Abkhazian “Independence” At Stake?
23 October, 2014
Abkhazian “Independence” At Stake?
After the possible Russia-Abkhazia Treaty on Alliance and Integration became public knowledge, the temperature in Abkhazia’s already tumultuous political pot rose to the boiling point. The Abkhazian politicians’ opinion is that the project offered by their Russian “friends and allies” threatens their sovereignty. Time will tell what exactly did the Abkhazians expect from Russia, but it is already clear what Russia wants from Abkhazia.

VALERI BGANBA, Chairman of the de facto Abkhazian Parliament:


“This is a project that begets a
multitude of questions and almost all of them concern a possible loss of Abkhazian sovereignty. The treaty leaves the impression that it’s opposed to Abkhazian sovereignty, hence why there was simply no chance it would elicit a positive response from Abkhazian politicians. For example, it is not clear whether we would retain control over Ministry of Defense and its structures. In case any kind of conflict emerges, Russia might assume command of our armed forces by appointing someone who answers to Russian authorities. There are also concerns about customs services within our own country – if this project takes effect, our seaport, airport and customs will be controlled by Russians. Our border guards will be relocated towards Georgian-Abkhazian border. Cargo that passes through several countries before entering Abkhazia will be subject to scrutiny by Russians, which should not happen at all because this cargo does not cross the Russian-Abkhazian border. This is the job for our customs officers, not for them. The issue of education is also unanswered. I fail to see how Russia will be able to help us develop education standards for learning the Abkhazian language.”

ALKHAS TSAGUSHEV, Abkhazian political scientist:


“I, as an Abkhazian citizen, do not see respect and trust towards our country as a partner. These documents leave the impression that the people who created them have no clue about Abkhazians, our past and self-determination… And then they set for us a deadline to make sure that this project is signed as soon as possible.”

BATAL KOBAKHIA, deputy of de facto Abkhazian Parliament:

“Why is our ally no longer satisfied with our old agreement, what does he find unacceptable or undesirable about it? Why are they rushing us to sign it? These are only a select few of the questions we have, and each of them needs to receive a coherent answer. Otherwise, this project will not be signed. And if it will, then ambiguous statements that are made by regular citizens regarding the government will very quickly cease being ironic and will take on a very definite character…”
As for Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili’s opinion on this new “Alliance and Integration Treaty,” he said that the danger this project represents to Abkhazians is appalling: “I do not believe that this is what the Abkhazian people and the Abkhazian nation are striving towards. This is directly opposed to their 25-year-long battle for self-determination, recognition and so-called independence” – said Irakli Gharibashvili. This statement was met with a lot of irony by Abkhazian politicians.

BATAL KOBAKHIA:

“The Georgian Prime Minister has an amazing sense of humor, and thus I feel obliged to respond to him in kind. How about placing a memorial tablet in the central square of Tbilisi in commemoration of all Abkhazians who died securing these 25 years of self-determination? That would be a very good step to affirm his ‘sincere’ claims. I don’t have anything else to say about young Gharibashvili’s honeyed words, although they seem to have caused quite an uproar among the Georgian population.”

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