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Friday, December 9, 2016

Unrest in Abkhazia, the current turmoil — the continuation of the struggle “hajimatov and baharistan”


At least 17 people were injured in riots in Sukhum on 5 July, nine of them were hospitalized. This was reported to journalists by the President of Abkhazia Raul Khajimba after visiting the Republican hospital. The President said that he is willing to negotiate with the opposition, but its main requirement is that the postponement of the referendum, which is scheduled in Abkhazia for next Sunday, is not satisfied.


photo: 1tv.ru

The referendum in the Republic on 10 July handed down the only question: “do you Consider necessary carrying out of early election of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia?” By the way, it was initiated by the opposition. However, the opposition does not accept the terms. In her opinion, the vote should be deferred to the autumn. July 5, Sukhum was the extraordinary Congress of the opposition party “amtsakhara”, who demanded to postpone the referendum in the autumn of 2016, “due to the impossibility of free will”. Adopted at the Congress of the resolution, the opposition also demands the resignation of interior Minister Leonid Dzapshba for a “worsening crime situation and the actions directed on violation of citizens ‘constitutional rights related to participation in a referendum”. We will note that earlier in social networks was distributed an audiotape on which the supposedly head of the interior Ministry called upon its employees to boycott the referendum. In addition, “amtsakhara urged to allow citizens of Abkhazia to participate in the vote on the passports expired and absentee ballots, and to open polling stations on the territory of the Russian Federation.

After the Congress, until the building of the interior Ministry held talks with the opposition representatives of the authorities, hundreds of opposition for several hours picketed the interior Ministry, and after the attempted assault. During the riots in the center of Sukhum were fired, which wounded there. The protesters began to disperse only late in the evening, after reports of the suspension of the post of head of the interior Ministry.

President Khajimba called the incident a treachery. Nevertheless, he has promised to meet all the demands of the opposition, except for postponement of the referendum. He said that the interior Minister Leonid Dzapshba was removed from office before completion of verification of the Prosecutor General and that people can vote on the referendum and an expired passport, as demanded by the opposition. The President promised to return to negotiations with the opposition on 6 July, and the opposition has threatened to return to the streets.

The origins of the current events should be looked for in 2004, when the Republic for the first time after the war it was split into two opposing camps. Vladislav Ardzinba, a long-term permanent leader of Abkhazia, who led its fight for independence from Georgia during the collapse of the USSR, due to a severe illness was forced to retire from politics. As his successor he appointed the current President, Raul Khadzhimba. The transition of power in his hands the interests of Ardzinba’s family in the narrow and in the broad sense of the word — i.e. the clan of the relatives and close associates, which was formed around the first President. He answered in the interests of Moscow, which saw the native of the Soviet KGB Hajime “their”, understandable person.


Raul Khajimba.

However, Ardzinba had already formed a serious opposition, the “grey Eminence” which was considered the party and state leaders of the Soviet time Alexander Ankvab. After the war he fell into disgrace and was forced a few years to live in exile. “Amtsakhara” became a major political force. In the 2004 presidential election the opposition put forward as their candidate Sergei Bagapsh. Elections put Abkhazia on the brink of civil war, as the parties differed in assessing their results. Just then there was a split on the “baharistan and hajimatov”, it was the first time after the war in the Republic, there were mass riots in which result one person was lost. (Supporters of Sergei Bagapsh stormed the government buildings, which capture accidental shot that killed 78-year-old scientist Tamara Shakryl.)

The rest is known. With Russia, a compromise was reached, held new elections, Bagapsh became President and ruled Abkhazia up until his death in 2011. Bagapsh was succeeded by his longtime associate of Alexander Ankvab. In may 2014, the rallies of opponents of Ankvab under the leadership of Raul Khajimba has outgrown in mass riots. The President’s residence was captured. The protesters supported the Parliament, inviting the President to resign. 1 June 2014, Ankvab, who had taken refuge at the Russian military base in Gudauta, announced his early retirement.

Knowing this background, it is easy to understand what is happening today. This is a continuation of a long struggle between the two groups, which originates not even in 2004-m and in 1993, when immediately after the war, the first President of Abkhazia Ardzinba unexpectedly sent in resignation of the then interior Minister Ankvab. There is no doubt that the supporters of the latter want to take revenge for the humiliation of 2014, although the beginning of a sad tradition to solve issues with the power put they in 2004. For Russia, these two political groups are actually equal. Whoever comes to power in Abkhazia, he will be forced to cooperate closely with Moscow.

There is no reason to panic and Russian holidaymakers. First of all we must understand that all the unrest in Abkhazia — a showdown between their and they’re unlikely to go for any framework. Slaughter and armed clashes between Abkhazians will not. Because any death will result in a century-old feud between the clans. However, in times of political turmoil always brightens up the crime. It is necessary to remember and be cautious, especially in the evening. It is worth remembering that the features of the Abkhaz law enforcement system is such that a crime against a visitor is unlikely to be solved. However, as the situation in Abkhazia and in “peaceful” times.

Experts of “MK” has tried to predict the further development of the political crisis in Abkhazia.

Alexander SKAKOV, senior research fellow, Centre for the study of Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga-Ural Institute of Oriental studies:

— Although rating agencies in recent years have fallen, the rating of the opposition because it is not increased. There are no new leaders, no alternative programs for the development of the country. The deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the country is connected first of all with the economic crisis in Russia, and not with errors of the government. The opposition studiously ignores this fact and blames Khajimba, trying to break through to the trough, near which was already. Most importantly, through a referendum, during which there will be many provocations. According to the results, the opposition will certainly suffer a crushing defeat, and the President strengthen their positions.

Vladimir NOVIKOV, senior researcher of Institute socially-political researches of the black sea countries:

The situation is beyond the constitutional field, and predict its further development will be very difficult. It is not known whether the turnout in the referendum is high enough, the authorities found him held. Also in the Constitution of Abkhazia says that early presidential elections come following the will of the people. So even if the referendum will be held, not the fact that Khajimba will agree with its results. But I do not want to Abkhazia once again slipped into the use of force to resolve the crisis. In any case, Russia should remain above the fray and try not to make mistakes. Who would in the end neither won, Moscow will be his main ally, but mistakes will sow the locals the seeds of distrust of Russia.

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