Prominent Figures Condemn Border Detentions, Point Finger at President

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SUKHUM / AQW'A —  In recent times, there has been a concerning trend at the Psou checkpoint where Russian border guards are detaining prominent opposition figures from Abkhazia. Individuals are held for several hours without any clear justification, sparking significant unrest and criticism. In response to these events, a statement has been issued by various influential figures, including veterans, politicians, and public personalities from Abkhazia, expressing their deep concerns over this pattern of detentions.

The statement addresses the broader implications of these actions on the relationship between Abkhazia and Russia, and calls for immediate action to resolve these issues.

The full text of the statement and the list of signatories are presented below:

The campaign to exert pressure on our citizens is orchestrated by the president, who promoting initiatives that undermine the state.

The Russian Federation's agreements on friendship and cooperation were made not with Aslan Bzhania individually, but with the Republic of Abkhazia. This obligates Russia to respect the constitutional rights of Abkhazian citizens, especially their freedom of expression and political pluralism, which we hold in high regard.

We have recently witnessed systematic pressure on Abkhazian citizens at the Russian-Abkhazian border on the Psou River. They are either detained for hours without reason or interrogated about their personal views and civic positions. This affects not only ordinary citizens but also independent journalists and public figures. In January 2024 alone, figures such as Eleonora Giloyan of Abaza-TV, Hero of Abkhazia and opposition politician Leuan Mikaa, filmmaker Ibragim Chkadua, and representatives from the "ҲараҲПицунда" (Our Pitsunda) organisation faced such detainment. These actions against Abkhazia's citizens are both unfriendly and unwarranted.

We believe that the Abkhazian leadership, particularly the President, is responsible for this campaign, as they continue to champion anti-state initiatives across various sectors.

Given the unpopularity of their policies and lacking internal measures to counteract public actions, the Abkhazian government appears to be exerting pressure on its own people through Russian special services, falsely portraying them as harbouring 'anti-Russian' sentiments. This approach is destructive, potentially escalating civil unrest and creating unnecessary tension between the friendly nations of Russia and Abkhazia.

We emphasise that the political developments within Abkhazia are a domestic matter and do not impinge upon Russian interests or the Abkhazian-Russian bilateral relationship. It's important to remember that Russia's friendship and cooperation agreements are with the Republic of Abkhazia, underscoring a commitment to honour the constitutional rights of its citizens, including freedom of expression and political pluralism.

For decades, millions of Russians have traveled to Abkhazia annually for vacation or business without ever facing detention or interrogation by Abkhazian security services, regardless of their views or beliefs, even when Russia was a member of the international 'friends of Georgia' group.

Therefore, we urge the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Abkhazia to immediately facilitate consultations with relevant authorities to halt any further hostile and illegal actions against the citizens of Abkhazia.

The enduring relationship between our countries must not be jeopardised by the political machinations of irresponsible officials.

  1. Akhra Bzhania, Deputy of the 5th Convocation of the Parliament, war veteran.
  2. Batal Dzhapua, People's Artist of Abkhazia, war veteran.
  3. Nodar Shakryl, public figure, war veteran.
  4. Marina Bartsyts, Deputy of the 3rd Convocation of the Parliament, war veteran.
  5. Vladimir Zantaria, scholar, Deputy of the 1st Convocation of the Parliament.
  6. Ruslan Ladariya, public figure, war veteran.
  7. Ilya Gunia, Deputy of the 6th Convocation of the Parliament, war veteran.
  8. Vianor Ashba, public figure, war veteran.
  9. Temur Kondzharia, entrepreneur, war veteran.
  10. Saveliy Chkok, surgeon, war veteran.
  11. Daur Kurmazia, public figure.
  12. Mziana Kvinadze, war veteran.
  13. Lasha Zukhba, public figure, war veteran.
  14. Tengiz Dzhopua, public figure
  15. Dmitry Tarba, entrepreneur, war veteran.
  16. Ibragim Chkadua, director, war veteran.
  17. Roin Agrba, historian, war veteran.
  18. Izida Chania, journalist.
  19. Liana Kvartchelia, public figure.
  20. Guram Gumba, scientist.
  21. Lolita Khagush, public figure.
  22. Lelia Bganba.
  23. Aida Khonelia
  24. Kesou Khagba, director.
  25. Azamat Bagatelia.
  26. Asmat Kvitsinia.
  27. Vitaliy Katsba, artist.
  28. Anaid Gogoryan, journalist.
  29. Nizfa Arshba, journalist.
  30. Liana Ebzhnou, journalist.
  31. Elena Zavodskaya, journalist.
  32. Igor Gabunia.
  33. Astamur Paptsaa.
  34. Batal Gabunia.
  35. Angela Branzia.
  36. Inga Khagush.
  37. David Gobechia.
  38. Said Gezerdaa, lawyer.
  39. Elona Turava.
  40. Inal Atumava.
  41. Tatiana Gulia.
  42. Inna Smyr.
  43. Amra Berulava.
  44. Anatoly Abgadzh.
  45. Daria Kapba.
  46. Irakliy Smal.
  47. Vitaliy Tyrkba.
  48. Lasha Bzhania.
  49. Ruslan Kvekveskiri.
  50. Eduard Khachirov.
  51. Svetlana Chkadua.
  52. Samir Aiba.
  53. Esma Sabua.
  54. Larisa Katsia.
  55. Rima Kishmaria.
  56. Viktor Kokonin.
  57. Vitaly Shariya.
  58. Rozita German.
  59. Rustam Zantaria.
  60. Eleonora Kogonia.
  61. Ira Inal-ipa.
  62. Beslan Inapshba.
  63. Vitaly Ardzinba.
  64. Asida Shkeria.
  65. Elena Mikanba.
  66. Suzanna Skveria.
  67. Adgur Agrba.
  68. Galina Khishba.
  69. Rada Argun.




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