Russia Accused of Plotting Abkhazia Annexation: Georgia slams Kremlin pact with breakaway republic
Georgian Foreign Ministry: Russia’s attempt to create a single socio-economic space in the occupied Georgian territory is a gross violation of international law
The approval of the program for the formation of a single socio-economic space between Moscow and Sukhumi is another illegal step aimed at the de facto annexation of Abkhazia by Russia. This is how the Georgian Foreign Ministry reacted to the plan, agreed on November 12 at a meeting between the head of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to integrate this inalienable region of Georgia into the economic and social system of Russia..
Tbilisi emphasizes that any so-called agreements, including the agreement between the Russian Federation and occupied Abkhazia on alliance and strategic partnership of November 24, 2014, are illegal and have no legal force..
“With such provocative steps and instruments of hybrid warfare, the Russian Federation grossly violates the fundamental norms and principles of international law, violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and poses a serious threat to peace and security in the region. We call on the Russian Federation to stop its destructive actions and illegal steps towards the de facto annexation of the occupied territories of Georgia, to fulfill its obligations under the ceasefire agreement brokered by the EU on August 12, 2008, to withdraw its troops from the territory of Georgia and not to interfere with the creation of international security mechanisms, ” – stated on November 25 at the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
Let us recall that as a result of the Russian-Georgian war, Russia in 2008 recognized the independence of two Georgian regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – and transferred additional troops and weapons to its military bases in these territories. All states of the world – with the exception of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria – recognize these regions as the territory of Georgia occupied by Russia.
Ambitions of Moscow and Sukhumi
The document published by the Abkhaz side includes 45 points of measures to be completed within three years.
In particular, during this period it is planned to harmonize the Russian and Abkhaz legislation in a number of areas: economy and finance (budget and tax policy, foreign economic and banking activities, protection and attraction of investments), customs law, energy, social sphere (medicine, education, social protection), as well as the settlement of issues of dual citizenship. It is even provided for the development of a legal framework to determine the procedure for importing equipment and components for “mining farms” into the territory of Abkhazia.
Political scientist Irakli Tskitishviland believes that if after the occupation Abkhazia turned into a “backyard” of Russia, then in three years, if the program for the formation of a single socio-economic space is implemented, this Georgian region, as he says, will actually become the “courtyard” of the Russian Federation.
The expert notes that, in principle, after the events of 2008, Abkhazia already found itself completely dependent on Russia both socially and economically, therefore, the “subsequent dissolution” of Abkhazia in the Russian Federation should hardly be considered a surprise.
At the same time, Tskitishvili notes that since the Abkhaz side does not make comments on this matter, most likely, the program again did not include an item on the abolition of the ban on the acquisition of property by foreign citizens on the territory of Abkhazia..
Recall that earlier the Russian Foreign Ministry proposed to amend “the current legislation of the Republic of Abkhazia in order to lift the ban on the sale of residential real estate to Russian citizens”.
At the same time, in October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov touched on this topic in an interview with Russian media..
“All this is on our agenda. And the property of ethnic Russians, and ethnic Georgians, citizens of the Russian Federation in Abkhazia is the subject of our constant attention. I hope that now, when the perturbations in Abkhazia seem to have subsided, we will definitely return to this topic. Although I repeat, we are a little surprised that this problem remains unresolved, “Lavrov said at the time..
Back in 2010, Sukhumi rejected a proposal received from the Russian Foreign Ministry to restore the property rights of Russian citizens in Abkhazia. As the Abkhaz media wrote then, Russia’s proposal aroused suspicions that if the project was approved, it would create a legal basis for refugees of Georgian nationality, who are currently citizens of the Russian Federation, to claim their property in Abkhazia.
According to the 1989 census, 48% of the population of Abkhazia were Georgians, 17% were Abkhaz, and 14.52% were Armenians. Today, according to Abkhazian official data, the number of Georgians living in Abkhazia has dropped to 19.26%, while the share of ethnic Abkhaz has risen to 50.71%. As for the Armenians, according to the Abkhazian official data, today they make up 17.32% of the population of Abkhazia. Armenian NGOs dispute this, arguing that the local authorities artificially underestimate the size of this ethnic group, and that in fact Armenians make up 35 to 45% of the current population of Abkhazia..
Political scientist Alexander Mikiashvili believes that the clause on the settlement of issues of dual citizenship in the document published by the Abkhaz side is precisely the concession that the Abkhaz separatist leader Aslan Bzhania had to make during his first meeting on November 12 in Sochi with Vladimir Putin, who, despite Bzhania’s repeated visits to Moscow, before that I did not receive him personally.
In particular, the expert says, this implies liberalization in obtaining a second Abkhaz citizenship by Russians, respectively, as a result, it will become possible for Russians to buy property in Abkhazia, which until now has been actively opposed by all the leaders of this separatist region..
“It is not known how this will happen in practice and how real the sale of property to Russians with a second Abkhaz citizenship will be, but the fact is that Bzhania had no choice. Prior to that, he made various statements, including about dialogue with Georgia and so on, it seems to me, thereby wishing in a certain sense to influence Russia, which did not favor him and which, after his election, due to a number of factors, delays payment money to your satellite. But “Moscow does not believe in tears,” Bzhania was forced to make a number of concessions, including those concerning the village of Aibgi, ”Mikiashvili summed up.
Let us remind you that the beginning of the construction of a suspension bridge connecting the village of Aibgu with the Adler region without official approval from Sukhumi caused discontent among the Abkhaz public. Russia does not hide the fact that it has territorial claims against the separatist authorities regarding this border Abkhaz village. When Georgian media reported last year that Russia had annexed Mount Aibga, the head of the de facto Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia Daur Kove explained that “the Abkhaz-Russian Commission on Delimitation and Demarcation continues to work” to resolve this issue.