As you know, presidential elections are due to be held in the Russian Federation in 2024. The winner of these elections is known in advance - it is the current President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. However, in order for his power to retain "full legitimacy", the current Kremlin authorities need "popular support" for Vladimir Putin, who is being re-elected for the second time. And there may not be any.
The war in Ukraine is dragging on, bringing more and more casualties and hardship to Russian citizens. And there are no loud "victories" - quite the opposite. Undoubtedly, the current head of state will get more than 50 per cent of the vote in the first round. For Putin, however, it is desirable that the level of support "goes off the scale" in order to show the whole world the "nationwide trust" in the "leader" and his aggressive foreign policy, a policy that gives 70-80% or even 90% of the votes in the elections.
But this requires "victories". Since there are no victories on the Ukrainian front, and none are expected, they are needed on the other front. And what could be more "impressive" than the annexation of the already occupied Georgian region of Abkhazia? Which has already become an "all-Russian resort" and where the percentage of holidaymakers from Russia has increased even more against the background of the "frontline" status of occupied Crimea. According to some Russian political analysts, the propaganda effect of a new resort joining the Russian Federation will be comparable to that of the accession (or rather annexation) of Ukrainian Crimea in 2014.
Confirmation of such plans appeared on the resource "Kremlin snuffbox", known for its past publications. The material is entitled "Abkhazia may be incorporated into the Russian Federation before the elections":
"Preparations for the election of Vladimir Putin are in full swing. As we announced, the task is to show high results of support for the president. Powerful measures are being taken, such as the refusal of officials to import cars in favour of the domestic car industry.
It is obvious that the average viewer wants big geopolitical victories. Television has accustomed them to it. And they are already being prepared.
One of the tricks of the election campaign could be the expansion of Russia's borders. And here is an interesting point. As long as the new borders of the Russian Federation are not fixed, taking into account the new regions (which, let us remind you, the world community has not recognised), it will be difficult to sell them to Russian society as acquisitions. In any case, destroyed regions and cities can hardly be called valuable acquisitions.
But Abkhazia could be the trump card that is finally played. "Good climate, beautiful nature. Invest some money there and it will become a good holiday resort," explains a government interlocutor. According to a source close to Sergei Kiriyenko, who is also supervising Putin's election campaign, Abkhazia can be annexed to Russia if necessary. It will take no more than a month - to hold a nice referendum, recognise its results and incorporate the territory of the republic into Russia.
All the signs are that Abkhazia may soon become a "part" of the Russian Federation under its constitution, just as Crimea and the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions of Ukraine have become "parts" of the Russian Federation under the same constitution. The fact that no one in the world has recognised this seems to matter less and less to the Kremlin.
In the very near future, Abkhazia may become a "subject of federation" in the Russian Federation, like the regions of the North Caucasus. And in the future it may even become part of the Krasnodar region. All the more so as the composition of the population there and on both sides of the Psou border is gradually becoming "identical" - it is beginning to be dominated by Armenians, whose numbers may increase dramatically after the complete liquidation of the "Artsakh" separatist project and the resettlement of a significant part of the Karabakh Armenians there.
However, an obstacle here may be the Abkhazian people themselves, who, although they cannot give up illusions of separatism, see how the occupying Russia has set the course for the appropriation and "deribanisation" of this territory, and how the Abkhazians themselves are rapidly becoming an insignificant, dying minority in their own land. It has come to the point that the separatist puppet authorities, fearing mass protests, have not yet been able to push through the separatist "parliament" the so-called "law on housing", which would begin the mass settlement of Abkhazia by foreigners.
But in the case of the annexation of Abkhazia, the Russian Federation can dispense with the "law on housing", according to Russian laws, for the settlement of the same Armenian migrants (who have long since taken a liking to this Georgian land by the sea and have become the majority of the population here). And there was a suspicion that it was at the suggestion of the same Armenian lobby that they decided to "cooperate" with the "separatist top brass" in Moscow. So that it would "try hard" and ensure "a high percentage of support for joining Russia in the referendum". Similar to the 98% vote in the pseudo-"referendums" in the Russian-occupied territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine last September.
That is why the separatist puppet Aslan Bzhania was urgently summoned to Moscow, where he suspiciously fell ill. "According to preliminary data, the 'president' has an exacerbation of urolithiasis, with no threat to life," Bzhania's office told Russian media. But separatist internet resources immediately began to suspect something was amiss, in particular the telegram channel Abkhazia Centre on 10 August 2023:
"This morning the administration of the 'President of Abkhazia' reported that Aslan Bzhania had gone to a medical facility for health reasons during his working trip to Moscow. This is understandable, we are all human beings. But why do we only learn about a foreign working visit of the 'head of state' in connection with a hospital stay?”
Indeed, Aslan Bzhania's trip to Moscow could have been "work" and his illness "accidental". But knowing the working methods of the Russian FSB and how it knows how to get "results" from its puppets, we can assume that "preventive work" to ensure the "necessary" percentages of the upcoming "referendum" on Abkhazia's accession to Russia has already begun. And the separatist puppets, who could not even provide the Kremlin with such a "trifle" as "popular support" for the transfer of Pitsunda or the "law on apartments", are being given the message that they should take such a "referendum" seriously and ensure "full approval" of the upcoming annexation by the Abkhazians.
It is clear that the majority of Abkhazians will be against the "referendum" and annexation. But who will ask them? And who in the world will know their true feelings? Especially since the "citizens of Abkhazia" of Armenian nationality will vote "in favour" of joining Russia and this will be presented as "the will of the Abkhazian people".
If it wishes, the Kremlin can use terror to prevent protests. For example, there were no special protests against the "referendum" in the occupied parts of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine, where the occupiers "drew" exorbitant percentages approaching 100% for joining Russia. This is likely to be the case in occupied Abkhazia. According to some indications, work on securing such percentages has already begun.