Russian forces in
Abkhazia, S Ossetia guarantee peace - Rogozin
The Russian military presence in Abkhazia
and South Ossetia protects these two nations against aggression from
Russian NATO Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin was
speaking about this in a media interview Sunday after the US Senate
passed a resolution with calls for Russia to end what the Senators
termed its occupation of the two South Caucasus territories.
The United States, the European Union and
NATO stubbornly refuse to extend security guarantees to Abkhazia and
The Voice of Russia
Russia, USA, EU
guarantee no use of force between Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Russia, USA and the EU may guarantee no
use of force between Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russian Deputy
Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said, ITAR-TASS reports.
Russian and French Presidents Dmitry
Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy initiated 16 rounds of talks in Geneva.
However, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia were not represented.
The talks in Geneva contributed to
progress. But Tbilisi ignores proposals of Tskhinval and Sukhum to
conclude bilateral agreements. Karasin believes that Georgia is trying
to blame Russia for the war in August 2008, calling it the aggressor.
Wants Better Relations With Georgia, Georgia Doesn’t – Abkazian PM
Abkhazia wants to normalize relations with Georgia but Tbilisi’s current
authorities have blocked all paths to dialogue, Abkhazia’ s Prime
Minister Sergei Shamba said on Saturday.
A meeting with
the Geneva Discussions co-chairs was held
Sukhum, On the 21st of July 2011 a
meeting between Abkhazian representatives and Geneva-talks co-chairs
Pierre Morel, the EU Special Representative, Antti Turunen,
Representative of the UN Secretary General, and Giedrius Cekuolis, the
Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE was
held at the MFA office. Abkhazian side was presented by Maksim Gunjia,
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Viacheslav Chirikba, Ruslan
Kishmariya, Garry Kupalba and Lana Agrba who are the regular members of
the Geneva Discussions.
The meeting was held in the working
environment; the sides discussed recent meetings of the co-chairs in
Moscow, Tbilisi and Tskhinval as well as the agenda for the forthcoming
Geneva Discussions. Abkhazian side informed the representatives about
the overall situation in the country and expressed concerns regarding
the resolution on Abkhazian and South Ossetian refugees adopted by the
UN General Assembly. According to the Minister, the discussion of this
issue makes sense only when all interested sides are participated.
Pierre Morel along with his colleagues
promised to take into account this information and also added that
nature of the resolution should not affect the Geneva Discussions
process as for today they are the only foothold for the joint
Maksim Gunjia also raised a question
regarding the difficulties that Abkhazian citizens face when travelling
to Europe. As a result, it was decided to include this issue on the
agenda for the next round of Geneva talks.
MFA of Abkhazia
The three candidates who were nominated on
Sunday are the incumbent vice president, Alexander Ankuab, Prime
Minister Sergei Shamba and opposition leader Raul Hajymba. The snap poll
in Abkhazia, caused by the death of the former head of state, Sergei
Bagapsh in Moscow at the end of May, is on August 26. The Abkhaz
parliament has invited Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey,
Northern Cyprus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus as well as the Inter
Parliamentary Assembly of the Euro-Asian Economic Union to monitor the
Election campaign starts today, July 18
with the publication of the programme of the candidates, after which the
chances of each of them can be analyzed, says Arda Inal-Ipa of the
Center of Humanitarian Programme of Abkhazia, who spoke to VOR in an
“It is politically significant for
Abkhazia that each poll, this being the third, is always characterized
by uncertainty. It is evidence of a truly evolving civil society where
the electors freely choose their president. The three contesting
candidates are well known public figures, but regrettably, no new faces
have emerged on the horizon of the young republic. It’s the same old
faces that we have seen since 2004. Of course, they are experienced
politicians and the voters know well what they can do, but it is
difficult to pick the best from the three contestants in terms of
solving the arduous economic problems the republic faces. Whoever wins
on August 26 will undoubtedly work hard to further improve ties with
Russia, thanks to which Abkhazia is today an independent country."
Russia is watching closely the political
developments in a neighbouring state and in an interview for VOR,
Maria Lazutova, head of the office of the State Duma’s Committee for
CIS affairs and links with compatriots had this to say:
“Russia sees Abkhazia as a friendly and
predictable state, and that was why Russia was the first to recognize
its independence. Russia would like to see Abkhazia a stable country
with a strong economy, and most importantly, a nation whose independence
is recognized by more countries”, said Lazutova.
After the sad events of August 2008,
Abkhazia became an important element for stability in the region, and
Russia backs it in its new role. Russian and Abkhaz officials are
presently discussing the possibility of making the airport in Sukhum a
standby airport during the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014.
The Voice of Russia
Abkhazia to improve
Abkhaz officials are going to improve social
security in the country on the verge of the coming presidential
elections. Issues of security were discussed recently during a meeting
of the republic's law-enforcement agencies' chiefs, Apsnypress reports.
According to the decision reached at the meeting, law-enforcement agency
chiefs are now going to report weekly on how the situation is developing.
07.15.2011 VESTNIK KAVKAZA
on an article in the Vanuatu Independent: To Tamar Vashakidze and the
people of Vanuatu
Facts can be
discussed in an objective and meaningful way. Then there are the ‘facts’
disseminated by Georgian lobbyists, which are neither meaningful nor (by
definition) objective. Sadly, the contents of Tamar Vashakidze’s article,
which was recently
published in the Vanuatu Independent,
fall into the latter category.
quotation-marks around the phrase ‘national self-determination, raising
a question thereby about the legitimacy of the use of this term with
reference to the Abkhazians. But for us Abkhazians our
self-determination is a crucial counterpoint to the colonialism and
imperialism practised against us over the decades by Georgia, and
understanding this is crucial to reaching a peace-settlement.
We Abkhazians have
our own self-designation in our native tongue; this is ‘Apswa’ (plural ‘Aspwaa’).
When Georgians and their foreign supporters refer to us in this way, it
is not to honour our ethnonym but to cast aspersions on our historical
entitlement to our native territory. The reason for this is the gross
distortion of history (propounded in Georgia since the 1880s but mostly
associated with a notorious publication from the time of
Stalin’s and Beria’s
repression of the Abkhazians
by the Georgian literary specialist Pavle Ingoroqva) is to insinuate
that the ‘true’ Abkhazians of history were a Georgian-speaking tribe,
whilst the nation to which we are proud to belong came relatively late
to the territory of Abkhazia, dominating and taking over the name of the
territory’s ‘true’ autochthons. The determined revival of the
‘Ingoroqvan Hypothesis’ in the late 1980s was a factor that led
inevitably to the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-3.
war broke out when the Georgian authorities of the day, which, by the
way, totally lacked any democratic mandate but which was led by the
Eduard Shevardnadze, invaded
and occupied most of the towns and villages, including the capital our
Sukhum, on 14 August 1992. During the first months of the conflict,
when the West preferred to look the other way, it was the non-‘Georgian’
[ non-Kartvelian] civilians who were attacked and had to flee as they
were beaten, robbed and killed, their houses and apartments looted.
Commander-in-chief of Georgian troops in Abkhazia, General Giorgi
Karkarashvili, issued the following chilling threat in a formal
televised address to the Abkhazian and Georgian people in Sukhum on 24
August: “No prisoners of war will be taken...If 100,000 Georgians lose
their lives, then [on the Abkhazian side] all 97,000 will be
killed...The Abkhazian nation will be left without descendants.” http://www.youtube.com
discussing the problem of Kartvelian refugees, no-one bothers to
remember the above-mentioned facts and that the Kartvelian population of
Abkhazia mostly greeted Shevardnadze’s tanks and soldiers with joy.
were directed against Abkhazian political, cultural, intellectual and
community leaders. In addition to the disappearance or killing of
removal or destruction of the
principal materials and buildings
of important historical and cultural importance to Abkhazians took place
in what appears to have been an organised attempt to destroy the very
cultural and national identity of the Abkhazians.
planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a
ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that
area ethnically homogenous. Those practices constitute crimes against
humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes. Furthermore,
such acts could also fall within the meaning of the Genocide
Medical authorities in Gudauta (northern Abkhazia)
reported that virtually all men who had passed through the Gudauta
hospital, after having been held prisoner by Georgian authorities,
appeared to have been severely tortured. Many had sustained multiple
broken bones and burns from cigarettes or other objects on various
parts of their bodies. Some had their ears partially or completely
torn off. See UNPO's Abkhazia Report, November 1992, b. Human
Rights and Cultural Destruction at
Tamar Vashakidze, Head of Advocacy and Communications in Georgia,
stated in the article that the Apswaa are a small ethnic group which
formed less than 20% of Abkhazia’s pre-war population and which
carried out severe ethnic cleansing, wiping out or deporting some 75%
of the ‘Georgian’ [recte Kartvelian] population of Abkhazia. For whom
is this kind of brainwashing intended? Is it credible that 20%
Abkhazians could pose such a threat to 75% Kartvelians? The
demographic threat in Abkhazia came rather from the artificial
increase of the territory’s Kartvelian population, largely as a result
population-transfers during the Stalin-Beria period, in order to
swamp us Abkhazians in our homeland.
The readers of the Vanuatu Independent should know that
Abkhazia’s status was downgraded to that of a mere ‘autonomous
republic’ in 1931 within Stalin’s home-republic, the Georgian Soviet
Socialist Republic. In those days all problems were solved by central
diktat, in which the former republics of the USSR dragged out their
existence in an atmosphere of total fear and in which violations of
human rights were the norm. The geographical borders of the Soviet
socialist republics were redrawn, and, in the case of Abkhazia, this
was done in favour of Georgia. Although for most of the Soviet period
Abkhazia had the status of an autonomous republic, it has NEVER been a
Georgian region and no one is supposed to incorporate it into the Russian
The Russian Federation, followed by Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru
have recognised Abkhazia as an independent state; the same applies in
the case of South Ossetia. Any country is free to do the same (or not),
but their decision should be based on proper appreciation of the facts
and not on self-serving propaganda emanating from Tbilisi, the capital
of the aggressor state.
Independent Media Monitoring Team
Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not return to Georgia
The well-known German political scientist
and expert gave an interview to Vestnik Kavkaza. He touched on the full
spectrum of political themes between Russia and the Caucasus, as well as
basic geopolitical aspects of the current world. We publish the first
part of the interview on relations between Russia and Georgia.
- Mr Rahr, let’s begin with the most
painful point of the Caucasus – the absence of Russian-Georgian
relations. This situation came about after the war of 2008. Do you think
it is possible to restore the relations without the resignation of any
of the ruling regimes?
- I must say it is possible, and the
neighbours should strive to improve relations, especially in the
situation between Georgia and Russia. Today they are still on the brink
of serious conflicts. How can this problem be solved? The situation
might be improved if the current heads in Russia or Georgia, who were
directly connected with the war of 2008, resign.
- Do you think it is possible in the near
- In Georgia the elections will take place
in 2013, as far as I know, and Saakashvili won’t participate. So I
believe that any new president of Georgia will try to stabilise
relations with Russia . In Russia this process is more difficult. Mr.
Putin will not give up power: he will be the next president of Russia or
continue running the Russian government. However, it is not beneficial
for Russia to have bad relations with Georgia. Many Georgians live in
Russia, and they are treated positively in the country. The problem of
the approach is about Georgia all in all, as I think Abkhazia and South
Ossetia will not return to Georgia.
- So you think Russia will never cancel
its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
- The problem is not only about Russia,
but also about Abkhazia itself, which will never agree to give up its
independence. It is building its own state. I think that, little by
little, Abkhazia will be recognized by other countries, including Turkey.
If Georgian policy remains directed at making Abkhazia and South Ossetia
come back, the problems between Russia and Georgia won’t be solved.
As for South Ossetia, this problem is more
difficult and the solution is less obvious. It is possible that the
republic will come back to Georgia of its own good will. For this, the
Georgians have to cooperate with the Ossetians closely and prove their
economic superiority. This will be difficult to do.
- Especially considering the strong ties
between South Ossetia and North Ossetia…
- Geography is against these ties. It
hampers the inclusion of South Ossetia into the Russian Federation. I
believe that geography defines the development of the republic. After
the resignation of Eduard Kokoyty, part of the population might move to
North Ossetia, and South Ossetia might change its foreign policy toward
Georgia, if Tbilisi proposes an interesting economic project. But
Abkhazia is lost for Georgia, I think…
- Georgia actively strives for European
integration, for example, entering the EU. Do you think this prospect is
- Unfortunately, geography also plays a
negative role for Georgia. Without Turkey, Georgia won’t be a member of
the EU. If Turkey manages to enter the union, Georgian chances will
- You used to say that recognition of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia was a “cowboy” deed. What do you
think now, was it an emotional decision or a strategic political step?
- That's a very interesting question, but
I have no answer to it yet. We don't have full information about the
events which took place in 2008. Russia has been supporting Abkhazia and
South Ossetia for 18 years of the conflict with Georgia. There was
probably a provocation in 2008 and Saakashvili was trapped. If that is
true, the aim of Russia was to prove that it is the main factor in the
former Soviet space and Western countries must not interfere, and that
there would be no expansion of NATO there. On the other hand,
recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was implemented through
emotional measures. Probably Russia had to… however, I understand why
Russia did it, but…
- Because of Kosovo… as revenge?
- No. Russia might have waited several
months and gone through international courts to achieve recognition of
the republics, as the EU experts proved that the initiator of the
conflict was Georgia. In this case their independence was more
legitimate. South Ossetia was defending itself from Georgia, but what
about Abkhazia? Its independence was recognized as well.
Now let’s imagine another variant of the
development of events. Saakashvili wanted to spread panic among the
South Ossetian population. As a result, thousands of refugees would
block the Rocksky tunnel and Russian tanks wouldn’t be able to reach the
south of the republic and help Russian military personnel. Saakashvili
counts on asking NATO to send its army to the region and control it
instead of Russian peacekeepers. For Russia, this scenario was a
disaster. In order to avoid it, Russia probably provoked Saakashvili.
From historical, geopolitical and legal points of view the Russian
actions were reasonable. Interview by Orkhan Satarov