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From occupation to annexation

By Messenger Staff
Friday, February 19
The Russian farce known as 'Sovereign Abkhazia' is still playing, though to less than packed houses. Marionette Sergey Baghapsh recently became President of Abkhazia for the second time. His first action was to rush to The Kremlin to show his loyalty. While there he was treated as a Head of State, in a very formal manner. So called ‘bilateral’ agreements were signed by him in this capacity, whose texts clearly demonstrate that Moscow is annexing the Georgian occupied territories. All this is part of Russia's longstanding campaign to convince a disbelieving world that there is a 'new reality' in the South Caucasus, and this somehow legalises the snatching of Georgian territory and justifies the ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population there.

On February 17 Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov and his puppet counterpart from Abkhazia signed an agreement on constructing a Russian military base in Abkhazia. This agreement is an attempt to legalise the presence of at least 1,700 Russian servicemen in Gudauta. There could be more than 1,700 there but it is impossible to count them. The agreement stipulates that the Russian soldiers will be there for 49 years initially and their presence can be renewed every 15 years ad infinitum. Until now there has been no agreement of any kind, but Russian soldiers have come and gone as they pleased and Baghapsh has been retained as President because he knows what to do, how to do it and when to do it as far as Russia is concerned. Some other documents were signed as well included those on land and air transport, environmental protection, illegal migration and so on. Russian Railways will take over the Abkhazian segment of the Georgian railways and Moscow will assist with the construction and functioning of Sokhumi Airport. All this is being done without the permission of Georgia, to whom Abkhazia juridically belongs, or any of the international organisations that regulate things such as air transport. These agreements are flagrant violations of international law and a multitude of regulations the rest of the world is expected to abide by.

During the meeting with his Abkhazian 'counterpart' President Medvedev again attacked Mikheil Saakashvili, declaring him persona non grata in Russia. The Russian Duma is also playing along with this comedy, adopting a document about the ‘200 years’ of Abkhazian and Russian unity, which states that Abkhaz and Russians are actually one people. The document distorts historical fact by saying that Abkhazia was part of Russia for 200 years but forced to enter Georgia during the Soviet period. “At last justice has been restored, with the help of Russia”, the document says.

Of course the Georgian leadership has protested against Baghapsh's visit, the signing of the documents and the illegal statements both leaders made. Gia Baramia, Chair of the legal Government of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic, called the election of Baghapsh, his visit to Russia and its consequences a clear demonstration that Georgia's sovereign territory has been annexed by Moscow. Chair of the Georgian Parliament Davit Bakradze called the signed documents both cynical and tragic. He stated that no signing of any document will legalise the presence of a foreign country's soldiers on the territory of sovereign Georgia, and international law calls this "occupation".

But who cares… Russians do whatever they want and this is accepted with silent consent. Imagine what would be said if a private individual flagrantly violated the laws of their country, everyone knew and complained about it, but official bodies did nothing to stop it.