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Armed Conflict Between Georgians and Abkhaz Occurred 20 years ago in Sukhum

SUKHUM -- On July 15-16, 1989 an armed conflict between Georgians and Abkhaz occurred in Sukhum. The reason for the conflict was illegal creation of the Georgian branch of the Tbilisi State University on the basis of the Abkhaz State University in Sukhum.

The leadership of Abkhazia has repeatedly made requests to the higher Soviet instances “not to follow the tastes of the local Georgian nationalists and not to open a TSU branch in Abkhazia, provoking international conflicts”, however those requests were disregarded.

The July 15-16 events led to human victims. 6 were dead, 178 wounded from the Abkhaz side. In July, 1989 the conflicts occurred not only in Sukhum, but also in Ochamchira, Gagra, and the Gulripsha district.

“The tragical events of July 15-16 became a kind of the first warning. We all remember the struggle for ASU preservation. The July conflict was preceded by numerous negotiations; attempts to prevent university separation on the national basis, to find a compromise, but it was all in vain”, the Executive Secretary of the Public Chamber of the Republic of Abkhazia Natella Aqaba remembers. 

“Then it became clear to all that the blood shed would lead to a war. Militant chauvinism, endless mass-meetings and processions of the Georgian part fitted clearly in the scenario stated in the well-known Zviad Gamsahurdiya’s letter “To the Georgians of the Western Georgia”, Aqaba says.

“The nostalgic memories of the Georgians about good coexistence with Abkhaz which was affected by the third force sound ridiculous. The events of 20 years’ prescription showed what actually the relations had been”, she added.

Natella Aqaba believes that "the new" leadership of Georgia has not learnt a lesson from the past neither from the 1989 events, nor from the 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhaz war, nor from August, 2008 events.

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