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Why are the Abkhaz leaving Abkhazia?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, December 30
Seven Abkhaz families have fled from Abkhazia and asked for political asylum in Georgia. Their stated reasons for doing so have been published by the Georgian media. They say that a sense of disappointment and frustration has enveloped the Abkhaz due to the situation that has developed in their so-called 'independent country'. They say that an intolerable situation has been established there. Omar Dzabaa, who asked for asylum with his family a few days ago, states: “everything is run by the Russians, you depend on the Russians for everything. That 'independence' of ours is absolutely false, everything is being disguised.”

The Abkhaz are few in number. There are no more than 100,000 of them in existence. There are several dozen ethnic groups of a similar size in the Russian Federation and the Russian state does not care about them. They are not granted any kind of administrative status and no one respects their separate ethnic identities. They are doomed to slow assimilation with Russians. From this point of view the Abkhaz were ‘luckier’ because the Russians needed them to fulfil their aggressive plans against Georgia. For some time Russia recognised Abkhazia as part of Georgia de jure but actually promoted and encouraged separatism there. Most of the Georgian population was kicked out of there in 1993 and Moscow has slowly annexed this territory since then.

In August 2008 everything changed radically. Russia stopped concealing its aggressiveness, occupied the Georgian breakaway regions and began calling them 'independent states'. Now The Kremlin does not need the Abkhaz, as they have served their purpose, it does not even pretend to respect Abkhaz ethnicity. Abkhazia is occupied by Russians, even though formally it is an independent state in the eyes of Moscow. The first thing this 'independent state' did was ask Russia to send tens of thousands of troops there to defend it, which Moscow ‘generously’ agreed to do, meaning that it now ‘legally’ occupies this territory. Russia is no longer making any attempt to even behave decently towards the Abkhaz, Georgians or the international community.

The Kremlin has started digesting occupied Abkhaz territory militarily, economically and demographically. Many Abkhaz have begun realising that they are now second class citizens in their own country. There are no classes in the Abkhaz language in schools, all studies being conducted in Russian after Year 3. The Abkhaz who have fled openly state that very many Abkhaz are now saying that they were mistaken in fighting Georgians, because only in Georgia can they preserve their national identity completely.

After gaining its so-called independence Abkhazia has woken up. It has become obvious to the Abkhaz that Moscow did not remove Abkhazia from Georgia so that the Abkhaz themselves could rule it. Russia wants this piece of cake for itself. The Abkhaz people are being used as a smokescreen to disguise Russia's need for this territory for military and tourist reasons. The process of waking up will be long and painful for some, but Abkhazians have to go through it before they can open their eyes wide.