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Journal number 3 ∘ Paata KoguashviliGivi TalakvadzeIoseb Archvadze
The Mountainous Region of Georgia – An Essential Component of the Country s Strategic Development

Georgians are a nation with ancient independent culture and traditions. Our past and future are conditioned and internalized by religious, rational, or emotional origins connected to the land. All this led to different habits, desires, and aspirations of Georgians in practical life, which derives from the tradition of eternal relationship with the land.
Any initiative, a declaration about the accelerated development of the national economy will remain only an expression of goodwill, if it does not take into account the task of complex development of agriculture, the condition for the formation, preservation, and reproduction of the village as the living space of the Georgian nation, the most important component of preserving the national identity. In addition, since a large part of the villages of Georgia are located in the mountains, the settlement and life of Georgians in this area is not only economically utilitarian. It has multifaceted, including demographic, cultural, and defensive functions. Accordingly, the basic interests of the village (community), the organizational household unit formed by the historical coexistence of the local population, and the motivation and conditions of life in the mountains must be taken into account.
Georgia is generally a mountainous country - only 13% of the entire territory and more than 9/10 of the population come to the bar; The rest - 87% is occupied by mountains and foothills - with no more than 7-8% of the country's population. Because of this, the issue of economic and demographic "Reconquista" of the mountainous region of Georgia (re-economic and demographic recovery of depopulated, abandoned villages) is being faced with all severity. - The state cannot function normally without the harmonious coexistence and reasonable balance of mountain and plains, material and spiritual, well-being, and morality.
The main goal of rural development is to approximately equalize the current (social-cultural) status of the rural population with the status of the urban population, which is of crucial importance for the preservation and development of human resources in rural areas and, thus, for the growth of agriculture and agri-food production.
One of the main tasks of the state policy should be to take care of the population living in rural areas, support and raise the authority of agricultural labor. This is impossible if there is no adequate assessment of the economic and social importance of the land and the formation of attitudes. Land is not only a natural resource and one of the main components of production along with labor and capital, but it is also a state territory, a living space of a nation, and a determinant of its identity.
In such a case, the physical distribution of the population would receive (return to) the state of distribution of the Georgian nation that is economically and geographically optimal and appropriate for the state's strategic interests.
The intensive utilization of mountain potential should be carried out in the format of sustainable development, ecological balance, and safe use - both within the framework of the preservation and development of nature, cultural landscapes, and recreational areas and in relation to the local population, tourists and vacationers, on the basis of appropriate institutional, economic and organizational measures. In general, strengthening of the economic and defense functions of mountain dwellers, substantial improvement of living conditions, and equalization with the level of urban settlements should be carried out - through the provision of appropriate production, communication, and social infrastructure and maximum and effective use of local resources.
All this, together with the efforts of the state, organically requires the cooperation of farms, without which, the existence of small-land farms in the mountainous regions of Georgia is possible only at a low-tech level, which cannot ensure their entrepreneurial development. Therefore, like other developed countries, the state must take responsibility and assume the coordinating role of this extremely important process, to ensure the transfer of state-owned land, forest, pasture, water, and mineral resources within the territorial limits of the village to the communities in permanent ownership and use.
But a village deprived of community property is no longer a Georgian village, but a settlement left to its fate, where the population deprived of public land lives, and not an indigenous community. Until the community becomes a legal entity that owns community property, it is unlikely that community ownership of land will regain a specific legal and economic meaning.
The rural community must regain the unconditional and inalienable right to its own estate; This means, first of all, that common, community-use land - pasture, mowing, water fund land, forest fund land (and not only!) must be legally returned to the community.
The implementation of the mentioned measures organically demands the determination of the status of the village (community), and its institutionalization, which implies the return of all kinds of resources to the permanent and free ownership and use of the community.
In the case of the optimal organization of the mentioned model, the most difficult military-political, economic, and demographic issues related to the border sectors of the high mountains will be solved without additional financial expenses from the state and without changes to the internal territorial arrangement of the country.
The people living here will simultaneously perform the functions of the country's watchman, border guard, and caretaker, i.e. responsible and full-fledged owner.
The implementation of measures for the development of mountainous regions of Georgia, along with modern knowledge, requires a great deal of financial and technological resources. In addition, its performance is related to the fulfillment of certain conditions. This is the strong political will of the government and the realization that the "reconquest" of the mountainous region of Georgia is the highest national priority and belongs to the category of state interests, such as the rational and effective use of the integral resources of the country, the transit function of the global regional scale, a balanced demographic situation, and harmonious relations between them.
Revival of rural Georgia should be done mainly by our own efforts, at the expense of our material and demographic resources. At the same time, the opportunity provided by the Association Agreement signed with the European Union should be used to the maximum extent. Making appropriate changes in the mentioned agreement would give the opportunity to the mountainous region of Georgia to implement institutional, economic, and organizational measures faster and more complexly to ensure sustainable and dynamic development.
The bottom line of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union, which entered into force in July 2016, is political association and economic integration. On the basis of the mentioned, a deep and comprehensive free trade space is operating between the European Union and Georgia. This successful cooperation is focused on the implementation of priorities and priorities set by the Georgian government. In addition, none of such programs or projects are purposefully focused on revitalizing the mountainous region of Georgia. Until now, the European Union has not clearly set the task of adapting aid programs for the revitalization of Mtianeti to the Government of Georgia. This problem can be easily solved if there is political will on both sides. Accordingly, it is necessary that the directions of specific assistance for the revival of the mountainous regions of Georgia should be given a proper place in the future negotiations between Georgia and the European Union.
In addition to the European Union, the US government also has relevant aid programs. The main directions of assistance to Georgia are determined by the Charter on the existing strategic partnership between the two countries. Here, too, it is extremely important for us to emphasize the necessity of development of mountainous regions and adjust the programs to the task of reviving the mountainous regions of Georgia. U.S. assistance in strengthening the function of the Georgian mountain village as a "watchman" would be especially valuable, which would revive and strengthen the territorial and defensive function of the historically community-military democracy of the mountain settlements of Georgia.
And finally - the restoration and development of the historical and natural function of the mountainous region of Georgia, taking into account the peculiarities of the current global agenda, goes beyond the geopolitical and geoeconomic interests of a single country and should be generalized on an international scale.

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Кyewords: Community; mountainous country; village; community agriculture; community demography; community cooperation; optimal development.
JEL Codes: O13, P32, Q19