments and wished them happiness and joy.
Nizam Kapat, who is a repatriant and a veteran of the 1992-1993 war and father of three children, returned to the homeland in the early 1990s as one of a group of students. He is now a successful businessman who has founded a business that employs quite a number of repatriants.
"I am happy that our country, which emerged from a bloody war and survived a brutal blockade, is now in a position to repair buildings and provide accommodation for fellow Abkhaz. This is a great event for us. Such things are an incentive for those who have not yet decided to come back," said Kapat.
Vadim Kharazia spoke on behalf of the Gulripsh Raion Administration and congratulated the repatriants on being provided with housing. He also noted that construction of more homes for repatriants has started on a 3 hectare site in the village of Machara. He said there are also plans to build a school and kindergarten there.
"I assure you that the district administration will do everything possible to support and assist our compatriots," Kharazia said.
Then each owner was handed the keys to his apartment.
"We are delighted to have returned to our homeland, it was the dream of our fathers and grandfathers," said repatriant Aydin Akolgba. He said this is largely thanks to those who laid down their lives for the freedom of Apsny.
İnegol Cultural Center head Talat Kapba reminded those who have been given accommodation how fortunate they are.
Feridun Akusba, in turn, said that Abkhazia is a small country, but beautiful and attractive."And the nature and geographical location cannot fail to interest even those who do not recognize this country,” he said. “Abkhazia emerged from a difficult war and is gradually finding its feet.”
He said Turkey’s Federation of Abkhaz Cultural Centers of Turkey, which he heads, brings together different people, including businessmen, who can help their country. "That is why the Federation has taken on the restoration of a kindergarten in the village of Dranda where many repatriants live,” Feridun Akusba said. That news was met with applause from those present.
A house is currently under construction in the village of Dranda for returnees from Syria. In early May, 27 people returned to Abkhazia to live there permanently. In contrast to the building for returnees from Turkey, the building in Dranda will undergo interior renovation and be redecorated.
The repatriants from Syria will only have to move in and start living there, Apsnypress’s correspondent was told at the State Committee for Repatriation.
Meanwhile, they are staying temporarily residing in the hotel "Aytar" and are learning Abkhaz. Representatives of various organizations and ordinary people constantly come and bring them presents. Just a few days "Gossvyaznadzor" and the city prosecutor's office brought strollers, bicycles, toys and clothing for the children.