SUKHUM / AQW'A — Today, on September 30th, Abkhazia celebrates its most significant holiday - Victory and Independence Day. Veterans come together on this day, reminiscing about the events from three decades ago, visiting gravesites, and paying their respects to fallen comrades.
The day's schedule is as follows:
- 9:00 AM: A flower-laying ceremony at the Park of Glory. President of Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, along with representatives of visiting delegations for the 30th anniversary celebrations, will pay their respects at the Memorial dedicated to those who perished in the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia from 1992-1993.
- 10:00 AM: A flower-laying ceremony at the Memorial of Abkhazia's First President, Vladislav Ardzinba, located in the village of Nizhnaya Eshera in the Sukhum district.
- 11:00 AM: A military parade will take place at Freedom Square.
- 2:00 PM: An event at the Abkhazian courtyard "Аҟәа-ашҭа" on the Mukhadzhirs (Exiles) Promenade.
- 3:00 PM: A ceremony to inaugurate a bridge over the Basla River, also on the Mukhadzhirs Promenade.
- 8:00 PM: A theatrical performance dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Patriotic War's victory at the "Dynamo" stadium.
- 9:30 PM: A grand fireworks display to cap off the celebrations.
Numerous commemorative and festive events are being organised throughout the republic.
For the grand celebration of Victory and Independence Day, volunteers have arrived in Abkhazia from Kabardino-Balkaria, Chechnya, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia–Alania, Adygea, South Ossetia, Dagestan, and Ingushetia. Members of the Abkhazian diaspora from countries like Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and other international locations have also arrived to partake in the celebrations.
Thirty Years On: Abkhazia Remembers Its Path to Liberation
Thirty years ago, on September 30th, 1993, the soldiers of the Abkhazian army reached the banks of the border river Ingur, raising the Abkhazian flag in triumph. After enduring 413 days and nights of conflict, the war culminated in the complete liberation of the republic from the troops of Georgia's State Council.
In Abkhazia, there's hardly a household that doesn't mark this occasion with profound joy, albeit often with tears in their eyes. This day is a pivotal moment in Abkhazian history, signaling the end of the Patriotic War of 1992-1993.
The fierce battles for Sukhum during the September offensive in 1993 played a decisive role in determining the war's outcome. The operation to liberate the capital from the Georgian State Council's forces spanned 12 days. Intense combat persisted within the city limits for several days. After sustaining heavy losses in the battle for Sukhum, the main enemy forces failed to organise an effective defence in the still-occupied eastern districts of Abkhazia.
Following the liberation of Sukhum on September 28th, the Western and Eastern fronts converged on the bridge over the Kodor River, marking the boundaries between the Gudauta and Ochamchira districts. By September 30th, 1993, the entire territory of the nation was freed from Georgian troops.
In a preface to the book "Military Operations in the Georgian-Abkhazian War (1992-1993) - Documents and Materials," historian and Colonel Valiko Pachulia provides some illuminating figures. From the Abkhazian side, 18,150 individuals participated in the war, with 13,970 directly engaged in combat, 4,180 serving in support roles, and 2,310 being volunteers.
A breakdown of forces across different fronts is as follows:
- Gumista Front: 12,520 personnel
- Eastern Front: 5,630 personnel
- Gagra Front: 1,600 personnel (active for just 1.5 months)
The war resulted in 7,000 wounded and an irreversible loss of up to 2,000 lives.