Support The Moscow Times!

Seat Belt Requirement Lifted in Russia-backed Abkhazia Republic

Drivers in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia no longer need to wear seat belts within city limits, the Interior Ministry said, arguing that the requirement to buckle-up was putting an undue strain on local residents, a news report said.

"For us, people should always come first," Leonid Dzapshba, the interior minister of the Moscow-backed separatist republic, said, Gazeta.ru news portal reported Wednesday.

"I think that within city boundaries, such a rule [to wear seat belts] is, in practice, hard to fulfill," Dzapshba was quoted as saying, "Let's not conduct experiments on our own people."

The minister said that "adults are capable of driving a few blocks from home to work without buckling up," especially given municipal speed limits of 60 kilometers per hour or less, the report said. Dzapshba did not specify whether speed limits, unlike the seat belt requirement, were consistently enforced in Abkhaz towns.

The seat belt requirement would remain in effect on Abkhazia's highways, he said, Gazeta.ru reported.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.