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A politician from the category of “inconvenient”, by Alexander Krylov

Stoletie -- This morning it was announced that VG Ardzinba died in Moscow on 65 th year of life in the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow.

V. Ardzinba worked at the Institute of Oriental Studies, USSR Academy of Sciences, for many years. He was an excellent scholar, a specialist in the Hatti (the oldest population in Minor Asia), whose language he argued to be common with the Abkhaz-Adyghe language-family. He wrote an excellent monograph, “The rituals and myths of ancient Anatolia”, which later was defended as his doctoral dissertation.

V. Ardzinba was never a careerist. In Soviet times, he was occupied with cuneiform and proto-Hittite — hardly the choice of a careerist. Vladislav Grigoryevich was man of science, but fate literally pushed him into politics. And that he turned out to be worthy of his historical role was a hugely fortunate for the Abkhazians. V. Ardzinba was a politician from God, the leader of the nation at its most tragic of times.

He was not a typical politician – too soft and intelligent, but in a critical situation for the sake of national interests capable of the most decisive measures.

He was also a politician from the “inconvenient” category. In 1994 he did not conceal his negative attitude towards Russia’s policy in Chechnya, considering the beginning of the first Chechen war a monumental mistake, and he offered the Kremlin to mediate in deciding the problem by entirely different means. But in those years of Yeltsin’s leadership such disagreement was not deemed to be acceptable. The Kremlin was so angry that Yeltsin gave the order to block the border of Abkhazia, and the blockade lasted for several years. Today, the correctness of V. G. Ardzinba’s stance is obvious to all.

The circumstances of his illness are still not clear. In 1997, he flew to Tbilisi for negotiations; I saw him in Pitsunda immediately thereafter and, remembering how in 1936 at the home of Beria the Abkhaz leader, Nestor Lakoba, was poisoned, made the wholly bad joke : “Vladislav, I hope you didn’t eat anything there, did you?” In response, Ardzinba could only shrug it off with a joyless sigh.

Shortly after his visit to Tbilisi, he started having problems with his health. It is this that gives grounds for the suspicion that he was poisoned. By the way, the head of his body-guard, who also travelled to Tbilisi, suddenly died soon after this trip.

The fact that physicians of different countries were unable to reach a clear diagnosis of Vladislav Grigoryevich’s illness, gives ground for suggesting that his disease was the result of the action of some substances which are available for use by intelligence agencies but unknown to modern medicine.

The last time I saw Vladislav Grigoryevich was in October 2008. We had not met for several years, and his progressive disease was striking. His eyes sparkled as of old, his mind remained perfectly clear, but he moved and spoke with the greatest of difficulty. We had a long conversation about the problems of Abkhazia, its future, the prospects for the survival of the Abkhaz ethnic group, Russia’s recognition of the republic, and to what this recognition might lead, because there are not only positive but also negative aspects. In the context of globalization we are witnessing the disappearance of  tens if not hundreds of small nationalities, so that, even after Russia’s recognition of the independence of  Abkhazia, the problem of the ethnic revival of the Abkhazians remains serious. And he understood that problem very clearly.

During our last meeting I had the impression that what he most wanted was that the split which occurred a few years ago in Abkhazian society be finally repaired. I hope that his political heirs will succeed in solving this problem.

Source: Stoletie (Политик из разряда «неудобных», Александр Крылов)

Translated by Disa Wurdem.

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