Abkhazia


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Abkhazia

(ăbkăz`) or

Apsny

(äpsnē`), autonomous republic (2011 pop. 240,705), 3,300 sq mi (8,547 sq km), in Georgia, between the Black Sea and the Greater Caucasus. SukhumiSukhumi
, Abkhaz Sukhum, city (2011 pop. 62,914), capital of Abkhazia, a region in W Georgia that has had de facto independence since the 1990. Located on the Black Sea, it is a port and a rail junction and a subtropical resort, whose sulfur baths have been frequented
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 (the capital) and GagraGagra
or Gagry
, city (2011 pop. 12,364), Abkhazia, W Georgia, on the Black Sea and at the foot of the Greater Caucasus. It is a subtropical health resort.
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 are the chief cities. Despite some perpetually snowcapped peaks, the region is mainly one of subtropical agriculture. Tobacco is the leading crop; there are also tea and citrus plantations, vineyards, and fruit orchards. Industries include sawmilling, canning, metalworking, and the manufacture of leather goods. Abkhazia was famous for its health resorts, but they were damaged in the fighting in the early 1990s after Georgia's independence, and tourism, primarily from Russia, now contributes less to the economy than before. The population is made up of Abkhazians (an Orthodox Christian and Muslim people of the North Caucasian linguistic family), Georgians (especially in the Gali district in S Abkhazia), Armenians, and Russians.

Originally colonized in the 6th cent. B.C. by the Greeks, the region later came under Roman and Byzantine rule. In the 8th cent. a leader of the Abkhaz tribe formed an independent kingdom that became part of Georgia in the 10th cent. In 1578 the Turks conquered the area and gradually converted it to Islam. By a treaty with the Abkhazian dukes, Russia acquired Sukhumi in 1810 and declared a protectorate over all Abkhazia, which was formally annexed in 1864.

Abkhazia became an autonomous republic of the Soviet Union in 1921 and was made part of Georgia in 1930. In 1991 the region became an autonomous republic inside independent Georgia. Georgia itself was soon torn apart by bitter fighting between government forces and a guerrilla movement seeking an independent Abkhazian state. More than 3,000 people were killed in the fighting, and some 250,000 people, mostly ethnic Georgians, fled. In 1994 a cease-fire was negotiated, with Russian troops serving as peacekeepers, but the ultimate disposition of Abkhazia remained unresolved and fighting broke out again in 1998 and in 2001. In a 1999 referendum regarded as illegal by Georgia, voters approved declaring the region a sovereign state. The area is heavily dependent on Russia, and most of the residents now hold Russian passports.

After a presidential election in Oct., 2004, that apparently ended in a slim victory for opposition candidate Sergei Bagapsh, allegations of fraud from the Russian-supported runner-up, Prime Minister Raul Khajimba, resulted in a call for a new election, and a governmental impasse ensued. The issue was resolved when Bagapsh, who was widely believed to have won despite fraud on Khajimba's side, agreed to a new election (Jan., 2005) in which Khajimba was his running mate. Russia's failed attempt to manipulate a presidential victory for Khajimba, despite Bagapsh's own pro-Moscow leanings, was generally seen as a significant blunder.

In the aftermath of Georgia's attack on South Ossetia in Aug., 2008, and Russia's counterattack, Russia positioned additional troops in Abkhazia and for a time occupied some neighboring sections of Georgia. Abkhazian forces also seized the Kodori gorge, a region of Abkhazia that had remained under Georgian control. Subsequently Russia recognized Abkhazia as independent; a few other nations also have since done so. Russian and Abkhazian forces did not withdraw from areas of Abkhazia not previously under Abkhazian control, as called for in the truce, and Russia later began building several military bases in Abkhazia.

Bagapsh was reelected in 2009. When he died in 2011, Aleksandr Ankvab became acting president and then was elected president. Frustration over poor economic conditions led in 2014 to opposition demonstrations against Ankvab that forced him to flee to a Russian military base, and he resigned. Former prime minister Khajimba subsequently was elected president, and later in 2014 signed an agreement with Russia placing Abkhazian troops under Russian command and integrating the region's economy with Russia's. Khajimba faced opposition demonstrations calling for his ouster in late 2016.

Abkhazia

an administrative division of NW Georgia, between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains: a subtropical region, with mountains rising over 3900 m (13 000 ft.); Abkhazian separatists seized control of the region in 1993. Capital: Sukhumi. Pop.: 516 600 (1993 est.). Area: 8600 sq. km (3320 sq. miles)
References in periodicals archive ?
The ratification of the Agreement will have a positive impact on the functioning and combat readiness of the military units of the Russian Federation stationed on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia.
During our visit to the Damascus International Fair, we witnessed the presence and development of the Syrian economy and we have been introduced to the Syrian goods that are of a high quality, which will be one of the requirements of Abkhazia," he added.
According to Article 4 of the 2014 Alliance and Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation, Abkhazian foreign policies are to be in harmony with those of Moscow.
More than a few people here fear that Russia's goal is a kind of creeping annexation, with the final objective of integrating Abkhazia into the Russian Federation.
The treaty is a "step toward the de-facto annexation" of Abkhazia, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
Georgia considers elections in Abkhazia illegal, Interfax news agency quoted Georgia's Foreign Ministry as saying earlier on Sunday.
Abkhazia relies on Russia for its security and economic survival, so support for Russia is reasonably widespread.
Moscow recognised Abkhazia as independent in the wake of Russia s brief war with Georgia in 2008 and permanently stationed thousands of troops at military bases there -- a move that Tbilisi describes as occupation.
Moscow recognised the statehood of Abkhazia and another Georgian rebel territory, South Ossetia, after a brief war in August 2008, when Russian forces thwarted Tbilisi's military attack on South Ossetia and pushed deep into Georgia.
Murad highlighted the need to promote bilateral trade exchange, adding that both Jordan and Abkhazia have many industrial and agricultural products of high quality.
EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Police Catherine Ashton has expressed alarm over the deployment of Russian anti-aircraft missiles in Abkhazia.
Russia has placed an air defence missile system to in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, bringing almost immediate condemnation from the government in Tbilisi.