Abkhazians need to negotiate with Georgia

25.04.23 14:10

The Abkhazian separatist project is doomed, and the future of the Abkhazian people lies only in united Georgia and in brotherhood with the Georgian people. This is being understood even by those who fought for the separatist Abkhazia in the war of 1992-1993. Recently a participant of the separatist war, former commander of the Kabarda battalion, Circassian social activist Ibrahim Yaganov expressed his opinion that Abkhazia needs to come to terms with Georgia:



In principle, Ibrahim Yaganov began to change his views on the Abkhazian separatist project long ago. He realized that both Abkhazians and North Caucasians, especially Circassians, Adygeans and Kabardinians were simply used in their dirty and bloody games by the empire that at the time organized their genocide.


After all, it was because of the Russian Empire in their native lands that Circassians became an insignificant extinct ethnic group doomed to assimilation. And in comparison to 1992-1993 the situation for Abkhazian and Adyge peoples of the Russian Federation, the same Adygs, Circassians and Kabardins repeatedly worsened.


First, their native language is dying out in fact. Young people (especially in Adygea and Circassia) almost do not speak their native language as they have moved in masses to Russian (the same situation is with the Abkhazians despite the "independent" state). Secondly, the traditional way of life has been destroyed, and together with the older generation the national culture is becoming a thing of the past.


The demographic situation of Kabardians, Circassians and Adygeans is not much better than that of the dying out Abkhazians. In general, Abkhazian-Adyge peoples of the Russian Federation have the lowest birth rate among the Caucasian peoples; according to some scientists, it has already dropped below that of Russians. Along with assimilation this can lead to the fact that in 2-3 generations these peoples will simply disappear from the face of the earth.


It is clear that Circassian activists such as Yaganov (and "Circassians" or "Adyghe" include both Kabardians and Adyghe, it is in fact one people) have long wondered what force could save their people. And the same Ibrahim Yaganov, apparently, came to the right conclusion that, apart from Georgia, there is no such force in the world.


It is interesting that the same Ibrahim Yaganov was disappointed that he and his compatriots were fighting on the side of separatists. Here, for example, is an excerpt from an interview with newcaucasus.com in 2021: "Frankly, what I see now in Abkhazia, neither I nor my closest associates, who fought with me, can not accept. We fought not for what we are seeing now but for something completely different. That was 30 years ago. A lot has changed, a whole generation of people who have not seen war has grown up. But what surprises me is that the attitude of Abkhazians towards this war has not changed. But in Georgia everything has changed dramatically! We see in Georgia exactly what we fought for in Abkhazia. We were young and determined, romantic people back then. Everything that we dreamt about back then in Abkhazia, I really saw with my own eyes in Georgia. This is why we are now trying to close this historical page.


We can say that Abkhazians and North Caucasian peoples were deceived by certain forces in 1992 by forcing them to fight against Georgia, a country that in the end was still able to realize that very "Caucasian dream". There is no doubt that it would have been easier for both Abkhazians and North Caucasian peoples to keep their identity and develop instead of Georgia, and there would not have been so many casualties and so many problems. But it is not too late to fix anything.


Of course, Kabardians, Circassians and Adygeans, as well as Abkhazians, together with the Georgian people need to overcome such dark pages of the past as the separatist war of 1992-193 and find ways to reconcile. Georgia has already done everything possible in this direction towards Abkhazians (for example, Abkhazians receive free medical care in Georgia, which was not available in separatist Abkhazia) and North Caucasian peoples. For example, Georgia was the first and only country in the world to recognise the genocide of the Circassians in the 19th century.


There is a hope that after the collapse of the separatist project and restoration of Georgian unity, and especially if the Russian "empire" begins to disintegrate, there will be a reconciliation of Georgians with Kabardians, Circassians and Adygeans. Moreover, geopolitically Georgia will become a force interested in the survival of these peoples and preserving their identity. We should take into account that these peoples simply do not have a history of independent full-fledged statehood. Before the capture of the Circassian lands by the Russian Empire they were at the stage of tribal system and they never established their own states.  But at the time when Georgia was united and powerful they were historically within the sphere of influence of the Georgian state.


Besides Georgia especially if Georgian society realizes its responsibility for the future of small Caucasian peoples there is no other geopolitical force that can take care of preservation of the North Caucasian peoples too. It is clear that Russia, which today is chasing Kabardian, Circassian and Adygei youth as well as representatives of other North Caucasian peoples "for slaughter" in Ukraine, will not care about preservation of these ethnic groups on principle (it was not for this purpose that the Russian Empire carried out their genocide in the 19th century).


Moreover, the Kremlin has apparently decided to "tie the blood" of the North Caucasian peoples to the empire. So that as many passionate young people as possible died in the war in Ukraine for the interests of the empire, because then the very fact of "shedding blood for the state" and "memory of those who died for Russia" will keep the North Caucasian peoples in the orbit of Moscow. As a result, after the defeat in the war, the Russian Federation will be inclined to disintegrate and it will be very difficult for the North Caucasian peoples who lost the colour of their nations in the war in Ukraine to defend their independence.


The West does not particularly need North Caucasian peoples, nor does it need China. On the other hand, Georgia could well become a "country of attraction" for the Circassians, Adygeans and Kabardins, as well as other North Caucasian peoples (for the Ingush it is already a "country of attraction"). In fact, the same Abkhaz-Circassian unity that the imperial forces played on speculatively when they unleashed the separatist war in Georgia in 1992-1993, may still exist, but this time without bloodshed and hatred, to the benefit of both Georgians and Abkhazian and Adyge peoples.


The process of assimilation of Adygeans, Circassians and Kabardians is in full swing in today's Russia. Yet Russian culture is still quite far from the traditional culture of the North Caucasian Nards. But, even having lost their native language, having made Russian "native" and adopted Russian "life concepts", North Caucasian peoples remain second-class citizens to chauvinistically-minded Russians, if only because of their "southern" appearance. However, such sentiments are completely alien to the Georgian people, especially to those who are culturally close to the Caucasus. Therefore, both Abkhazians and Circassians will be more comfortable in the "Georgian world" than in the "Russian world", and they will be able to maintain their identity here.



Alexander Zakhariadze

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