SUKHUM / AQW’A — On February 11, 2024, public activist Dzhansukh Adleyba held a small rally at Freedom Square in Sukhum, calling on President Aslan Bzhania to come and answer questions that concern many citizens of the republic.
Adleyba, who has been a vocal critic of the president's policies, said that he invited Bzhania to the square to have a public debate on issues such as the recent agreement between the Abkhazian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Russian National Guard, the law on foreign agents, and the overall direction of the country.
"I want everyone to hear him answer my questions," Adleyba said. "I am concerned about issues that directly affect our country, our sovereignty, and our national security. The stream of laws that are being submitted to the parliament session is anti-people, in my opinion, and they contradict the Constitution. Why is this happening?"
Adleyba also called on Bzhania to resign if he is not willing to address the concerns of the people.
"If he does not fulfill them, then let him resign," Adleyba said. "But I do not believe that the president will fulfill the demands, and I do not believe that the president will resign."
The rally was attended by about 30 people, including opposition leader Levan Mikaa. Mikaa expressed support for Adleyba and said that the situation in the country is "catastrophic."
"We are losing our independence, our sovereignty, and everything that we fought for in the national liberation movement, in the war, and in the post-war blockade," Mikaa said. "That is why we are all so concerned, and we are discussing what to do next and how to resist this."
Interior Minister Robert Kiut stated that no agreement will be signed with the Russian National Guard.
In the afternoon, Interior Minister Robert Kiut issued a statement on social media, assuring citizens that no agreement would be signed with the Russian National Guard.
"The Cooperation Agreement project between the Russian Federation's Federal Service of the National Guard Troops and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, which has been heatedly discussed in the Abkhaz society in recent days, will not be signed by the leadership of the MIA of the Republic of Abkhazia.
We share all the concerns and anxieties of the citizens; however, as the Minister of Internal Affairs, I responsibly declare that in our department, as well as in the entire leadership of the country, there are no individuals willing to act and carry out their professional activities to the detriment of the national interests of the Abkhaz state or the interests of our citizens.
The Republic of Abkhazia is a sovereign, independent state, and it is this status we have been protecting and defending for 30 years. In this regard, we aim to continue acting accordingly. I would like to remind you that the current constitution and legislation of the Republic of Abkhazia do not allow foreign state law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety and order in the country.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia and other law enforcement structures have sufficient personnel to maintain public order, ensure public safety, combat terrorism and extremism, conduct state control in the field of arms trafficking, protect the property of individuals and legal entities, and provide measures of forceful support in combating crime," Robert Kiut said in the statement.
Adleyba welcomed the minister's statement, saying that it was one of the reasons for his protest.
"I approve of his statement," Adleyba said. "The agreement on joint actions with the Russian National Guard was one of the reasons for my action."
The participants in the rally dispersed but promised to return tomorrow.
It remains to be seen whether President Bzhania will respond to Adleyba's demands or whether the protests will continue.