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Opposition Leaders Criticize Government's Response to Russian Occupation Amid Transfer of Bichvinta Cottages to Russia

By Liza Mchedlidze
Thursday, December 28, 2023
The Georgian opposition leaders criticized the de-facto government of Abkhazia's decision to transfer Bichvinta cottages to Russia. They view it as a land annexation and question the Georgian government's approach to the matter.

Giorgi Gakharia, the former Prime Minister and leader of the For Georgia party, stated that Russia has taken another step toward annexing Abkhazia. He criticized the Georgian Dream, accusing them of maintaining a counterproductive and non-pragmatic silence in response to Russia's actions.

Gakharia condemned the Sukhumi 'authorities' for accommodating Russia's request to transfer the Bichvinta resort, describing such decisions as illegal. He called for unity, suggesting that both Georgians and Abkhaz should work together to reclaim the land that has been transferred.

"Russia took another step towards annexation of occupied Abkhazia against the background of Georgian Dream's policy of anti-pragmatic silence. The Sukhumi occupational regime accommodated the request of the occupant country & gave Russia the Bichvinta resort totally neglecting the will of Georgian and Abkhaz people. Such 'decisions' are illegal. Together with our Abkhaz compatriots, we should reclaim our land," Gakharia wrote on X.

According to Teona Akubardia, an opposition member of parliament, it is crucial to adopt a parliamentary resolution on this issue. She emphasized that it is necessary for the government to pursue an adequate policy towards Russia.

"Today, at 6 o'clock in the morning, the actual annexation of Bichvinta was signed, and this was the tribute that Vladimir Putin demanded from the Abkhaz community. Of course, this will not be the last fact of the actual annexation [.] In this context, we see how inadequate the positions and attitude of the Georgian authorities are to the national interest of territorial integrity and sovereignty," said Akubardia.

The leader of the Lelo party, Saba Buadze, referred to the situation as a "tragedy". He emphasized that the direct handover of the historical territory to Russia is indicative of Russia's primary interests, suggesting that Russia is not even accountable to their "own puppet regime" in Abkhazia. Additionally, Buadze criticized the Georgian government, pointing out that, in his recollection, there has been a lack of statements from the government regarding the transfer of the Bichvinta cottages.

"What happened in Bichvinta is a great tragedy, where the historical territory of our country was directly handed over to Russia. This once again highlights that Russia has no other interest; they are not even accountable to their own puppet regime. History has unfolded in a way that we don't recall a single statement from our government regarding the transfer of the Bichvinta cottages," Buadze stated.