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Open letter to the Vice-President of the United States Mr. Joseph Biden

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia and the people of the Republic express surprise in connection with the address given by Vice-President of the United States Joseph Biden to the Parliament of Georgia during his recent visit to Georgia. Especial concern is caused by these pre-arranged statements from an American politician of so high a rank, and also by some deliberate or unintentional historical inaccuracies, in which connection it would be useful to pay attention to some historical facts. 

Abkhazians are one of the indigenous peoples of the Western Caucasus, whose statehood has existed for 12 centuries. Throughout all the history of their existence the Abkhazian people were exposed time and again to colonization and violent deportation, but never stopped their struggle for freedom.

Historical facts testify that Abkhazia appeared as a part of Georgia due to the will of Stalin. Under pressure from Stalin, Abkhazia in 1931 without any plebiscite was transformed into an Autonomous Republic within the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, which led to mass meetings with political demands which were renewed every 10 years. Abkhazians were the only people in the Soviet Union who held mass national protests against the reduction of their status to autonomy, and they regularly with persistence and despair stood up for a separation from Georgia. This is not surprising, considering that for the purpose of assimilating Abkhazians, in 1937-1953 the leadership of Georgia had been taking measures which can only be described as criminal. During that time, actions of mass reprisals and discrimination against Abkhazians, for the purpose of full assimilation of the Abkhazian people into the Georgian environment, were carried out. The Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993, which caused violent and massive infringements of rights and freedoms, became the culmination of a Georgian policy to destroy the national identity of Abkhazians.

The continuous colonial and discriminatory policy of the Georgian authorities, which was implemented throughout all the Soviet and post-Soviet period, caused resentment leading to regular mass disturbances in multi-national and multi-faith Abkhazia.

History has shown that for many years the policy of the Georgian leadership has been directed towards the creation of a mono-ethnic state. Therefore those who consider that Georgia is capable of developing similarly to a Western democracy are mistaken. In Georgia over many years a democratic tyranny, not a free democracy, has been created, and this is already confirmed by the regimes of modern, post-Soviet Georgia.

In general it should be realised by those who hope to bring about a democratic framework in Georgia that such a model is alien to the mentality and spirit of Georgians. Any attempt by the USA to make Georgia a democratic state is doomed to failure, as both the leaders and the society of that country continue to think in imperial terms. It is basically impossible to introduce democracy while the main energy of the nation is directed towards trying to regain former territories.

The policy of Georgia, which is screened and supported by the West, is directed towards a destabilization of the situation in the region. Against the background of unprecedented financial help to the state from the USA which is given in the context of help for Georgia (as Mr. Biden declared in his speech, the sum total is one billion dollars), the Georgian authorities continue the process of militarization and hatch plots of vengeful military irruption into territories not belonging to Georgia.

It will be pertinent to remember that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a resolution has condemned totalitarian communist regimes. Members of that Parliament have especially noted that the people of the former USSR suffered most. They have also urged that a revaluation of the history of communism is carried out without any ambiguity. However we still have not seen an objective assessment of the situation in Georgia, to which by Stalin's will territories not belonging to it were affiliated.

Unfortunately, and it surely calls for special attention, in his speech Mr. Biden did not give any opinion about the military operation by Georgia against the civilian population of South Ossetia, though the facts had not really been disputed for a long time, including within diplomatic circles in America.

The events of August 2008 have not only called into question the effectiveness and non-ambiguity of the measures applied by international forces for the resolution of conflict situations and the capability of the world community to soberly size up certain situations, but also have shown that, frequently acting under cover of assistance in the settlement of conflicts, leaders of some powers chase their own interests, thereby promoting escalation of the conflict and endangering ethnic groups close to the point of genocide (this concept is applied to a large number of disputes, although when it is a question of an ethnic group of 200,000 people, the scale of the tragedy is magnified). Thus, the democracy which for example Georgia is now trying to introduce, not without the aid of the United States, most likely has nothing in common with the observance of the principles of the declaration of human rights. Also, the Declaration of Independence of the USA, which confirms: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. …But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” most likely has no special importance in an international sense, because it can only be applicable and fair for the American people.

For now the USA continue to sponsor Georgia in every possible way, helping the latter to increase its military potential by handing over weighty monetary prizes from a budget which includes taxes regularly paid by ordinary Americans. It is possible that the after-effects of the financial crisis in the USA are not so pitiable, if the national economy can afford such gestures of good will. It is necessary to hope that general prudence will prevail, which means that a sum of one billion dollars, handed out by the USA, will actually be directed towards the sponsoring of social and economic development in Georgia, which is not having the best of times at present.

In this connection the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia once again urges the world community to pay attention to the fact that Georgia has not stopped its aggressive policy in relation to minorities and continues to increase its military potential with the support of western colleagues, to sign cooperation agreements in the military sphere, and to rebuild its military infrastructure which suffered during the August events.

Moreover, at this time under the pretext of patrolling the frontier territories of Georgia, military men from the USA could be sent. In this connection the question is from whom Georgia is going to protect its borders, as during all post-Soviet time neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia have ever intruded on any Georgian territory. It is Georgia which has repeatedly committed surprise armed attacks, perfidiously intruding on the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

It is necessary to note that in his speech the Vice-President of the United States once again openly declared the strategic interests of his country in this region. Mr. Biden has shown the interest of his country in the energy resources of the Caspian basin, a desire to isolate Transcaucasia from Russian influence, and support for the interests of the USA’s main partners Turkey and Israel. In this context, the strategic interests of the USA are observed by their continuous assurances to Georgia of its independence and territorial integrity.

At present the USA use Mr. Saakashvili as a means of threatening the security of the Caucasus. The attempt by the Georgian leadership to develop a propaganda machine, and to appear in the international arena in the guise of a victim of Russian aggression and thereby internationalise the conflict, has appeared ineffectual. In the modern world it is difficult to keep people in ignorance for a long period of time.

The events of August 2008 have brought to an end, with a crash of illusions from the political, legal, and military points of view, any speedy “restoration of territorial integrity” for Georgia. Georgia is now facing hard times, and in this respect the arrival of a representative of the new administration of the USA in so high a position really was a gift to the authorities in Georgia as it is necessary for them at present to distract the attention of the opposition away from the protest actions which have been proceeding for many months. The authorities of Georgia intend to solve serious problems, both in the internal and the foreign political life of the country, in their usual way, which is at the expense of western supporters, or to be exact, at the expense of taxpayers of the USA who have already had hard times because of the financial crisis.

However even a billion dollar injection from the USA can hardly smooth over the crisis in the Georgian government, its economic problems, and the separatist movements within regions densely populated by national minorities which threaten to develop into a national liberation struggle for independence from Tbilisi. It doesn’t matter what Mr. Biden might say about the prosperity of Georgia and what the expectations of the USA about the fast democratisation of the country might be, the realities of today's Georgia are that in the near future it will not manage to achieve prosperity. The external debt of Georgia already exceeds three billion dollars, and the tough policy of the Georgian authorities concerning opposition forces and national minorities shows the short-sightedness of the politicians who subject Georgia to the large and obvious risk of crumbling into small parts. The “political inadequacy” of the Georgian leadership, who make it clear that they are obviously not ready to conduct diplomatic dialogue, still calls for vigilance.

In its foreign policy Georgia has revealed itself as an unreliable partner. After the big hopes which European states and the USA assigned to Georgia, disappointment has come. The events of August 2008, the treacherous attack of Georgian troops upon South Ossetia, proved that no matter how much of a puppet the government of Georgia seemed to be, Tbilisi would not be prevented from achieving its purposes even if they contradicted all existing norms of international law and the basic ideas of democracy and humanism. In their struggle for ideas which became illusive a long time ago, Georgian authorities proved that the lives of people of different nationalities, who they consider to be citizens of their country, do not mean anything to them. Such an antihuman policy of the Georgian authorities cannot and should not find the support of any civilised state anywhere in the world.

It is impossible for a country with unstable leadership, under conditions of total infringement and violation of human rights and with aggressive methods for the solution of both internal and external problems, to achieve meaningful dialogue.

On the other hand, Abkhazia as a stably developing democratic state, oriented towards step-by-step natural infusion into the international political and economic workplace, and despite its emphasised isolation from the world community, continues to carry on a constructive diplomatic dialogue with all interested countries and patiently attends to its purpose, which is the transformation of the country into a prosperous state.

Abkhazia, occupying an important geopolitical position in the Caucasian region, continues to remain in the focus of steadfast attention from both the western powers and the leading international organisations. Despite the official statement of Mr. Biden that the government of the USA will never recognise the independence of Abkhazia, despite the fact that the world community obstinately continues through prejudice to critically judge Abkhazia’s prospects as an independent state, and despite the more than cool relationship of Europe and the West to Abkhazia, interest in our state does not die away.

Long-term experience of foreign policy activity has taught us not only to struggle in upholding our own interests, but also to accept long-suffering. We believe that recognition of our country by the world community is not far off, as everything in the modern world changes very rapidly. Therefore today, when Mr. Biden says that the USA will never recognise Abkhazia, it is pertinent to remind everyone that once not so long ago the American people themselves struggled for independence from colonial Britain and for the formation of an independent American state. Perhaps even then there were many people asserting that America would never become an independent state, yet time has proved the opposite. The history of the American people remains silent evidence that such ideals and values as freedom, equality and the struggle for self-determination are inherent in the American people and are fixed in the American constitution as a basis for the development of a democratic state. The aspiration to independence and the development of democratic freedom have transformed the USA into one of the leading world superpowers. And Americans know better than anyone the truthfulness of the English proverb “never say never”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia

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