The Flirting of Abkhazia and "South Ossetia" with Russia


The discussion has been ongoing for quite some time in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia, as to whether the Russian President will visit one of them on August 26th or not. This date is extremely important for the officials of both regimes, as, in light of the economic stagnation, difficult social situation and other unresolved problems, Raul Khajimba and Anatoly Bibilov both need to demonstrate to their respective local population that they truly have support from Russia.

Within the last few days, both parties have displayed higher levels of “flirting”: Khajimba started talking about ways of survival and fighting corruption, economic development and resolving other “fantastic issues”. On August 20, he met the Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Rashid Nurgaliyev. They discussed “economic relations, security issues and plans for the development of different humanitarian programs.” Khajimba did not forget big politics either and got some promises on this side too, the result of one of them  being the visit of the delegation from North Korea, where at a joint press conference, the Chamber of Commerce of the country promised to provide economic support to the occupied region. After the visit, Khajimba reassured the population that the day when Official Pyongyang would recognize Abkhazia’s independence was not far away. It seems hard to imagine how the impoverished Pyongyang is going to fund the poor occupational regime of Abkhazia, but on the other hand this “recognition” could open some perspectives for North Korea as well. Maybe the real gift from the Kremlin to Sokhumi could be this recognition rather than funding from Pyongyang. Russia is actively working with Iran and Somalia on the same issue.

The so-called president of Tskhinvali is as active as the leader of the occupied Abkhazia, chosing the tactic of “restoring justice” and demanding the return of loans that have been issued without interest since the war of 2008. According to his order, a so-called working group of representatives from the Prosecutor General's Office should be created, which will work on the creation of the “returning mechanism” for the wasted 300 million Russian Rubles that were transferred for the so-called restoration. At this point, the so-called local prosecutor’s office is studying the case of issuance of 240 million rubles without interest. Ossetian media wrote that dozens could be imprisoned after the investigation, however, those will only be the low-ranking officials. As for the “perspectives” of the recognition of independence, Bibilov hasn’t said anything yet and the reason is unknown, but it is certain the Kremlin has given its blessing to both of the occupied regions. The main impromptu stated by Bibilov is the arrival of President Assad and President Putin to Tskhinvali. Bibilov argues that this was decided after the diplomatic recognition document signed in Moscow. Maybe Bibilov is telling the truth and Assad will really visit Tskhinvali and by this symbolic gesture further strengthen the illusion of independence for the locals. It is interesting whether Assad’s visit will coincide with the date mentioned above: August 26th.

The rumors about Assad’s visit are related only to Tskhinvali and this will highly outweigh the visit of the North Korean Chamber of Commerce delegation to Sokhumi. Therefore, we can suppose that either Khajimba’s days are numbered in the Kremlin or Bibilov is lying, or both of these statements are true. It is allegedly reported that Vladimir Putin will ask both Khajimba and Bibilov to visit Moscow and will hold an “official meeting” with them in the Kremlin, thus satisfying the diplomatic ambitions for the leaders of both regimes.

By Zaza Jgarkava

23 August 2018 15:48