Menu
RSS

Kosovo or Abkhazia: Contrasts and Comparisons

Kosovo and Abkhazia

Comparative analysis between Kosovo and Abkhazia

KOSOVO
Kosovo never existed as a country before its recent creation.

ABKHAZIA
Abkhazia has a history as an independent country numbered in millennia. Its capital Sukhum was founded and known to the ancient Greeks as Dioskurias over 500 years before the birth of Christ.

KOSOVO
Historical territory of Serbia.

ABKHAZIA
Historically an independent territory (kingdom/princedom) or in various forms of union with neighbouring Georgia.

KOSOVO
In the Middle Ages, Kosovo was the heart of Old Serbia and thus a key-territory in the history of Serbia.

ABKHAZIA
In the Middle Ages, Abkhazia was an independent country and Georgia was a separate but neighbouring independent country. Abkhazia was never the ‘heart of Georgia’ or a ‘key-territory’ in the history of Georgia.

Since the very beginnings of the two states, Abkhazia and Georgia have been separate countries with different languages and cultures. In only two periods have they been together: first, from 1003 to 1323, a part of what is now Georgia was part of the Kingdom of Abkhazia (and not vice versa); second, in the period 1931 to 1991, Abkhazia was part of the Georgian SSR (both together as parts of the administrative structure of the USSR; Abkhazia was NOT at this time part of an independent Georgian polity).

KOSOVO
Kosovo is a province of Serbia, was never a separate republic of the Yugoslav Federation, and has never been independent in the past.

ABKHAZIA
Abkhazia was a Union Republic during the first decade of the Soviet Union and then reduced to the status of a mere Autonomous Republic within his home-republic of Georgia by Georgia’s most (in)famous son, Joseph Stalin. Even before the Soviet period, Abkhazia had enjoyed a long history as an independent country.

KOSOVO
The people are of recent immigration from Albania and are ethnic Albanian. They are not native to the land of Kosovo. The Kosovar Muslims (immigrants from Albania) settled among the Orthodox Christian Serbs.

ABKHAZIA
The ethnic Abkhazians are indigenous to the territory. Not only are they natives of Abkhazia, but Abkhazia is their unique homeland.  Only after the mass-migration of the native population to Ottoman lands after 1864 did immigrants start arriving, mainly from the neighbouring Georgian province of Mingrelia, to settle among the (mainly) Orthodox Abkhazian Christians.

KOSOVO
Language: Albanian, the language of the neighbouring independent state of Albania.

ABKHAZIA
Language: Abkhaz. Abkhazia has its own language.

KOSOVO
The independence of Kosovo does not conform to the relevant UN Resolution of 1999. Kosovo’s unilateral declaration contravenes resolution 1244 of the Security Council of United Nations of 10 June 1999, which is technically still in force and which laid the foundation for conflict-resolution stating that at all times the territorial integrity of Serbia be respected.

ABKHAZIA
Abkhazia’s independence has never been the subject of any UN resolution, and therefore Abkhazia is governed by public international law, to which it has submitted itself as a subject, recognised as such since 26 August 2008 by six UN member-states, including one permanent member of the Security Council.

KOSOVO
The Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1974 granted the right of independence to the republics of the former Yugoslavia but did not grant this right to Kosovo because it was a province of Serbia, not a State within the Federal Republic. This is the reason that led some countries to recognise Bosnia, Montenegro and Croatia, and Serbia (inclusive of Kosovo), but not Kosovo separately.

ABKHAZIA
The Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1977 granted the right to independence to the republics of the former USSR, and on 7 April 1990 a law was passed according to which a republic could leave the union, but these republics were obliged to allow each autonomous republic to hold a referendum to decide independently their own status and freely to choose if they would remain within the breakaway republics (Georgia, in the case of Abkhazia) or not. Georgia chose to ignore this law and never allowed the people of Abkhazia to decide freely their own future by referendum.

KOSOVO
Ruled by the central government of Serbia even after Serbia gained independence.

ABKHAZIA
Never governed by Georgia’s government after Georgia gained independence.

KOSOVO
The unilateral declaration of Kosovo is contrary to the opinion of the Badinter Commission of the European Community.

After the war began, the Badinter Arbitration Committee of the former European Economic Community in 1991 agreed that any agreement on the Balkans should respect the existing borders the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Europe is committed not to recognise territories that did not exist before the creation of Yugoslavia, and Kosovo falls into this category.

ABKHAZIA
Abkhazia’s independence does not contravene any opinion of the Badinter Commission of the European Community.

The Badinter Arbitration Committee did not at any time express any opinion regarding Abkhazia, the Caucasus or any other part of the former Soviet Union. In addition, Abkhazia (unlike Kosovo) existed prior to the creation of the USSR, and even well before the creation of any state-entity named Georgia. Abkhazia is one of the oldest countries in the Caucasus, and the Kingdom of Abkhazia enjoyed centuries of existence as an independent country well before the world came to know of any country carrying the name of Georgia.

KOSOVO
Recognising the unilateral declaration of Kosovo as valid is the artificial recognition of an entity that never existed beforehand.

ABKHAZIA
The recognition of Abkhazia’s independence is merely the endorsement of Abkhazia’s return to the international community of nations.

KOSOVO
Kosovo has no territorial control over a large part of the territory along its northern border with Serbia, the government of which claims it as its own entity.

ABKHAZIA
The government of Abkhazia has territorial control over one hundred percent of the territory within the borders of the Republic of Abkhazia.

KOSOVO
Kosovo is the classic definition of separatism: Kosovo from the beginning sought to separate from the central government, while Serbia wanted to keep the union intact.

ABKHAZIA
Georgia itself was the state which sought secession from the Soviet Union, whereas the Abkhazians wished their state to remain part of that entity. From the beginning, Georgia was seeking ITS own independence, whilst simultaneously seeking to keep Abkhazia within its borders by force of arms. It would be historically quite incorrect to tar the people of Abkhazia with the label of “separatists”, whilst the Georgian side remains unbesmirched by this slur. As advocates for the preservation of the USSR, the Abkhazians were actually “unionists”.

KOSOVO
Kosovo was characterised by separatists not wishing to preserve Yugoslavia, of which Kosovo was a part.

Staying together with Serbia would not meant any great constitutional change for Kosovo insofar as both before and after Yugoslavia’s break-up it had been ruled from Belgrade.

In the referendum of 17 March 1991, which Abkhazia (and South Ossetia), though not the rest of Soviet Georgia, conducted, the vote of the majority of the eligible electorate (and not only of the ethnic Abkhazians) supported the preservation of the Soviet Union.

ABKHAZIA
Abkhazia was characterised by unionists, wishing to preserve the Soviet Union, of which it was a part. As a sovereign country, it legitimately sought recognition of its right to self-determination after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Staying as part of Georgia would have contravened the decades-long desire of the Abkhazians TO overturn the status forced on them by Stalin in 1931, and this would have removed the safety-net provided by Moscow against threats emanating from Georgia.

KOSOVO
The unilateral declaration of independence by the provisional organs of self-administration in Kosovo is at odds with international law, as interim bodies were created by the UN and the UN delimits competences, among which the right to declare independence is not found. By contrast, resolution 1244, adopted by the Security Council of the UN in 1999, is explicit in not allowing the secession of Serbia’s Albanian entity.

ABKHAZIA
The unilateral declaration of independence by the democratically elected governmental bodies of Abkhazia is in accordance with international law, as, according to its delimited powers, constitutionally autonomous republics had the right to secession.

Abkhazia’s parliament and other state-entities were created by the laws of the Soviet Union, which, contrary to UN resolution 1244, granted the right of self-determination to its autonomous republics, if approved by referendum.

KOSOVO
Within the Constitution of Yugoslavia, Kosovo had no right to independence, nor thereafter following the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

ABKHAZIA
Legal experts have considered the history of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and have CONCLUDED that the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is completely correct from a legal point of view.

The legal basis is this: according to Articles 70 and 72 of the Constitution of the Soviet Union, Abkhazia and South Ossetia were autonomous entities within the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and had no right to declare their own independence from Georgia SSR, UNLESS Georgia itself decided to abandon the Soviet Union, which is actually what happened. In this case, the autonomous entities were entitled to decide their own future. While Georgia declared independence from the USSR, both Abkhazia and South Ossetia initially decided to stay within the Soviet Union (and then declare independence after the dissolution of the USSR). They, therefore, remained under Soviet jurisdiction (changing this status by full independence with the subsequent fall of the USSR).

KOSOVO
Serbia lost control of Kosovo in 1999, after its troops were driven out by extensive NATO bombing, led by the USA.

ABKHAZIA
Georgia lost EFFECTIVE control of Abkhazia EVEN BEFORE THE END OF THE WAR ON 30 SEPTEMBER 1993 as a result of the Abkhazian people’s democratic desire and its aspiration for freedom. ABKHAZIA WAS supported DURING THE 1992-3 WAR by ethnic Abkhazians from the Turkish diaspora, their Circassian cousins from the North Caucasus, and other North Caucasians (e.g. CHECHENS), but NOT as a result of any bombing campaign by foreign powers.

KOSOVO
The independence of Kosovo is not real because its sovereignty is limited; in reality, the region is more like a protectorate of the European Union. The EU has the final say and a veto over the decisions of the Government of Kosovo through a monitor (in 2009, the Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith). installed to be the real power behind the government.

ABKHAZIA
Abkhazia’s independence and sovereignty is real, limited only by the rules of, and adherence to, international law, just like other sovereign states of the world. No-one but the government of the people of Abkhazia has the final say, and there is no veto over its decisions — not the EU, not NATO, not the USA, not Russia, and most certainly not Georgia.

Related

Country

News

Articles & Opinion

Publications

Abkhaz World

Follow Us