Idea of creating Georgian and Georgian-Abkhazian States
30 June, 2011
Idea of creating Georgian and Georgian-Abkhazian States

 

An Expert statement that caused uproar in the country

“If Abkhazians are scary of anything, it’s return of IDPs. Therefore, it would be a nightmare for them if Georgians recognize their independence in exchange of IDP return. Mr Mamuka seems to lack knowledge of the real picture in Abkhazia, of the fact that even a word about IDP return will meet a sky-high wall of deafness on the other side,” – this sort of acidic sentiments followed the suggestion of expert

Mamuka Areshidze for the Georgian State to recognize Abkhazian independence. We tried to elucidate reasons behind his statement.

 

 

Q: Your proposal about recognition of Abkhazian independence surely sounds baffling to us.

A: One of the reasons behind my statement is a catastrophic situation in Abkhazia. Besides, I was interested in the feedbacks of Abkhazian, Georgian and international communities to the statement. Politics is not only the art of compromises, but also the art of intrigues. One may feel compelled to ask a question: what is the need for such as statement exactly now? It is because Abkhazia faces the point of divergence in the light of coming extraordinary presidential elections. Similarly, a new president will be coming to power in Russia in the near future. Temperature has been rising there as well. In Abkhazia, talks about unnatural death of the late President Baghapsh have been intensifying all along. His term was going to be over by the end of 2013. Coincidentally, Sochi Olympics will be starting in early 2014. In Sokhumi, they will claim Russia did not want presidential elections in Abkhazia just before the Olympics and felt extremely unnerved. Some Abkhazians suspect that Russians decided to sort out things immediately. Russia uses the method of military settlements to annex Abkhazia. First it sends there its troops. Next thing Russia did was construction of fortified sites. Then a military settlement emerged; Russian officers will be living there together with their families. Finally, Russia will announce that the territory belongs to Russia. It was this method which helped them conquer and take root in Stavropol, Terek and Kuban regions. In addition, they are fighting for the change in legislation to enable any Russian passport holder to buy land in Abkhazia. This issue is still being hotly debated but eventually Abkhazians are likely to give in. What is more, the Russian Patriarchate sends groups of so called pilgrims to Abkhazia with a formal excuse of visiting religious sites there. These groups create religious congregations and do not return to their homeland. In the next  5-10  years this trend will lead to the irrevocable situation.

Q: But what does it have to do with your statement which was seen as commensurate to treason?

A: It is so normal to attach the tag of treason to anyone in the political life of Georgia. This behavior speaks of our political savagery. In social networks, members started to ask how we could recognize Abkhazian independence when we spilled our blood for it and also where I was when it was happening. I will tell you that during the conflict I was there for seven months (nearly one year in the Tskhinvali region) and felt everything with my own skin. We lost 12 journalists in Abkhazia. I personally lost 4 friends. As for me, God saved me. Till today, I cannot normally use my left foot because I was caught in an explosion near Shroma in June, 1993. By the way, representatives of both old and young generations know the war in Abkhazia from video tapes most of which were shot by me and my group. So, I cannot accept such criticism from anyone who is ignorant of what is really happening in Abkhazia.

Q: Then please explain what you meant when you suggested recognizing Abkhazian independence.

A: This move can be termed as situational maneuver. Partially, it is also an attempt to wake up the public.

Q: But your opponents say, the moment Georgia recognizes Abkhazia, the whole world will do the same.

A: Who said Georgia will recognize Abkhazia without any precondition? We have to come up with a package of proposals which would meet Georgian interests as much as possible. Our main interest is: firstly, to have Russian troops leave the Georgian territory with such an international guarantee that will ensure they would not come back again, secondly -  return of IDPs under another international guarantee.

Of course, I would not rule out more preconditions. My opponents say that there is one millionth of probability that Abkhazians would agree on it. Russians would not allow them to do it and that it is better to talk to Russians directly. But we talked with Russians for 20 years to no avail! Moldova gave up everything, even proclaimed neutrality but all these did not bring desirable results so far. In reality, we’d better talk to Abkhazians directly, if only with the obligatory participation of international organizations.

I have not ever said that we ought to recognize Abkhazian independence unconditionally. I said we had to start the process of the recognition. During this period, we would tell to Abkhazians that if Russia recalls its troops from Abkhazia and allow IDPs back to their homes on international guarantees and think about a special status for Gali, we would rec

 

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