Sukhumi, 30 May 2023. Abkhaz versus separatist proxies. The mutual fear of the future

31.05.23 13:40

As a rule, when internal "political squabbles" take place in separatist Abkhazia, their participants pay little attention to events far away from this occupied Georgian territory. But the protests that the Abkhazian opposition organized on May 30th 2023 against the sale of Abkhazia to outsiders was different.


We should say from the start that the separatist Abkhazian authorities are panic-stricken by their own, Abkhazian people. Although for them they have not been their "native" for a long time. The same Aslan Bzhania and his entourage owe their coming to power in Sukhumi to the Armenian lobby and Armenian criminal circles, to personalities such as Ruben Tatulyan. It is in their interests that they lavishly distribute separatist passports and residence permits in Abkhazia to IDPs of Armenian nationality. For the benefit of those resettlers separatist authorities are preparing to push through a law on "apartments" to facilitate their legal settlement in Abkhazia.


The separatist regime does not forget to serve their Kremlin masters. Despite outrage of Abkhazians, at the request of Vladimir Putin, it will give Pitsunda to the Russian authorities for "residence" of Vladimir Putin. Also in the interests of Russian oligarchs privatization of the energy sector of Abkhazia is being prepared, against which the Abkhazian society is protesting, knowing full well that after that prices for electricity, which are already being raised by the separatist regime, will become exorbitant and unaffordable for most of the population.


The separatist puppets in Sukhumi are panic-stricken by the outrage of Abkhazians and mass protests. Realizing that the Russian occupants that moved all their main forces to Ukraine will not save them from their own people at the critical moment, Aslan Bzhania and his entourage took unprecedented "security measures" on May 30th, 2023 on the eve of the protest rally announced by the Abkhazian opposition. The government quarter of Sukhumi was surrounded by barbed wire fences, snipers were placed on the roofs of buildings, literally all separatist police and troops were gathered in the centre of Sukhumi.


Fears of Bzhania and his clique that the opposition would organize a large rally on May 30, 2023 and change of the separatist government of Sukhumi proved to be unnecessary. Yes, indeed, Abkhazians did come out to protest, but there were far fewer than expected. Authorities reported about 1 thousand protesters, independent sources said about 3 thousand.


For the small Abkhazian people it is a lot, but for the puppet government it is not critical. All the more that the opposition threatened to bring tens of thousands of Abkhazians into the streets, comparing their event with the separatist rallies in Likhny on the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which gave rise to the Abkhazian separatism. Relatively few Abkhazians came to the protest rally in Sukhumi from their districts. It is known that many refused to go at the last moment. That is, some very resonant event changed attitudes of the mass of Abkhazian population. And on the whole, it did not change their negative attitude to the separatist puppets that were selling out Abkhazia and caused confusion.


A relatively distant event from Abkhazia took place in Moscow. On the morning of 30 May 2023, the Russian capital was attacked by dozens of drones. The attack was demonstrative and symbolic - most of the drones were not even armed with explosives - but it showed that the air defence system defending Moscow was 'leaky' and unable to withstand a mass attack by the same drones. UAVs have quietly flown over "elite" villages in Moscow and the Moscow suburbs where many members of the Russian government live.


This means that the Kremlin government, on whose orders the separatists in Sukhumi sell out and populate Abkhazia with aliens, is weak. It cannot protect its capital and itself. Therefore, all the Russian "security guarantees" of the separatist regime of Sukhumi and the notorious "independence of Abkhazia" are empty and worthless pieces of paper.


Moreover, in the context of the ongoing Ukrainian war they are an additional risk factor.  Tomorrow, if Putin comes to Pitsunda which was taken away from the Georgian and Abkhazian peoples "residence" Abkhazia may also receive a massive blow. After all, it is much closer to Ukraine than Moscow. That is, the Kremlin's "defenders" of the separatist Abkhazia are no longer a factor of "security" of the separatist territory, but on the contrary, an increased threat. And if tomorrow hostilities and drone strikes begin at the places of deployment of the occupants in Abkhazia? How then to prevent deaths of civilians? Especially in the last area compactly populated by ethnic Abkhazians - Gudauta where the Russian base is deployed. The Abkhazians do not have answers to these questions, and the Abkhazian opposition does not even try to give them to their people.


After the Russian aggression against Ukraine, with the exception of the capture of Ukrainian territories thanks to the surprise factor in the first days, Russian troops are mostly defeated. And their "victories" such as the seizure of the ruins of Bakhmut, which was wiped out from the face of the earth, are achieved by tens of thousands of casualties.


It is already clear to everyone that all the claims of the Kremlin leadership to "superpower" are nothing more than a bluff. But, before the drone attacks on Moscow on May 30, 2023, the population of Abkhazia had an illusion that even suffering defeats in Ukraine, at least the Russian Federation will be able to defend its capital. And it will maintain its presence in the occupied Georgian territories, continuing to "feed" the separatists. So it made sense to fight to replace "bad" separatist puppets with "good" ones. But after May 30, 2023 it became clear that such a replacement will not give anything and will not solve any fundamental issues.


Even the most naive and intoxicated with the separatist ideas Abkhazians have begun to realize that the change of personnel in the offices in Sukhumi is not the main thing now. The main thing is to think about how the inevitable de-occupation of Abkhazia will take place? And how will Abkhazia live after de-occupation.


For Abkhazians it is not only a matter of struggle against separatist puppets in a hurry to sell out Abkhazia and fill their pockets (they, like their "Artsakh" colleagues, will not have much time left in power anyway). It is necessary to seek real ways of reconciliation with the fraternal Georgian people. We need negotiations on the rights of the Abkhazian people to autonomy and national revival within the united Georgia. But the Abkhazian opposition does not offer any of this.


Uncertainty of the future generates fear of the unknown in Abkhazians. And this fear (which, however, is even greater in the separatist puppets) simply paralyzes the Abkhazian people with a will to fight for their rights and their land.


They have already got used to the occupants, but what will happen if they suddenly leave? Or if the war comes to Abkhazia and the occupants use Abkhazians as a "human shield"? There are no answers to these questions and that is why there is fear and confusion among the separatist authorities in Sukhumi, and the opposition.


That was visible to the naked eye on May 30th 2023. But if the separatist government's fear towards their people and the future was expressed in unprecedented security measures the fear of the opposition was expressed in indecision!


There is a huge risk that the separatists in Sukhumi will want to "tie" the Abkhaz people to themselves, just as the "Artsakh" separatists essentially took the Karabakh Armenians hostage. The separatists intend to convince them that they are "in the same boat" and will force them to support to the end those who sold their land and the future of their people long ago.


Even now Abkhazians, in addition to fighting against the puppet regime, need to engage in a dialogue with the Georgian authorities about reconciliation. They need to solve the problem of Abkhazian citizenship, to discuss conditions of amnesty for rank-and-file members of separatist formations, to solve the issues of property rights. All the things that today, for example, the Azerbaijani authorities are proposing to start a dialogue with the Armenians of Karabakh and that the "Artsakh" separatists are stubbornly reluctant to do. And this means that the mass of Karabakh Armenians may suddenly have to decide urgently whether to accept citizenship of Azerbaijan or leave for the unknown after the bankrupt separatists. By the way, one cannot go to Abkhazia, and even if one can, it will not last long. The Kremlin authorities that are suffering military defeat will simply not be able to ensure further occupation of the Georgian territory and maintenance of "order" beneficial to the Armenian lobby there.


The Abkhazian opposition of May 30, 2023, still exploiting the primitive Georgianophobia, did not offer Abkhazians a real vision of the future. On the contrary, opposition leaders have tried to raise the degree of Georgiaophobia by accusing the separatist authorities in Sukhumi of an intention to "trade with Georgia".


But Abkhazian opposition's reliance on Georgiaophobia has only led to the fact that instead of determination to fight against the Bzhania regime and oppose the sale of their land many Abkhazians have a fear of the future that restricts their will and initiative. What is the point of fighting for power in Sukhumi if tomorrow the entire separatist-occupation construct of "independent Abkhazia" and its "recognition" by Nauru or the Assad regime will turn into nothing, into dust? Just like the government of "Artsakh" has become nothing.



George Kvinitadze

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