|Commanders and leaders|
|1Involvement prior to 2008 disputed; discussed in the articles about the conflict, particularly here|
|History of Georgia|
Part of a series on the
|History of Abkhazia|
The Abkhaz–Georgian conflict involves ethnic conflict between Georgians and the Abkhaz people in Abkhazia, a de facto independent, partially recognized republic. In a broader sense, one can view the Georgian–Abkhaz conflict as part of a geopolitical conflict in the Caucasus region, intensified at the end of the 20th century with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The conflict, one of the bloodiest in the post-Soviet area, remains unresolved. The Georgian government has offered substantial autonomy to Abkhazia several times. However, both the Abkhaz government and the opposition in Abkhazia refuse any form of union with Georgia. Abkhaz regard their independence as the result of a war of liberation from Georgia, while Georgians believe that historically Abkhazia has always formed part of Georgia. as of 2014 [update] most Georgians left in Abkhazia want to remain independent of Georgia. During the war the Abkhaz separatist side carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign which resulted in the expulsion of up to 250,000 ethnic Georgians and in the killing of from 4,000 to 15,000. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conventions of Lisbon, Budapest and Istanbul have officially recognized the ethnic cleansing of Georgians, which UN General Assembly Resolution GA/10708 also mentions. The UN Security Council has passed a series of resolutions in which it appeals for a cease-fire.Georgians formed the single largest ethnic group in pre-war Abkhazia, with a 45.7% plurality as of 1989 but
Both Abkhazia and Georgia were annexed into the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century, and remained part of it until the Russian Revolutions of 1917. While Georgia initially joined the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic and subsequently became independent as the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG) in 1918, Abkhazia was initially controlled by a group of Bolsheviks, before ultimately joining the DRG, though its status was never clarified.In 1921 the Red Army invaded Abkhazia and Georgia, eventually incorporating them into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. Initially Abkhazia was formed as an independent Soviet republic, the Socialist Soviet Republic of Abkhazia (SSR Abkhazia), though it was united with the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic by a treaty; in 1931 the SSR Abkhazia was downgraded to an autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR, to much opposition from the Abkhaz.
Throughout the Soviet era the Abkhazians called for their quasi-independent status to be restored. Demonstrations in support of this occurred in 1931 immediately after the dissolution of the SSR Abkhazia, and again in 1957, 1967, 1978, and 1989.In 1978, 130 representatives of the Abkhaz intelligentia signed a letter to the Soviet leadership, protesting against what they saw as Georgianization of Abkhazia.
The conflict involved a war in Abkhazia, which lasted for 13 months, beginning in August, 1992, with Georgian government forces and a militia composed of ethnic Georgians who lived in Abkhazia and Russian-backed separatist forces consisting of ethnic Abkhazians, Armenians and Russians who also lived in Abkhazia. The separatists were supported by the North Caucasian and Cossack militants and (unofficially) by Russian forces stationed in Gudauta. The conflict resulted in an agreement in Sochi to cease hostilities, however, this would not last.
In April–May 1998, the conflict escalated once again in the Gali District when several hundred Abkhaz forces entered the villages still populated by Georgians to support the separatist-held parliamentary elections. Despite criticism from the opposition, Eduard Shevardnadze, President of Georgia, refused to deploy troops against Abkhazia. A ceasefire was negotiated on May 20. The hostilities resulted in hundreds of casualties from both sides and an additional 20,000 Georgian refugees.
In September 2001, around 400 Chechen fighters and 80 Georgian guerrillas appeared in the Kodori Valley in extremely controversial conditions. The Chechen-Georgian paramilitaries advanced as far as Sukhumi, but finally were repelled by Abkhaz and Gudauta based Russian peacekeepers.
The new Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili promised not to use force and to resolve the problem only by diplomacy and political talks.
While at a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit it was decided to exclude any contact with separatists; the trans-border economic cooperation and transport between Abkhazia and Russia grows in scale, with Russia claiming that all this is a matter of private business, rather than state.[ citation needed ] Georgia also decries the unlimited issuing of Russian passports in Abkhazia with subsequent payment of retirement pensions and other monetary benefits by Russia, which Georgia considers to be economic support of separatists by the Russian government.
In May 2006 the Coordinating Council of Georgia’s Government and Abkhaz separatists was convened for the first time since 2001.In late July the 2006 Kodori crisis erupted, resulting in the establishment of the de jure Government of Abkhazia in Kodori. For the first time after the war, this government is located in Abkhazia, and is headed by Malkhaz Akishbaia, Temur Mzhavia and Ada Marshania.
Currently, the Abkhaz side demands reparations from the Georgian side of $13 billion in US currency for damages in this conflict. The Georgian side dismisses these claims.On May 15, 2008 United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution recognising the right of all refugees (including victims of reported “ethnic cleansing”) to return to Abkhazia and their property rights. It "regretted" the attempts to alter pre-war demographic composition and called for the "rapid development of a timetable to ensure the prompt voluntary return of all refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes."
On July 9, 2012, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution at its annual session in Monaco, underlining Georgia’s territorial integrity and referring to breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied territories”. The resolution “urges the Government and the Parliament of the Russian Federation, as well as the de facto authorities of Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia, Georgia, to allow the European Union Monitoring Mission unimpeded access to the occupied territories.” It also says that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is “concerned about the humanitarian situation of the displaced persons both in Georgia and in the occupied territories of Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia, Georgia, as well as the denial of the right of return to their places of living.” The Assembly is the parliamentary dimension of the OSCE with 320 lawmakers from the organization’s 56 participating states, including Russia.
On August 10, 2008, the Russo-Georgian War spread to Abkhazia, where separatist rebels and the Russian air force launched an all-out attack on Georgian forces. Abkhazia's pro-Moscow separatist President Sergei Bagapsh said that his troops had launched a major "military operation" to force Georgian troops out of the Kodori Gorge, which they still controlled.As a result of this attack, Georgian troops were driven out of Abkhazia entirely.
On August 26, 2008, the Russian Federation officially recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
In response to Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian government announced that the country cut all diplomatic relations with Russia and that it left the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Relations between Georgia and Abkhazia have remained tense after the war. Georgia has moved to increase Abkhazia's isolation by imposing a sea blockade of Abkhazia. During the opening ceremony of a new building of the Georgian Embassy in Kiev (Ukraine) in November 2009 Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili stated that residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia could also use its facilities "I would like to assure you, my dear friends, that this is your home, as well, and here you will always be able to find support and understanding".
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South Ossetia, officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the Free State of Alania, or the Tskhinvali Region, is a de facto sovereign state and disputed territory in the South Caucasus recognised by most countries as part of Georgia. It has a population of 53,000 people who live in an area of 3,900 km2, south of the Russian Caucasus, with 30,000 living in Tskhinvali. The separatist polity, Republic of South Ossetia, is recognized as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria. While Georgia lacks control over South Ossetia, the Georgian government and most members of the United Nations consider the territory part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as "the former autonomous district of South Ossetia", in reference to the former Soviet autonomous oblast disbanded in 1990.
The Georgian Civil War was a civil war in Georgia consisting of inter-ethnic and intranational conflicts in the regions of South Ossetia (1988–1992) and Abkhazia (1992–1993), as well as the violent military coup d'état of December 22, 1991 – December 31, 1993, against the first democratically elected President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his subsequent uprising in an attempt to regain power (1993).
Politics in Abkhazia is dominated by its conflict with Georgia. Abkhazia became de facto independent from Georgia after the 1992–1993 war, but its de jure independence has only been recognised by a few other countries. Abkhazia is a presidential representative democratic republic with a multi-party system, wherein the President is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government of the Republic of Abkhazia. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the People's Assembly of Abkhazia.
Abkhazians, or Abkhaz, are a Northwest Caucasian ethnic group, mainly living in Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. A large Abkhaz diaspora population resides in Turkey, the origins of which lie in the population movements from the Caucasus in the late 19th century. Many Abkhaz also live in other parts of the former Soviet Union, particularly in Russia and Ukraine.
The ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia, also known as the massacres of Georgians in Abkhazia and genocide of Georgians in Abkhazia — refers to the ethnic cleansing, massacres and forced mass expulsion of thousands of ethnic Georgians living in Abkhazia during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict of 1992–1993 and 1998 at the hands of Abkhaz separatists and their allies. Armenians, Greeks, Russians and opposing Abkhazians were also killed. Roughly 200,000 to 250,000 Georgian civilians became Internally displaced persons (IDPs). The ethnic cleansing and massacres of Georgians has been officially recognized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conventions in 1994, 1996 and again in 1997 during the Budapest, Lisbon and Istanbul summits and condemned the "perpetrators of war crimes committed during the conflict." On May 15, 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution A/RES/62/249 in which it "Emphasizes the importance of preserving the property rights of refugees and internally displaced persons from Abkhazia, Georgia, including victims of reported "ethnic cleansing", and calls upon all Member States to deter persons under their jurisdiction from obtaining property within the territory of Abkhazia, Georgia in violation of the rights of returnees". The UN Security Council passed a series of resolutions in which it appealed for a cease-fire.
The Sukhumi massacre took place on September 27, 1993, during and after the fall of Sukhumi into separatist hands in the course of the War in Abkhazia. It was perpetrated against Georgian civilians of Sukhumi, mainly by militia forces of Abkhaz separatists, their North Caucasian and Russian allies. It became part of a violent ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by the separatists.
The Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia is an administration recognized by Georgia as the legal and only government of Abkhazia. Abkhazia has been de facto independent of Georgia – though with very little international recognition – since the early 1990s. Ruslan Abashidze, elected in May 2019, is the current head of the government-in-exile.
Upper Abkhazia is a term introduced in 2006, to denote the northeastern part of the disputed territory of Abkhazia, that had remained under Georgian control after the 1992 War in Abkhazia. From September 2006 to August 2008 its main village, Chkhalta, hosted the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and was the seat of the Azhara municipal community. This situation came to an end in the Battle of the Kodori Valley in August 2008, when Upper Abkhazia was conquered by the Russo-Abkhazia armies, which had already controlled the rest of Abkhazia.
Bilateral relations between Georgia and Russia date back hundreds of years and remain complicated despite certain religious and historical ties that exist between the two countries and their people. The first formal alliance between Georgia and Russia took place in 1783 when king Heraclius II of Eastern Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) signed the Treaty of Georgievsk with the Russian Empire, which the Georgian monarchy viewed as a replacement for its long-lost Orthodox ally, the Eastern Roman Empire.
This article refers to the history of Abkhazia from its pre-historic settlement by the lower-paleolithic hunter-gathers during the mesolithic and neolithic periods to the post-1992-1993 war situation.
The Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, abbreviated as Abkhaz ASSR, was an autonomous republic of the Soviet Union within the Georgian SSR. It came into existence in February 1931, when the Socialist Soviet Republic of Abkhazia, originally created in March 1921, was transformed to the status of Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Georgian SSR.
The Socialist Soviet Republic of Abkhazia was a short-lived republic within the Caucasus region of the Soviet Union that covered the territory of Abkhazia, and existed from 31 March 1921 to 19 February 1931. Formed in the aftermath of the Red Army invasion of Georgia in 1921, it was independent until 16 December 1921, when it agreed to a treaty uniting it with the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. The SSR Abkhazia was largely similar to an autonomous Soviet republic, though it retained de facto independence from Georgia, being given certain features only full union republics had, like its own military units. Through its status as a "treaty republic" with Georgia, Abkhazia joined the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which united Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian SSRs into one federal unit, when the latter was formed in 1922. The SSR Abkhazia was abolished in 1931 and replaced with the Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Georgian SSR.
The War in Abkhazia from 1992 to 1993 was fought between Georgian government forces for the most part and Abkhaz separatist forces, Russian government armed forces and North Caucasian militants. Ethnic Georgians who lived in Abkhazia fought largely on the side of Georgian government forces. Ethnic Armenians and Russians within Abkhazia's population largely supported the Abkhazians and many fought on their side. The separatists received support from thousands of North Caucasus and Cossack militants and from the Russian Federation forces stationed in and near Abkhazia.
The Sukhumi riot was a riot in Sukhumi, Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union, in July 1989, triggered by an increasing inter-ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz and Georgian communities and followed by several days of street fighting and civil unrest in Sukhumi and throughout Abkhazia.
An international diplomatic crisis between Georgia and Russia began in 2008, when Russia announced that it would no longer participate in the Commonwealth of Independent States economic sanctions imposed on Abkhazia in 1996 and established direct relations with the separatist authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The crisis was linked to the push for Georgia to receive a NATO Membership Action Plan and, indirectly, the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.
The Russo-Georgian War was a war between Georgia, Russia and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The war took place in August 2008 following a period of worsening relations between Russia and Georgia, both formerly constituent republics of the Soviet Union. The fighting took place in the strategically important Transcaucasia region. It was regarded as the first European war of the 21st century.
The Battle of the Kodori Valley was a military operation during the Russo-Georgian War in the Upper Kodori Valley of Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. It was the only part of Abkhazia under Georgian control before this military conflict. On 9 August 2008, the Abkhaz military, with support by Russian forces, launched an operation to remove the remaining Georgian troops from the disputed gorge. After three days, the Georgian military left the Upper Kodori Valley.
This article describes the background of the Russo-Georgian War.
Abkhazia is a de facto sovereign state that is recognized by most countries as an autonomous republic of Georgia. It lies in the South Caucasus on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, south of the Greater Caucasus mountains in northwestern Georgia. It covers 8,660 square kilometres (3,340 sq mi) and has a population of around 240,000. Its capital is Sukhumi.
South Ossetia is an autonomous region in Georgia, approximately 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level on the slopes of the Greater Caucasus. Although it declared independence in 2008, only a few countries acknowledge it. The region is inhabited by Ossetians, an Iranian ethnic group. According to Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the microstates of Tuvalu and Nauru, it is one of the world's newest independent states. All other states and international organisations consider South Ossetia an autonomous region of Georgia, functioning as a de facto state for twenty years after declaring independence and conducting a successful armed rebellion. Its Georgian inhabitants have been displaced. South Ossetia has been a source of tension for a number of years, with Georgia and Russia's political differences impeding peaceful independence and breeding a turbulent series of events which undermine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.