Russia may abolish Abkhazian "army"
29/04/2010 11:28
Giorgi Tsiklauri
"Experts' Club"

Sergei Bagapsh dismissed the entire contingent of Abkhazian staff of generals. The entire military elite of the puppet regime was dismissed - five generals, colonels and other senior officers. According to the Club of Experts Sukhumi took this step under pressure from Moscow that is unhappy with the situation in Abkhazian armed formations that had been given a role of principal actors in the implementation of military provocations or the role of auxiliary forces in case of recurrence of large-scale military operation of Russia against Georgia.

The Russian leadership decided to completely reorganize the General Staff of Abkhazia and need for this has been brewing for a long time. This decision was dictated by very high level of corruption along with the extremely low level of discipline in Abkhazian armed formations and their insufficient attention to military training. But the catalyst became a recent resignation of the Chief of General Staff Anatoly Zaitsev who was removed from office by Sergei Bagapsh.

Sukhumi tried to conceal this event, but the information still leaked. The reason for the dismissal was an incident that could be hardly considered serious taking into account realities of Abkhazia. Zaitsev's driver and several members of his security were arrested during a night robbery of gas station. But one can always find pretext if only one wishes to do so. Anatoly Zaitsev who is a professional soldier, a good professional sent from Russia to bring Abkhazian "army" into shape was not loved in Sukhumi considering him to be a "watcher" of Moscow.

Attempts of the Russian general to do something with the pervasive cronyism and corruption in the structure entrusted to him led to a confrontation with the "defense minister" Merab Kishmaria and other representatives of the Abkhazian leadership. Zaitsev did not receive resources for reforms. But it is not so easy to dismiss Moscow's man, and Bagapsh got to know that.

So now Instead of one Russian general Sukhumi will get the entire staff of generals filled with Russian contingent. Anatoly Zaitsev's resignation was seen by Russian leaders as reason to take control of Abkhazian armed formations and forced Bagapsh to "reorganize" general staff, after which it will be very interesting to look at the names of all new officers. It is possible that after the establishment of full control the next step of Moscow will be virtual elimination of the Abkhazian "army", as it has already happened in Tskhinvali region.

The Russian Federation has enough reasons for this step. Firstly, Abkhazian militants are entering into armed conflict with Russian soldiers more and more frequently. And Against the backdrop of growing dissatisfaction in Abkhazia with lawlessness of Russians, with cases of lawlessness of the occupation troops, redistribution of spheres of influence and different kinds of criminal business, such incidents have all chances to spontaneously develop into large-scale confrontation. And this would be the collapse of the entire political model that the Kremlin has been constructing around Abkhazia. And secondly, the armed forces of Russia have already taken over functions of the Abkhazian "army". So why spend resources on poorly controlled groups that have their own interests that differ from those of Russia!?

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