Holiday of Young
On November, 5 Abkhazia will celebrate the
Holiday of Young Wine for the first time. The festival will take place
in the village Achandara of Gudata area, which is famous for its wine
and Abkhazian grades of grapes.
Achandara it is situated northeastwards
from Gudauta, in the foothill zone of the Bzyb Range. There is a
sanctuary - the mountain Dydrypsh near Achandara. This village is one of
the most ancient settlements of the Caucasus. The diameters of the trees
that grow in the center of the village amount to four meters. They are
more than three centuries old.
In the village square will be organized a
fair and concert of folk ensembles. There will also take place a tasting
of a grape drink called " amchar" in Abkhazia. It is young wine rich in
Visitors will also enjoy the horse riding
stunts show. They will also see how grapes grow in the Abkhazian yards.
Grape saplings are traditionally planted near mulberry, hazel and alder.
It is considered that grape ripens better that way. It is often
preferred to build grape pergolas (adzhzkhuatra).
Then in a farmstead will take place a
feast. Traditional dishes such as hominy, cheese, boiled and smoked meat,
chicken, cherry plum sauce - asadzhbal, achashv (pies with cheese),
different salads with nuts etc will be served with wine. There will also
be desserts: akalmysh (prepared from corn flour and grape juice),
ajinjukh, alaharua (dried figs), young corn baked on coals, fried
chestnuts, nuts and so on.
"We reckon that the holiday of young wine
celebrated in November in many countries of Western Europe will become a
tradition also in Abkhazia", the director of a Sukhum travel agency
Frikan Gunba told during the conversation with the correspondent of
backs off blocking Russia’s WTO bid
Georgia has reached a compromise with
Russia on monitoring trade on Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s borders, it
announced on Thursday following consultations with Switzerland and the
After 18 years of talks, Russia was
finally granted most favored nation status in the majority of countries
and is on the verge of joining the World Trade Organization. Georgia’s
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze said 15 minutes ahead of a new
round of Swiss-mediated Russian-Georgian talks, that Georgia would give
Russia a “final proposal.” Russia’s Top Negotiator Maxim Medvedkov said
Russia would need a few days to consider it.
Although the proposal’s content was not
disclosed, it likely involves the electronic monitoring of Russia’s
trade operations on the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, without
defining the trade formally as Russian-Georgian trade. Russia recognizes
the both republics as independent states while Georgia and most WTO
members do not.
The Wall Street Journal earlier wrote,
quoting Georgian sources, that the EU warned Georgia it was ready to
admit Russia by a simple majority rather than a unanimous vote unless a
compromise was reached. If Russia is really interested in joining the
WTO and Georgia’s proposal contains no “hidden reefs,” Russia’s
accession could become official at the WTO ministerial conference on
Bilateral negotiations with all WTO
members were completed by the spring of 2007 – all except Georgia. All
major disagreements were settled during President Vladimir Putin’s first
term when Russia pledged to reduce the national economy’s dependency on
Russia has made a great effort to
harmonize its trade laws with the WTO, adopting over 42 packages of
bills since 1994. Formal WTO accession will provide effective
preferences as soon as in 2012, and will convince other members that
Russia will not use protectionist policies in foreign trade in the
Russia’s potential costs and benefits
stemming from WTO accession were estimated before the global crisis. The
World Bank’s David Tarr and Natalya Volchkova said in a 2010 report that
the new trade agreement would bring Russia about $40 billion annually in
the medium term. Russia’s overall WTO benefit will reach 3.3 percent of
GDP ($53bln) in the medium term and 11 percent ($177bln) in the long run
when the local business environment improves.
Harmonizing Russia’s laws and government
regulations with WTO standards will influence everyone, especially low
and medium-income families. In fact the former will benefit the most
from the liberalization of the labor market. The most competitive and
attractive Russian regions will also benefit from the change.
Some analysts are skeptical about an
immediate benefit from Russia’s WTO accession. However, Yulia
Tseplyayeva from BNP Paribas believes a transition period will help ease
the short-term negative effects and make the long-term improvements come
sooner. “Russia will have to encourage privatization and market reform.
The tightening of government regulation in the economy will slow if not
stop altogether,” she said.
If this round of WTO talks collapses, it
could be delayed for another several years.
Sukhum, by Vitaly Sharia, The Abkhaz language is officially
registered in the UNSECO’s list of endangered languages. The critical
situation observed today is not newly emerged. Among numerous
significant factors that affected the current state of the Abkhaz
language we can outline the calamity of Muhajirism in the 19th century,
which turned Abkhazia into a country with multi-ethnic population where
the Russian language gradually acquired a firm status of interethnic
communication language; and the Georgian demographic and political
expansion during the rule of Beria in mid 20th century which forced the
Abkhaz schools to accept Georgian language as the language of tuition.
After gaining independence Abkhazia seemed
to have no obstacles to improve the conditions and develop the Abkhaz
language. Moreover, relative density of the Abkhaz ethnicity has grown
more than twice, from 18 to 44 per cents (according to the population
count in 2003). However, the usage of the state language did not expand
among interethnic communities, public places or mass media. And still
many Abkhaz from urban areas do not speak their mother tongue.
State policy should take more firm steps
aiming at preservation and development of the language. Several weeks
following the discussion during the session of 14 November 2007 the
People’s Assembly (The Parliament of Abkhazia) deputies adopted in the
final reading a bill “On the state language of the Republic of
Abkhazia”. The bill was officially published on 29 November 2007 in the
governmental newspaper “The Republic of Abkhazia” and came into effect
on the date of the publication. The adoption of the law was preceded by
a vast work of many years attracted the best specialists and scholars in
the field of philology, law and state building. Each point and paragraph
of the law was thoroughly debated in the Parliament as well as outside
Time framework for an actual acquisition
of the state language status for the Abkhaz language is a tight period
of 7 years. According to the last paragraphs of the Law to come into
force in 2015, all heads of state authorities of the Republic of
Abkhazia, as well as the heads of structural subdivisions, Deputies of
People’s Assembly - the Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia, heads of
local governments are obliged to speak the state language. The state
language should become a source language of legal acts.
The provisions of the Law were supposed to
come into force step by step. Within 6 months following the adoption of
the Law the text printed in the state language should have occupied not
less than a half of space issued by nongovernmental printable mass media
and not less than two-thirds of the volumes issued by state printed
output. Television broadcasters irrespective of the form of ownership,
should broadcast two-thirds of their programs on the state language.
Starting from 1.01.2010 all meetings held by the President, all
Parliament sessions and the sessions of the Cabinet Council should have
held on the state language.
Last year the Parliament started to hold
sessions on the state language with simultaneous translation into
Russian language provided for those who do not speak the state language.
The Speaker tries to hold his speech in Abkhaz, so do some deputies too.
However they generally switch into Russian during discussion and
exchange of opinions. The session papers distributed among the
participants are in Russian, not Abkhaz as planned. The other supreme
bodies have not reached even the same level.
However, as many skeptics and those
judging the situation in a sober way forecasted during the discussion of
the Law, if the planned measures provided by the Law will not be
fostered by daily efforts from the government and the society, the
planned measures will remain on paper. Unfortunately four years later
since the adoption of the Law we witness this forecast.
The Abkhaz Language Fund and other
organizations responsible for issuing periodicals in Abkhaz language
have done a lot of work. However, this is not the aim, but means to
achieve the designated goal, namely: all Abkhaz population, including
all ethnicities should freely speak Abkhazian. Four years that passed
since the adoption of the Law did not bring us closer to this goal.
There was nothing mentioned about language
courses for adults for the last time, though preceding the adoption of
the Law an active advertising in the Media and the Abkhaz Television
broadcasted a series of programs for those aspiring to learn the
language. I may assume, that both course organizers and participants
realized that the efforts were not productive.
It is obvious that without a full
integration into the language environment adults from the Abkhaz urban
areas will not be able to learn the language, even though they express
their eagerness. While preschool age children easily hold two, three or
even more languages. That is why I am deeply convinced that the
government should focus on creation of a wide network of kinder gardens,
where small children from different ethnic families could learn the
state language. This option is far more costly and displays results in a
longer perspective; however it seems to me more appropriate in response
to the problem which has shaped during many decades. It requires well
Kavkaza” (The Echo of Caucasus)
championship in Sukhum
300 contestants from 22 countries have descended on Sukhum for the 8th
World Domino championship, which began on October 18. Sukhum has not
seen such a large number of foreign visitors before, not even during the
Abkhaz presidential elections. The few foreigners who came then were
The president of the U.S Federation of
Domino, Manuel Okendo, is already here. Rumours have it that the
Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, who knows Mr. Okendo personally tried
to persuade him not to travel to Abkhazia. Saakashvili even quickly set up
a Georgian Federation of Domino and told Okendo to hold the 8th World
Domino competition in Tbilisi.
Mr. Okemdo refused to do as told by
Saakashvili, saying that sports and politics do not mix. The decision to
hold the contest in Abkhazia was taken in the spring in Las Vegas during
the last World championship. The officials of the Domino Federation
already knew where Abkhazia is situated and what it represents, but one
of them admitted that he didn’t even know of the existence of such a
republic. A series of visits and examinations convinced the officials
that Abkhazia was eminently qualified to stage the World Domino
Abkhazia has been given an opportunity to
show what it can do. The 22 delegations come from North and South
America, Latin America, Africa and Europe, and of course, Russia. First
of all, they are people and each of them has a family, friends, work and
other responsibilities. It’s a huge opportunity for self-advertisement,
which Abkhazia must use to the full.
Voice of Russia
propaganda under a veil of “scientific objectivity”
Commentary of a Professor in Political Sciences
Iraklii Khintba, Abkhaz State University and Centre for Humanitarian
Programs on the Resolution 1832 (2011) of CE Parliamentary Assembly
adopted on 4 October, 2011
Resolution 1832 (2011) of the CE Parliamentary
«National sovereignty and statehood in contemporary
international law: the need for clarification» produces a rather
ambiguous impression. On the one hand, it resembles a synopsis of a
lecture on international law and practice by virtue of the style and
argumentation employed. On the other hand, one can easily detect
elements of political propaganda masquerading under a veil of «scientific
The Resolution, which in fact is just a recommendation, begins with the
acknowledgment that there is «the lack of clear criteria for statehood
and for lawful secession» and «the criteria for statehood remain a
contentious issue in contemporary international law». The reader
expects that further on the document will provide such criteria and
clarifications. But unfortunately what follows is just a dogmatic argument
on non-acceptance of secession as a form of national self-determination.
So the first question arises: why do they call for elaborating clear criteria
and clarification of the issue, if their purpose is just reiterating
old but still ambiguous and disputable arguments?
In the concluding part of the document, the PA «invites all member states
to refrain from recognizing or supporting in any way the de facto
authorities of territories resulting from unlawful secessions». If
there is still no certainty on the issue of lawful secessions, how to
determine that, for instance, the Abkhazian secession was unlawful? And
why does the resolution call for non-recognition in the absence of the
criteria for statehood? It proposes that «the criteria for statehood,
including those for the emergence of new states by legal secession and
the modalities of protection of national sovereignty and territorial
integrity of states be examined thoroughly in the framework of a
follow-up conference to the International Commission on Intervention
and State Sovereignty». Great, but it has not yet been done. If they
acknowledge the existence of a certain «legal gap», why not continue
to refrain from politically propagandistic statements on the
illegality of secessions and movements for self-determination in the
The second question concerns the mechanisms or the machinery for resolving
conflicts and other disputes stemming from aspirations of different
identities in Europe. Why do the authors of the Resolution deliberately
confuse the notions of cultural and political conflicts and
ethno-political conflicts (ethno-territorial)?
The Resolution refers to the earlier document (Resolution
1334 (2003)), which was to clarify and legitimize the only way to
resolve identity conflicts, i.e. autonomization and decentralization.
And here again we encounter this substitution of notions. The
conflicts they consider are political and primarily non-violent ones,
caused by unjust distribution of power and economic gains. Groups that
struggle for improving their structural conditions need to be
distinguished from groups which have undergone violent wars and claim
independence. Decentralization is appropriate for correcting
structural inequities and empowering groups. But as an instrument to
address strong ethnic and political conflicts it is hardly relevant.
This reluctance to acknowledge the different nature of conflicts in the
region contributes to the low efficiency of European engagement in conflict-resolution
and transformation-processes in the South Caucasus. For instance, the
authors of the Resolution prefer to forget that the reason for the
conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia is not what they call «Russian
intervention» in 2008. The real reasons are Soviet quasi-federalism,
which spurred ethno-nationalism, and the aggression of the
illegitimate Georgian government against its own citizens and their
state in 1992 (under the Soviet Constitution autonomous republics
[such as Abkhazia] enjoyed the status of a state).
The only point that inspires confidence is the final provision of the Resolution
«to analyze the origin and trends of self-determination movements by
addressing the most salient factors, in particular instances of
growing tensions among minority or ethnic groups». Europe does indeed
need a far better understanding of the conflicts in the South Caucasus.
Maybe this process will help the truth to come out, so that the
conflicts are more properly addressed.
Vyacheslav Chirikba met UN delegation
Sukhum, On October 12, Minister of
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia Vyacheslav Chirikba, , met
UN delegation headed by UN Assistant Secretary General for Political
Affairs Oscar Fernandez – Taranco. The delegation also included Co-chair
of the Geneva discussions Antti Turunen, political adviser to the UN and
representative at Geneva Discussions Hailu Mamo, advisors of Oscar
Fernandez - Taranco – Gianluca Rampolla Del Tindaro and Christopher
Carlin.In his salutatory speech Oscar Fernandez-Taranco congratulated
Vyacheslav Chirikba on his new appointment as Minister of Foreign
Affairs and also pointed out that it was his first visit to Abkhazia.
According to the Minister, Abkhazia has
great experience of successful cooperation with United Nations. “We have
achieved a high level of trust between UN and Abkhazia. We have good
contacts with the Co-chair of Geneva Discussions Antti Turunen and now
we are glad to welcome you. This is an expansion of our contacts and to
some extent their renewal”, – noticed Chirikba.
Foreign policy priorities of Abkhazia
became the major issue of the discussion. Minister pointed that building
a modern democratic state is a very important goal. Abkhazia is open for
cooperation and is interested in establishing future contacts with UN
and UN agencies that provide humanitarian support to local people.
Oscar Fernandez – Taranco, in his turn,
expressed hope for successful continuation of UN humanitarian projects
to become an important basis for further cooperation between UN and
Abkhazia. UN delegation also expressed its interest in the overall
political situation in the country.
UN Assistant Secretary General emphasized
that prolongation of Geneva Discussions on Security in Transcaucasia and
IPRM meetings plays a significant role and is an important aspect of the
UN Political Mission.
Minister agreed that communication in the
framework of Geneva Discussions and IPRM meetings in Gal is a positive
factor but stressed that achievement of certain results can be possible
only when Georgia starts to consider Abkhazia as an equal partner of
At the end UN Assistant Secretary General
thanked the Abkhaz side for the warm welcome and expressed his wish to
participate in the next Geneva Discussions.
Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Abkhazia
Chirikba is appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
President Alexander Ankvab signed a decree on appointment of Vyacheslav
Chirikba as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Prior to his appointment as Minister of
Foreign Affairs Chirikba headed the Department of Political Science and
Conflict Resolution in the Abkhazian Institute of Humanitarian Studies
and the Department of Geopolitics in the Center for Strategic Studies
under the President of the Republic of Abkhazia and as leading research
fellow of the Sector of Caucasian Languages Institute of Linguistics of
the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Chirikba also served as Advisor to the
President of the Republic of Abkhazia on foreign policy. He is also the
head of Abkhazian delegation to Geneva talks on security in
Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Abkhazia
Ankvab, President of the Republic of Abkhazia arrives for an official
visit to Russian Federation
Sukhum, On the 5th -6th of October
Alexander Ankvab, President of the Republic of Abkhazia, will pay an
official visit to Russian Federation. During his visit Alexander Ankvab
and Dmitry Medvedev will discuss various aspects related to the
bilateral cooperation including the issues on providing the security of
the country.The leaders will also discuss other priority issues of the
intergovernmental cooperation regarding the social and economic
development, coordination of the international activity, restoration of
the property rights of Russian citizens in Abkhazia and will define the
perspectives of the further bilateral cooperation.
Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Abkhazia
PRESS COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE CO-CHAIRS OF GENEVA DISCUSSIONS
The participants of the Geneva International Discussions
have just completed their seventeenth session.
Working Group I, the participants reviewed the security situation on the
ground and welcomed the fact that the general situation has been calm
and stable during the period after the previous
round. The regular and constructive work of both IPRMs was appreciated
by all participants. They continued to address the
issue of non-use of force and international
security arrangements. The co-Chairs underlined that, despite the
fundamental differences and divergent opinions, efforts should be
undertaken in order to make progress towards better
security and stability on the ground, through interim
steps and concrete measures. The value of confidence building was
Working Group II, the participants reviewed the various aspects of the
situation on the ground, including the situation
of vulnerable populations and various specific
humanitarian issues. The discussions benefitted from comprehensive
briefings from all participants on humanitarian
activities undertaken and identified specific directions for
follow-up. Participants were given the opportunity to
deepen their understanding of the various aspects
of confidence-building measures during an information session on the
agreed to hold their next session on 14th December.
at Geneva Discussions, calls for greater freedom of movement
4 October 2011 –The Special Representative of the OSCE
Chairperson-in-Office for Protracted Conflicts, Giedrius Čekuolis, today
highlighted the progress in the three years of the Geneva talks,
especially through the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms,
where security issues faced by the people affected by the August 2008
conflict in Georgia are discussed and resolved.
All the participants welcomed the fact
that the security situation remains stable and calm. “This is no small
achievement. Three years ago the security assessment was very
different,” said Čekuolis.
In the absence of commitments on the
non-use of force by all sides “our common goal must be the development
of confidence- and security-building measures that could strengthen
confidence and military transparency,” added Čekuolis “We cannot live in
a security vacuum, otherwise the security situation on the ground could
spin out of the control again, and the consequences could be disastrous.”
“Glossing over grievances won’t do. They
need to be dealt with. There are still ordinary people who are suffering
the consequences and a poorer quality of life because of restrictions on
freedom of movement as well as on access to education and healthcare,
just to name a few.”
Čekuolis called on the participants to
ensure that all local communities are allowed to live without having
their freedom of movement restricted.
At today’s 17th round of the Geneva
International Discussions the new EU Special Representative, Philippe
Lefort, joined Antti Turunen of the UN and Giedrius Čekuolis of the OSCE
as one of the Co-Chairs.
The Geneva International Discussions take
place in two parallel working groups. One group deals with security and
stability, and the other with humanitarian questions, including
internally displaced persons and refugees.
The Co-Chairs agreed with the participants
that the next meeting will be in Geneva on 14 December 2011.
Maxim Gundjia, Minister of Foreign
Affairs, sent a congratulatory note to the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Environment and Labor on the occasion of the Independence Day of Tuvalu
Sukhum, The note says in particular:
“People of Abkhazia share all the
solemnity of this celebration. We do appreciate and respect the
establishment of relations with your country and will keep it in our
history as an important contribution to the peace and prosperity! On
behalf of the people and Government of Abkhazia I wish your country all
the best in its future.”
Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Abkhazia