Abkhazia

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Map of Abkhazia

Abkhazia, also spelled as Abkhaziya or by its constitutional name Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially-recognized breakaway state located in the nation of Georgia. This breakaway state is a leftover from the USSR days, when it was the nominally-autonomous Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic until the breakup of the USSR in 1992. The primary languages spoken there are Abkhazian and Russian. While it is difficult to say that Georgia treated the autonomous region with the utmost respect, Russia thought that some dissent in a bordering province of a former Soviet republic would be a good prelude to mess around and make an already unstable country even more so. Predictably, it has brought even more instability and misery to a bordering country, which is pretty much what Russia has become an expert at doing. Abkhazia is located in the West Caucasus mountain range with a coastline located on the Black Sea. The capital of Abkhazia is Sukhum.[1]

History[edit]

Pre-Soviet Union[edit]

Abkhazia began as the Kingdom of Abkhazia in the 8th century when it gained independence from the Roman Empire. As an independent kingdom, there was not too much going on until it was absorbed by Georgia in 1008. In 1463 Abkhazia regained its independence only to fall under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Islam became the dominant religion in the region due to Ottoman rule. In the 1800s, Ottoman Georgia and Abkhazia were annexed by Russia.

Soviet Union era[edit]

When the Russian Revolution took place, Abkhazia was its own soviet republic (Abkhaz Soviet Socialist Republic). This autonomous Soviet republic lasted for a short period of time. The Abkhaz Soviet Socialist Republic was united with the Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian SSRs as the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic; this lasted from 1922 until 1931. The Abkhaz Soviet Socialist Republic was merely a small administrative unit. In 1931, the Abkhaz Soviet Socialist Republic was abolished and united with the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic as a single SSR.[2] This frequent change in administration districts and ethnic tensions laid the ground for the modern conflict between Abkhazia and Georgia.

Current dispute[edit]

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Georgia declared independence and claimed Abkhazia as part of its territory, much to the dismay of the Abkhaz people. Ethnic tensions between Georgians and Abkhazians reached a boiling point in 1992 when the Abkhaz War began. The war began when the region of Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia. Russia saw this as an opportune time to bring bedlam to a neighboring country and so armed the "resistance group" and worsened the conflict. Separatist forces were made up of local populations, Islamic terrorist-linked Chechens and Russian special forces.[citation needed] The nation of Georgia swiftly lost control of the region. Some ethnic Georgians joined the separatist forces so that they would no longer have to stay in prison for various crimes. A ceasefire brokered by Russia was put into place, only for it to be broken by Abkhaz separatists. The renewed conflict lasted for a few months before de facto independence was reached. [3] In 2008, the Russo-Georgian War began. The cause of this war was the nation of Georgia attempting to reclaim the separatist-held territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This prompted the Russian military to invade Georgia and expel the Georgian forces from the separatist held areas. This war lasted for a short time with the end result being Abkhazia and South Ossetia retaining their unrecognized independence along with Russia recognizing both areas as sovereign countries. Despite the Russian/separatist victory, the United Nations declared that the separatist territories as illegal under international law. This is the primary reason Georgia and Russia hate each other.[4] Russia hasn't yet annexed these territories despite a questionably democratic referendum on joining Russia.[citation needed] Under Georgian law, Abkhazia is considered to be under illegal military occupation by Russia. [5]

Government[edit]

The Republic of Abkhazia's government is a presidential republic. The current president is Aslan Bzhaniya. The legislative body is known as the People's Assembly. The president's Cabinet of Ministers includes a Premier and a Prime Minister.[6]

Human rights[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Human rights

Note: Due to the lack of unbiased sources, it is difficult to determine the entire human rights situation.

Abkhazia's human rights record appears to be bad. The education system is heavily biased against Georgia. The sole languages of instruction are Russian and Abkhaz, leaving linguistic minorities at a significant academic disadvantage. Problems in the education system also stem from a lack of funding. Property rights are often violated as people who fled the area have not been able to reclaim lost property. Georgians are the worst affected by this. Health care in Abkhazia is also predictably dismal. Abortion is completely outlawed even for medical emergencies when the life of the pregnant woman is at extreme risk. There is hardly any modern medical equipment, there is virtually no human resource management, and infectious disease outbreaks are common. Ethnic minorities such as Georgians and Armenians are looked down upon by Abkhaz society.[7]

Military[edit]

The military is know as the Abkhazia Armed Forces. Abkhazia Armed Forces comprise mostly militias under the supervision of Russian forces. This is due to the treaty signed between Abkhazia and Russia to integrate military forces.[8] Their military is mostly ground forces although there is a limited amount of naval and air support. It also operates a counter-terrorism center that is supposed to counter terrorist attacks.[9]

Language and culture[edit]

The primary language of Abkhazia is Abkhaz; a Caucasian language. The primary religions are Christianity and Sunni Islam. Traditional folk religion has influenced the Christian and Islamic religions in the area. Abkhazia uses the older Julian Calendar, also known as the Lunar Calendar. A lot of traditions are very conservative in nature, and people take deep offense to breaking said traditions. Clothing is actually based on western fashions. Common foods include fish, vegetables, and homemade sausages. Dance is a cultural activity that the people of Abkhazia take great pride in.[10]

Recognition and international relations[edit]

Being a separatist held territory, Abkhazia has extremely limited recognition. The UN member states of Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Syria recognize it as an independent nation and they have formal relations with each other. The reason Russia recognized both Abkhazia and South Ossetia was retaliation against the U.S. and many Western nations recognizing the independence of Kosovo.[11] Abkhazia is also recognized by the partially and unrecognized nations of South Ossetia, Transnistria, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republc, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic.[12][13]

References[edit]

  1. Discover Abkhazia, Retrieved on May 9, 2022.
  2. EnWiki, Retrieved on May 10, 2022.
  3. Radio Free Europe, Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  4. World Atlas, Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  5. www.golosameriki.com, Retrieved on June 12, 2022 (Translated from Russian).
  6. President of Abkhazia, May 10, 2022.
  7. Palm Center, Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  8. SOFREP, Retrieved on May 11, 2022.
  9. liquisearch, Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  10. Every Culture, May 11, 2022.
  11. Modern Diplomacy, Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  12. State News Agency of South Ossetia, Retrieved May 12, 2022 (Translated from original Ossetian).
  13. Regnum, Retrieved May 12, 2022.