Ease of life

PRAGUE, 19 February, Caucasus Times. Russia has expanded a border zone with Abkhazia by 11 kilometers, including border zone of some Abkhazian settlements.

Earlier Russia has strengthened borders between Georgia and South Ossetia, having stretched a barbed wire through settlements with the mixed population.
Obviously, the Olympic Games in Sochi became a convenient pretext for the solution of some internal and foreign policy tasks for Kremlin, first of all the issues of public mobilization and raising patriotism against the international sports competitions. It is possible to refer to external aspects strengthening of military presence at Transcaucasia and on the Black Sea. Putin Moscow expands the presence at Abkhazia and South Ossetia though since 2008 these territories are so integrated into political, economic and information space of Russia.

Replacement of the Abkhazian border guards by the Russian military was represented as the unique possible measure – because of inability of Abkhazia to respond to security threats independently, among which terrorist takes a key position as it appeared, proceeding not from Georgia, but from once friendly Sukhumi of the North Caucasus. The Circassians, who participated in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict on the side of Abkhazians, got to number of enemies of Abkhazia also.

“Intolerable ease of the Abkhazian life” is that independence which Abkhazia gained from Russia, in reality appeared to be a trap.

Russia entered into the republic 3500 servicemen and 1500 employees of Federal security service (these data are provided in the report of the International crisis group “Abkhazia: Long way to restoration”). For the last years the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation took under control the Abkhazian ports, in particular, naval port in Ochamchire, equipped with modern systems of supervision and control. For comparison: total number of the Russian group in South Ossetia during the Georgian-Ossetian conflict in 2008 made a little more than 10 thousand people, including the Chechen regiment. The number of staff of the Abkhazian army hardly exceeds two thousand people. Thus the financial help of Russia to partially recognized republics, providing construction of military facilities, many times exceeds those sums which are allocated for restoration of infrastructure and socially significant objects.

According to data “Caucasian knot”, the Russian Federation allocates 15-16 billion rubles for arrangement of joint bases in Abkhazia. It is released incomparably less – 3 billion rubles on social and economic development. Obvious “the military accent” in actions of Russia in Abkhazia which causes every year more and more questions in part of the Abkhazian society, is argued only by care of safety. Carrying out the Olympic Games in Sochi multiplies these threats repeatedly. Besides recently “the Chechen Wahhabite”was caught in georgia who was suspected in the assassination of the Russian diplomat in Abkhazia. As a result – the comprehensive care which Moscow shrouded the small republic precautionary .

There was the impasse in Abkhazia causing associations with the name of the novel of Milan Kundera. “Intolerable ease of the Abkhazian life” is that independence which Abkhazia gained from Russia, in reality appeared to be a trap. The Russian passports opened the doors to Russia and other countries of the world to inhabitants of Abkhazia. But the way to Europe is closed for Abkhazians. And after all exactly there, to Europe, representatives of the Abkhazian elite seek to send for study their children most often. Foreign policy contacts of Sukhumi are limited to informal visits to Turkey and the Latin American countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia actually turned into representation of Russia in the Abkhazia. Thus the delicate sphere of foreign policy activity is also regulated by Moscow precautionary .

Moscow and Sukhumi have a different understanding of prospects concerning Abkhazia. As the political scientist Sergey Markedonov noticed, Abkhazia has interest to independent statehood (even with strong dependence on foreign policy of the Russian Federation) while “unifying idea” wins directly in South Ossetia. (the union of two Osety under the auspices of Russia). First of all Moscow is interested in geopolitical plots ( preservation of influence in the Caucasus and in the Black Sea region). The number of supporters of accession of Abkhazia to Russia in the republic falls every year. These facts are testified by the data of the sociological surveys conducted by the Prague news agency Medium Orient. If in August, 2006 68 percent of respondents preferred accession of Abkhazia to Russia and only 25 percent supported independence, in September, 2011 situation changed essentially: the number of supporters of full independence of the Abkhazian state grew up to 73 percent.

It is hard to say what place is taken by Abkhazia in the modern concept of eurasianism which has become an ideological basis of the Putin empire. But it is obvious that the Abkhazian society isn’t uniform in a question of future status of Abkhazia. According to Medium Orient polls, in 2013 88 percent of Abkhazians supported development of the relations with the member countries of European Union. 79,8 percent of the Armenians interrogated in Abkhazia and 85,7 percent of Russians specified Russia as the state with which it is necessary to develop the relations first of all. Westernized preferences found representatives of the Georgian diaspore in Abkhazia among whom 21,4 percent support development of the relations with the European Union first of all.
The Abkhazian life stays in a condition of intolerable ease. And the project “Abkhazian Dream” got stuck between the past and future.

Islam Tekushev – the Caucasian journalist, the editor-in-chief of an Internet site Caucasustimes

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