Translated from the archives of kavkazplus
A recent statement by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze regarding a humanitarian catastrophe in separatist Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region has received a wide resonance.
“We have a very painful and acute challenge - 20% of the territories of Georgia are still occupied by Russia. I can’t call what is happening in these territories otherwise than as a humanitarian catastrophe. In the Tskhinvali region before the war there were up to 120,000 people, unfortunately, today there are no more than 20,000 people left in this region, from which 7,000 are soldiers of the Russian army. This is a very painful challenge.
Unfortunately, the same situation is in Abkhazia. Before the war, the population was more than 500,000 people, and today no more than 120,000 people live in this territory. Our response to this most painful challenge is peace and development, the building of democratic institutions and the creation of a space where all people can realize their talents and opportunities in our common homeland. But, naturally, on this road we need the help of our friends and we know that you are firmly standing with Georgian democracy”, - said Mamuka Bakhtadze.
Immediately after this statement, the separatists raised a howl that the prime minister of Georgia gave the “wrong” information, that everything was good for them, the “independent” states “are developing rapidly” and generally in so-called South Ossetia live more than 53 thousand people, and over 243 thousand live in Abkhazia.
But those who have been in the occupied Tskhinvali region, understand that the numbers voiced by Mamuka Bakhtadze are much closer to the truth than the numbers of the separatist statisticians. Most of the Ossetian villages of the Tskhinvali region are empty. Life "is warming" only in Tskhinvali and in the places of deployment of the Russian occupation forces. But even here the “local” labor force is not enough. It has to be imported from the same Russia.
As for separatist Abkhazia, Abkhaz sources themselves testify the desertion of this territory and the extinction of Abkhazians. For example, the situation with the birth rate in Abkhazia is simply catastrophic. Last autumn, in an interview with Sputnik, the head of the first maternity ward of the “republican” hospital, Rita Trapsh, said that in 2017 there was a sharp decline in the birth rate in Abkhazia.
“Since 2000, there have been no such low birth rates,” said Rita Trapsh. And it is clear what caused the concern of the head of the maternity ward, for 9 months of 2016, 1,247 children were officially born in Abkhazia.
The dynamics of the fall in the birth rate, thus, in separatist Abkhazia is simply disastrous.
According to the so-called “State Statistics Department of the Republic of Abkhazia”, the peak of the birth rate in the separatist territory fell in 2012, when 2,258 children per 1,000 people were born. But in subsequent years, the birth rate rapidly fell: in 2013 - 2017, in 2014 - 2004, in 2015 - 1927, in 2016 the birth rate was already 1768 per 1000 people, and for 9 months of 2016 - 1247.
At the same time, birthrate statistics, unlike migration statistics, are difficult to falsify – was child born or not. Therefore, by the end of 2017, it was not by chance that the separatist authorities had not yet published official fertility data, but even by the most optimistic estimates, the number of births is at 1,500. If this figure is divided into “official”, 243 thousand people who allegedly live in the separatist territory, turns out that the birth rate in separatist Abkhazia is less than 6.2 per 1000 inhabitants.
But there is practically no such low birth rate anywhere in the world. For comparison, in the neighboring Krasnodar Territory of the Russian Federation (where the authorities are concerned about low birth rates), the birth rate is about 12.
It turns out one of two things:
1. Or Abkhazia is the territory with the lowest birth rate in the world - which is not the case yet.
2. Or the real population is far below the “official” indicators.
Thus, it can be concluded that the number of people actually living in the separatist Abkhazia is much closer to the data announced by the Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze than to the data of the separatist authorities.
But that is not all. Extremely low birth rates in separatist Abkhazia, above all, indicate a demographic catastrophe of the Abkhaz ethnos. After all, it is in reality that the Armenians overtook him in number on the separatist territory Abkhaz Armenians have a much higher birth rate than ethnic Abkhaz. Accordingly, the main part of those born on the separatist territory are not Abkhazians, but Armenians.
The separatist authorities do not keep official statistics on the nationality of newborns. But there are “closed” studies for “internal use” that are not published. And the data cited there testifies to the very real catastrophe of the Abkhaz people.
So in 2012, the InterpressNews news agency managed to get a document developed by groups close to the Sukhumi government circles and intended for domestic consumption, which dealt with the problems existing in front of Abkhazia. The working title of the document is “Theme for dialogue”.
On the first page of the document, a brief review of the history of Abkhazia was given and was expressed regret: “Despite the fact that for each Abkhaz the notion of homeland is the most valuable, after the statehood of Abkhazia was restored, now the Abkhazians themselves are destroying it.” According to the authors of the document, since Abkhazia received “security guarantees” from the “strategic partner” of Russia, the Abkhaz public has been relaxed and did nothing to prevent destructive processes from developing in the “young state”. The letter expresses distrust of the results of the census conducted in Abkhazia, and cites the results of independent sociological studies, which are assessed as the national tragedy of the Abkhaz.
According to an independent sociological study in Abkhazia, 3,300 Abkhazians actually died annually and only 800 were born, it means that, the annual reduction was 2,500 people. Life expectancy among Abkhaz men does not exceed 50 years, and among Abkhaz women 70 years.
In the document were analyzed and social problems. In particular, it was reported that the number of drug addicts among Abkhazians reached 5,000 people, which is almost 6% of the “official number of Abkhazians”. At least 5,000 people suffered from hepatitis B and C, which is also almost 6%. AIDS affected at least 2,500 people, which is about 3% of the same “official population” of the Abkhazian ethnos. “Without saying anything about the extent of alcoholism, mortality as a result of accidents on highways and a rather high level of crime situation,” the document said.
The data presented in this “closed” document is for 2012. It is learned that out of 2,258 children born this year, only 800 were Abkhazians. Since then, the proportion of newborn Abkhazians has hardly grown - quite the contrary. With a sharp drop in the birth rate, it turns out that the number of newborn Abkhazians is decreasing from year to year.
If we compare the data of independent studies with the "official" separatist statistics, we can come to the following conclusion: the number of the Armenian population is growing in Abkhazia.
The Abkhaz as an ethnic group are dying out, and at a very fast pace. After all, if we assume that the main part of births in 2016 and 2017 in the separatist territory are ethnic Armenians. Other ethnic groups also live on separatist territory, the Gali Georgians (whose birth rate is also higher than the Abkhazians), as well as Russians and Greeks, still constitute a certain part of the newborn. Childbirth statistics also take into account children born to families of Uzbeks and Tajiks who are increasingly moving to Abkhazia (which traditionally have a very high birth rate). The result is that in 2016-2017 in the year about 450-500 Abkhazians were born at best.
If we assume that the number of the Abkhaz ethnos according to the separatist statistics is 100 thousand people, then it turns out that the Abkhaz birth rate is 4.5-5.0 per 1000 people. Almost no ethnos in the world have such low birth rates. Therefore, in order to “console” Abkhazians, they will have to agree that in separatist Abkhazia they are not 100,000, but there are actually about 50-55,000 left. Then the Abkhazian birth rate will be within 9-9.5, which is also much lower compared to the same Russia, where the authorities are sounding the alarm about low birth rates.
Thus, separatist “independence” turned into a demographic catastrophe for the Abkhaz. Besides, the Abkhazians are no longer returning those who died in the fratricidal war with Georgia. If current trends continue, the Abkhaz will simply become extinct and their lands will go to their “friends” Armenians who already have the entire economy of Abkhazia in their hands and who, unlike the Abkhazians, have enormous “demographic reserves” in the form of Armenians of the Krasnodar Territory which several times are more than ethnic Abkhaz in Abkhazia.