Abkhaz Community Pays Tribute to Soner Gogua, Veteran and Parliament Deputy

SUKHUM / AQW'A ― In Sukhum, a solemn farewell was held for repatriate and Parliament Deputy of the IV Convocation, veteran of the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia, and recipient of the "Akhdz-Apsha" Order, Soner Gogua (August 19, 1971 - April 17, 2023). Gogua passed away at the age of 52 after a prolonged illness. In the morning, hundreds of people gathered at the Teacher's House where Gogua's coffin was placed to pay their respects to the esteemed son of the Abkhaz people.

The funeral rally was led by First Deputy Prime Minister Beslan Dzhopua, who also chaired the state commission responsible for organizing Gogua's funeral. Dzhopua highlighted significant milestones in the deceased's life.

Soner Gogua was born on August 19, 1971, in Turkey to a family of descendants of Abkhaz  mukhadzhirs (exiles). In 1990, he enrolled in the Department of Abkhaz Language and Literature at the Philological Faculty of Abkhaz State University. During the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia from 1992-1993, Gogua fought alongside a detachment of North Caucasian volunteers. In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Head of the Administration of Gagra City. The following year, he became the assistant director of "Basharan College'' in Gagra.

From 2000 to 2005, Gogua served as the General Director of the company "Elif." In 2005, he was appointed as the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Abkhazia in the Republic of Turkey. In 2007, he was elected to the Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia in the IV Convocation, leading the parliamentary committee for relations with compatriots. Gogua also served as the chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee of Friendship and Cooperation of the People's Assembly of the Republic of Abkhazia and the People's Assembly of the Republic of Venezuela. In 2012, he was appointed Vice President of the CCI.

Soner Gogua: Abkhazian War Veteran, Politician, and Public Figure Passes Away on 17 April
Soner Gogua: Abkhazian War Veteran, Politician, and Public Figure Passes Away on 17 April.

In 2012, Gogua was appointed Vice President of the CCI. In 2015, he founded and led the "International Fund APSNY." The foundation aimed to promote the recognition of Abkhazia and strengthen its status as an independent state, consolidate the Abkhaz diaspora living in various countries, preserve and pass on the cultural and spiritual heritage, history, and national identity of the Abkhaz people, and facilitate the return of Abkhazian people to their historical homeland. Soner Gogua was also actively involved in sponsorship and charitable activities.

Oktay Chkotua, a descendant of Abkhaz mukhadzhirs (exiles), a repatriate from Turkey, and board member of the APSNY International Fund, noted that Gogua consistently demonstrated a responsible attitude in all his endeavours. "He always helped people and cared deeply for Abkhazia. Wherever he went, he spoke about Abkhazia with great love. In 2015, Soner Gogua established the APSNY International Fund, through which numerous projects aimed at helping people, families with newborns, large families, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities were implemented," Chkotua said.

Oktay Chkotua, Engin Özkoç and Soner Gogua in 2018
Oktay Chkhotua, Engin Özkoç and Soner Gogua - Sukhum, 2018.

In addition to charitable work, Gogua actively participated in organising various round tables, conferences on relevant issues concerning Abkhazia, and cultural events. "People were very fond of Soner. He knew how to connect with their hearts. When he fell ill, people prayed for his health, some in Orthodox churches and others in mosques. I pray to the Almighty that a person like Soner is born into every Abkhazian family," said Oktay Chkotua. He added that it was symbolic that Gogua passed away on the Night of al-Qadir.

The Night of al-Qadr, also known as the Night of Predestination, is a revered night during the fasting month of Ramadan in Islam, associated with the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Vadim Kharazia, Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation, remarked that discussing Soner's life is difficult. "We have had an incredible journey. He was born under a foreign sky, and at a young age, he returned to his historical homeland. During the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia, he displayed bravery and courage. Soner did many good deeds for Abkhazia, helped people, and engaged in charitable work. We hoped he would overcome his illness, but fate had other plans. I believe the APSNY International Fund will continue its work, and perhaps be named in honour of Soner Gogua," said Vadim Kharazia.

Nugzar Logua, an employee of the Apsny International Foundation and Dean of the Arts Department at ASU, noted that Abkhazia has lost a worthy son and a descendant of the Abkhaz mukhadzhirs (exiles), Soner Gogua, who dedicated himself to his homeland and people. "At the age of 18, Soner returned to his historical homeland and, in 1990, enrolled in the Abkhaz State University's Faculty of Philology to learn his native language. When war broke out during his studies, Soner and a group of friends rose to defend their homeland. The return of the Muhajirs to their homeland meant a great deal to us. I remember well how, during the war, Vladislav Ardzinba rejoiced when they stood alongside their brothers. Soner Gogua was among the first Abkhaz diaspora politicians. He took a keen interest in the life of his people. Soner always emphasised that Abkhazians should help their friends and support those in need," he said.

Soner Gogua and Maxim Gvindzhia in  2019.
Soner Gogua and Maxim Gvindzhia in 2019.

According to Logua, this is why Soner Gogua established the Apsny International Fund. The foundation collaborated with children's charitable organisations, helping children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Gogua personally travelled to Yerevan and spoke with doctors to ensure that the children received the necessary assistance.

Maxim Gvindzhia, Vice President of the Apsny Foundation, stated that the foundation and the State Committee for Repatriation received condolence telegrams from various countries addressed to the relatives and friends of Soner Gogua. Condolence telegrams were sent by the Ambassador of Abkhazia to Russia, Alkhas Kvitsinia; the first Russian Ambassador to Abkhazia, Semyon Grigoriev; the Ambassador of Abkhazia to Venezuela, Zaur Gvadzhava; and the plenipotentiary representative of Abkhazia to Germany, Khibla Amichba. Telegrams arrived from Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, Great Britain, Egypt, and the Dominican Republic.




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