"Pitsunda": The Point of No Return

Interest in Abkhazian real estate and natural resources has skyrocketed in the past few years.

Interest in Abkhazian real estate and natural resources has skyrocketed in the past few years.

Vitaly Sharia | Ekho Kavkaza ― A coalition of public and political organisations in Abkhazia called upon President Aslan Bzhania to abandon what they describe as illegal, anti-national initiatives. Specifically, they urged the retraction of a draft law from the People's Assembly – the Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia. The contentious draft law concerns "The Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Transfer of Property within the Territory of the Republic of Abkhazia and its Usage".

Today, a meeting was held in Sukhum's "Everest" business centre, attended by representatives of socio-political forces and the intelligentsia, focusing on this very issue. The conference hall was packed, with attendees spilling into the entrance and even the corridor.

Alkhas Dzhindzholia
Alkhas Dzhindzholia

Alkhas Dzhindzholia, former deputy of the Abkhazian parliament and member of the "Aamta" foundation, who led the meeting, explained the need for this urgent gathering in the pre-New Year period. "Our lives don't afford us the luxury of tranquillity. We are constantly convening for emergency meetings, responding to urgent events. Thanks to our leadership, today we find another cause for such a gathering. According to various almost official sources, it's become known that the People's Assembly is set to deliberate on the ratification of the 'Pitsunda' state dacha proposal in its upcoming session. It's perhaps needless to remind everyone here of the uproar this agreement caused a year ago when it first came to light, albeit unofficially. We only learned about the agreement, signed in January, in July. The outrage it sparked, the volume of critical comments, articles, broadcasts, speeches, and public actions... All seem to have been in vain. Ignoring the indignation and opinions of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of citizens and voters, Aslan Bzhania is doggedly bringing this matter to the session. We are here today to discuss this agenda and will decide our response after hearing each other out."

Views were shared by figures such as Guram Gumba, Beslan Tarkyl, Astamur Tania, Batal Kobakhia, Levan Mikaa, and Naida Abitova. Proposals included: gathering a representative group from the populace to meet with parliament members, assembling people's representatives on the eve of December 28th – the scheduled date for the session in the cabinet building's large hall, or even on the day itself.

+ Abkhaz activists oppose transfer of land in Pitsunda to Russia
+ Said Gezerdaa: "The agreement on Pitsunda is one of the steps towards the erosion of state-sovereignty"
+ Levan Mikaa: "It is important to preserve our sovereignty"

Kan Kvarchia
Kan Kvarchia

Parliament deputy Kan Kvarchia stated, "Enough is enough. Withdraw these baffling, illegal, anti-Abkhazian, anti-state actions. I am addressing all of Abkhazia's people, regardless of their faith, nationality, and political leanings. If he doesn't retract these by the 28th, our issue is not with the parliament, and I'll explain why. The problem is what he has submitted to the parliament. How the parliament reacts is a separate matter. But our demand is directed at the president – to withdraw and leave the people of Abkhazia and its parliament in peace. We've told him this, yet he fails to comprehend. If he doesn't understand, then I, as a deputy, know how to act. I can't speak for everyone, but until now, the majority of deputies seem to understand what needs to be done. And I trust they still do, that they comprehend we can't continue on this path. Our question must be posed to the president. If on the 28th the parliament is forced to discuss this, I believe we should appeal to the people to defend not the parliament, not me, not Adgur, nor anyone present here. It's not about defending us; it's about protecting our country. That's what needs to be done. The youth should reach out to their peers, the older generation to theirs. Women to women, for they likely understand each other better. Everyone needs to rise. My friends, each of you has your influence, your followers. Let everyone take a stand. I repeat, the parliament doesn't need defending. We need to halt this president."

Valery Arshba, the country's former Vice-President and Chairman of its Olympic Committee, voiced his opinion: "I suggest we send a final, ultimatum letter to the president and parliament. To show them who will be accountable if the situation escalates seriously, leading to the state's demise. We must assert their full responsibility in no uncertain terms. If they fail to respond, we will at least have the moral high ground of having appealed to the authorities once more."

Adgur Ardzinba, Chairman of the "Abkhazian People's Movement" public organisation, also shared his thoughts on the evolving situation.

A draft statement was read out, after which the meeting continued, closed to journalists.

This article was published by Ekho Kavkaza and is translated from Russian.




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