Fishermen, Sukhum

There is a shift change in Sukhum in the evenings. Russian tourists gather deck chairs, umbrellas, paranas and hide from the lack of sunshine in hotel lounges. Coastal pubs, where you can’t eat fish, Italian ice cream shops, trampolines, mobile massage studios are getting empty. When the sun goes down, locals appear on the shore. Some stay at the main entrance to the city promenade – local gambling thrives there, with the checkers and cards. The second part packs fishing rods, worms, folding stools and sits on decks and remnants of the military port.

No one seems to hurry anywhere. We observe motionless fishing rods, we talk. The sun is hiding more and more behind the horizon, the number of caught fish in the basket is not increasing. I have the impression that they did not come here for fish. Rather, for a moment of relaxation and detachment from everyday life.

They rather see everyday life in grey colors. High unemployment, low social benefits, lack of perspectives. The type of passport often determines social status here. You have Russian one – good for you, it provides you a higher pension, additional benefits, the possibility of going abroad. If for some reason you couldn’t or didn’t want to decide on this passport, the world ends up in Abkhazia and its limited possibilities.

We observe motionless fishing rods, we talk. The sun goes down, the next day ends. The fishermen have no pretensions to Georgians, maybe to politicians only. They just regret unexplored possibilities and a world to which they do not have access.

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