Levan Kiknadze: We should not forget that Khajimba is an FSS general
10/08/2009 17:30

Political situation in Abkhazia became even tenser since the recognition of Abkhazian independence by Russia and signing of various bilateral agreements between them. Abkhazian opposition accuses government of following a course that is against the state interests. But all this resembles more an election campaign rather than an attempt to build a truly independent Abkhazia and an attempt to escape the Russian dictate.

Levan Kiknadze, the president of organization “The Club of Experts” commented on the situation in Abkhazia and possible events there.

Mister Kiknadze, lately we hear a lot of criticism towards Bagapsh in Abkhazian opposition media. Where do you think this confrontation between the political sides in Abkhazia leads?

We know that Abkhazian separatist regime is planning to have a Presidential election in December this year. And now we are dealing with the initial stage of this campaign. That’s why the outcome will depend on what will happen in the remaining time.

One thing is obvious – the corrupt regime of Bagapsh is based on clan principles. Khajimba knows perfectly well what the Abkhazian electorate wants to hear and how to present it. On top of that he has abundant information about the deeds of Bagapsh’s regime and it does not even take him long to choose.

In addition there are all those agreements with Russia that put the Abkhazian population in a very unenviable position. Taking into consideration all of the above, Khajimba set up an election campaign according to the population’s concerns and what they want to hear.

Also we should not forget that Khajimba is an FSS general and doesn’t do anything without consulting his authorities. Therefore presenting as though Khajimba will be opposed first to Bagapsh and then to Russia and will carry out in reality all what he is saying now – is wrong.

You mean that he is taking advantage of the public mood in Abkhazia where it is now all the crack to criticize Russia but after coming to power he will be the same representative of Russia as he was before?

Of course, that’s how it will be. If we remember Bagapsh’s promises they were all about sold holiday places, corruption, and uncontrolled flow of drugs into Abkhazian territory. But after he became a president nothing ahs changed. Khajimba will do the same.

Is there a mood of discontent in the society, among people? I refer to the Khajimba’s speech and his rhetorical question “don’t we have people who can manage the railway?” and an ovation in the auditorium that came in response.

You are right. Dissatisfaction is slowly growing. People can see and understand what might happen in a course of time. Everything that politicians are talking about is obvious to people as well. Financial support from Russia can cease and then they will find themselves in a very difficult situation. It will be correct to say that their economy will be so intertwined with the Russian economy that they will be left with nothing of their own. You mentioned the railway. Khajimba even made comparisons between the conditions under which Armenia allowed the Russian management of their railway and the conditions that Bagapsh agreed to. Criticism directed towards Bagapsh is part of the election campaign and is in Khajimba’s interests. But later when the Russians will be all set and done in Abkhazia with Khajimba’s support people’s negative attitude will increase even more.

Georgian population of Gali played a decisive role in the last elections. That brought Bagapsh’s victory. Will attitude of the population of Gali change and will Khajimba be able to influence them in order to receive their support?

Gali’s electorate will support Bagapsh, of course. Even Khajimba is certain that he cannot have any impact on the electorate of that region. That is the reason why he insists that only the Abkhazian passport holders should be permitted to vote. Because the biggest part of the population of Gali does not have Abkhazian passports, this way he will manage to cut this region from the election process. That’s why the opposition is against Bagapsh’s decision to allow residents of Abkhazia to vote also by using a so-called form N 9. Both sides have their arguments regarding this issue. Namely, Khajimba claims that this will allow Bagapsh to manipulate with votes. Bagapsh insists that by not allowing the population of Gali to vote using form N9 their constitutional rights will be violated and that population will be robbed of their rightful votes - expression of their will.

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