Menu
RSS

Reflections on Abkhazia: [14 August] 1992-2012

REFLECTIONS ON ABKHAZIA:  [14 AUGUST] 1992-2012

The bulk of the world’s ethnic Abkhazians today live in Turkey as part of the North West Caucasian diaspora, their ancestors having lost their homeland as a consequence of Russia’s victory in the 19th-century Caucasian War, which ended in 1864. But it was not Russians who were destined to be seen as presenting the main threat to the well-being (or even survival) of the Abkhazians during the eventful years of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Today, exactly twenty years have passed since Georgian tanks rolled across the bridge over the River Ingur, thereby sparking the war with Abkhazia, which was to last for 14 months and to cost the Abkhazians 4% of their local population, every family in Abkhazia lost at least one of their members — not for nothing has Abkhazian historian, Stanislav Lakoba, spoken of his motherland as lying between hammer and anvil. Despite the fact that Eduard Shevardnadze, who headed Georgia’s State Council at the start of hostilities, has acknowledged that the war was “our biggest mistake”, Georgia has done nothing to make amends; on the contrary, it has continued to make grave mistakes.

The bulk of the world’s ethnic Abkhazians today live in Turkey as part of the North West Caucasian diaspora, their ancestors having lost their homeland as a consequence of Russia’s victory in the 19th-century Caucasian War, which ended in 1864. But it was not Russians who were destined to be seen as presenting the main threat to the well-being (or even survival) of the Abkhazians during the eventful years of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Today, exactly twenty years have passed since Georgian tanks rolled across the bridge over the River Ingur, thereby sparking the war with Abkhazia, which was to last for 14 months and to cost the Abkhazians 4% of their local population, every family in Abkhazia lost at least one of their members — not for nothing has Abkhazian historian, Stanislav Lakoba, spoken of his motherland as lying between hammer and anvil. Despite the fact that Eduard Shevardnadze, who headed Georgia’s State Council at the start of hostilities, has acknowledged that the war was “our biggest mistake”, Georgia has done nothing to make amends; on the contrary, it has continued to make grave mistakes.

Since the end of the war in September 1993 Georgia has not only done its best to have Abkhazia isolated internationally but has attempted more than once again to essay the military option there, supporting acts of sabotage and terrorism launched from its western province of Mingrelia, which is separated from Abkhazia by the Ingur.

Georgia’s final huge miscalculation came in 2008, when, late on 7 August, President Mikheil Saakashvili issued the order for Georgian troops to attack South Ossetia. After Georgia’s defeat in the 2008-fighting, which saw Abkhazia regain control over all its  territory with the expulsion of Georgian troops from the Upper Kodor Valley, Abkhazian statehood was recognised on 26 August by President Dmitry Medvedev on behalf of Russia.

Looking, then, at the recent history, we may, without exaggeration, consider the last two decades to be the re-birth of the state of Abkhazia, even if the bulk of the international community (notably the USA and EU) persists in the erroneous belief that Abkhazia’s destiny (like that of South Ossetia) can be decided in international discussions from which the Abkhazians themselves are excluded.

This project aimed to bring together different points of view on Abkhazia. The authors were given complete freedom regarding the content of their texts. Their views in this project do not necessarily reflect the views of the AW website. The texts have been listed alphabetically according to the names of the authors.

I would like wholeheartedly to thank all of the following who have contributed to this project by allowing their valuable thoughts to be included on this site.

Alexander Krylov, Alexander Smoltczyk, Amjad Jaimoukha, Andreas Chr. Täuber, Benedikt Harzl, Carol Weaver, Cem Özdemir, Charles King, Charlotte Hille, Chen Bram, Christopher Langton, Daniel Müller, Demis Polandov, Dieter Boden, Dominique Caillat, Donnacha Ó Beacháin, Eleni Sideri, Erol Taymaz, Feridun Aksoy, George Anchabadze, George Hewitt, Georgi Derluguian, Ghia Nodia, Irakli Kakabadze, Irakli Khintba, Jade Cemre Erciyes, John Colarusso, Kai Juvakka, Karlos Zurutuza, Karolina Stefańczak, Marco Siddi, Mark Brody, Maurice Bonnot, Maurizia Jenkins, Mauro Murgia, Maxim Edwards, Maxim Gundjia, Michael Costello, Musa Shanibov, Neal Ascherson, Rene Wadlow, Robert Crabtree, Ronald Grigor Suny, sephia karta, Sergey Markedonov, Stanislav Lakoba, Thomas de Waal, Ucha Nanuashvili, Uwe Klussmann, Vanessa Boas.

Metin Sönmez
Founder & Administrator of AbkhazWorld.com

www.reflectionsonabkhazia.net


List of Authors

Alexander Krylov
Doctor of Historical Sciences, president of the Scholarly Society of Caucasus Studies, leading research associate of the Center for Problems of Development and Modernization at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences. RUSSIA 

Alexander Smoltczyk
Der SPIEGEL, Middle East Bureau Chief. Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Amjad Jaimoukha
Director of the International Centre for Circassian Studies (ICCS). Author of "The Circassians: A Handbook" (Routledge; 2001) and "The Chechens: A Handbook" (Routledge, 2005). JORDAN

Andreas Chr. Täuber
Chairman of German-Abkhazian Society. GERMANY

Benedikt Harzl
Researcher at the Russian East European Eurasian Studies Centre (REEES), University of Graz, AUSTRIA

Carol Weaver
Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester, UK

Cem Özdemir
Co-chairman of the German political party Alliance '90/The Greens. GERMANY

Charles King
Professor of International Affairs and Government at Georgetown University. USA

Charlotte Hille
Assistant professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam. Dr Hille is specialised in State building, conflict resolution and international mediation. She is the author of State Building and Conflict Resolution in the Caucasus, Brill, 2010. NETHERLANDS

Chen Bram
Research fellow at the Van-Leer institute, Jerusalem (and next academic year, 2012-2013 - visiting professor at the University of Florida, Gainsville). ISRAEL 

Christopher Langton
Director, Independent Conflict Research & Analysis (ICRA). He spent thirty-two years in the British Army. In that time he served as the Deputy Commander of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) as well as holding various attaché posts in Russia, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. UK

Daniel Müller
Programme Director of the Joint Ph.D. Programme for the Social Sciences and the Humanities at TU Dortmund University. GERMANY

Demis Polandov
Journalist, Radio Free Europe\Radio Liberty. CZECH REPUBLIC

Dieter Boden
Former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict (1999-2001) and Former Head of the OSCE Special Mission in Georgia (1995-1996). GERMANY

Dominique Caillat
Writer. (Fiction, non-fiction, plays, journalism – Focus: WWI and II, Third Reich, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Darwin and evolution, Abkhazia, biotechnology and ethics, environment) GERMANY

Donnacha Ó Beacháin
Lecturer in International Relations at Dublin City University. Author of “The Colour Revolutions in the Former Soviet Republics: Successes and Failures” (with Abel Polese), Routledge, 2010. IRELAND

Eleni Sideri
Adjunct Faculty, International Hellenic University Cultural Studies of the Black Sea. GREECE 

Erol Taymaz
Member of the Executive Committee Turkey's Federation of Caucasian Associations (KAFFED). TURKEY

Feridun Aksoy
President of Turkey's Federation of Abkhaz Associations (ABHAZFED). TURKEY

George Anchabadze
Professor of history at the Ilia State University GEORGIA

George Hewitt
Professor of Caucasian languages at London's School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS). UK

Georgi Derluguian
Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA

Ghia Nodia
Professor of politics and director of the International School for Caucasus Studies at Ilia State University, and chairman, the Caucasus Institute of Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD) in Tbilisi. GEORGIA

Irakli Kakabadze
Georgian writer, performance artist, peace and human rights activist. Cornell University, USA

Irakli Khintba
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of ABKHAZIA

Jade Cemre Erciyes
Researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Abkhazia; Dphil Student at the University of Sussex Centre for Migration Research. UK

John Colarusso
Professor in the Anthropology Department of McMaster University. CANADA

Kai Juvakka
Independent journalist and documentarian. Author of film “Ei-toivottu valtio” (An unwanted state). FINLAND

Karlos Zurutuza
Freelance correspondent specializing in the Caucasus and the Middle East regions. BASQUE COUNTRY

Karolina Stefańczak
Political consultant, PhD candidate University of Limerick, IRELAND

Marco Siddi
Marie Curie Researcher at the University of Edinburgh. His main focus is on EU Russia relations and Russian foreign policy. Previously, he worked at the Trans European Policy Studies Association (Brussels) and at the Institute of World Economics (Budapest). UK 

Mark Brody
Independent journalist who specializes in the Caucasus. FRANCE

Maurice Bonnot
Retired French diplomat researching on de facto states problematics. FRANCE

Maurizia Jenkins
Independent Consultant, Former Political Officer of the United Nations Mission in Georgia. ITALY/UK

Mauro Murgia
Sociologist, Journalist. ITALY 

Maxim Edwards
Freelancer (UK) and former Opinion Editor of the Kazan Herald, Tatarstan's English-language newspaper. 

Maxim Gundjia
Former Foreign Minister of the Republic of ABKHAZIA

Michael Costello
PhD candidate, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury. Dissertation topic: “Can Law act as Adjunct to Custom? The relationship of custom and law in Abkhaz and Abkhazian state-building and ‘modernisation’”. UK.

Musa Shanibov
Former president of the Confederation of Peoples of the Caucasus. Founder and Scientific Director of the Centre for Sociological Research of the Kabardino-Balkaria State University. KBR, RUSSIA

Neal Ascherson
Scottish journalist and writer. UK

Rene Wadlow
Senior Vice-President and Representative to the UN, Geneva, Association of World Citizens. Formerly, he was Professor and Director of Research, Graduate Institute of Development Studies, University of Geneva. SWITZERLAND

Robert Crabtree
PhD Candidate at the University of Adelaide, AUSTRALIA

Ronald Grigor Suny
Director of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies and the Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History at the University of Michigan, as well as Emeritus Professor of political science and history at the University of Chicago. USA .

sephia karta
Author of TAKLAMA Blog http://taklama.com. NETHERLANDS

Sergey Markedonov
Visiting fellow in the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program. He is an expert on the Caucasus, as well as Black Sea, regional security, nationalism, interethnic conflicts and de-facto states in the post-Soviet area. USA/RUSSIA

Stanislav Lakoba
Professor in Archeology, Ethnology and History at the Abkhazian State University. ABKHAZIA

Thomas de Waal
Senior associate for the Caucasus at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) in Washington. He is the author of The Caucasus: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010). USA

Ucha Nanuashvili
Executive Director, Human Rights Center (HRIDC), GEORGIA

Uwe Klussmann
Correspondent in Moscow from 1999 until 2009 for the magazine "Der Spiegel". During that time, he travelled to Abkhazia thrice. GERMANY

Vanessa Boas
Marie Curie Researcher at the University of Cologne. GERMANY

The articles in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (915 KB) 

Related

Country

News

Articles & Opinion

Publications

Abkhaz World

Follow Us