Abkhazia today – the dogs bark, the caravan passes by
22/12/2010 16:58
Gocha Gvaramia
Experts' Club

Until today property issue remains the most acute topic in Abkhazia. It came to this that it became necessary to arrange a round table with participation of representatives of governmental and non-governmental sectors, political parties of the so-called independent Abkhazia to "discuss" issue of transferring properties to Russia.

As the meeting made it clear everybody accuses today's puppet regime mainly of conduction of policy against national interests and indicate that not everything that Russia points its finger at should be given to Russia as payment for the recognition of independence.

The interesting thing in these discussions was that in order to protect itself representative of the Bagapsh regime and chairman of the Edynaya Abkhazia party Daur Tarba pointed finger at Ardzinba – all these objects were transferred to Russia for an unlimited use by the previous government and that there was nothing new in this decision – he said. In his words, according the document that was signed on September 14th 1995 between the Abkhazian side and Russia Bichvinta state dachas 8, 9 and 10 were to be transferred to the Russian side for use. According to him again, "according to the decision of March 17th 2003 a state dacha with 30 hectare land in Gagra was sold for 25 million ruble and its owner is close corporation Invest Plus. As to the Bitchvinta objects two years after the signing of the agreement on December 16th an act on free of charge transfer was signed". Given this Tarba expresses his surprise: "what do we accuse today's government of with regard to these objects?"

The most ardent and critical representative of opposition and member of the Ardzinba clan Raul Khajimba had to confirm correctness of this circumstance. More, with regards to the Bitchvinta objects he noted that on top of the fact that these objects were transferred free of charge for use term of this use is indefinite.

Disputes with regards to this issue have been going on for a long time and practically there emerged two positions. But it is not that important for us. As we all know that final decision is in reality made in the Kremlin and that "independent" Abkhazia will only formalize this on paper.

Another trend is interesting. Recently, a discussion of acute problems in Abkhazia, to some extent contributes to destruction of the myth of "invincibility of the army of Abkhazia" during the events of the nineties of the XX century and strengthens Georgia's position in connection with the direct participation of Russia in the war against the territorial integrity of Georgia.

It is obvious that Russia demands compensation from the said regions for political and economic losses they incurred for recognition of the said regions. It should be noted here that real estate in Abkhazia was transferred to Russia back then by the Ardzinba separatist regime. But according to legislation of not yet recognized but still independently acting separatist government an owner of real estate in Abkhazia could not have been a citizen of another country, real estate was either leased or formally registered in the name of Abkhazian citizen. And at that this owner should have been an ethnic Abkhazian associated to the ruling clan. So practically by the end of the war actions Abkhazia had been gradually sold or presented. Probably it was a payment for Russia's assistance to the separatists with arms and manpower. It is interesting that the first who started to express gratitude openly were not Abkhazians. On September 30th 2005 when separatist regime celebrated defeat of "Georgian occupants" which in reality was a celebration of ethnic cleansing of Georgians and expulsion of hundreds of residents of Abkhazia from their homes, curator of Abkhazia Sergey Baburin visited Abkhazia. And he was awarded by head of not-yet recognized Abkhazian regime Bagapsh with so-called order of honour and glory for rank 2. (Note: Baburin together with Zatulin , Kondratenko and other supporters of separatism was awarded by Ardzinba back in 2003). The same day at the event at the memorial of fallen warriors Baburin expressed gratitude for such attention and called this gesture as appreciation of Russia's help. And gratitude was expressed openly by founder of the Congress of Mountainous Peoples Musa Shanibov. He thanked the Russian authorities for assistance that it rendered to Abkhazian people in their fight against "occupant Georgians": "Russia gave us arms, gave us passes and gave us the air, gave us the sea, helped with redeployment of manpower, opened borders to us". This is the very Musa Shanibov that declared Georgia as a disaster zone from the very first days of the start of military actions in Abkhazia and called on everybody to commit terrorist acts in big cities of Georgia. But Musa Shanibov is not Abkhazian. Neither "ambassador' of Russia to occupied Abkhazia Grigoriev is Abkhazian. The latter emphasized the role of Russia in the war against territorial integrity of Georgia in statements that he made in response to article of Akhra Smyr of December 2010. He advises to choose terms with regards to Russia: "Perhaps it never occurred to him that the insult was given to the entire Russian nation, hundreds of representatives of which gave their lives for freedom of Abkhazia... ". Here Grigoriev definitely only means ethnic Russians and it is interesting to know which countries will he refer those North Caucasian mercenaries who in their hundreds also died for "Abkhazian independence"?!

Neither is Abkhazian supporter of Abkhazian and Ossetian separatism Konstantn Zatulin. He demanded no less than a section of land in Gagra for his "care" for Abkhazian people and especially for attempts to change the history. The Abkhazian puppet regime could not refused him and being sure that "no one could deny Zatulin" in Abkhazia introduced this issue into the so-called parliament. But unexpectedly for Bagapsh this issue caused an strong reaction. Arguments that were brought by parliamentarians of "independent Abkhazia" could be considered relevant. The first that irritated "parliamentarians" is that Zatulin already has a piece of land and quite a nice house in New Athos. The second and most unacceptable for Abkhazian was an attempt to erase that part of their history that concerns Mukhajirstvo in the Abkhazian-Russian relations. This question provoked a strong reaction of always prudent Zatulin who even sent an official letter to "the Abkhazian society". In it, he emphasizes his services before Abkhazia, and says that he feels insulted by discussion of this topic in Abkhazian society. "Fifteen years I have been tying to promote recognition of the right of Abkhazia to independence in Russia... In this case consider this letter a formal rejection of the proposed lease of the land...". With these words, Zatulin not only accuses Abkhazians of ingratitude, but explicitly says that it is he who is to be credited for the recognition of Abkhazia's independence. But none of these individuals is ethnic Abkhazian and some can think their statements to be boasting.

It is another matter when this is recognized by ethnic Abkhazians and personally confirms that the Georgian side has been trying for years to prove to the world – Russia fought against Georgia in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. In particular, in order to protect the position of the puppet regime of Bagapsh in connection with the transfer of elite resorts of Abkhazia to Russia, Daur Tarba made the following statement at the above-mentioned Round Table: "If we say that for every recognition of our country by other states we should transfer objects free of charge, that would not be correct, I agree. But let's not compare Russia and other countries... What weapons are we shooting from? What ammunition are we defending ourselves with? What technology were we using to advance? Where do we get pensions from and which passports do we have? Has anyone counted what losses Russia have incurred when it recognized Abkhazia? ".

Thus, what we have from the words of Tarba?! While trying to reaffirm his loyalty to the leaders of the Kremlin, he practically dispelled the myth that the separatist clan of Ardzinba began the war with Georgia with hunting rifles and axes, and weapons that later appeared in the hands of the separatists, were battle trophies. According to Tarba, Russia supplied Abkhazians with firearms, weapons and ammunition. Tarba just forgot to mention the number of members of the regular Russian military units and mercenaries who were Russian citizens killed in the fight against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. Then the picture would have been more complete and clear while it would have strengthened arguments with regards to the need to transfer Abkhazian properties to Russia free of charge.

I wonder whether hero of the Abkhazian war Aslan Kobakhia follows this discussion. In his reply letter to the president of the Club of Experts he proudly declares that "Unfortunately, until now Georgian ideologues believe the Georgian soldiers who fought against us were limited people and they come up with another excuse for their crushing defeat by presenting it was the Russian regular army that fought against Georgians and not Abkhazian fighters". But he got a decent answer to this and other more absurd statements in this letter ("dialogue continues: Another letter to Aslan Kobakhia). Moreover, we are fulfilling the promise to Aslan Kobakhia and periodically publish documentary materials that confirm participation of Russia in the war of 1992-1993 on the side of the Abkhazians. ("Sitnikov's case. From history of GRU failures - Part I). Kobakhia may not believe us but he may well believe his compatriots... Let's wait a little and we may well become witnesses that a "prodigal son" will really forget about "services" of Russia and will call the occupant by its name.

But Russia is less concerned with arguments. It demands "official" registration of the property that they got as present from Ardzinba in the nineties for the service rendered which was registered on dummies because of the existing situation. It is not at all interested in motivation of "independent Abkhazia" especially since it has already recognized its independence. If until now in order to carry out its policies the Kremlin used to frighten capricious Abkhazians with return of Georgians, today, when such vast amount of military equipment is concentrated in the occupied region they do not need to do this any more. So, no matter what verdict is reached by representatives of the puppet regime of the occupied Abkhazia and so-called opposition, the decision has already been made: nothing in Abkhazia belongs to Abkhazians. Moreover, no one is interested in their opinion. Moscow will only accept consent to its demands. And they in Sukhumi may argue as much as they wish. As the saying goes, the dogs bark, the caravan passes by.


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