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Georgians might face threat in occupied Abkhazia

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 15
Russia is continuing its imperialistic policy in occupied Abkhazia. Russia has declared the region an independent republic and currently is backing the presidential elections there. The general mood in Abkhazia is distinctly anti-Georgian. However, the current elections are full of such attitudes more than ever. Ethnic Georgians living in the Gali region are watching the events with fright. There is the real possibility of ethnic Georgians being ousted from their homes in Gali district as well.

The “presidential elections” in Abkhazia have four presidential candidates. These are: Opposition leader Raul Khajimba, de-facto Minister of Defense Merab Kishmaria, de-facto Interior Minister Leonid Dzipshba and the head of the Security Council Aslan Bzhania. Thus, only Raul Khajimba is not representing the current government, whose leader Alexander Ankvab, was forced to resign by the opposition led by Khajimba several months ago.

Khajimba is clearly pro-Russian and anti-Georgian. According to his demand, Georgians living in the Gali region are forbidden to vote in the presidential elections. He also initiated a policy that would see ethnic Georgians from the Gali region deprived of their Abkhazian passports.

Thus, separatists in Abkhazia, supported by Moscow, have carried out clear discrimination policies against ethnic Georgians.

All the four presidential candidates are promoting anti-Georgian propaganda and following pro-Russian ideology.

Prior to the military confrontation in Abkhazia, ethnic Abkhazians represented only 17% of the population, whereas Georgians were around 50% of the region. Although more than 250,000 Georgians were forced to leave Abkhazian territory, ethnic Abkhazians still are not the majority population in the region. There are almost equal number of Georgians, Abkhazians and Armenians in the area, followed by Russians.

Abkhaz nationalists cannot confront Armenians, who are major supporters of Russian interests in the region.

Of course, Abkhazians cannot confront the ethnic Russian population; they can only suppress Georgians, who can influence the election outcome if they participate in the process.

Abkhazians are afraid of Georgians because of even theoretic possibility of reintegration of the region to Georgia. In this case, Georgians would demand their properties be returned.

Amongst the four presidential candidates, Khajimba enjoys the best odds, as he is backed by Russians. If Khajimba is elected he might be given a chance by Russia to transfer ethnic Georgians from Gali. Such a development will create a new wave of IDPs for Tbilisi and Georgia will be punished for its Euro-Atlantic course.

Many things will be cleared-up after the August “presidential elections” in Abkhazia.