The Dominance of Imported Goods

Author: Tamara Terashvili

After the 2008 Georgian-Russian war, besides the challenges of reconstruction, people living in South Ossetia  faced problems with the quality of products. Though the variety has risen, it is hard to find anything produced locally. The market is full of imported goods.

On weekdays, the residents of Tskhinvali can buy products which are brought from the republics of the North Caucasus. Of course, local vegetables, fruits and Ossetian cheese can be found in small quantities on the big market, on Sundays.

Rabbits sold on the Sunday market.

Villagers with their local products.

The villagers of Dmenis bring their products themselves.

Sometimes villagers have to stand all morning waiting for a buyer. They would like to sell all at once, so they don’t have to take what’s remaining back to the village.

The sellers of the hot drinks earn money in the cold weather, as the traders have to stand near the counters not only during the summer time, but also in winter.

Traders with the local products can be seen in the Sunday market from early morning.

In comparison to the imported products, the prices of which increased since the 2008 war, the local products became way more expensive. For example, if 1 kg of local tomatoes cost 20 roubles then, now you can buy ones for 5 times the price. The demand for the local products is high. Formerly no one would question the quality of the products. Things changed when products from Kabardino Balkaria, Chechnya and other were imported. Now it’s the origin of the product that interests the buyer more, than the price. The difference in taste is considerable, and it’s hard to change the preferences.

"The local vegetables are, certainly, demanded by everyone. Those are delicious, just smell them. Then all the vegetables were like this, and now there are already these imported vegetables, from the north, for example, from Kabardia. Sometimes the imported ones are like plastic. They say, that the tomatoes will even crack if you throw them. I didn’t try, I don’t know”, said a middle aged woman, who was looking for cucumbers.


In the bazaar, very often, local products are sold in line with the ones imported from North Ossetia.

There are a lot of cheeses. However, not all of them are made the traditional way and buyers know it.

The Sunday market is usually full of people from the morning. Locals come here to buy products with cheaper prices for the whole week.

The local products are not in packages. This is how how they are distinguished from the imported ones. The latter are less demanded.

Every vendor sells what grows in the garden.

As an alternative to the imported birds, live chickens can be found in the market. However, their price is several times more expensive.

The redfin perch is high in demand. It is imported from Russia. The local fish is not sold in large quantities, neither fresh or dried.

Traders with the local products can be seen in the Sunday market from early morning.

Sometimes the vegetables and fruits are imported from Georgia by the Azeris through Leningorsky region. The locals claim that the latter can be identified by the appearance, and those have rich aroma and good taste. Those have nearly the same price as the North Caucasian ones; however, people buy them more.

The untilled fields of South Ossetia, despite the absence of any conditions for development, has led many entrepreneurs to take on the risky business. Many of those were lost, but there are also the ones, who slowly but confidently moved forward.

Vitaly Dzhioev breeds fish in one of the canyons of South Ossetia. In addition to his own benefit, he contributed to the restoration of fish fauna in the gorge. According to him, poachers killed all the local fish, catching them with electric shocks and chemical whiteners. He admits that he once killed fish in similar ways. It took four years of a total ban on fishing, so that they again appeared in the gorge.

(audio translation)-It’s already 4 years, that fishing here has been prohibited.

-Even catching with a fishing rod is prohibited, because the fishers destroyed everything here.

-So now there are several rivers, where no trout are left.

-If this project happens, we will supply the whole of Ossetia with our mountain trout.

-No need for importing fish; trout is what our grandpas used to eat.

-Then Azeris complained, that my prices were too low. Our police made me shut the doors of my truck and go home.

-They didn’t let me sell anything more.

-I unloaded the truck at home, called my neighbours and gave the harvest to them. This is how things work here.

Yet Vitali doesn’t feed his fish, because he thinks that there are enough natural nutrients in the ponds. He hasn’t yet sold them either; since he is waiting for the natural offspring.

Ramaz Loladze decided to use some modern technology in the cultivation of cereal, vegetables and grapes. According to him, he and his colleagues can cover the whole demand of South Ossetia. But he doesn’t manage to sell this crops, because the market in Tskhinvali is occupied by imported products, and he does not have a permission to open his store.

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