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Harvard Black Sea Security Program


International Centre for Black Sea Studies

21.02.11 | 11:35 Age: 7 Years

Brainstorming Meeting:RUSSIA-ABKHAZIA RELATIONS

 

Brainstorming Meeting

RUSSIA-ABKHAZIA RELATIONS

(Brainstorming)

 

The brainstorming, entitled “Russia-Abkhazia Relations” was held

 

The Round-table meeting arranged by Black Sea Research Center (KARAM) was held on 5th February 2011 at KARAM meeting hall in Ankara. Experts from KARAM, BLACKCSR, Eşkişehir Osman Gazi University, Kırıkkale University, Çankaya University, METU, Abkhazia Presidential Strategic Research Institute and also Head of the Foundation for Caucasian Culture and Solidarity (KAF-DAV) and independent researches were among participants.

The meeting began with the presentation entitled “The dynamics of Russia-Abkhazia Relations after Russian-Georgian war in 2008” of Inar GITSBA, who is an expert at Abkhazia Presidential Strategic Research Institute.

GITSBA stated that after the collapse of Soviet Union, the founding of new states on its old territority brought with armed conflict and he accentuated the primordial problems between Russia and Abkhazia since the first Abkhaz-Georgian war and in the term after.

GITSBA said that some economic and social problems have been experiencing after the embargo decision of CIS countries on Abkhazia in 1993, due to embargo Abkhazia has had bereaved of emergencies such as natural gas, petrol and medicine. Hence, he said that with the embargo Abkhazia have been isolated from international arena.

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GITSBA, stated that several important improvements have been occurred after Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia in 2008 and improvements in socio-economic structure had started to take place in Abkhazia. According to Gitsba, not only the struggle for independence of Abkhazians but also Russia’s policy provided the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia. Abkhazia-Russia relations had been moved to an entirely new level as a result of Moscow's new approach. Improvements such granting Russian citizenship to the citizens of Abkhazia, renewal of electric railway traffic, Russia’s unilateral quit from the decision of The Council of CIS Heads of State that foreseeing the limitation of state-level relations with Abkhazia, the divulgement of the President of Russia V. Putin concerning the basic aspects of the development of relations between Russian Federation and Abkhazia and South Ossetia, has developed the Russia-Abkhazia relations. These developments increased financial assistances as well. In addition, Russia has an important role in the defense of Abkhazia.

GITSBA emphasized that after the political recognition of Abkhazia, political and legal realities in the whole Southern Caucasus region have changed dramatically. Besides this recognition, Abkhazia had to face the urgent need for modernization in public administration system and socio-economic fields. The modernization of these business fields and to provide the dynamic development process of public started before the independent of Abkhazia. According to Gitsba, serious calls have been observing in political fields. Within the context of this, especially in areas of political arrangements depends on the perspective of regulation of the Georgian-Abkhazian relations.

The meeting continued questions and discussion brought to agenda by host Assoc. Prof. Bilgehan GÖKDAĞ head of KARAM. These are listed as follows:

·        a matter of real estate for sale for foreigners in Abkhazia (ethnic Russian, RF citizenship, other ethnicity and Turkish arrivals),

·        the degree of the effects of mafia gangs on government in Abkhazia and the relation of Russian effect on mafia problem,

·        (in troubled regions of Abkhazia) in terms of population especially whether there would be a problem or not in Gali district,

·        whether there are some trade problems between Abkhazians and Armenians of Abkhazia.

İnar GİTSBA indicated that draft law concerning selling land to foreigners had been talked in the parliament, Land Minister guaranteed not to sell any land for Russian citizenships have Georgian roots, public opinion is divided on this issue, there are those who oppose the bill, as well as supporters.

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Author Adnan ÖZVERİ living both in Turkey and Abkhazia, indicated that political rulers in the Soviet time had the control of the region, there were no NGO’s, in according with the social alliances were missing. According to Özveri the kolhoz leaders in Soviet time have been becoming as mafia families after the collapse of Soviet Union. He stated that no conflicts have been occurred after the independent of Abkhazia because strong families provided the balance among them and the biggest problem to become a state is the effects of these families on the policy in Abkhazia. For instance he stated that the ministries divided among some families and these strong families are filling the gap of NGO’s. Besides the security in Abkhazia provided by Russian troops so, mafia forces became in contact with the Russian mafia inevitably.

Inar GITSBA denoted that there is a great amount of Megrel population in Gali district, Abkhazia government has no policy concerning this district, there will be a population census in Abkhazia soon, ethnic differences will be a problem for Abkhazia, residental in Gali district have Georgian passport but they have desire to take Abkhazian one, Abkhazian are against it, in case of Megrels have the ability to take Abkhazian passports they could be effective on government and buy lands.

Inar GITSBA stated that Armenians have been occupied with small trade business in agricultural products in the region, there is only one Armenian representative in the parliament and this rate is quite low compared to Armenian population, Armenian population is nearly %30 in Abkhazia so, Armenians can have 10 representatives in Abkhazian parliament has 35 chairs. According to Gitsba, in Abkhazia Armenians do not have great amount of capital due to they have small businesses, but Russians have a great amount of capital.

Adnan ÖZVERİ stated that Armenian population in Abkhazia could be effective in forthcoming days, on the other hand the strength of the Abkhazian Diaspora in Turkey could increase, Abkhazians in Turkey could have Turkish citizenship and so they could be effective on elections, for now Armenians in Abkhazia are not nationalist but it does not mean that they won’t be.

Assoc. Prof. Şenol KANTARCI stated that Abkhazia and Turkey should have some close relations, Turkey can be effective in Abkhazia, Russia has clearly been a power on political and trade issues, Abkhazia should not be completely under the control of Russia, Turkey has the potential to be effective in the region and she should use this potential, the Diaspora in Abkhazia could be active especially on economic fields, there are some arrivals from Turkey to Abkhazia and their number must got increased, hence the mutual economic and political relations could be development, similar activities will provide benefit for both sides.

  

PARTICIPANTS

Assoc. Prof. Bilgehan GÖKDAĞ            Head of KARAM

Assoc. Prof. Şenol KANTARCI              Kırıkkale University

Assoc. Prof. Cenap ÇAKMAK               Eskişehir Osmangazi University

Assist. Prof. Yalçın SARIKAYA               Director of BLACKCSR (KARASAM)

Dr. F. Didem EKİNCİ                            Çankaya University

Muhittin ÜNAL                                   Head of KAF-DAV  (Caucasia Solidarity Foundation)

İnar GİTSBA                                        Abkhazia Presidential Strategic Research Institute

Adnan ÖZVERİ                                    Researcher-Author

Res. Ass. Argun BAŞKAN                       METU

Lect. Serdar KESGİN                            BLACKCSR (KARASAM)

Burkay SELMAN                                   KARAM Project Coordinator


 

 

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