Viche 2008 18

18, 2008

Origins of Georgian-Abkhazian conflict

Abkhazia as well as other regions of the country (Imertiya, Huriya, Adzhariya) was the province of Georgia [8]. In feudal Georgia these provinces were principalities or small reigns. In 19211931 Abkhazia had the status of the allied republic that was united with Georgia on the basis of the special allied agreement. In February 1931 its status was reduced to the level of autonomous republic in composition of Georgia. It was dictated by Stalins view according to which Abkhazian people, as primitive people, were to dissolve in the environment of the cultural Georgian people. During the century Georgia carried out not favorable policy concerning Abkhazian people. At reorganization period according to one of projects autonomies were suggested to give the same rights which are given to the allied republics. Abkhazian national motion actively supported this idea. The requirement of returning the status of the Soviet Socialistic republic to Abkhazia, which it had in the first years (1921 1931) of the Soviet power, was presented in the submission-letter of 1988 [4].

Anatoliy Hrytsenko

The discussion of the Georgian question in the Verkhovna Rada took enough time in order to understand the main points of events. Deputies are to decide now whether they have a desire to make common decision. Basis for it consists in such points. First of all to acknowledge illegal and condemn the application of force for the decision of internal or intergovernmental conflicts.
Secondly, to express regret to all victim regardless of their passport. Thirdly, once again to witness our devotion to base principles fixed in the Regulation and documents of the UNO which deal with territorial integrity and sovereignty of the states.
And by the last point to witness our willingness to give humanitarian help and political support for the renewal of peace on Caucasus.

Meantime in the entire country the policy of construction of the monoethnic Georgian state was being conducted [7]. Too actively it was inculcated at first by the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian SSR and afterwards by the first president of the country Z. Gamsakhurdia. Then the autonomy of South Ossetia was liquidated, the representatives of national minority left the country under pressure. In 1989 1991 the wave of inter-ethnic conflicts swept over Georgia. For their reason national patriotic forces considered the hand of Moscow but in no way the ethnic component multiplied by the unconsidered ethno-national policy.  

After the mass collisions between Georgian and Abkhazian people, which happened in 1989, the opposition between the center and Abkhazia passed to the legislative sphere. Under the slogan of returning to the independent republic in 19181921 the power of Tbilisi abolished all state-legal acts of the soviet period. In particular, the acts about the allied association of Georgia and Abkhazia (1921), about autonomous status of Abkhazia in composition of the Georgian SSR (1931). In response the legislative body of Abkhazia in August, 1990 adopted the Declaration about state sovereignty of the Abkhazian SSR. By this document Abkhazia was proclaimed the sovereign socialistic state that has all plenitude of power on its territory out of scopes of the rights voluntarily passed by it to the Union of SSR and the Georgian SSR on the basis of concluded agreements. Abkhazian leaders interpreted the abolition of the soviet Constitution of Georgia as actual abolition of autonomous status of Abkhazia and on July, 23, 1992 the Supreme Soviet of republic renewed the exercise of the Constitution of the Abkhazian Soviet republic of 1925, according to which Abkhazia was the sovereign state. However this decision was not acknowledged at the international level [2]. The war of laws was taking place between Georgia and Abkhazia: all legislative acts adopted by Abkhazia were abolished by Georgia. In August, 1992 Georgian leaders counted on the solution of the problem by force and brought troops into Abkhazia, where Abkhazian people confronted them severely. Having arm advantage, the Georgian troops occupied greater part of the territory of Abkhazia in a few days and, in particular, the capital Sukhumi. It made Abkhazian people break into a run outside Abkhazia.

In July, 1993, taking advantage of conflicts between Georgian leaders and once again violating the agreement about cessation of fire, the guarantor of which Russia was, Abkhazian forces started counter-attack on Sukhumi. The military phase of the conflict was completed in September, 1993 by the defeat of Tbilisi: the Georgian troops left fully the territory of Abkhazia [5]. In 1994 the base Agreement was signed about the cessation of fire, in that year the peacemaking forces of the CIS, represented by Russian soldiers, and also the mission of the UNO assigned to look after Georgia were located in Abkhazia. As a result of sanguinary inter-national war the amount of victims reached almost 20 thousand people, the economy of Abkhazia took losses on 11,5 billion dollars. The ethno-political conflict became the frozen conflict. 

During five years after completion of conflict Abkhazia existed under the conditions of actual blockade both from the side of Georgia and Russia. However the latter remained and is still remaining the only one ally of Abkhazia with the help of which it counteracts to Georgian pressure. Moscow asserts that all contacts between Russia and Abkhazia are carried out at private non-state level. Georgian leaders consider measures conducted by Russia in support of Abkhazia to be connivance to the separatist mode.

The situation in Abkhazia again began to become strained in 2001. Georgia is not satisfied with the presence of the Russian troops in the region which seems to be additional factor of instability to it.

Now Tbilisi offers Abkhazia the unlimited autonomy in composition of Georgia, complete federalism, guarantees of safe and peaceful development within the limits of the only one state. The President Saakashvili specified: Abkhazian people are offered an extensive representative office in the central organs of power of Georgia. The president of unrecognized republic answered that Abkhazia will never get back to the membership of Georgia and nobody will force it to do that. Abkhazia will not even consider suggestion of Tbilisi about the extensive autonomy without regard to Saakashvilis intention to pass to the realization of his initiatives. The president of unrecognized republic insists on that Georgia and Abkhazia can co-operate only like two independent states. Consequently, there are no prospects of Georgian Abkhazian conflict regulation achieved by mutual concession.

Kostyantyn Vitman