- Abkhazia by John Colarusso
- The Stalin-Beria Terror in Abkhazia, 1936-1953, by Stephen D. Shenfield
- The International Legal Status of the Republic of Abkhazia In the Light of International Law, by Viacheslav Chirikba
- Why Can Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili Not Emulate Willi Brandt? by Liz Fuller
- Commentary on the Resolution of the European Parliament for Georgia, 17 November 2011
- Kosovo or Abkhazia: Contrasts and Comparisons
- International law and the Russian “occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, by Richard Berge
- 'Absence of Will': A commentary, prepared by Metin Sönmez
- Documents from the KGB archive in Sukhum. Abkhazia in the Stalin years, by Rachel Clogg
- On the 20th anniversary of the start of Georgia’s war against Abkhazia, by Stanislav Lakoba
- Military Aspects of the War. The Battle for Gagra (The Turning-point), by Dodge Billingsley
- Alleged human rights violations during the conflict in Abkhazia | Amnesty International, 1993
- A reply to Paul Henze’s views on Georgia, by George Hewitt - February 1993
- Ossetia-Georgia-Russia-U.S.A. Towards a Second Cold War?, by Noam Chomsky
- Thinking the Unthinkable: What if Georgia and the West Were to Recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia? by Paul Goble
- A Chance to Join the World, by Neal Ascherson
- Hitler calls on Georgians to win back Abkhazia
- Opinion: Hottentot morality - Uri Avnery
- Abkhazia: A Broken Paradise, by Georgi Derluguian
- Baron Pyotr Karlovich Uslar: Inventor of the First Abkhaz Alphabet, by Stephen D. Shenfield
- Lesson to the West: Abkhazian independence is a fact, by Inal Khashig
- Abkhazia, from conflict to statehood, by George Hewitt
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|Abkhazia - The Black Sea Region's Best Kept Secret, by Bruce Talley|
|Articles - Analysis|
|Thursday, 10 December 2009 11:26|
There have been unforeseen consequences of Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia in 2008. Since the war and conflicts of the 1990's there has been no Georgian police, governmental, customs or military presence in Abkhazia except a small garrison in the remote Kodor Valley. While the conflict was being fought in South Ossetia, Abkhaz forces chased the Georgian military out of Kodor. So, the Georgians are gone.
It is apparent to a visitor in Abkhazia that the Georgians are not coming back. In the aftermath of the Ossetian conflict, Russia formally recognized Abkhazia's independence. Nicaragua and Venezuela have followed suit. Other nations, including Belarus and Ecuador are considering recognition. In August of this year, Russia announced that they would spend $500 million on infrastructure and security in Abkhazia. Turkish merchant shipping has returned and the Russian Coast Guard is protecting it from Georgian harassment.
In September, I asked tourists from Estonia and Russia how they felt about the Russian army base in Abkhazia. They told me that they had been coming for years, but that their party was larger in size because their friends now felt safe there. They were clearly grateful to Russian soldiers for the protection. I believe that Abkhazia's cause is just and that Russia is correct to offer protection from Georgian threats and aggression. But the issue with tourists is safety.
An Abkhaz government source told me that tourism is up about 100% since 2008. The increase in tourism was the first thing I noticed on my visits this year. There are more new construction projects and hotels being rebuilt. I had conversations with Abkhaz people who can feel that there are big changes coming after years of impoverished isolation.
Most tourists in Abkhazia come from Russia. Russia is the largest, closest neighbor. The only other one that shares a border is Georgia. Abkhazia sits on the Black Sea with the Caucasus Mountains so close in places that it seems they will tumble into the sea. Within just a few miles of the coast, elevations reach 16,000 feet. So, it is possible on a hot summer day to sit on the beach and look through palm trees at snow-capped mountains. In addition to the mountains and beaches, there are spectacular lakes, caves and an important monastery for Orthodox Christians. Because of its mild climate and beauty, Abkhazia was regarded during the Soviet era as the premier vacation destination in the entire country. Stalin had 5 homes there, Khrushchev 4 and Gorbachev had 1. Foreign dignitaries and heads of state were often guests at the resort at Pitsunda.
Despite the fact that most of the accommodations are of aged Soviet vintage or very modest guest houses, they are almost completely occupied during the tourist season. Abkhazia has a bright future as a tourist destination for millions of Russians , Ukrainians and others. With widespread international recognition of Abkhazia's independence, money would flow more easily for all manner of projects including hotels, resorts, shopping and entertainment. To date, the investment capital has been almost exclusively Russian.
In Abkhazia the major resorts and population centers are very close to Russia and the Winter Olympic sites. The resort town of Gagra is only about 15 miles from the border. Pitsunda is about 5 miles further down the beach and the capital, Sukhum, is only about 70 miles from Russia. This makes them attractive for Russian vacationers. An acquaintance with business ties in Krasnodar, Russia told me recently "there is no way that Russia will allow Georgia to disrupt the Olympic Games by invading Abkhazia." He feels that Abkhazia is secure from Georgian aggression. There has not been a World Cup or Olympic Games held on Russian soil since the boycotted 1980 Summer Games in Moscow. For Russia, the Olympics are a very important and prestigious event that they plan to impress the world with.
Clearly Russia has a vested interest in Abkhazia's future. The Russian Federation spent years attempting to mediate the conflict with Georgia and when that failed to produce security for Abkhazia from Georgian aggression, they acted to protect Abkhazia. This has made Abkhazia a safe place for tourism and a stable neighbor for the Winter Games to be held in Sochi in 2014.