-------------------- News from Abkhazia
chief denies Russian space junk falling on Abkhazia
Moscow, Russia has nothing to do
with the possible incident with a fragment of space junk that allegedly
fell onto the territory of Abkhazia on August 23, head of the Federal
Space Agency /Roskosmos/ Anatoly Perminov told Mayak radio on Tuesday.
"This information is incorrect. We're
closely watching all the major delivery vehicles and descent of all
spacecraft, especially large ones. There were no Russian spacecraft in
that area," Perminov said."We have an outer space control system in
Russia; together with the Ministry of Defense we monitor all orbiting
units. As of today, we monitor more than 6,000 spacecraft at altitudes
of up to 40,000 kilometers. None of these units monitored by Russia have
fallen within the boundaries of the territories of the Black Sea coast,
Abkahzia or Georgia," he told Vesti television program.
"There're another 4,000 space objects we
do not control. This variant / their falling in the designated area/ is
possible. I don't see any guilt of Roskosmos or the Ministry of Defense
in this event," Perminov underlined.
A report from Sukhum on Monday said
fragments of a de-orbiting spacecraft had fallen onto the territory of
Abkhazia. This conclusion was drawn by Abkhazia's state environment
service after the questioning of eyewitnesses and an analysis of the
trajectory and size of the spacecraft.
Head of this department Roman Dbar said a
space object was sighted over the Black Sea at 21:35, Moscow time, on
August 23. It entered dense layers of the atmosphere, caught fire and
defragmented. Larger chunks fell in the area of the Main Caucasus Ridge,
while smaller parts burnt down in the atmosphere.
Scientists believe these fragments were
parts of de-orbiting "space junk."
6,000 take part in
war games in Abkhazia
Military games have been held in Abkhazia,
with around 6,000 personnel involved.
The battlefield lies in the Caucasus
Mountains, several kilometres from the Kodor Gorge.
The “enemy" forces were brought up to the
Abkhazian border. The strategic route between the East and West of
Abkhazia was under threat.
The first day of the war games ended with
success. All targets were hit and the enemy was defeated. As the second
day-scenario unfolds, the enemy tries to land from the sea.
“We are satisfied. People who once lived
through a war, know how important it is to mobilise quickly and to be
disciplined,” said Sergey Bagapsh, Abkhazian President.
concerns from Abkhazian Muslims
Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh heard concerns from a select group of
Abkhazian Muslims over their security of life after an imam and his
friend were shot down in Gudauta.
The Muslim group
received official assistance from the Abkhazian Religious Directorate in
meeting with President Bagapsh. The president heard from the Muslim
group a formal request first to order an urgent official inquiry into
the killings of both Hamzat Gitsba, the imam in Gudauta, and his friend
Ruslan Assadulin and then to have criminals brought to court.
Bagapsh later told the
group that both a group of prosecutors and security officers have
launched an investigation into the killings. “Abkhazia has always been a
multi-religious country and has always been known for its tolerance
towards people with different faiths,” he said, and asked for assistance
from the Abkhazian Muslim society with the investigation. Gitsba and
Assadulin were gunned down on August 17 in central Gudauta.
08.24.2007 Agency Caucasus
Abkhazia’s air space
Sukhum, At about 09:35 p.m. Moscow
time (06:35 p.m. GMT) on August 22, Abkhazia’s air space was violated
from the Georgian side by an aircraft that flied above the village of
Bargyal, Gal District, Abkhazia. Approximately at the same time, the
violation of the air space was registered in Kodor Gorge near the
village of Tsebelda (Abkhaz President Sergey Bagapsh is today on visit
their to observe Armed Forces maneuvers), a REGNUM correspondent was
informed by presidential Envoy in Gal District Ruslan Kishmaria.
According to Kishmaria, residents of Gal District saw the aircraft too.
“They heard the sound and saw a flash. No explosions have been
registered,” the envoy said.
The Abkhaz Foreign Ministry made a
statement on the matter that “an aircraft appearing in the Abkhaz air
space from the Georgian territory is another evidence of Georgian
leadership’s unwillingness to follow the way of civilized conflict
The ministry also states that on the
background of the recent attempts of the Georgian leadership to accuse
Russia in violating the Georgian air space provocative actions are taken
that can result in open confrontation between the parties. “Such
activity by Georgia is treated by Abkhazia as an act aimed at escalating
tension in the conflict zone,” the statement says.
The Abkhaz side, while drawing attention
of international mediators and participants of the negotiation process
to the fact of violating air space of the Republic of Abkhazia, finds it
necessary to warn Georgia that such provocations will have a proper
assessment and result in adequate response from the Abkhaz side.
Georgia in bioterrorism
Sukhum, “Analysis of activity of
Georgian agencies to prevent from epidemic of East African swine plague
brings to an idea of an act of bioterrorism,” announced Abkhazia’s Chief
Veterinary Inspector Erik Anshba.
“Judge by yourself: bodies of dead animals
were not utilized under current regulations, but thrown into the sea and
Kodor River. As a result, even specialists from Russian agencies stress
in their report danger for the whole region of Black Sea east coast,”
Anshba added. He also announced a possibility of Abkhaz, Georgian and
Russian specialists’ meeting, where they would discuss joint actions to
combat the East African swine plague epidemic, the official website of
the Abkhaz president informs.
Early August, the Abkhaz Veterinary
Service reported on finding dead pigs infected by the East African swine
plague in Kodor River. Rosselkhoznadzor (Russian agricultural watchdog)
addressed the Georgian National Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant
Protection Service asking to take immediate measures to prevent from
such incidents and observe regulations of the Terrestrial Animal Health
Code of the International Office of Epizootics.
The Abkhaz government and special agencies
are taking action to combat the dangerous epidemic, under which the
livestock in eastern Abkhazia is to be annihilated.
Mass loss of cattle caused by the East
African swine plague (Montgomery’s Disease) was registered in Kakhetia,
Samegrelo, Guria, Imereti, and in Samtskhe-Javakheti in June. Overall in
Georgia, more than 20,000 swine were killed by Montgomery’s Disease. On
June 7, a number of countries, including Armenia, Abkhazia, South
Ossetia and Azerbaijan, introduced ban for exports of pork from Georgia.
Spiritual Board of Muslims of Abkhazia
to demand disclosure of killing
of Gudauta mosque imam from low enforgement agencies
Sukhum, Spiritual Board of Muslims of Abkhazia appealed to
President Sergei Bagapsh to promote disclosure of a murder of Imam of
Gudauta mosque Hamzat Gitsba.
mosque's imam in Gudauta Hamzat Gitsba together with a resident of Ufa
Ruslan Assadulin was killed on Friday, 17 August
According to the
Muslims of Abkhazia, the method of the murder indicates that it was the
requires law enforcement authorities to effectively investigate the
Gitsba, one of the two imams in Abkhazia, was shot down in central
on August 17, Friday.
Ruslan Selahaddin, who
comes from Ufa/Bashkiria,
was also injured in the attack. Some unidentified people fired from a
car at Gitsba and Selahaddin, according to a statement from the Gudauta
regional administration. As Gitsba died immediately after he was shot
down, Selahaddin was hospitalized. The police later found an empty car,
believed to be abandoned and burnt by attackers. The police are looking
for clues as well as details to find out the reason behind the attack.
Hamza Gitsba was working as an officer of the Religious Directorate of
Abkhazia. There are two mosques in Abkhazia; one is in Gudauta and the
other one is in Sukhum. These are actually officially allocated to the
Religious Directorate; however, they were not designed to be mosques.
The two mosques attract as many as 200 Muslim prayers each Friday. The
Religious Directorate announced that the Abkhazian Muslims have no links
to any radical organizations.
08.22.2007 Agency Caucasus
pursues investment from Russia and Middle East
The Abkhazian administration hopes to benefit greatly from the upcoming
international forum on economics, scheduled to October, in addition to
its efforts to attract as much foreign investment as possible amid
preparations for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympiads.
With the second
International Forum on Economics to be held in
Sochi , the turnout is expected to be
more when compared with that of last year.
Oleg Bartsis, a
representative of the Abkhazian administration for its policies of
investment in the, described the idea behind the Forum as offering both
Russian and Middle Eastern businessmen tempting opportunities of
investment in Sukhum.
Some major Russian
companies will join the forum, said Bartsis. “We have begun to receive
demands to join the forum. There is a good deal of interest in the
forum. The Olympiads are playing an important role as well.”
Some Russian companies
that joined last year the first forum in Pitsunda are currently having
their projects done.
08.19.2007 Agency Caucasus
leader in Abkhazia slain - source
Sukhum, A leading figure in a
Muslim community in Abkhazia was shot dead
early on Friday afternoon by "two unidentified individuals," a source in
Abkhaz law enforcement services said.
"Around 13:00 [Moscow time] today, at the entrance to a Muslim prayer
house, two unidentified individuals wearing masks and using handguns
with silencers shot dead a so-called informal leader of a Muslim mosque
in Abkhazia," the source told Interfax.
He said Abkhaz law enforcement services possessed evidence that the
victim, Rokki Gitsba, had been a follower of Wahhabism, a puritanical
trend in Islam.
"We have taken note of several persons who are on the territory of
Abkhazia's Gudauta district and share so-called Wahhabi ideas. The man
who has been killed was the leader of that group, according to our
information," the source said.
He said the Abkhaz Interior Ministry possessed intelligence that Gitsba
had been involved in hijacking the ferry Avrasya that was en
route from Trabzon, Turkey, to Sochi, Russia, in 1996.
Interfax has been unable to obtain any official confirmation of
economic Forum to be held in October in Abkhazia - Representation of
government of Abkhazia on investment policy in Russia
In the second half of
October in Abkhazia the IInd International Economic Forum will be
conducted. The Forum is organized by the representation of the
government of Abkhazia on Investment Policy in RF. The Forum brings
together companies of Russia and other countries of near abroad that
have or intend to carry out its activities, including investment in
Abkhazia. According to the head of the Representation of the government
of Abkhazia on Investment Policy in RF Oleg Bartsits, several major
Russian companies are interested in the Forum. "We have begun to receive
proposals to participate in the Forum. There is a serious interest in
the event. Not least, this is due to the general increase in interest in
the region in connection with the Olympic prospects," said O. Bartsits.
Representation of the Abkhaz government on Investment Policy in RF notes
that last year the Ist Forum in Pitsunda initiated interest of a number
of Russian companies, projects of which are being currently realized.
New names in
Winner of Tchaikovsky festival, the world-famous Abkhaz singer
Khibla Gerzmava is to hold concert "New Abkhaz Names" in Pitsunda
represents Abkhaz young musicians, the hope of classical music of
Among others in the
concert will take part tenor Alkhas Ferzba, pianist and graduate of
the Rostov Conservatory, Diana Bagdasarian, Astamur Kvitsiniya and
graduate of the Yerevan Conservatory Victoria Yudina, etc.
The concert will be
held in the framework of the festival "Kibla Gerzmava presents".
Holding the festival
in the Temple of Pitsunda once again confirms its status as a major
stage of classical music in the Caucasus.
understaning between Abkhazia and Volgograd region of Russia is signed
Sukhum, The head
of the Abkhaz delegation in Volgograd Deputy Prime Minister Alexander
Stranichkin and Volgograd region Governor Nikolai Maksiuta signed a
Memorandum of Understanding.
The memorandum noted that
the Republic of Abkhazia and Volgograd region of Russia will develop
cooperation in the socio-economic, scientific and technological,
environmental, cultural and other spheres.
Particular attention is
given to economic cooperation between the Volgograd area and Abkhazia.
The Abkhaz delegation intends to convince the local business community
in prospects of long-term investment in sectors such as tourism industry,
agro-industry, housing, etc.
In Volgograd the Abkhaz
delegation met with the Deputy Head of the Volgograd region for the
construction and housing and utilities Lev Alferov, President of
Volgograd Chamber of Commerce and Industry Alexander Belitskii, Chief of
the Regional Department of development of Enterprising Vladimir Demidov.
From 1 September
equity of commercial banks to be 20 million rubles – National Bank
President Sergei Bagapsh met with representatives of the banking
community. According to the President, commercial banks must meet the
standards of the global financial system. In accordance with amendments
to the law “On banks and banking activities”, from 1 September equity of
commercial banks should not be less than 20 million rubles. Earlier this
amount was 4 million rubles. As reported at the meeting by Chairman of
the National Bank Illarion Argun, of the 16 commercial banks operating
in the territory of Abkhazia, 6 financial institutions have not been
able to raise capital to the desired level. According to the Chief
Banker of the country if the situation does not change until Sept. 1,
the National Bank will be forced to take sanctions against those banks
that are not working in line with the new law. Prime Minister Alexander
Ankvab drew the attention of bankers to the need to enhance security
systems of banking institutions. President Sergei Bagapsh said that
conditions of collection of money should not be overlooked.
commemorate the war
Abkhazians commemorate today the war that lasted from 1992 to 1993 and
left thousands dead. Public marches from three different sides of the
country initiated the 15th anniversary commemorations on
14, a date in 1992 when the
Georgian occupation of Abkhazia began.
Marchers arrived in
the Red Bridge today. They first stood in a one-minute silence in
honour of those who died and then listened to speeches from Abkhazian
President Sergei Bagapsh, war veterans, families of the war victims
and some young people.
The organization is
intended to bring the entire Abkhazian youth together, said Shamil
Adzinba, Head of the Abkhazian Youth Committee, and stressed the
importance of marching additionally in the Georgian-majority province
of Gal as well.
There is a growing
increase in trouble between the two governments of Georgia and
Abkhazia 15 years after the war broke out, said President Bagapsh. The
Georgian government intends to have the new Georgian generation accept
chauvinism, the president argued, and pledged to struggle for the
national independence of Abkhazians.
share the same roof with Georgians; Abkhazia could at best be a good
neighbour to ,” said Foreign Minister of Abkhazia Sergei Shanba.
Commemorators then laid a wreath at the war grave.
Just as Abkhazians,
the Georgians commemorated in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, their
own victims of the war. Vahtan Gotseridze, relative of a war victim,
told Anatolian Agency that whatever happened at that time was a
complete tragedy. Someone else, Tarash Gvadzabiya, also told Anatolian
Agency how painful it is to remember the killing of as many as 100 000
Georgian troops. Gvadzabiya was, however, bitterly disappointed at the
low turnout for commemorations.
Future of our
motherland to be in trusty hands - President
Head of State Sergei Bagapsh spoke at a funeral meeting on the 15th
anniversary of the beginning of the Patriotic War of the people of
Abkhazia, which was held at Victory Square in Sukhum.
"Today is a very sad
date. 15 years separate us from the day when the crazy hatred of
nationalists came rioting, killing unarmed men, women, children, and
old people. All those who felt Abkhazia their Motherland were killed,"
said Sergei Bagapsh.
”The enemy was trying
to destroy our history. But we can not be wiped out. Young and old
came to defend our land. All of us - Abkhazians, Armenians, Russian,
Abkhazia, did everything to defend freedom. Our Diaspora, volunteers
came to our rescue. We will never forget your deed,” continued S.
"At this sacred place
where we are today, the first resist to occupation, a gang of
murderers took place. And we see that our young people remember the
feat of older generation, this is the mortgage of our future. Future
of the Homeland is "in reliable hands," said the Head of State
1992-1993 war in Abkhazia
Sukhum, Three groups of the Abkhazian youth began public marches
from some borderlands of the country towards the capital city of
Sukhum15 years after the
Georgian occupation started a war there in 1992.
final destination for young Abkhazian marchers is set to be the
RedBridgeregion where a
monument will later be erected in honour of the Sukhum war victims.
group is coming from the eastern side of the country, the other group
is coming from the western side. A third group began marching from the
Damhurts naval passage.
three groups will have the chance tonight to listen to stories from
war veterans as well.
Tuesday morning, the young Abkhazian marchers will organize a
commemorative event in the
the war started on August
14, 1992. The ending of the war will also be commemorated in the same
place on September 30.
Action devoted to
15th anniversary of Georgia-Abkhaz war begins
Sukhum, The youth action “Along the
Road of Memory Towards Freedom and Independence” has begun in Abkhazia.
It is timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the
Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993. Representatives of youth
organisations that have divided into three groups will follow the route
from the eastern and western frontiers of Abkhazia to Sukhum. Early on
Monday, one of the groups started from the border along the Ingur River
and another - from the border with Russia along the Psou River. The
third group will climb on the Damkhurts pass over which volunteers from
brotherly republics of the North Caucasus came to help Abkhazia.
On Monday evening, the first and second
groups of the march will get to Machara in the eastern direction and to
Gumista - in the western direction where they will meet with veterans
and participants of combat actions.
During the night, the march participants
together with the veterans will light candles to pay tribute to the
memory of soldiers that sacrificed their lives for freedom and
independence of Abkhazia.
In the morning of August 14 when Day of
Memory of the Fatherland Defenders is marked, the march participants
will head towards the Krasny (Red) Bridge in Sukhum where a meeting will
be held, and at 11:00 a.m., the nationwide commemoration minute of
silence will be announced. It is on the Krasny Bridge that the first
combat actions started on August 14, 1992 between Abkhazian militiamen
and troops of the Georgian State Council. A stone in the foundation of
the future monument will be laid in a square near the Krasny Bridge.
The meeting participants will lay wreaths
at the Glory Monument in downtown Sukhum where the remains of the
defenders of Abkhazia that were killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian war are
The Georgian-Abkhazian war continued for
413 days and ended on September 30, 1993. Over 12,000 Abkhazian soldiers
took part in the combat actions. According to the Abkhazian Defence
Ministry, over 2,700 died and over 5,000 were wounded. Volunteers from
the North Caucasus, south of Russia, representatives of the Abkhazian
Diaspora and far abroad countries fought together with the Abkhazian
people for their republic’s independence.
geopolitical game in the Caucasus
Moscow, (Sergei Markedonov for RIA
Novosti) - Fifteen years ago, on August 14, 1992, one of the worst
ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus - between Georgia and Abkhazia -
developed into a full-scale war, which lasted for 14 months.
Its main results were:
8,000 dead on both sides;
$11.3 billion worth of economic damage;
a changed ethno-demographic situation in
Abkhazia: the Georgians have become an ethnic minority (in different
estimates, between 150,000-200,000 Georgians were displaced; Georgia
puts the figure at 300,000);
Abkhazia's ethno-demographic losses in
1992-1993 were comparable to the Muhajirism of the 1860-1870s.
It would be no exaggeration to say that
today the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia is playing the biggest role
in a major geopolitical game in the Caucasus. The Abkhazian issue is the
main bone of contention between Russia and Georgia. Pro-Abkhazian
sentiments of some part of the Russian military and political
establishment are conducive to Georgia's pro-Western course, which is
also influencing Russia's chief political ally in the Greater Caucasus -
De jure, Abkhazia is part of Georgia. De
facto, Georgian sovereignty does not extend to the territory from the
Psou River to the Ingur River. The Abkhazian leaders do not control only
a small part of the republic in the upper reaches of the Kodor River.
Until July 2006, Georgia did not control it, either. But now Tbilisi is
trying to turn this hard-to-access area into a bridgehead.
Georgia's military defeat in 1993 was not
limited to geopolitical losses (Georgia lost 12.5% of its territory and
200 km of the Black Sea coast). As distinct from South Ossetia, it led
to the massive Georgian exodus from Abkhazia. In different estimates,
about 200,000 Georgians left Abkhazia. The Abkhazian leaders were ready
to discuss the refugees -- the most urgent problem for Georgia. They
merely wanted to sort out those Georgians who fought against Abkhazia in
1992-1993. Abkhazia has repeatedly voiced apprehensions that the return
of the Georgian refugees and a change in the ethno-demographic balance
in their favor might result in a new ethnic purge, this time by Georgia.
The Abkhazian leaders were particularly concerned over the return of the
Georgian (Mengrel) refugees to the predominantly Georgian Galsky region
- as of 1989, Georgians accounted for 93% of its population. They have
repeatedly rejected the idea of the "broadest possible autonomy" under
Georgian jurisdiction. Until 1992, Abkhazia had all attributes of
autonomy de jure, and the Abkhazians consider return to the autonomous
status no more than idle talk.
In its approach to both the South Ossetian
and Abkhazian problems, the team of the incumbent Georgian president is
trying to change the format of these inter-ethnic conflicts and turn
them into a Russian-Georgian issue. The ultimate goal of this
transformation is to internationalize the problem and deprive Russia of
its status of an exclusive guarantor of ethno-political stability in
Abkhazia. Mikheil Saakashvili named the United States, Ukraine and
Turkey as potential co-sponsors of the peace process.
We believe that under the circumstances,
the most rational decision is to delay all issues pertaining to the
republic's status until the settlement of major humanitarian problems (education,
medical treatment, conduct of business, free movement and contacts
between Georgians and Abkhazians). Only after progress is achieved in
their resolution, it will be possible to discuss Abkhazia's status. This
plan may seem cynical but this is the only chance to avoid re-division
of property and spheres of influence and escalation of inter-ethnic
tensions in Abkhazia. Russia and the United States could guarantee the
immunity of property and power in Abkhazia. Obviously, the Abkhazian
elite, which have been propelled to their current position by the
military victory in 1993, will be ready to discuss the republic's status
with Georgia only after receiving guarantees of keeping the acquired
resources and administrative rents. In this way Russia will ensure peace
and stability in its southern frontiers.
Sergei Markedonov is head of the ethnic
relations department at the Institute of Political and Military
The opinions expressed in this article are
the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
Abkhazia kills two Russian women
An explosion has killed two Russian women
in Abkhazia, close to the Russian border. Another girl was seriously
injured and had to have her leg amputated.
Ten tourists from Russia's Volga district
were celebrating the last day of their vacation with a picnic on the
Black Sea coast. The blast happened while they were cooking barbecue on
a rusty metal tube.
The site of the blast is said to be a
trench shelter dating from the Georgian-Abkhazian war of the early
1990s. Residents say the explosive device could have laid there for
Those lightly injured will be transferred
to Russia shortly.
It is the first incident of that kind in
Abkhazia - a popular summer destination among Russians.
ASF-infected swine carcasses in river, downstream to Abkhazia
Veterinary service of Abkhazia reported on
finding in the Kodor River carcasses of swine. Laboratory examination
held at the Russian Scientific Research Institute for Virology and
Microbiology showed a genetic material of a virus of African swine fever
(ASF), statement issued by Rosselkhoznadzor (the Federal Veterinary and
Phytosanitary Oversight Service) reads.
Rosselkhoznadzor has already addressed
Georgian Ministry of Agriculture and Food requesting that all necessary
means are applied in order to prevent such instances and observe
provisions of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World
Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
To remind, a mass mortality of swine from
the African swine fever (Montgomery Disease) was registered in Kakhetia,
Samegrelo, Guria, Imereti (Western Georgia), and in Samtskhe-Javakheti.
All in all, over 20,000 swine have died in Georgia from the outbreak of
the virus. On June 7, a number of countries banned imports of swine from
Georgia, among them Armenia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Azerbaijan.
planted Abkhazia flag on Arctic seabed
Moscow/Sukhum, The flags
Russia planted on the seabed under the North Pole included an Abkhazian
flag, as the self-proclaimed republic helped organize the expedition,
the mission leader said Wednesday.
"An Abkhazian representative, Dmitry Purim,
was a member of our expedition," said Artur Chilingarov, also a Russian
member of parliament. "He raised the flag of the republic."
Russia's relations with Abkhazia have
angered Georgian authorities who are seeking to regain control over the
unrecognized republic. Georgia has accused Russia of fuelling separatist
sentiments in Abkhazia.
Chilingarov said tens of other flags
representing different regions and organizations involved in the
expedition had been hoisted in the area almost simultaneously.
Last Thursday, Russian researchers made
dive below the North Pole in two mini-submarines, taking rock
samples from the seabed to gather proof that Russia's continental shelf
stretches out from Siberia into the Arctic across the Pole, and thereby
claim the resource-rich territory.
over NATO Centre
Ministry has expressed concerns about unveiling a NATO information
centre in the Kodor Gorge, concerned by
increasing military presence.
The Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia urges Tbilisi to
refrain “from any moves in the upper part of the Kodor gorge, that could
trigger political tension”, a ministry statement said on Thursday [02
August 2007] in connection with the unveiling of a NATO information
centre in the upper part of the gorge.
According to the
foreign ministry, “the opening of a NATO information centre in the upper
part of the Kodor gorge testifies to an invariable bid of the Georgian
side to build up and maintain military presence in that part of Abkhazia,
ignoring recommendations of participants in the Georgian-Abkhazian
It believes that “Georgia’s
actions openly demonstrate a bid to continue a policy of provocations
and intimidation, as well as destabilization of the region, which is
gradually embarking on the path of a peaceful economic development ahead
of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games”.
Abkhazia urges all
participants in the negotiations, as well as NATO “to give a proper
estimate to moves of the Georgian side, which are at variance with
principles and conditions of the Georgian-Abkhazian peace process”.
president expects int'l recognition after Kosovo precedent
The President of Abkhazia says that he
expects international recognition for his country and for Transdniester
(officially: Pridnestrovie) after Kosovo sets the precedent. Sergei
Bagapsh asks for equal treatment under international law and an end to
double standards. Both Abkhazia and Transdniester have stronger legal
claims to independent statehood than Kosovo.
Sukhum, Claims about the so-called "uniqueness" of
the Kosovo case are "unsound" and an impending recognition of Kosovo
independence will accelerate the same process for Abkhazia and other
unrecognized countries, says Sergei Bagapsh, the president of Abkhazia,
in an interview published this week in the Russian press.
" - The fate of Kosovo has been ordained, thus our fate will also be
determined in the nearest future…And if such a decision [recognition] is
taken towards the end of the year, it will untie the hands of other
countries for recognizing Abkhazia, Transdniester, Nagorno Karabakh, and
South Ossetia," said Bagapsh, adding that his region has "even more
historical and legal grounds for independence than Kosovo."
Abkhazia has been 'de facto' independent for fifteen years but is
subject to an unresolved territorial claim by neighboring Georgia. In a
parallel case, Transdniester (officially: Pridnestrovie) has been 'de
facto' independent for seventeen years, notwithstanding an unresolved
territorial claim by neighboring Moldova.
Historically, Abkhazia was a separate kingdom and not part of
Georgia. It has a language and a people which are distinct from Georgia.
In Soviet times, it was a separate SSR - with a status equal to Georgia
- until dictator Josef Stalin, himself from Georgia, turned it into a
subordinate part of Georgia against the will of the inhabitants.
In Transdniester's case, Stalin is also to blame. Historically,
Transdniester has never been part of any independent Moldovan state at
any time in history. From 1924 to 1940, Transdniester was an autonomous
republic with Tiraspol as its capital. Moldova was part of Romania. In
an act of war, Stalin took Moldova from Romania and added it onto the
existing republic, while in the process moving the capital to Chisinau.
In its declaration of independence in 1991, the new Republic of Moldova
denounced this act as illegal.
" - How do you explain the fact that something which is possible for
Kosovo, is impossible for South Ossetia or for Pridnestrovie?" asked
Sergei Bagapsh in an interview with news agency New Region.
" - What are we, another skin-color? Another species?"
Double standards govern int'l relations
According to Abkhazia's president, it is obvious that double standard
govern international relations in the way different unrecognized states
are treated. He dishes out blame equally to the United States, the
European Union and even Russia.
" - Of course the double standards in big politics influence our case
as well, but Russia's position was constructive from the very beginning,"
He added that while many in Abkhazia were upset that Russia favored
Serbia's territorial integrity and opposed recognition of an independent
Kosovo, this position of a large country towards a geo-strategic partner,
in this case Serbia, "is understandable."
And now, Bagapsh said, if the international community does not heed
Russia's objections, Moscow will be able to rightfully say: "We didn't
want this precedent, but now that you made your decision on Kosovo
recognition in violation of international norms, what hinders us from
Pointing out another case of double standards - this time by the EU -
Bagapsh also commented on Georgia's most recent scheme which involves
setting up a puppet phantom-government in South Ossetia, in order to
create the appearance of two parallel administrations in the same
territory. This fictitious government is led Georgia-funded Dmitry
Sanakoyev but has no popular backing or widespread support among the
voters of South Ossetia.
" - But why has Dmitry Sanakoyev been invited to speak in front of
European parliament members, while the true leaders of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia are shunted aside? It reflects poorly on the West," says
" - Neither South Ossetia's President Kokoity, nor I, nor our foreign
minister have ever appeared in the European parliament. There everything
is so simple: Georgia requested and Sanakoyev was offered a tribune to
speak. And after that, how should we treat Europe and the US, if they
are always just listening to only one side of the conflict?" he asked.
Russia has no plans to engage
Abkhazia in Olympic projects -FM
Manila, Russia has never
raised the question of attracting Abkhazia for the construction of
Olympic facilities in Sochi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said
“None of the Russian officials has ever raised such
a question anywhere,” Lavrov said, responding to mass media reports.
Earlier, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza said in Tbilisi,
Georgia, that attempts to involve Abkhazia in the Sochi Olympic projects
would be an impermissible mistake on the part of Russia.
“The Sochi Olympiad will share the destiny of the
1980 Moscow Olympiad if Russian authorities make investments in the
Abkhaz region without coordination with the Georgian administration,”
Georgian Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze said.
“Any investments in the Abkhaz region may be made
only with the Georgian consent because Abkhazia is a part of Georgia,
whose sovereignty and territorial integrity are recognized
Russian Ambassador in Tbilisi Vyacheslav Kovalenko
said Russia had voiced interest in using Abkhazia’s potential in the
preparation of the Sochi Olympic Games, but did not say this could be
done without Georgia’s consent.
Meanwhile, Abkhazian authorities have addressed
foreign investors with a call not to be afraid to make investments in
the economy of the self-proclaimed republic.
“There are no risks for them or the capital
investments they make, including real estate,” the chief of the
information and mass communications department under the presidential
office, Kristian Bzhania, said.
He dismissed threats from the authorities in the
Georgian capital Tbilisi to the effect those who invest in the Abkhazian
economy may face criminal charges.
“Such threats are a bluff Georgian politicians have
been using in a bid to harm Abkhazia’s image as an investor. The
Georgian propaganda machine has been shifted into high gear, because
Georgia has no other means to exert pressure and will not have any. All
it can do is to spread disinformation.”
“Abkhazia will not be asking anybody what or when to
build in its territory, or with whose help, whether it will create joint
ventures in its territory and what investments it will draw. That’s our
sovereign right,” Bzhania said.
Abkhazia also said it would give comprehensive
support to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the unrecognised
republic’s parliament speaker Nugzar Ashuba said.
In his words, the support will be given in the
sphere of economy, culture and security.
Konstantin Zatulin: "There
exists a group of countries ready to recognize PMR"
It is necessary in the process of international
negotiations to gather a unique "club" of countries that could recognize
Pridnestrovie, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So says Russian MP Konstantin
Zatulin, a specialist on the democratic right to self-determination. In
this interview, he adds that such countries already exist.
by Helen Pestruhina,
- Russia shouldn't necessarily be the first
country to recognize Pridnestrovie and the other 'de facto' states on
the post-Soviet space, believes influential Duma deputy Konstantin
Zatulin. Instead, it will be necessary to bring together a small group
of countries who will be ready to recognize Pridnestrovie and the others.
As Zatulin confirms in this interview, these countries already exist.
Now is the time to work on preparing this group of countries for what
will happen after Kosovo's expected independence declaration. Russia
will address the long-pending status settlement issues surrounding
Pridnestrovie, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which in the opinion of
Konstantin Zatulin should have been recognized as independent states a
long time ago. Konstantin Zatulin is an influential Russian MP and
foreign policy specialist. Apart from being a deputy to the State Dume,
Russia's lower house, he is also director of the Institute of the
Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS. He is also a frequent visitor
to Pridnestrovie and familiar with the internal situation of the largest
of the unrecognized countries in the former Soviet Union.
Will Kosovo be a precedent for the recognition of the independence
of Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Pridnestrovie?
" - Regardless of how much the West might claim that "Kosovo is
unique" and sui generis, any recognition of the independence of the
province against the will of Serbia is a clear and obvious precedent.
There are clear parallels with the unrecognized countries of the
former USSR: Ethnic conflicts emerged in the process of disintegration
of the previously existing state, wars erupted which now present an
obstacle to a political solution, and the outside interest of third
parties can not be excluded. Kosovo is only "unique" in the sense that
the Kosovo Albanians never fought alone for their independence - they
were able to state their independence claim with the backing of NATO
From the very beginning, the political goal was always to dismember
Yugoslavia and its geopolitical role, and NATO's military actions
against Yugoslavia followed this purpose. If we look at history, Germany
has always tried to prevent a strong Slavic state from existing in the
Balkans. The other day, the German Ambassador to Serbia issued a threat:
allegedly, if the Serbs won't accept the independence of Kosovo, a
number of other "problem areas" will appear such as Vojvodina (where
there is a Hungarian minority) and the country in general will
For the United States, Yugoslavia became a convenient pretext to
strengthen its military presence in Europe. In Kosovo they built the
largest American military base in the world, outside of the United
States (Camp Bondsteel, ed.). Perhaps this foreign occupation
is the reason for the insistence of the recognition of "independence" of
In words, Russia has always condemned the NATO war against Yugoslavia,
but the actions of Russia have not always been consistent. After prime
minister Primakov initially sent friendly airplanes to Yugoslavia as a
sign of protest against the NATO bombings, Russia was then represented
in its negotiations on Yugoslavia by Victor Chernomyrdin, who wanted to
demonstrate his loyalty to Western policy.
Now it is different: Russia will not waiver from its opinion that he
independence of Kosovo is only possible with Serbian consent. We possess
veto rights, and no UN resolution on the independence of Kosovo will
pass. This has provided encouragement for the Serbian people.
Pro-Western politicians within Serbia can not, even if they want to,
announce their capitulation on this issue because they will immediately
become political corpses.
In this situation, the West will begin the scenario of unilateral
recognition of an independent Kosovo. First, Albania will recognize
Kosovo. Then, perhaps, some third country, followed in quick succession
also by recognition from the USA and European countries. And inevitably,
Russia is bound to raise the question of recognizing the independence of
the post-Soviet republics. This is an additional fact which impels
Russia to stand firm on the Kosovo issue."
" - In Russia there is no complete consensus regarding the timeliness
of recognition of the unrecognized countries. There is a desire to delay
and draw out the moment until it is necessary to take a decision on
them. I personally think that they should have already been recognized
as independent states, and that this recognition is now overdue. Because
South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Pridnestrovie and Nagorno-Karabakh, I might add,
have more historical, legal, and political grounds for independence than
Historically, South Osetia and Abkhazia have never been part of the
composition of the State of Georgia. These territories (without the
consent of the inhabitants!) were included within the administrative
boundaries of the Georgian SSR in Soviet times. Ossetia, as a single
whole, was part of the Russian Empire, and only in the Soviet period was
it divided into north and south. Under Soviet law, Soviet republics (SSRs)
could secede from the Union but in this case the autonomous republics (ASSRs)
had the right do decide by a referendum to leave or to stay. This right
of Abkhazia and South Osetia to self-determination has been trampled.
Georgia tried to conquer the autonomous territories by force, and in
response both the Abkhaz and the Ossetians defended their right to
independence. Pridnestrovie has also independently maintained its
military defense. Whatever the opponents might say, it is a fact that
the Russian army did not take part in the conflicts in these territories.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and
Pridnestrovie have not found themselves under someone else's
jurisdiction. Ever since the Soviet Union disintegrated, they have 'de
facto' been governing themselves independently. Most of the inhabitants
of these republics have over the years adopted Russian citizenship. An
overwhelming majority. So Russia is responsible for the safety of its
If Russia recognizes the independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia
and Pridnestrovie, then this will complicate its future relations not
just with Georgia and Moldova, but also with the West. Doesn't this
" - This is the main argument used by enemies of official recognition.
But from a legal standpoint, any unilateral recognition of the
independence of Kosovo by Western countries will open the possibility
for Russia to also recognize the sovereign status of the unrecognized
countries in the former Soviet Union.
With regard to relations with Georgia, they are already at a freezing
point and this is not the fault of Russia. Some in our leadership adhere
to a dubious thesis: Reward your enemies, because for your friends the
reward is the friendship itself. According to this logic, we lost a lot
in Georgia: We did not intervene during the Ajarian conflict, and we
withdraw our military bases. In return, we didn't even obtain as much as
The authorities of Georgia have always behaved dishonorably both with
respect to the Russian peacekeepers and against the inhabitants of the
unrecognized countries. Frankly speaking, the issue is a matter of
international law and not in relations with Georgia and Moldova. But
here's how much of the Russian establishment reaches its decisions:
Avoid confronting the world's superpower on occasions which are not
central to Russia's interests. Instead, it is desirable for Russia to
assert itself with the West in order to restore the sovereignty of our
country. This doesn't mean that Russia can't re-emerge without US-EU
agreement. Only that if they constantly interfere with us and trigger
conflicts - and the West has this option - the economic development of
Russia will be slower and will cost us more."
If the preservation of Yugoslavia wasn't important enough for
Russia, why do the unrecognized countries matter?
" - I am certain that if, after Kosovo, Russia does not recognize
post-Soviet republics, we will have a problem for ourselves in the years
ahead in the Russian North Caucasus and the general negative attitude
among voters to the leadership inside the Russia itself. Our people are
extremely sensitive to situations where they perceive injustice and
betrayal, and will not accept any half-finished remedies.
I propose a way for us to prepare for recognition which will minimize
the diplomatic fallout. Under the current circumstances we should first
of all talk about the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which
both border on Russia, and then secondly about Pridnestrovie.
And I am not convinced that Russia is obligated to recognize them
first. It is necessary in the process of international negotiations to
gather a unique "club" of countries that could recognize them, and such
countries already exist. For instance, Belarus or Venezuela, whose
parliament, by the way, sent election observers to Tskhinvali.
Of course, the West will launch a shitstorm of criticism against
Russia. So what? We will not cut them off from our oil and gas. It is
time to stop being worried about the inferiority complex which is so
obviously present among Russian politicians. Everyone knows: America is
brave and patriotic against enemies which it knows are weak but tries
not to engage those who can stand up to it since that comes at a higher
price." (Translated from Gudok.ru)
materials get prepared for Abkhazians in Diaspora
State Foundation for the Development of Abkhaz Language arranged a new
set of audio-lingual materials exclusively for the Abkhaz people in
Diaspora to learn their mother tongue on their own.
Arrangement of the
materials for teaching the Abkhaz language emerged as a project of Maya
Amichba, who received professional help from Aldon Ajiba, Adgur Shinkuba
and Diana Shamba in his work.
The philologist Elis
Argun translated into Turkish a set of audio material dubbed by Diana
Shamba and Oktay Chkotua.
An introductory meeting
at the Foundation placed focus on problems that can possibly block
efforts to save the Abkhaz language both inside and outside Abkhazia.
An initial set of 300
Abkhaz language materials was prepared, said Maya Amichba, and added
that this could increase if there is more demand.
“Every effort will be
made to make these materials as widely available as possible in
Diaspora. The Abkhaz people living in will have a good chance to learn
their mother tongue far more constructively,” said Soner Gogua, head of
the foreign affairs committee in the Abkhaz Parliament.