Submitted by George Callaghan…
Abkhazia is a region in the Caucasus. The Abkhazians are a distinct Christian people with their own language. Centuries ago it was conquered by Georgia. The region became part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century.
In the 1930s Transcaucasia was reorganised by the Soviet Government. Abkhazia was made a district of Georgia. This situation worked reasonably well until the late 1980s. What did someone’s ethnicity matter? All people were Soviets. People did not need to choose to speak Abkhazian or Georgian. Everyone could communicate in Russian.
In the late 1980s Mikhail Gorbachev decreed that non-communist parties would be unbanned. Nationalist organisations were founded by the scores of ethnicities all across the USSR.
Georgia proclaimed its independence in 1991. A referendum confirmed this with a 99% approval. This unlikely figure is explicable by the Russian ethnic minority boycotting the poll.
Georgia became independent. Almost immediately it devolved into an internecine civil war. Abkhazians got Georgian citizenship that they did not want.
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia. There was fighting between the Georgian Army and Abkhazian independence fighters. Tblisi declared that those battling for Abkhazian self-assertion were terrorists. Most ethnic Georgians left Abkhazia.
Russian troops moved into Abkhazia due to the pleas of the local populace. Moscow announced that its soldiers were there as peacekeepers. The United Nations also had soldiers in Abkhazia but they have since left.
In 2008 there was some fighting between Russia and Georgia over the territory. Since then the Georgians have not dared try to take back Abkhazia.
Abkhazia is not recognised as a sovereign state by many others. In fact only five sovereign states recognise it. The people of Abkhazia find it difficult to travel abroad as most countries do not count Abkhazian passports as valid. Therefore, the Russian Federation offers citizenship to Abkhazians. Many Abkhazians have availed themselves of this opportunity.
Many in Georgia wish their country to join NATO. Since 2008 the US said that Georgia ought to join. However, NATO has not let Georgia join. If NATO did so then there could be a third world war.
Countless new nations have been created in the course of history. In the case of Abkhazia it would simply be a nation coming back into existence as a sovereign state. Borders have been changed by force on numberless occasions. What difference does one more make? Should Abkahzia be accepted by the comity of nations?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.