Today’s news of the death in office of Abkhazia’s second president will have shocked and saddened not only Sergej Bagapsh’s immediate family but also, despite political affiliations, the whole of Abkhazia and everyone around the world who wishes Abkhazia well in her continuing struggle to be accepted as a full member of the family of nations.
Just as Abkhazia gained her independence under Vladislav Ardzinba, subsequently the country’s first elected president, who passed away just over a year ago, so it was under Sergej Bagapsh’s presidency that the process of international recognition began with Dmitrij Medvedev’s declaration on 26 August 2008, and it is with this epoch-making event that the name of Sergej Bagapsh will be eternally linked. But the action which he helped to organise on the morning of Sunday 16 July 1989, when he headed the administration in the Ochamchira District, should not be forgotten. Fighting had broken out the previous evening in Sukhum, when supporters of the Georgian nationalist cause fatally clashed with Abkhazians opposing the opening in Sukhum of a branch of Tbilisi University. As thousands attempted to travel from Mingrelia to do battle in Abkhazia (including prisoners set free from the gaol in Zugdidi and armed for the purpose), a tanker was exploded on the bridge over the R. Aaldzga, thereby preventing these hordes from entering Abkhazian settlements along the highway and saving countless lives.
Sergej Bagapsh always acknowledged that, given Abkhazia’s circumstances, the road to universal recognition would be slow and hard, and he was prepared patiently to play the long game. Only a matter of weeks ago was he able to pay a long-awaited visit to the Abkhazian diaspora in Turkey, something which could not have happened without the tacit approval of the Turkish authorities. And it is Turkey, as a Black Sea neighbour and desired partner, as well as the Abkhazian community resident in Turkey in which the Abkhazian homeland still invests high hopes. At the time of his death there was also the possibility of a visit to Great Britain, as an invitation had been issued for the President to address the Oxford Union. It will now never be known if the British government would have allowed a visa to be issued.
I should like to offer sincere condolences to the late President’s family and fellow-countrymen on behalf of my family and the Abkhazian community resident in the United Kingdom, who have asked to be associated with this message.
George Hewitt, Honorary Consul of Abkhazia in the UK.
ZAUR NALOEV, VALERIJ KHATAZHUKOV, MURAT KHOKONOV AND MUKHAMED KUSHKHOV OFFER COMMISERATION TO THE PEOPLE OF ABKHAZIA
‘Dear brothers and sisters, we deeply mourn the death of illustrious son of Abkhazia, President Sergej Vasil’evich Bagapsh.
‘Through his efforts, both within the country and beyond her frontiers, Abkhazia has become a significant factor not only in our region but far beyond its borders.
‘Sergej Vasil’evich will always be for us an example of courage, competence, and boundless devotion to his people.’ Content of the telegram from Zaur Naloev, Valerij Khatazhukov, Murat Khokonov, Mukhamed Kushkhov.
ЗАУР НАЛОЕВ, ВАЛЕРИЙ ХАТАЖУКОВ, МУРАТ ХОКОНОВ И МУХАМЕД КУШХОВ СОБОЛЕЗНУЮТ НАРОДУ АБХАЗИИ
"Дорогие, братья и сестры, глубоко скорбим по поводу кончины выдающегося сына Абхазии президента Багапша Сергея Васильевича.
Благодаря его усилиям, как внутри страны, так и за ее пределами Абхазия стала значимым фактором не только в нашем регионе, но и далеко за ее пределами.
Сергей Васильевич всегда будет для нас примером мужества, компетентности и безграничной преданности своему народу", - отмечается в телеграмме Заура Налоева, Валерия Хатажукова, Мурата Хоконова, Мухамеда Кушхова.
To the Leadership and People of the Republic of Abkhazia.
Abkhazia has suffered a grievous loss with the passing of President Sergej Vasil’evich Bagapsh.
Sergej Vasil’evich was an open person, able to win over an interlocutor and gain his sympathy. His ability to defend his own ideas, but at the same time, to hear and consider another's opinion was respected in both the scholarly and expert communities. He did not deny the achievements of the Soviet past and was a man of traditional Abkhazian culture, who valued the views, customs and way of life preserved from ancient times.
His distinctive features were tolerance, a tendency to compromise, and a readiness to engage in dialogue with his political opponents. Precisely these qualities enabled him to find innovative solutions to the most acute political problems and allowed him to overcome divisions and move toward the consolidation of the Abkhazian nation.
Sergej Vasil’evich was a bright and distinctive politician, combining in himself the historical past and the realities of the modern world. It is highly symbolic that, in the current complicated international situation, Abkhazia gained recognition of her independence from Russia and several other states while it was headed by Serge Vasil’evich Bagapsh.
We offer our deepest condolences to the relatives and close friends of Sergej Vasil’evich as well as to all the people of Abkhazia.
Alexander Krylov, President of the Scholarly Society of Caucasologists
Руководству и народу Республики Абхазия
Абхазия понесла тяжелую утрату. Ушел из жизни Президент Сергей Васильевич Багапш.
Сергей Васильевич был открытым человеком, умел расположить к себе собеседника и вызвать его симпатию. Его способность отстаивать собственные идеи, но, одновременно, слышать и учитывать чужое мнение, вызывали уважение в научной и экспертной среде. Он не отвергал достижения советсткого прошлого, был человеком традиционной абхазской культуры, который ценил сохраненные с древних времен представления, обычаи и уклад жизни.
Его отличительной чертой были терпимость, склонность к компромиссам, готовность вести диалог со своими политическими оппонентами. Именно эти качества способствовали нахождению нетрадиционных решений острейших политических проблем, позволяли преодолевать расколы и продвигаться по пути консолидации абхазской нации.
Сергей Васильевич был ярким и самобытным политиком, соединявшим в себе историческое прошлое и реалии современного мира. Глубоко символично, что в нынешней сложной международной ситуации Абхазия добилась признания независимости от России и ряда других государств когда ее возглавлял Сергей Васильевич Багапш.
Мы приносим свои глубокие соболезнования родным и близким Сергея Васильевича, всему народу Абхазии.
Научного Общества кавказоведов Александр Крылов
Dmitry Medvedev sent a message of condolences to Vice President of the Republic of Abkhazia Alexander Ankvab following the death of President of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh.
The full text of the message reads:
“It was with profound sorrow that I learned that President of the Republic of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh has passed away.
He was a wise politician who made a vivid impression, a decisive man of will, and a true patriot of Abkhazia. He made an indisputable personal contribution to consolidating Abkhazia’s independence and its socioeconomic development, helping it to take shape as a sovereign actor in international relations.
Sergei Bagapsh was a committed supporter of friendship and alliance with Russia, and worked tirelessly to deepen the close bilateral ties between our two countries.
At this hour of great loss, please convey my sincere condolences to the people of Abkhazia and my words of support and sympathy to the family of Bagapsh.
Sergei Bagapsh’s warm memory will live on forever in our hearts.”
Our sincerest condolences to the people and the Republic of Abkhazia and especially to the family of President Sergey Bagapash for his untimely death in Moscow today. The Abkhaz nation and all Caucasians of the Diaspora share this great loss.
Luba Balagova & Mohydeen Quandour
On the Passing of Sergey Bagapsh, the President of Abkhazia:
We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of the second president of the Republic of Abkhazia, Sergey Bagapsh, today in a Moscow hospital where he was recovering from the lung operation he had undergone last week.
After the founding-leader of modern Abkhazia, Vladislav Ardzinba, left the office in 2005 Bagapsh has won two consecutive elections in these rather important formative years of Abkhazian statehood. His adherence to democratic principles and the rule of law, a quality that is rarely found in the political leaders of the Caucasus region in the post-Soviet era, has gained him respect and admiration of his people and political observers alike. We are hopeful that the next president of Abkhazia will be mindful of this most important tenet of Bagapsh’s political legacy.
CircassianWorld offers its sincere condolences to the immediate family of the late president, Abkhazian nation and the people of Abkhazia.
The Circassian Association of California/Adyghe Khasa would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of President Sergey Bagapsh. His passing is a loss for all Circassians and Caucasians, and his tremendous contribution to his nation will always be remembered.
Brussels, 30 May 2011 –The UNPO has learnt with deep sadness and a great sense of loss, the passing of Sergei Bagapsh, President of Abkhazia, after a long illness on 29 May 2011. As the host of the 2006 UNPO Presidency in Sukhum, President Bagapsh reflected the generosity and hospitality of the Abkhaz people who have been such strong supporters of the UNPO since 1991.
The six years of Mr. Bagapsh’s administration were marked by notable progress in Abkhazia’s campaign for recognition and its democratic development. The notable peace proposals initiated by Sergei Bagapsh in his "Key to the Future" programme, characterised his leadership and Abkhazia’s multi-vector foreign policy and search for sustainable peace.
Today we share the grief of Abkhaz people at this irreparable loss and express our solidarity with them at the moment of national mourning. However, we believe that the admirable path of peaceful striving for self-determination taken by President Bagapsh’s administration creates a solid foundation for successful future prospects of Abkhazia.
“I have heard with deep sorrow about death of a prominent state and political figure, President of the Republic of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh.Sergey Bagapsh will remain in the memory of his people, all those who knew him closely as a true patriot of his native land having devoted life to the struggle for freedom and independence of Abkhazia. As a wise and respected leader he made an invaluable contribution to the formation of an independent Abkhazian statehood, securing its safety, development and prosperity of his country. Under his leadership Abkhazia’s independence gained international recognition.On behalf of the people, the authorities of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic and myself I express my deep condolences to You, the whole Abkhazian people, all the relatives and friends in connection with the irretrievable loss, the death of Sergey Bagapsh.”
A book of condolences over the death of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh has been opened in Embassies of Abkhazia abroad.
Since early morning Abkhazia has received condolences from countries’ leaders, representatives of the public and common citizens who knew Sergey Vasilevich Bagapsh personally, as well as people who share the pain of loss with the President’s family.
For now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia has received condolences from:
The Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Abkhazia;
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic;
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia;
Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu - Meltek Sato Kilman Livtunvanu;
The Secretary General of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization Marino Busdachin;
The Ambassador of Venezuela to Belarus Ameriko Dias Nunes;
The Embassy of Venezuela to Bolivia;
The Chairman of the Caucasian-Abkhaz Solidarity Committee Irfan Argun;
The Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Abkhazia to Bulgaria Omer Marshan;
The Honorary Consul of the Republic of Abkhazia to the Great Britain George Hewitt;
The St.-Petersburg State University.
The President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega Saavedra has expressed his condolences over the death of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh.
In the letter sent to the Prime Minister of Abkhazia Sergey Shamba, Commander Daniel Ortega has expressed "a deep regret" over the news about comrade Bagapsh’s death.
Al Excelentísimo Señor
Primer Ministro de Abjasia
Con profundo dolor conocimos la noticia del fallecimiento repentino del Querido Compañero y amigo Serguei Bagapsh, Presidente de la República de Abjasia. Recordamos con orgullo nuestro inmediato reconocimiento de la Independencia de su país, causa de Justicia y Autodeterminación que nuestra Nicaragua Libre supo identificar de inmediato.
En nuestro corazón quedara grabada para siempre, la visita de Estado del Compañero Bagapsh quien acompañó a nuestro pueblo en la celebración del 31 Aniversario del Triunfo de nuestra Revolución Popular Sandinista.
Recordamos con cariño sus emotivas palabras en la Plaza de la Fe y en las reuniones que sostuvimos. Le recordamos como un Jefe de Estado digno y noble, y esa memoria está grabada en el espíritu de lucha y soberanía de todas las nicaragüenses.
Le ruego Compañero Primer Ministro saludar de mi parte en estos momentos de tristeza a la familia del Compañero Bagapsh, a su gran pueblo y a su Gobierno.
Reciban todo nuestro cariño y solidaridad desde esta tierra del centro de América que vive la relación solidaria con su país y su pueblo, y que guarda para siempre al Compañero Serguei Bagapsh, como referente de lucha y de victoria.
Con el saludo fraternal de
Daniel Ortega Saavedra
The “Moscow Virtuosi” State Chamber Orchestra expresses sincere condolences over Sergey Vasilevich Bagapsh’s sudden and untimely death.
To the Vice President of the Republic of Abkhazia Alexander Z. Ankvab
To the family, relatives of Sergey Vasilevich Bagapsh
We express our deepest condolences over the common grief which has befallen us, the sudden and untimely passing of Sergey Vasilevich Bagapsh. The sad message about the death of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia came as a complete shock for “Moscow Virtuosi”. Just at the beginning of April, our orchestra was a guest and a participant of the festival held in Sukhum under his personal patronage. Together we rejoiced at the progress of the republic which, under his direction, has found the right to be a sovereign and independent state.
The President elected by the people in a hard time of changes was a man of his word. He won the respect and sympathy of artist, actors and musicians because despite economic difficulties, he considered it necessary to restore cultural facilities, including the Abkhazian State Philharmonic Society.
His actions and conscience have never been at variance. In our memory he will remain as a wise and consistent politician, exacting to himself and his colleagues, as well as a creator taking care of preservation and augmentation of cultural heritage of the Abkhaz nation, its traditions and achievements, protecting ideas of good and humanism, capable of turning dreams into reality.
The Abkhaz call their land "Apsny" which means “the Country of Soul”. Sergey Vasilevich's heart and soul are worthy of resting in peace in the homeland of his ancestors. May our friend’s memory live forever!
And all musicians of the “Moscow Virtuosi” Orchestra