Monday, 18 May 2009

Documentary: People & Power - Abkhazia: A forgotten country

Al Jazeera - People & Power - Abkhazia: A forgotten country - 13 May 09 - Part 1

People & Power - Abkhazia: A forgotten country - 13 May 09 - Part 2


Historical Maps: Abkhazia at various times in history

The maps included here give an idea of the frontiers of Abkhazia at various times in history. The Abkhazians call their capital /Aqw'a/, but it is more usually known in other languages as Sukhum (Sukhum-Kalé or Sukhum-Kaleh in the period of Turkish influence along the Black Sea's eastern coast; /soxumi/ in Georgian). The ending -i in the form /Sukhumi/ represents the Georgian Nominative case-suffix, and it became attached to /Sukhum/ from the late 1930s when (Georgian) Stalin (Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili) and his Mingrelian lieutenant in Transcaucasia, Lavrent'i Beria, began to implement a series of anti-Abkhazian policies. Abkhazians today, for obvious reasons, resent the attachment of this element from the language of a people they see as oppressors.


Declaration of the Revolutionary Committee of the SSR of Georgia on Independence of the SSR of Abkhazia -
21 May 1921

The Menshevik’s power, being bourgeois by its nature, oppressed the revolutionary movement of the national minorities and bred the antagonism between the certain minorities residing in Georgia throughout the centuries.

Soviet power has a different approach to this issue, advancing the principle of fraternal relations and equality between all workers.

The right to self-determination declared by the Great October Revolution is recognized as the best remedy for the eradication of national prejudices and the strengthening of relations between the workers.

On this basis, the Revolutionary Committee of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia recognizes and welcomes the establishment of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia and believes that the relations between the Georgian SSR and the Abkhazian SSR will be decided at the first Congress of the workers and peasants of Abkhazia, as well as of Georgia.

Let the workers of both socialist republics decide the forms of close and fraternal cooperation.

Revcom of the Georgian SSR


In 1921, Abkhazia and Georgia became Sovietized. On 31 March 1921, an independent Soviet Republic of Abkhazia was proclaimed. On 21 May 1921, the Georgian Bolshevik government officially recognized the independence of Abkhazia. But the same year, under pressure from Stalin and other influential Georgian Bolsheviks, Abkhazia was forced to conclude a union (i.e., confederative) treaty with Georgia. Abkhazia still remained a full union republic until 1931, when its status was downgraded, under Stalin's orders, from that of Union Republic to that of an Autonomous Republic within Georgia. This act of incorporation of Abkhazia into Georgia was conducted without the approval and against the will of the Abkhazian people and caused mass protests in Abkhazia. Thus the creation of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic within Georgia was not the result of the granting by the Bolsheviks of autonomous status to one of the republic's minorities, as it is often alleged, but was rather the forced convergence of two neighbouring states by the incorporation of one of them, Abkhazia, into the other, Georgia.

Vladislav Ardzinba, first president of Abkhazia, stated: “In 1931 Abkhazia was transformed into an autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR. Seemingly it was the only republic whose political status changed under pressure from Stalin not upwards but downwards”. (See Pravda, newspaper, 14 July 1989).

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