Voice of the Abkhazians

-------------------- News from Abkhazia --------------------

 EU 'concerned' over Abkhazia refugee situation


Sukhum, The EU special representative for the South Caucasus has said he is "concerned" that Georgian refugees are not returning to their homes in the Kodor Valley in eastern Abkhazia.


Peter Semneby was speaking during a meeting with Abkhazian Prime Minister Sergei Shamba in Sukhum.


He said Abkhazia should create conditions for the refugees to return. Up to 200 Svans (an ethnic minority related to the Georgians) have returned to their homes in the Kodori Valley since Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in August 2008 over South Ossetia. Thousands of ethnic Georgians were displaced following the fighting.


Shamba said however that the issue is Abkhazia's internal affair.


"The government's policies are aimed at helping people who have already returned to adapt," he commented.


01.28.2011  RIA Novosti


 South Ossetia concerned over Georgian 'threats'


Tskhinval, South Ossetia is concerned over Georgia's increasingly aggressive rhetoric, the republic's deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.


"The Georgian authorities have recently made aggressive statements on South Ossetia and Abkhazia," South Ossetian minister Alan Pliyev said.


He cited as an example Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's statement, made during an interview with the PIK TV channel on January 25, that Georgia still wanted to bring South Ossetia and Abkhazia back under the control of Tbilisi.


Saakashvili also reportedly said that he would "celebrate the next New Year in Sukhum," the capital of the former Georgian republic of Abkhazia.


The statements come up as Georgia continues to build up its armed forces with U.S. help, Pliyev added.


Abkhazian diplomats said earlier Georgia's policies prove that Saakashvili's recent pledge to the European Parliament that he would not use force over South Ossetia and Abkhazia were nothing but an attempt to mask his plans to restart a military campaign.


In his November address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Saakashvili said Georgia would "never use force to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty and will only use peaceful means to ensure the withdrawal of the occupation forces and its reunification."


"People do not believe in any peaceful initiatives [by Georgia] anymore," Pliyev commented.


01.27.2011  RIA Novosti


 Lavrov: "We don't discriminate our citizens on ethnic grounds"


Moscow, A journalist asked Sergey Lavrov about the situation in Abkhazia and the alleged discrimination against ethnic Georgians with Russian citizenship, who are refused ownership of real estate.


The minister explained the working of an intergovernmental commission, chaired by Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh, which was formed to tackle the issue. As of now, the commission has taken several dozen complaints into consideration and about two dozen cases have been ruled in favor of the people seeking to return their properties.


Russia’ does not discriminate against its citizens on ethnic grounds and protects their rights equally, Lavrov assured. He added that the bias against Georgians in Abkhazia is understandable, albeit unjustifiable, and hopefully it will be rooted out as time heals past grievances and grudges.


01.13.2011  RT


 Russian govt. to consider mutual visa-free trips with Abkhazia, S.Ossetia


The presidium of the Russian government will on Thursday consider ratifying the agreements that stipulate mutual visa-free travels between Russia and Abkhazia and between Russia and South Ossetia.


The agreements with the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were signed in 2009 and 2010 correspondingly. They are designed to promote mutual trips and bolster confidence, strengthening the legal base of cooperation.


01.13.2011  RIA Novosti


 Abkhaz president praises Russian help


The President of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh has given a positive assessment of Russian aid in setting up an Audit Chamber for the republic.


Bagapsh noted that his country will grapple with such issues for the first time and it makes good sense to learn from Russia’s experience, rather than make mistakes, while talking with the head of Russia’s Audit Chamber Sergei Stepashin in Sukhum.


During his visit, Stephashin inspected repair and restoration works currently under way as part of the socio-economic development of Abkhazia for 2010-2012.


01.12.2011  The Voice of Russia


 Abkhazia: Ingur Dam Wins European Funding


The cross-border Ingur Dam will receive millions of euros to upgrade generators located in Abkhazia that will in turn help to provide electricity to thousands of people in the region.


In order to finance the completion of rehabilitation of Ingur hydro power plant and Vardnili hydro power cascade in Georgia, the European Investment Bank (EIB) was lending EUR 20 million.


The Ingur plant is the largest in the region. The project is situated on the administrative border of breakaway Abkhazia. The plant s generators are placed on the Abkhaz side of the administrative border. Its arch dam is situated on the Georgian-controlled territory. 


The loan from EIB will be used for the rehabilitation of two out of five generator units of the Ingur HPP and rehabilitation of Vardnili 1 waterways and the canal of the cascade situated downstream of the Ingur HPP. The safe water evacuation towards the Black Sea will be guaranteed by the Vardnili cascade rehabilitation.  According to EIB, from the EU Neighborhood Investment Facility, it would co-finance the project alongside a loan of EUR 20 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and a grant of EUR 5 million.


01.10.2011  UNPO


Commission on the determination of legal right for the award of a pension will be created in Abkhazia.


Sukhum, A commission on the determination of legal right for the award of a pension will be created in Abkhazia. A meeting chaired by the first vice-PM Leonid Lakerbaya on the draft resolution of the RA Cabinet “About the creation of the commission on the determination of legal right for the award of a pension” took place on Tuesday, January 11.


The meeting was attended by the “Council of Association of invalids of the Patriotic war in Abkhazia” representatives, the republic’s Military Commissar Vakhtang Tsugba, the Military Prosecutor Zurab Agumava, the chief of the Archive of the Defense Ministry Valery Agumava, the Minister of Labor and Social Development Olga Koltukova, the Minister of Health Care Zurab Marshania, the Chairman of the Republican Medical and Social Commission of Experts M. Papba, the President of the military court S. Sagaria.

The commission’s main objective is to settle points at issue emerging with the award of different types of pensions like: “an invalid of the Patriotic war in Abkhazia”, “a family of the lost in the Patriotic war in Abkhazia”, “an invalid-reservist of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Abkhazia”, “a family of the lost reservist of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Abkhazia”,  “an invalid of the statutory military service”, “a family of the lost service man of the statutory military service”.

Leonid Lakerbaya emphasized the question of creating the Commission had emerged long ago. “Our state must revise the lists of the Patriotic War of the Abkhaz Nation participants and invalids as we have revealed the cases of awarding pensions to the citizens who have never been at war”, the first vice-PM said.

The meeting participants gave the examples of citing false data about participation in the war and different wounds.

It was mentioned at the meeting the absence of a law on veterans complicates the commission’s work. The decision to form a permanent working group of 4-5 persons was taken. They are to collect and check the information submitted for the award of those pensions.

The meeting participants recommended Leonid Lakerbaya for the post of the Chairman of the Commission. It was decided to invite unit commanders for the first sitting of the commission to discuss the situation with submitting data for awarding merit pensions, a spokesperson for the government said.


01.12.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


 Russia's Accounts Chamber Chairman Sergey Stepashin promises to render assistance in training Abkhazia's Accounts Chamber specialists


Sukhum, The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Sergey Stepashin promises to render assistance to Abkhazia in training specialists of the republic’s Accounts Chamber. "I am happy that the Accounts Chamber of Abkhazia has been created. Two our experts will come here next week. They will just “draw” the structure, will explain and show everything. As soon as your chamber is formed, we assume the obligation to train its employees gratuitously. We have all it takes to do it", Stepashin said today in Sukhum at a meeting with the President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh.


In turn Bagapsh emphasized that it is very important for Abkhazia, as "the republic has to settle many questions for the first time". "Why to go with mistakes when there is good experience of the Russian Federation”, the President said. “We have a lot to do, and now we should pass to another system both in construction and in circulation of documents".


Sergey Stepashin told Bagapsh about his meeting with the Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev who has declared that "Russia will fulfill all obligations assumed in accordance with both the big Agreement and the Comprehensive plan through 2012". Then the meeting was held behind closed doors.


01.12.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


 President Sergey Bagapsh invites to think of merger of scools in Gudauta


Sukhum, On Monday, January 10 President Sergey Bagapsh visited Gudauta where he held a meeting in the district Administration attended by the Minister of Education Indira Vardania.


At the meeting the President pointed to the necessity of overhauling the schools entered in the list of projects, subject to construction or overhaul in accordance with the Comprehensive plan of assistance to socio-economic development of Abkhazia. It was a question of #1 Gudauta school where construction work is almost over, as well #2 and #3 schools. Bagapsh instructed the Capital Construction Department representatives to make up an estimate of expenditure for overhauling those schools.


Bagapsh added that “in future one should to think of merger of schools and staffing them with teachers, increase in teachers’ salaries which have been already increased by 50 % this year”.


The head of state examined the repair work at #1 and #3 schools. The building of #2 school, where about 400 pupils study, in also in need of repair. The President promised the principal to find resources for overhauling the building. Bagapsh instructed the CCD representatives “to make up the real estimate, without overpricing and overstating the volume of work”. The overhaul will be carried out stage by stage, without interfering with classes.


The second building is being overhauled in #1 school. Only walls remained from the old building here, all the rest has been replaced. Builders promise to install converter heating in the school.


Reconstruction in #3 school began in July, 2010. Partial reparation of the roofing, the water supply system has been made here, 4 class rooms out of 16 ones functioning have been overhauled. Today 114 pupils study at the school. As a whole, it is designated for 600 pupils and was constructed relatively not long ago - in 1986.


The Minister of Education Indira Vardania considers that if to follow the path of merging schools, #3 school can become the base one, along with #1 and #2 schools.


01.11.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


 Murat Yagan’s family and “Ak’zbz” community in Canada wished the President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas


Murat Yagan’s family and “Ak’zbz” community in Canada wished the President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas.

“Dear Mr. President! I would like to once again take the opportunity and give you and your family our best wishes for the Christmas on whose eve the hearts are suffused with hope, joy and peace.

On the New Year’s Day we think about our beloved Apsny. I wish you and your colleagues every success in your efforts to bring peace, prosperity and security to the Abkhaz nation. Let people’s hearts be suffused with joy and pride as Abkhazia proceeds to a wider international recognition, the congratulation says.

Congratulations and best wishes to Sergey Bagapsh and the leadership of Abkhazia on behalf of Marat and Maisie Yagan were conveyed by his assistant Sherron Allen.

Marat Yagan is a well-known figure of the Abkhaz abroad. He was born in Turkey, he was educated and started working there. As a result of different life and spiritual search he found himself in Canada, where he later founded “Kyabze” society. During the Georgian-Abkhaz war together with his friends he addressed protests to different international organizations calling on to stop the war, founded the “Society of Friends of Abkhazia” and did all he could to help his Fatherland.

His “I have come from behind the mountains” book, being his spiritual autobiography, was translated into Abkhaz and Russian and the author himself was invited to Abkhazia in 2001to be awarded a first class “Akhdz-Apsha” Order for his merit for the Fatherland and for popularization of historical spiritual legacy of the Abkhaz.


01.10.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


 Ruslan Kishmaria elected Abkhazia's parliament deputy


Gal, Ruslan Kishmaria was elected a deputy of the Parliament of Abkhazia at the early elections held on January 9 in #33 Tchuburkhindzh election district, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission Batal Tabagua said today.


According to the final data, Kishmaria received 69 % of votes. The turnout of voters was 42 %.


Early elections in this district were held in connection with MP Yuri Kereselidze’s death.


Ruslan Kishamria had been earlier elected MP from 1996 to 1998.


01.10.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


New year’s address of the president of the republic of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh


Dear compatriots!


We are seeing out the first decade of the 21st century. What was it like for Abkhazia? Certainly, difficult. Both from the political point of view, and from the economic one.


Overcoming complications, the population has simultaneously healed the wounds of the last war and tried to improve living conditions at least a little bit.


In the outgoing year we have lost the outstanding son of the Fatherland, the founder of the modern Abkhaz state Vladislav Grigorievich Ardzinba. It remains an irreplaceable loss for all of us.

Throughout the outgoing decade our country has persistently worked, as they say, on all fronts: social, economic, and political and, of course, military one.


We can enumerate all the difficulties we failed to overcome yet. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them. But on this New Year's Eve I would like to focus attention on the positive moments, on what we have accomplished, on what we can, undoubtedly, be proud of.


The outgoing decade was marked by the reunion of Abkhaz lands. The Upper Kodor was successfully and without bloodshed taken under control and jurisdiction of the Abkhaz state. Our country, after a long, persistent struggle, achieved the recognition of its independence. A new epoch in the country’s history rich with different events, sometimes tragical, has begun.

After recognizing the state independence, Russia – our main strategic ally – concluded a full-scale friendship, cooperation and mutual aid treaty with Abkhazia.


Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev’s and Chairman of the Government Vladimir Putin’s visits to Abkhazia has given a powerful impetus to the development of all-round Russian-Abkhaz interstate cooperation. During the first official visit of the President of Abkhazia to Russia a whole series of agreements aimed at protecting state interests of Abkhazia in vitally important spheres, mutually beneficial partnership with our great neighbor have been signed.


Our contacts with a number of Latin American countries are becoming wider.


In a word, Abkhazia, developing steadily, searches actively for the ways to advance.


This could not be achieved without selfless labor of the nation. Scientists, intelligentsia, teachers, and students, athletes, businessmen, common workers, and politicians have contributed considerably day after day to the restoration and deserved development of own country.


For this very reason, small Abkhazia stood up, and has been moving with confidence to the future throughout the first decade of the 21st century carefully maneuvering, having gone through difficult labyrinths and having survived the cataclysms of the international policy of the 20th century.


This future should be worthy of people’s labor. And it will be, I am confident.


Dear compatriots serving in the Abkhaz Army, war veterans, employees of the life-support services!


I warmly congratulate you on all the victories you managed to achieve in the outgoing decade! I wish you a Happy New Year!


Let all your secret dreams and hopes come true in 2011!


Let the warmth of your soul and harmony not leave your homes!


Let the Most High send down well-being to each family and our beloved Abkhazia!


Happy New Year!


 Russia gives free aid to Abkhazia


In the Abkhazian capital Sukhum, a meeting headed by President Sergey Bagapsh discussed the republic’s economic development in 2010.


Last year, Abkhazia spent 1.8 bln rubles from the sum which was allocated to it by Russia on roads, housing, education, culture, health and agriculture.


This money was given to Abkhazia as part of Russia’s three-year plan of free aid to this newly independent country which used to be part of Georgia. In total, this plan envisions allocating about 11 bln rubles to Abkhazia.


01.06.2011  The Voice of Russia


 Comprehensive plan of assistance to socio-economic development of Abkhazia financing amounted to RUB 1,8 bln in 2010


“As of January 1, 2011 financing of the projects entered in the Comprehensive plan amounted to about RUB 1,8 bln.” the Minister of Economy Christina Ozgan said at a meeting chaired by the President, providing information on the implementation in 2010 of the projects provided by the “Comprehensive plan of assistance to socio-economic development of the Republic of Abkhazia in 2010 – 2012”.


“According to the current accounts, 60 % out of RUB 3 bln. allocated by the Russian Federation has been drawn” , the minister specified.


According to Ozgan, RUB 555 mln. was spent on road infrastructure , including RUB 255 mln. on reparation of roads.


In 2010 RUB 1 565, 9 mln. was spent on housing and communal services, including: RUB 214 mln. on water supply, RUB 94, 4 mln. on energy, RUB  176, 6 mln. on reparation of roofs, RUB 80, 7 mln. on elevators.


RUB 175, 5 mln. was spent on the “Agroindustrial complex” section of the plan, RUB 82, 3 mln. on the “Industry” section,  RUB 90, 6 on the “Office buildings and facilities” section.


RUB 134, 7 mln. was spent on health care projects, RUB 2, 8 mln. on education, RUB 100 mln. on cuture.


“The process of drawing the funds is becoming more active now.  It is caused by the fact that we now have concluded contracts for building and delivery,” the minister said. “The volume of financing of the Comprehensive plan for 2011 agreed with the Russian side will amount to RUB 3 bln.”


01.06.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


 President held meeting on implementation of the Comprehensive plan of assistance to socio-economic development of the Republic of Abkhazia in 2010 and tasks for this year


A working meeting chaired by President Sergey Bagapsh was dedicated to the results of implementation of the Comprehensive plan of assistance to socio-economic development of the Republic of Abkhazia in 2010 and tasks for this year. The plan is intended for three years (2010 - 2012) and provides for rendering free aid of  RUB 10, 8 bln. to Abkhazia by Russia.

RUB 1, 8 bln. was drawn in 2010, RUB 1, 2 bln. is the vested remainder for 2011. These funds, in accordance with the plan, were spent on road infrastructure, housing and communal services (restoration of water supply and sewerage systems, reparation of roofs, facades and apartment house basements, elevators) education, culture, health care, physical training and sports, agriculture.

RUB 4, 23 bln. is to be drawn in 2011 . “This is a considerable amount and we’ll have to do much, serious work”, the President said.

He warned all ministry and department heads responsible for the implementation of specific projects of the Comprehensive plan about inadmissibility of starting construction or reparation without an expert appraisal of design estimates.

“We have learned to build, but cannot complete documents correctly yet. We need to put the whole regulatory basis in order”, the President emphasized.

Christina Ozgan, the Minister of Economy, provided information on the plan implementation last year.

The President was interested in how the things with construction and reconstruction of the properties entered in the Comprehensive plan are getting on. It was a question of the bypass Gagra road, country roads, the Sukhum – Gal highway, reparation of roofs, elevators, facades and apartment house basements, repair of schools, hospitals and sports facilities, rehabilitation of water supply and sewerage systems,  building of the House of Justice, repair of Monkey nursery, bread-baking plants, etc.

Sergey Bagapsh pointed to the necessity of supervising the quality of reparation of country roads. “We need to impose it as a duty on the Capital Construction Department. Because it turns out us that the quality of the work done is supervised by the performers”, the President added.

He also instructed members of the government to endorse volumes of work on the Comprehensive plan with district administration heads. “They at the local level know better what specifically and in what place should be built and restored in districts”, Bagapsh said.

Touching upon certain projects of the Comprehensive plan for this year, the head of state suggested to think, in particular, about the expediency of spending the funds planned for making of nut plantations in Gal district, on other purposes - growing of vegetables, pre-packing of honey, jam, etc. “There are a lot of nut trees in the district without that”, Bagapsh said.

According to the President, out of RUB 100 mln. planned for the restoration of the Botanical garden Office building, RUB 30 mln. should be used, and RUB 70 mln. temporarily "freezed".  

According to the head of state, a governmental program on the liquidation of marks of war in the capital, intended for one- two years is necessary. “Enough time has already passed since the war was over. But facades of dilapidated and burnt on the edges buildings still salute the guests coming in Sukhum”, Bagapsh said.  

The President suggested that Prime Minister Sergey Shamba should instruct one of the vice-PMs of the government to deal straight with the construction of properties, provided by the Comprehensive plan of assistance to socio-economic development of Abkhazia.

In closing, the head of state demanded to make projects appraisals in proper time, to prepare all necessary regulatory documents, to observe strictly due dates of construction and restoration work and to maintain tough financial discipline.

“There is an operations staff headed by Prime Minister. That’s where you should discuss specific tasks of implementing the Comprehensive plan, to endorse all issues. I reserve control over this plan implementation to myself. In case of need I will get the Control and Audit Department and the Prosecutor General’s Office involved in this work”, the President stressed.


01.06.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


"Amtsakhara" social movement of Patriotic War of the Abkhaz Nation veterans calls on their battle friends, all veterans to concord for the sake of peace, stability and prosperity of Abkhazia


"Amtsakhara" social movement of Patriotic War of the Abkhaz Nation veterans calls on their battle friends, all veterans to concord for the sake of peace, stability and prosperity of Abkhazia.  

According to "Amtsakhara", opposition continues to force confrontation in the society and to spread rumors discrediting the current authorities, which 62 % of the country’s population has put confidence in at the elections.

"Amtsakhara" is also discontented with many mass-media which, in their opinion, pass rumors for reliable information, do not see any progress in socio-economic development of the country, as well as the current authorities’ contribution to the Abkhaz nation’s struggle for independence and sovereignty.  

The veteran organization declares the authorities do concrete things instead of making hollow promises.

“Mass-media speak much about the hidden from the people state property sale. Before declaring alienation of important properties, they should study the issue in detail, and only then express their concerns. Out of the sold properties list, 90 % were purchased by citizens of Abkhazia”, the Statement says.

"Amtsakhara" considers the transfer to Russia of three state summer residences (in Gagra, Pitsunda and Myussera) as “a tribute and gratitude to the nation and the country which was the first in the world to recognize us, which gave us a helping hand in the severe years of war”.

“We, the veterans of war, remember, which weapon we fired, where we took guns and ammunition. Thanks to the courage and rebelliousness of our nation, the wisdom of our Commander-in-Chief, at the call of our heart and blood we rose to defend our Motherland and won. Having gone through ordeals, we should have united even more, but we have at least three veteran movements instead. We forgot how we have been bursting to go into action together, have been happy with our victories, upset about failures”, the statement of "Amtsahara" social movement reads, in part.

“We need a compromise, peace and concord, we need to revive confidence, tolerance to ensure stability in the country”, veterans declare.


01.05.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia


No serious violations of the law and public order registered in the New Year


No serious violations of the law and public order except for three road traffic incidents were registered in the New Year, the Sukhum Directorate of Internal Affairs chief Laurens Kogonia said.


He specified road incidents had happened on the night of December 31-January 1, no victims. “Moreover, nobody was taken to a hospital”, Kogonia said.


MIA officers continue to perform their duties 24 hours a day.


01.05.2010  Official site of the president of the republic of Abkhazia