Approximately 8,000 refugees from the Russian Federation have sought refuge in Georgia since the resumption of the Chechen conflict in 1999. Of these refugees, Chechens and Kists make up the majority.
Most of the Chechens and Kists who fled southern Russia settled in Pankisi Gorge, a valley northeast of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, in the region of Kakheti. The remainder took up residence in Tbilisi. The refugees chose to settle in Pankisi Gorge because there were ethnic Kists already residing there, some of whom were family relations. In addition, a condition of remaining in Georgia was that the refugees live in sites approved by the Georgian Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation. The Ministry selected Pankisi Gorge as the principal site for the settlement of
refugees from Chechnya.