Abkhazia, Georgia

Abkhazia, Abkhazian A ṕ sny, Republic of Abkhazia, Autonomous Republic of Georgia on the east coast of the Black Sea, with government-in-exile in Tbilisi; de facto internationally not recognized secession state with its own legislative and executive branches, 8 670 km 2, (2014) 243 000 residents (1991: 534 000 residents); The capital and most important port is Sukhumi. – Abkhazia is a high mountain region on the southwestern capping of the Greater Caucasus with a narrow, southeast to the lowlands of the Colchis expanding coastal strip. The predominant is a maritime, subtropical climate, in the mountains there is a high mountain climate. Over half of the area is covered by forest. According to the 2011 census, 51% of the residents were Abkhazians, 19% Georgians, 17% Armenians and 9% Russians. During the Abkhaz-Georgian war of 1992-94, a large part of the non-Abkhaz population (an estimated 250,000 people), mostly Georgians, fled. Many of the present day residents of Abkhazia have become Russian citizens. – Tea, tobacco, citrus fruits, wine, fruit and vegetables are grown on the coast (some with irrigation), sheep and cattle are raised on the mountain pastures. The main industries are agricultural products processing, logging and wood processing industries; Pizunda, Gagra and others).

The Black Sea coast of Abkhazia was formerly one of the most important tourist areas in the Soviet Union. After the civil war, part of the seaside resorts and industrial sites were destroyed; The economy and infrastructure were badly damaged. Nevertheless, tourism (especially from Russia) is still an important economic factor. But Abkhazia is still dependent on financial aid from Russia. The timber trade, especially with Turkey, is another important source of income for Abkhazia. The share of the informal sector in the economy as a whole is very high; Problematic is the emergence of a parallel economy that is detached from the Georgian economy and characterized by corruption and the influence of individual clans.

History: According to Greco-Roman sources, the area of ​​Abkhazia, which was already settled in the Paleolithic, belonged to the 6th century BC. To the empire of Colchis. On the coast emerged in the 6th / 5th centuries. Century BC Greek colonies, including Dioskurias (Sochumi) and Pityus (Pizunda). After it was conquered by Pompey’s troops (64 BC), Abkhazia came under the sovereignty of the Roman Empire, later under Byzantine influence; from the 4th to the 6th centuries Abkhazia was Christianized.

A principality “Abasgia” (since the 2nd century) expanded from the 4th century – initially as part of the Kingdom of Lasika – over the whole of western Georgia (for the period from 780 to 978 referred to as the “Kingdom of Abkhazia”); the political and cultural center was Kutaisi. Under Bagrat III. (973-1014) Abkhazia was included in the process of unification of Georgian principalities at the beginning of the 11th century. From the 12th to the 15th century, trading posts of Genoa, such as the later Gagra, Sochumi and Pizunda, dominated the Abkhazian coast. From 1300 to 1500 part of Abkhazia came under the rule of Mingrelia; However, the Abkhaz Chachba dynasty pushed back the Mingrelians and established the border between Abkhazia and Mingrelia, which still exists today on the Inguri River. In 1578 Abkhazia was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, but was again a nominally autonomous principality since the 17th century; Numerous uprisings by the Abkhazians (1725, 1728, 1733, 1771) were directed against the Islamization and Turkization pressure in the 18th century. In 1810 Abkhazia became a Russian protectorate. After Abkhazia was the last Caucasian principality to be annexed to the tsarist empire in 1864, there was a popular uprising of the Abkhazians in 1866; afterwards (especially in 1866/67 and during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/78) around 70,000 Muslim Abkhazians were resettled to the Ottoman Empire and Christians (Armenians, Pontic Greeks) settled in Abkhazia from the Ottoman Black Sea coast (Trabzon).

In 1917/18, according to politicsezine, Abkhazia joined the North Caucasian Republic, but was annexed by the independent Republic of Georgia in 1918 and was part of it until 1921. On March 4, 1921, Soviet power was established in Abkhazia and at the end of March 1921 under Nestor Lakoba (* 1893, † 1936) the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed. Georgia recognized its independence on May 21, 1921. Linked to Georgia by the alliance treaty of December 16, 1921, Abkhazia adopted its first constitution in 1925. In 1931 the Georgian Stalin and the Mingrelian Beria upgraded the status of Abkhazia to an Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic down within Georgia. The settlement of thousands of Georgians, the filling of key posts by Mingrelians, the closure of Abkhazian-language schools in 1946/47 and the suppression of Abkhazian as the lingua franca led to protests (e.g. a letter to the Supreme Soviet directed against Georgia’s assimilation policy in 1978, followed by mass demonstrations). Although Russia (RSFSR) and Georgia rejected the previously requested connection of Abkhazia to Russia, the establishment of a university and a television station in Sukhumi was allowed. The demand for secession from Georgia and annexation to Russia was also raised by the Abkhazian Popular Front “Aidgylara” (unity; founded in December 1988).

In response to demands from leaders of the Georgian national democratic movement for the lifting of the autonomy status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 1988/89, Abkhazia declared its sovereignty in 1990 and on July 23, 1992 under Vladislav Ardsinba (* 1945; first president of parliament, 1994-2005 president) unilaterally independence (re-enactment of the 1925 constitution). The invasion of Georgian paramilitary groups on August 14, 1992 (occupation of Sochumi) sparked bloody fighting with the Abkhaz militias; With the military support of other Caucasian irregulars and temporary Russian help, they succeeded in displacing the Georgian troops from Abkhazia by the end of September 1993 (Sochumi was retaken on September 27, 1993). The war killed more than 8,000 people. After the Abkhazian victory, around 250,000 people (mostly Georgians and Mingrelians) fled the republic; the approximately 15,000 residents of Abkhazia of Greek origin were evacuated from Greece. On April 4th In 1994, with the mediation of the UN and Russia, Abkhazia and Georgia signed an agreement on the return of the refugees and a declaration of a ceasefire. On May 14, 1994, the two conflicting parties concluded an agreement on the stationing of a CIS peacekeeping force (up to 3,000 mostly Russian soldiers) on the border between Abkhazia and Georgia on the Inguri river; UN observers (United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia, abbreviation UNIMOG) were tasked with monitoring the agreements. In November 1994 the Abkhazian parliament passed a new constitution (definition of Abkhazia as a “sovereign state”). The focus of further negotiations (from 1995) was the future political status of Abkhazia, which increasingly leaned on Russia and, if need be, was prepared to to agree to a confederation with Georgia. The negotiations failed to reach an agreement, so the situation in Abkhazia remained unstable; further military clashes followed. 2005 became Sergei Bagapsch (* 1949, † 2011) President of Abkhazia (re-elected in 2009).

The escalation of the military conflict in South Ossetia in August 2008 prompted Russia, among other things, to increase its military presence within the framework of peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia. Fighting between Abkhazian and Georgian troops flared up again in the Kodori Gorge. Despite international protests, on August 26, 2008, the Russian government recognized the independence of the two provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which break away from Georgia. Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru joined in 2009. In June 2009, Russia also vetoed an extension of the UNIMOG mandate in the UN Security Council, so that it expired. A month later the last blue helmets left Abkhazia. After Bagapsch’s death at the end of May 2011, Alexander Ankwab took over(* 1952) the official business as interim president. On August 26, 2011 he was confirmed in office by elections. In May 2014 there were protests against his government. After parliament had declared him deposed on May 31, 2014, Ankwab announced his resignation on June 1, 2014. Raul Hadschimba (* 1958) won the presidential elections in August 2014.

Abkhazia, Georgia