Guram Gumba: "The Power Attempts to Destroy the Blood-Earned Freedom and Independence of Abkhazia"

Guram Gumba, Speaker of the Abkhaz National Conference

Guram Gumba, Speaker of the Abkhaz National Conference.

Historian and Politician, Guram Gumba critically addresses the threats to Abkhazia's independence and freedom in this article, first published on ApsnyHabar and translated from Russian. Highlighting the government's controversial actions, Gumba's analysis exposes the challenges facing Abkhazian society. Through meticulous critique, he explores the implications of current governmental policies on the country's sovereignty and the spirit of its people. 

The time has come when it has become impossible to neglect the current situation: an increasing number of Abkhazia’s citizens—regardless of their beliefs and preferences, whether they support the government or not—begin to understand that they are losing their country. Many find it hard to believe in the reality of what is happening, so brazenly, disregarding public opinion, bold and cynically, the power tries to annihilate (it's hard to find another word) the blood-earned freedom and independence of Abkhazia.

We knew and know that attempts at the de-sovereignisation of Abkhazia come from Georgia with the support of the West, but the idea that such a policy would be initiated by our own elected highest leadership of Abkhazia was unthinkable. Yet, the facts are glaring: the violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia by transferring sovereignty over a part of its territory to a foreign state; the apartment law project, whose adoption will inevitably lead to the mass settlement of Abkhazia by foreign citizens, putting the existence of the small Abkhaz nation at risk; the law project on "foreign agents," aimed against the true patriots—supporters of Abkhazia's independence, i.e., the bearers of the spirit of freedom. And the interdepartmental agreement project, according to which the internal troops of a foreign state—the Russian Federation can be involved in protecting public order, property of individuals and legal entities on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia, is nothing but an attempt to declare war on its own people. It's unknown what other surprises our power is preparing for us tomorrow! [Interior Minister Robert Kiut stated that no agreement will be signed with the Russian National Guard. — Trans.]

All this happens against the background of a real threat of loss of identity, language, and cultural disintegration of the people as a result of aggressive imposition of foreign cultural and spiritual traditions in the country, attempts to squeeze the Abkhaz into some "cultural worlds." The power, with all its actions, tries not just to consign to oblivion but also to discredit the democratic traditions of the Abkhaz people, striving to replace them with alien surrogate traditions for the purpose of creating an authoritarian power, which, it turns out, also relies on the military structures of a foreign state.

As a result of behaviour completely uncharacteristic to the Abkhazian mentality and the policy conducted by the head of state, the reputational losses of Abkhaz statehood, both domestically and abroad, are enormous. With all the will in the world, one cannot find an analogue in world history when the elected head of an independent state publicly declares that the people who elected him as the guarantor of its preservation publicly announces to him that he can become a minority in his own homeland and there is nothing terrible in this!!!

And the attempt to instil in the people the notion of their worthlessness, incapability not only in building an independent state but also in providing themselves with the necessary basic conditions for life, is already beyond any bounds. Such an attitude towards the people is characteristic only of colonial power in conquered countries and in international legal practice is qualified as an expression of cultural racism. But in the history of states, there has not yet been an instance where a democratically elected leadership would instil in its own people the notion of their supposed incapability of independent and dignified life without guardianship and help from outside. This is nonsensical. Moreover, this is said to the Abkhaz people, a people with almost two thousand years of independent statehood, whose history is filled with heroism and self-sacrifice in the struggle for their freedom and independence, loyalty to themselves, their language, and their culture.

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A paradoxical situation has arisen - the Abkhaz state needs to be saved from its own state elite, or rather, those who fancy themselves as such, having found themselves in power today. Today, our authorities not only deprive themselves of legitimacy but, most frighteningly, they inflict colossal damage on the idea of independent Abkhaz statehood, destroying its prestige.

Frankly, it sometimes starts to seem, as many have begun to voice, that power in Abkhazia has been seized by some transnational oligarchic group which, through puppet leadership they installed, attempts to create a corresponding legislative base with the aim of turning Abkhazia into their own property. And to keep its citizens in obedience and turn them into a subservient staff, they are forming a transnational military-police group.

But no, of course, this is not a foreign power, but our own nationally elected authority. Those in power are our relatives and friends. Many of them, in private conversations, say that they do not agree with the current policies and are trying to serve honestly, etc. But then, say this publicly and if you cannot influence your superiors, resign. Otherwise, you all bear the full responsibility for the unconstitutional actions of the authorities in the de-sovereignisation of the Republic of Abkhazia.

The answer to why, instead of acting in the national interest, the nationally elected authority of an independent country has taken the path of surrendering its hard-won achievements requires a deeper and more comprehensive analysis. These reasons, of course, are not only the result of the actions of the current leadership but are the culmination of the activities of all Abkhaz authorities over the last decade, which have led to the division of our people. The people are divided into artificially created camps with no common goal. And on the disunity of the people rests any incompetent power, which we seem to elect. This has led to the Abkhaz people beginning to lose control over their state.

Moreover, the source of prosperity for the Abkhaz ruling elite is not their own country and people but external financial aid from the Russian Federation. Apparently, this is why our ruling elite is more concerned about the interests of external forces that ensure its well-being, not the interests of their own people. The irony is that the government, which is almost entirely financially supported by a foreign state, tries to label the supporters of sovereignty of this very government as foreign agents!

"State Sovereignty is not only and not so much about symbols - the flag, emblem, constitution, borders, governing bodies, international recognition. Sovereignty is, first and foremost, about a sovereign personality, a sovereign citizen, and a sovereign ideology, based on faith in one's own strength and independent development."

At the root of our problems are issues of worldview and ideology. Our national interests have not been contemplated or articulated; a nationally-oriented concept for the construction of an Independent State has not been developed, nor has an ideology of the independence of the Republic of Abkhazia been formulated and presented.

Yes, undoubtedly, the spirit of freedom and independence in the Abkhaz people is inexhaustible, genetically inherent, and an integral part of our ethno-psychology. However, as is known, the spirit of freedom, devoid of the idea of liberation and independence, brings no more benefit than a pompous monument. State Sovereignty is not only and not so much about symbols - the flag, emblem, constitution, borders, governing bodies, international recognition. Sovereignty is, first and foremost, about a sovereign personality, a sovereign citizen, and a sovereign ideology, based on faith in one's own strength and independent development.

However, in Abkhazia, there is not a single state institution, establishment, or body where scenarios of development, strategic goals, problems of ideological and cultural foundation of our state are discussed, where the situation, internal and external challenges, ways of their overcoming, etc., are evaluated. And if some organisations, including public ones, offer developed concepts, programs for the country's development, as has repeatedly been the case, then the authorities simply ignore them. However, without clear ideological and spiritual guidelines shared by the majority of the people, which constitute the essence of state ideology, successful development of the country is impossible. Precisely due to the absence of a designated strategic goal, Abkhazia automatically becomes the object of external strategic goals, and external scenarios pursuing their own objectives are imposed (and will be imposed) on us.

And as an inevitable result in such cases, a comprador elite emerges on the political arena of Abkhazia, which decided to act as a mediator between external forces, foreign oligarchs, and Abkhazia in the trade of the country's national resources. Along with it, a small part of the Abkhaz intelligentsia, hoping, perhaps, to get crumbs from the master's table, sings along. Largely thanks to the sermons of exactly this defective and weak-willed part of our intelligentsia, like "we are nobody, we can do nothing without outside help," etc., the idea of helplessness and inferiority begins to take root in people.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that in recent years, a political passivity uncharacteristic of the Abkhaz people has been observed, along with people's withdrawal from participating in solving problems critical for the country. But this passivity does not stem from faint-heartedness or loss of will; our people have great volitional potential, but from deep disappointment in the activities of the Abkhaz political elite over the last 20 years. Since every team that the people brought to power failed to meet their expectations of building a sovereign, self-sufficient state.

But today, the discussion is not just about a change of power; the state sovereignty of the Republic of Abkhazia is under threat. And this problem now belongs to all the people, every citizen of the Republic of Abkhazia. Sovereignty, independence is a continuous process. It always needs to be at the peak of its purpose. And it manifests in daily, unchanging struggle. Today, once again, the moment has come when we all must stand up for our sovereignty and independence.

Who could have thought that our people would give up their country to businessmen and agree to the fate of a well-fed slave? Regardless, it has become clear that every day the current leadership remains in power in the Republic of Abkhazia, it causes irreparable damage to the people and its state. However, it is impossible to change the power through the streets, stepping on the old rake, thereby risking turning the country into a banana republic definitively. The change of power must be carried out only by legitimate means, strictly based on the Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia.

At the same time, repeating the mistake of electing power based merely on the negation of the old is unacceptable. Therefore, a transitional period is necessary before the election of the next power to adopt a Concept of strategic development of the Republic of Abkhazia approved by the entire nation. The country has the necessary intellectual potential for this. In Abkhazia, there is also a nationally oriented elite, strong in spirit, possessing volitional potential, and thinking in terms of an independent state. But it is being discredited by all means, labelled, and pushed out of the political field of Abkhazia. It will not work. They are the future of Abkhazia.

Guram Gumba
Speaker of the Abkhaz National Conference




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