Abkhaz–Georgian conflict

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Georgian–Abkhaz conflict
Date 1989–present
Location Abkhazia, Georgia
Belligerents
 Georgia
UNA-UNSO (1992-1993)  Chechen Militants (2001 Kodori crisis)
 Abkhazia
 Russia1
Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (1992-1993)
1Involvement prior to 2008 disputed; discussed in the articles about the conflict, particularly here
Part of a series on the
History of Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Early
8th to 19th century AD
19th century to 1921
Soviet era
Contemporary era
Portal icon Abkhazia portal

The Georgian–Abkhaz conflict refers to the ethnic conflict between Georgians and Abkhaz people in Abkhazia, which is a de facto independent, partially recognized republic. In a broader sense, the Georgian–Abkhaz conflict can be considered as part of a geopolitical conflict in the Caucasus region, intensified at the end of the 20th century in conjunction with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The conflict, one of the bloodiest in the post-Soviet area, remains unresolved. The Georgian government offered substantial autonomy to Abkhazia several times. However, both the Abkhaz government and the opposition refuse any forms of union with Georgia. Abkhaz consider their independence to be a result of a war of liberation from Georgia, while Georgians believe that historically Abkhazia has always been part of Georgia.[1] Georgians formed the single largest ethnic group in pre-war Abkhazia, with a 45.7% plurality as of 1989 but now most Georgians left in Abkhazia want to stay independent of Georgia.[2] Many accuse Eduard Shevardnadze’s government of the initiation of senseless hostilities, and then of ineffective conduct of the war and post-war diplomacy.[citation needed] During the war, the Abkhaz separatist side carried out a full-scale ethnic cleansing campaign which resulted in the expulsion of up to 250,000 ethnic Georgians and more than 15,000 killed.[3][4][5] The ethnic cleansing of Georgians has been recognized officially by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conventions of Lisbon, Budapest and Istanbul (also mentioned in UN General Assembly Resolution GA/10708).[6][7] The UN Security Council passed a series of resolutions in which it appeals for a cease-fire.[8]

Events[edit]

Soviet era[edit]

In the Soviet era Abkhazia was an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Abkhazian ASSR), an entity within the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic (Georgian SSR)[9]

Manifestations demanding secession from the Georgian SSR and inclusion into the Russian SFSR are reported to have taken place in April 1957, April 1967 and — especially vigorously — in May and September 1978.[10][11][12] In 1978, 130 representatives of the Abkhaz intelligentia signed a letter to the Soviet leadership, protesting against what they saw as Georgianization of Abkhazia.[13]

War in Abkhazia[edit]

The conflict involved a 13-month-long War in Abkhazia, beginning in August 1992, with Georgian government forces and a militia composed of ethnic Georgians who lived in Abkhazia on one side and Russian-backed separatist forces consisting of ethnic Abkhazians, Armenians and Russians who also lived in Abkhazia on the other side. The separatists were supported by the North Caucasian and Cossack militants and (unofficially) by Russian forces stationed in Gudauta. The conflict resulted in an agreement in Sochi to cease hostilities, however, this would not last.

Resumption of hostilities[edit]

In April–May 1998, the conflict escalated once again in the Gali District when several hundred Abkhaz forces entered the villages still populated by Georgians to support the separatist-held parliamentary elections. Despite criticism from the opposition, Eduard Shevardnadze, President of Georgia, refused to deploy troops against Abkhazia. A ceasefire was negotiated on May 20. The hostilities resulted in hundreds of casualties from both sides and an additional 20,000 Georgian refugees.

In September 2001, around 400 Chechen fighters and 80 Georgian guerrillas appeared in the Kodori Valley in extremely controversial conditions. The Chechen-Georgian paramilitaries advanced as far as Sukhumi, but finally were repelled by Abkhaz and Gudauta based Russian peacekeepers.

Saakashvili era[edit]

The new Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili promised not to use force and to resolve the problem only by diplomacy and political talks.[14]

While at a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit it was decided to exclude any contact with separatists; the trans-border economic cooperation and transport between Abkhazia and Russia grows in scale, with Russia claiming that all this is a matter of private business, rather than state.[citation needed] Georgia also decries the unlimited issuing of Russian passports in Abkhazia with subsequent payment of retirement pensions and other monetary benefits by Russia, which Georgia considers to be economic support of separatists by the Russian government.[14]

In May 2006 the Coordinating Council of Georgia’s Government and Abkhaz separatists was convened for the first time since 2001.[15] In late July the 2006 Kodori crisis erupted, resulting in the establishment of the de jure Government of Abkhazia in Kodori. For the first time after the war, this government is located in Abkhazia, and is headed by Malkhaz Akishbaia, Temur Mzhavia and Ada Marshania.[16]

Currently, the Abkhaz side demands reparations from the Georgian side of $13 billion in US currency for damages in this conflict. The Georgian side dismisses these claims.[17] On May 15, 2008 United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution recognising the right of all refugees (including victims of reported “ethnic cleansing”) to return to Abkhazia and their property rights. It "regretted" the attempts to alter pre-war demographic composition and called for the "rapid development of a timetable to ensure the prompt voluntary return of all refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes."[18]

On July 9, 2012, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution at its annual session in Monaco, underlining Georgia’s territorial integrity and referring to breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied territories”. The resolution “urges the Government and the Parliament of the Russian Federation, as well as the de facto authorities of Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia, Georgia, to allow the European Union Monitoring Mission unimpeded access to the occupied territories.” It also says that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is “concerned about the humanitarian situation of the displaced persons both in Georgia and in the occupied territories of Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia, Georgia, as well as the denial of the right of return to their places of living.” The Assembly is the parliamentary dimension of the OSCE with 320 lawmakers from the organization’s 56 participating states, including Russia.[19]

August 2008[edit]

On August 10, 2008, the 2008 War in South Ossetia spread to Abkhazia, where separatist rebels and the Russian air force launched an all-out attack on Georgian forces. Abkhazia's pro-Moscow separatist President Sergei Bagapsh said that his troops had launched a major "military operation" to force Georgian troops out of the Kodori Gorge, which they still controlled.[20] As a result of this attack, Georgian troops were driven out of Abkhazia entirely.

On August 26, 2008, the Russian Federation officially recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.[21]

In response to Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian government announced that the country cut all diplomatic relations with Russia and that it left the Commonwealth of Independent States.[22]

After the war[edit]

Relations between Georgia and Abkhazia have remained tense after the war. Georgia has moved to increase Abkhazia's isolation by imposing a sea blockade of Abkhazia. During the opening ceremony of a new building of the Georgian Embassy in Kiev (Ukraine) in November 2009 Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili stated that residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia could also use its facilities "I would like to assure you, my dear friends, that this is your home, as well, and here you will always be able to find support and understanding".[23]

Georgians in Abkhazia have to endure apartheid-like conditions.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://mfaapsny.org/en/information/index.php?ID=2739
  2. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/03/20/how-people-in-south-ossetia-abkhazia-and-transnistria-feel-about-annexation-by-russia/
  3. ^ US State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, Abkhazia case
  4. ^ Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow. Gothic Image Publications, 1994.
  5. ^ US State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994, Chapter 17.
  6. ^ UN GA/10708
  7. ^ Resolution of the OSCE Budapest Summit, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, 6 December 1994
  8. ^ Commonwealth and Independence in Post-Soviet Eurasia Commonwealth and Independence in Post-Soviet Eurasia by Bruno Coppieters, Alekseĭ Zverev, Dmitriĭ Trenin, p 61
  9. ^ USSR Atlas – in Russian – Moscow 1984
  10. ^ ОСНОВНЫЕ ДАТЫ ИСТОРИИ АБХАЗИИ И ЭВОЛЮЦИИ АБХАЗО- ГРУЗИНСКИХ ОТНОШЕНИЙ
  11. ^ "Россия и Грузия готовятся к миру". Газета.Ru. 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  12. ^ Jacques Sapir : « La Russie a été poussée à changer d’orientation » – The prominent French expert in Russia Jacques Sapir's article in L'Humanité
  13. ^ "Новости :: Апсныпресс". Abkhaziya.org. 2010-01-30. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  14. ^ a b Abkhazia Today. The International Crisis Group Europe Report N°176, 15 September 2006, page 10. Retrieved on May 30, 2007. Free registration needed to view full report
  15. ^ "UN Representative Says Abkhazia Dialogue Is Positive"
  16. ^ Tbilisi-Based Abkhaz Government Moves to Kodori, Civil Georgia, July 27, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
  17. ^ Abkhazia demands Georgia pay $13 bln war compensation
  18. ^ GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING RIGHT OF RETURN BY REFUGEES, INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS TO ABKHAZIA, GEORGIA, 15.05.2008
  19. ^ OSCE Parliamentary Assembly from 5 to 9 July 2012, Final Declaration and Resolutions
  20. ^ Harding, Luke (August 10, 2008). "Georgia under all-out attack in breakaway Abkhazia". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Russia Recognizes Independence of Georgian Regions (Update2)". Bloomberg. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  22. ^ "Georgia breaks ties with Russia" BBC News. Accessed on August 29, 2008.
  23. ^ Yuschenko, Saakashvili open new building of Georgian Embassy in Kyiv, Interfax-Ukraine (November 19, 2009)
  24. ^ "Georgians Face Apartheid in Abkhazia". The Moscow Times. 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Georgian–Abkhazian conflict at Wikimedia Commons