Is Russia preparing to "surrender" Abkhazia in exchange for peace with Georgia?
Vadim Mansurov

OPINION

Is Russia preparing to
SHARE: READ: 487     15:43     29 April 2021    
M oscow began to think about the restoration of diplomatic relations with Georgia. This is increasingly being talked about by the Russian political elite and the Russian media. In particular, there are opinions that if Georgia recognizes Mikheil Saakashvili as a war criminal, Russia will willingly go to the restoration of diplomatic relations with Tbilisi. Therefore, the Russian recognition of Abkhazia as an independent state in the Caucasus will be automatically withdrawn. At the moment, Russia is prompted to make such a decision by a number of circumstances, in particular, the fact that relations between Russia and Abkhazia are not developing. And if at the level of relations between the first persons in Sukhum and Moscow everything looks more or less cloudless, then Moscow can only dream about the rapprochement of the socio-economic, public institutions of Abkhazia and Russia, and it will not be envied. It is enough that anti-Russian sentiments are very strong in Abkhazia. And those wishing to establish their own business in Abkhazia, even small ones, Russian businessmen, or simply coming to rest, to their surprise, face very serious problems. For example, a Russian citizen can buy real estate only in a new building (in a crisis, there are very few such options), and in order to participate in business, he definitely needs a partner - a citizen of Abkhazia. The problem of returning real estate to Russian refugees from Abkhazia has not been resolved and even specifically blocked. And if at the official level the decision of the courts seems to exist, in fact the local Abkhaz authorities do not intend to return their apartments to the former Abkhaz Russians, and as a counterargument there is an opinion that now Abkhazians live in these apartments and houses. What to do with them now, not to drive them out into the street? - they say in the local executive authorities. A Russian who finds himself in Abkhazia feels like a stranger and is constantly made aware of this. The murder in 2013 in the city of Sukhum of the vice-consul and the first secretary of the consular section of the Russian embassy in Abkhazia Dmitry Vishernev is also remembered. Also, as a result of the attack, his wife was seriously injured and died. On the other hand, the Abkhazian segment of social networks is also not distinguished by a special disposition towards Russia. Thus, the Abkhaz youth are not at all radical towards their closest neighbor - Georgia, and are not averse to supporting the rapprochement between Abkhazia and Georgia. Moscow does not feel confident in the loyalty of the Abkhaz, even taking into account the existence of a Russian military base here. Because it is difficult to understand from whom they are defending Russia. First, Turkey does not threaten Russia. And even in the event of a hypothetical confrontation between Russia and Turkey, Abkhazia is unlikely to want to enter into some kind of military conflict with Turkey - the Turkish influence is so strong in Abkhazia. Abkhazia is full of Turkish businessmen, Turkish educational programs and tourists. At the same time, over the past 12 years, since the recognition of the republic's independence, Moscow has made huge investments in Abkhazia, but, as experts note, the return on this economic policy has been practically zero. The Russian budget regularly pumped up the republic with cash infusions, but this had little effect on the behavior of the Abkhaz. The integration of the two societies never happened. In view of the complete reluctance of the Abkhazian society to integrate with the Russian one even after so many years, the Kremlin found itself in a desperate situation. In fact, over the years, Moscow has undertaken the maximum possible to integrate with Abkhazia, but it has suffered quite an obvious collapse. And she is clearly very irritated by this situation, and is determined to act in spite of it. Why do we need Abkhazia? What are the benefits and benefits of this collaboration? - such rhetoric has recently been given by Russian political experts and mass media. It is obvious that the start of popularizing this topic in the Russian public space, the media was not given without the consent of the official Kremlin. This means that we can speak seriously about the prospects for rapprochement between Russia and Georgia. It is quite obvious that Moscow is seriously annoyed by Abkhazia and its policy and is definitely determined to "surrender" unprofitable relations with Abkhazia in favor of establishing diplomatic contacts with Tbilisi. The terms of such a "peace" have already been practically openly announced by the Kremlin - in exchange for the restoration of relations, Moscow wants to receive from official Tbilisi the recognition of former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili as a war criminal. This is an important factor for the restoration of Russian-Georgian relations from the position of Moscow. At the same time, it is quite obvious that one can speak about one thing - Moscow has already begun the process of rejecting cooperation with Abkhazia and it will not be possible to give Sukhum a reverse course to these processes. Thus, in the event of the restoration of Russian-Georgian relations, Abkhazia will automatically receive a response about its support from Moscow, the only ally of Sukhum in the international political arena. The sovereignty of Abkhazia without Moscow's support will be devalued to such an extent that, in fact, Sukhum will be completely lost. At the same time, it is very likely that the process of reunification of Tbilisi and Sukhum can take place rather painlessly. Since, as noted, there are quite clear signals, as evidenced by numerous reviews in the Abkhaz segment of social networks, that a noticeable part of the Abkhazian youth will willingly accept their return under the wing of Tbilisi. The main question is when any official confirmation by the Kremlin about the change of its political course in the Caucasus will take place is still open. However, there is a feeling that this will not be long in coming. The author is the independent political expert.
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