Georgian–Abkhazian conflict


Georgian–Abkhazian conflict

The Georgian-Abkhazian conflict refers to the ethnic conflict between Georgians and Abkhazians in Abkhazia, which is presently a de facto independent partially recognized republic. In a broader sense, 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 Collapse of the Soviet Union.

The conflict, one of the bloodiest in the post-Soviet area, remains unresolved. The Georgian government offered large autonomy to Abkhazia several times. However, both the Abkhaz separatist government and opposition refuse any forms of union with Georgia. Abkhaz consider their independence as a result of a war of liberation from Georgia, while Georgians believe that historically Abkhazia has always been part of Georgia. Georgians formed the single largest ethnic group in pre-war Abkhazia, with a 45.7% plurality as of 1989. Many accuse Eduard Shevardnadze’s government of the initiation of senseless hostilities, and then of ineffective conduct of the war and post-war diplomacy.Fact|date=May 2008 During the war, the Abkhaz separatist side carried out full scale ethnic cleansing campaign which resulted in the expulsion of up to 250,000 ethnic Georgians and more than 15,000 killed. [US State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, Abkhazia case ] [ Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. "Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow." Gothic Image Publications, 1994. ] ["US State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994, Chapter 17.] The ethnic cleansing of Georgians has been recognized officially by the OSCE conventions of Lisbon, Budapest and Istanbul (also mentioned in UN General Assembly Resolution GA/10708). [ [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/ga10708.doc.htm UN GA/10708] ] [ [http://www.osce.org/documents/mcs/1994/12/4048_en.pdf Resolution of the OSCE Budapest Summit] , "OSCE", 1994-12-06]

Events

Soviet era

The secessionist sentiments are to be traced back to 1979 and 1981, when there were held numerous manifestations demaining the inclusion of Abkhazia into the RSFSR. [ [http://www.humanite.fr/2008-08-28_International_Jacques-Sapir-La-Russie-a-ete-poussee-a-changer-d Jacques Sapir : « La Russie a été poussée à changer d’orientation »] - The prominent French expert in Russia Jacques Sapir's article in L'Humanité]

War in Abkhazia

The conflict involved a 13-month long Abkhazian war, beginning in August 1992, with Georgian government forces and militia made of ethnic Georgians who lived in Abkhazia on one side and Russian-backed separatist forces made 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.

Resumption of hostilities

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.

aakashvili era

The new Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili promised not to use force and to resolve the problem only by diplomacy and political talks. [http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4377 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"]

While at a 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.Fact|date=February 2007 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.

In May 2006 the Coordinating Council of Georgia’s Government and Abkhaz separatists was convened for the first time since 2001. [ [http://unomig.org/data/file/840/RFE_RL_INTERVIEW.pdf "UN Representative Says Abkhazia Dialogue Is Positive"] ] 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. [Tbilisi-Based Abkhaz Government Moves to Kodori, Civil Georgia, July 27 2006. URL accessed on 2007-07-28 ]

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. [http://en.rian.ru/world/20070911/77972132.html Abkhazia demands Georgia pay $13 bln war compensation] ] 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." [ [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2008/ga10708.doc.htm GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING RIGHT OF RETURN BY REFUGEES, INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS TO ABKHAZIA, GEORGIA] , 15.05.2008]

August 2008

On August 10 2008, the 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. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/10/georgia.russia3] ] As a result of this attack, Georgian troops were driven out of Abkhazia entirely.

On August 26, 2008, Russia officially recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.cite news
url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=afAvlgTbOoAg&refer=canada
title=Russia Recognizes Independence of Georgian Regions (Update2)
publisher=Bloomberg
date=2008-08-26
accessdate=2008-08-26
]

References

Bibliography

* Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. "Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow." Gothic Image Publications, 1994.
* Andrew Andersen. [http://www.conflicts.rem33.com/images/Georgia/RUSSIA%20VERSUS%20GEORGIA.htm "Russia Versus Georgia: One Undeclared War in the Caucasus."]
* Lynch, Dov. "The Conflict in Abkhazia: Dilemmas in Russian 'Peacekeeping' Policy." Royal Institute of International Affairs, February 1998.
*MacFarlane, S., N. , “On the front lines in the near abroad: the CIS and the OSCE in Georgia’ s civil wars”, Third World Quarterly, Vol 18, No 3, pp 509- 525, 1997.
*Marshania L., "Tragedy of Abkhazia", Moscow, 1996
*"White Book of Abkhazia." 1992-1993 Documents, Materials, Evidences. Moscow, 1993.
*Heathe Blair, [http://www.abkhazia.com/content/view/172/63/ "Ethnic Conflict as a Tool of Outside Influence: An Examination of Abkhazia and Kosovo."] , 2007
*Amy McCallion, [http://www.conflicts.rem33.com/images/yett_caucasus/mccallion.htm Abkhazian Separatism]

ee also

*2008 South Ossetia war
*Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia
*Sukhumi Massacre
*Politics of Abkhazia
*Russian-Circassian War
*VSS Vintorez (Special silenced sniper rifle used by some Russian troops)
*Spetsnaz, OSNAZ

External links

* [http://www.c-r.org/our-work/accord/georgia-abkhazia/contents.php Accord issue on the Georgia Abkhazia peace process] also includes chronology and key texts & agreements. en icon&ru icon
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070607163702/http://abkhazeti.ru/pages/main/warabkhazia.html Documented accounts of ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia] ru icon
* [http://www.abkhaziya.org/genocid.html Documented accounts of ethnic cleansing of Abkhazians by Georgians] ru icon
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070705173138/http://abkhazeti.ru/video/sukhumi93.avi Video file, capture of Zhuili Shartava, Guram Gabiskiria, Raul Eshba, etc and their execution] (right-click to open file)
* [http://www.combatfilms.com/cfrtv_archive_0009.asp Interview with Shamil Basayev on Abkhazia]
* [http://www.opus-bayern.de/uni-augsburg/volltexte/2006/522/ Historische Hintergründe und politische Motive des abchasischen Separatismus in Georgien, 2005 (de) (PDF-Datei)]
* [http://www.conflicts.rem33.com/abkhazia.htm "Abkhazia: An Open Wound in Georgia" by Dr. Andrew Andersen]
* [http://www.abkhazeti.info/ Government of Abkhazia (-in-exile)]
* [http://www.exileimages.co.uk/ThomasM/Abkhazia/Abkhazia_01.html Exile Images - Thomas Morley: The forgotten refugees of Abkhazia]
*http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_282.shtml#top
*http://www.geocities.com/tato_nikoladze/separatism.html
*http://www.abkhazia-georgia.parliament.ge
*http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/inscr/mar/data/gabkhazchro.htm
* [http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/1174_august_16_2006/opi_1174.htm The risk of history repeating] , "The Messenger", August 16, 2006
* [http://www.combatfilms.com/cfrtv_archive_0009.asp Video Interview with Shamil Basaev during the battle for Gagra]


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