Baghapsh – The West “beats the teeth out” of Abkhazia
By Temuri Kiguradze
Monday, October 19
Abkhazian de facto President Sergey Baghapsh has accused the United States and Europe of furthering Georgian interests and thus pushing the breakaway region to be dependent on Russia.
In an address published in the Washington Times Baghapsh compares the separatist movement in Abkhazia with the American War of Independence and notes that “history tells us that no struggles for independence are regarded as legal by those who oppose them.” “If Europe and the United States based their policies on the reality of what is happening now in our region, not on a fantasy that the Georgians will someday restore their "territorial integrity," they would recognise there is a diplomatic path of compromise and humane action that would benefit all citizens of the Caucasus, regardless of their ethnicity,” states the head of the breakaway Georgian region.
Sergey Baghapsh, who admits that his ‘country’ is recognised by only Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, sees the unwillingness of the Western World to recognise Abkhazian independence as the product of the thinking of “Cold War intellectuals,” who “care only whether something is good or bad for Russia, which they hate.”
“A friend of mine told me about a line from a famous old American movie called "The Big Sleep," in which Humphrey Bogart says, "You know what he'll do when he comes back? Beat my teeth out, then kick me in the stomach for mumbling." By supporting Georgia's policy of diplomatic and economic isolation of Abkhazia, the United States and Europe are, figuratively, doing that to us. They give us no alternative, then criticise us for doing what we must to survive. When the international community denies us banking codes, Russia offers a solution. When we cannot get international railroad codes, Russia agrees to manage our railroads. When we cannot send our sickest citizens to European hospitals, we send them to Moscow. When Georgia blockades us from getting goods by sea, we get them by road and rail from Russia,” states Baghapsh, concluding his statement with an appeal to the international community to support Abkhazia and its economic development, assuring the world that the breakaway region will never “return to rule by Georgian nationalists and despots.”
Baghapsh’s address has already provoked a sharp reaction in Tbilisi. Georgian MP Akaki Minashvili, who heads the Committee of Foreign Relations of the Georgian Parliament, has stated that Baghapsh’s letter in the Washington Times has “absolutely no meaning for a developed and democratic state.”
“Everyone knows that Russia has violated the international principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty [by recognising Georgia’s breakaway territories]. No one will agree to recognise them, as this would be a very dangerous precedent for the whole world and lead to the isolation of Russia,” Minashvili said on October 18.
Baghapsh’s address was published on October 16, while new tensions emerged in Russian-Georgian relations as The Kremlin announced the imprisonment of a Georgian “intelligence agent” in Russia. According to Russian media, Russian serviceman of Georgian ethnicity Jemal Nakaidze has been sentenced to nine years in jail. Georgia has not commented on this incident yet, but The Messenger will soon try to publish a detailed report.