In a period marked by escalating political strife, journalist Nizfa Arshba delves into the controversy that has enveloped the Abkhazian government's recent policy directions. The administration, headed by President Aslan Bzhania, has been met with staunch opposition from the public due to its proposed ratification of an agreement that would transfer the Pitsunda state dacha into Russian ownership. This pivotal issue has stirred national protests and has become a central point of contention, highlighting the profound concerns regarding national sovereignty and the current state of governance. The article, offering an in-depth perspective on these unfolding events, was originally published in Russian on aiashara.org.
From now on, the responsibility for the loss of the Pitsunda state dacha rests not with the president, but with the country's Parliament.
Our government's plan to rush through the law ratifying the Agreement on the state dacha in Pitsunda, right around the New Year’s table, is undeniably treacherous towards its people.
Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote, "There are three kinds of scoundrels in the world: naive scoundrels, believing their villainy to be the highest nobility; scoundrels ashamed of their own villainy yet intent on carrying it through; and, finally, purebred scoundrels."
It seems we are facing the latter. The initiators of this disgraceful act seemingly hope that the people, who earnestly fought to keep the Pitsunda dacha within the Abkhaz populace, will be swayed by the base desires of New Year's indulgence, entertainment, and idleness. They judge others by their own standards, it seems.
But this is not merely treachery; it is a challenge to the people! It represents the culmination of a struggle in the cowardly hearts of government officials between two threats: the threat from the Russian oligarchy and the unrest of their own people. The former have triumphed in their hearts, as our government has nothing in common with its people and never will, especially the head of state. Nothing binds him here; nothing holds him back; his entire world lies beyond, possibly even beyond the Psou River. Visit his ancestral home, where a tree has sprouted in the fireplace. Thus, it is unsurprising that the interests of external entities (businessmen, investors, oligarchs, and criminal elements) are more important to him than those of the Abkhaz people. This goes beyond just the bill on the Pitsunda state dacha; it extends to the legalization of apartments, the privatization of the energy sector, and the gradual surrender of the state's sovereignty, catering to the interests of a strategic partner while blatantly ignoring the national interests of the Abkhaz people.
The authorities attempt to draw society into another debate about the state dacha, implying that all errors in the document are corrected and, with them, all threats. But in truth, there is nothing to discuss and no one to discuss it with!
Firstly, the territory of the country is effectively being transferred under the jurisdiction of another state by the authorities. The arguments by the president and his bureaucratic apparatus that the land remains leased are flimsy, as terminating the land lease agreement in the future is practically impossible. Any attempt would likely result in the Abkhaz people having to pay financial compensation in the tens, if not hundreds, of billions of rubles - a debt unmanageable for future generations.
Secondly, the authorities intimidate their people with the threat of Russia withdrawing financial aid to Abkhazia in socio-economic and energy sectors. Essentially, they present the territory of the state dacha in Pitsunda as a bribe that the Abkhaz people must hand over to Russia in exchange for maintaining a favourable relationship. If this is indeed the case, it highlights that we are paying a "bribe" to Russia for the irresponsibility, disorganisation, incompetence, and inefficiency of Aslan Bzhania's team and his "sector professionals," allowing them to continue clinging to power with Moscow's support.
+ Said Gezerdaa: "The agreement on Pitsunda is one of the steps towards the erosion of state-sovereignty"
In Soviet times in the Caucasus, it was said that if you sent your son to study in Moscow and he turned out to be talentless, then "only the second ram can save the first one." How many "rams" must we sacrifice to save our own, who has failed to properly manage and solve problems in the economy, social sphere, and energy?
After the state dacha in Pitsunda, tomorrow they will demand something else: the coast of Gagra, Ritsa, property, oil, the entire territory. At this rate, there will be no rams left in our herd. In other words, the state dacha in Pitsunda is our price for an inept government, and by paying, we merely enable this government to continue its idle existence!
Thirdly, the authorities strive to portray all opponents of transferring this dacha as anti-Russian elements. But where are the anti-Russian sentiments here? In suggesting leasing the dacha for 50, 100 years instead of transferring ownership? In defending our national interests and considering future generations? In valuing sovereignty as much as the President of Russia and Russian citizens do?
The sole actor inflicting irreparable harm on Russian-Abkhaz relations through his actions, statements, and decisions is the President of Abkhazia and his team. If Aslan Bzhania truly advances the state policy of the Russian Federation in Abkhazia, then anti-Russian protests will emerge tomorrow. But the Abkhaz people believe this is not the case; that our president serves only the interests of the Russian oligarchy, and Moscow has yet to fully grasp the madness and destructiveness of Bzhania's domestic policy.
The authority has issued a challenge to its people, and this challenge must be met – by the opposition. Henceforth, the responsibility for the loss of the Pitsunda State Dacha rests not with the president, but with the Parliament.
In this critical juncture for Abkhazia, the opposition must unite, set aside all differences, and present a national agenda. This situation transcends politics; no compromises, no agreements are permissible. Aslan Bzhania is an accidental figure in the country's supreme power, and this injustice must be rectified!
However, on the eve of the New Year holidays, it is prudent to avoid a socio-political crisis, to reach an agreement that allows our people to calmly welcome 2024. This can be achieved if the executive power agrees to:
- Withdraw the "Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the transfer of property ownership of an object on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia and the manner of its use" from Parliament.
- Withdraw the "Regulation of the Legal Status of Apart-hotels and Apartments" from Parliament.
- Refrain from legal initiatives and supporting amendments by others for the privatisation of national energy objects owned by the Republic of Abkhazia.
Finally, to preserve the moral and ethical values of the Abkhaz people, to strengthen the moral standing of the presidency and the supreme authority of the Republic of Abkhazia, and to reinforce the institution of the family, the President of the Republic of Abkhazia and the members of the Cabinet of Ministers MUST EXCLUDE any behaviour, as well as connections and relationships, that are inconsistent with their status, tarnishing the honour and dignity of Abkhaz authority and the people of the Republic of Abkhazia!