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Abkhazia-part of international game

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 2
The situation in de-facto Abkhazia remains tense. The parliament of the puppet region has voted to hold early presidential elections on August 24 according to Russian news agencies.

Parliamentarian speaker Valeri Bganba will act as president until then. The opposition leader Raul Khajimba claims that Ankvab has no legitimacy. He stresses that the cabinet should resign as well. The second demand of Khajimba is related to the Georgians living in Abkhazia. He stresses that the people should be exiled from the region. The opposition of another de-facto region in South Ossetia state that situation might become strained in Tskhinvali as well.

On May 27, protesters broke into the capital's presidential headquarters and opposition leaders formed a Provisional National Council in the Russian-backed province, which they say is now under their control since de-facto President Alexander Ankvab fled the capital. Opposition and protesters stated that Ankvab misused money and nepotism was the major manner for ruling the country. Ankvab said on May 30 that he’s ready for talks, but added that he would not discuss any demands put forth in the form of “ultimatums.”

De-facto Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaya stated concerning the snap elections that the outcome was “unconstitutional.”

“It's not within the parameters of the law. It's a revolutionary decision," Lakerbaya said, informing that Ankvab is at a Russian military base in Gudauta and his life is under threat.

The current Georgian government is concerned over the developments in Abkhazia. However, Minister of Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili claims that destabilization in Abkhazia is not in anyone’s interest. He hoped that the situation will not be strained in terms of the Georgian population.

Opposition UNM member Shota Malashkhia suggests that people might have been really unsatisfied regarding the social issues there. However, the occupants will use the situation for their interests.

Analyst Elene Khoshtaria believes that timely actions are required regarding the problem, as a belated reaction might be too negative.

“The Crimean issues revealed Russia’s face better. If the international community and Georgian government do not act in a timely manner, we might face exiling Gali residents from occupied Abkhazia,” Khoshtaria said, stressing that the government’s “mild” statements concerning the problem are unacceptable.

Analyst and Editor-in-Chief of Arsenali newspaper Irakli Aladashvili, told The Messenger that the process in Abkhazia was presumably caused by economics.

“The money that is allocated for Abkhazia is shared between Russian and Abkhazian politicians. Thus, people still live in poverty,” Aladashvili said, noting that changing the leadership in Abkazia will not reflect positively on Georgian-Abkhazian relations, as Georgians are taken as “major enemies” especially by separatists. “Step-by-step, Russia will annex the region and Abkhazians will not resist the process owing to complete financial dependence on Russia,” Aladashvili states.

The analyst believes that much is dependent on world policy, on what would be the response of international society to Russia’s aggressive policy. “In general, the world appreciates only the strong. Until we become stronger, nothing important will change for us in terms of occupied regions and other significant issues. It is an international game,” Aladashvili states.