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(ăbkăz`) or


(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
, 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 formerly a major subtropical resort, whose sulfur baths have been frequented since
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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 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.


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 ?
Abkhazian residents can easily get Russian passports -- which offer their only possibility to travel to Western countries.
Gennady Tsvinariya, president of Nart FC made the offer to Suarez, saying: "Of course we cannot offer the Uruguayan footballer a financial package that he is used to, but the Abkhazian championship is at its peak.
51) Even though after the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993, in which volunteers from the Circassian republics also played an active role by virtue of their ethnic kinship with the Abkhazians, the consolidation of the Circassian peoples had reached a new level sufficient to transform the Circassian national movement into a new political player in the Caucasus, it did not happen.
For nearly two decades, the South Ossetian and Abkhazian regimes have contested the very idea that the Georgian state is sovereign over them.
A Georgian attempt to reassert control over South Ossetia in August 2008 was stopped by Russia, whose forces routed the Georgian army in a five-day war, with the assistance of Abkhazian troops.
It abstained, because Abkhazian refugees were kicked out of their homes by Russia, and not Turkey, which also abstained.
And not just any game of dominoes, but Abkhazian dominoes, a variant of the common game, played in the near reaches of the Caucasus.
The IIFFMCG report noted that Georgian threats were probably intended, at least inter alia, to pressure the removal of Russian peacekeepers that remained on Georgia's territory after the Abkhazian conflict.
First Deputy of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce Board Issa Murad discussed with a delegation from the Abkhazian Chamber of Trade and Industry means of boosting economic and trade relations between Jordan and Abkhazia.
During Sunday's first ever visit by a Russian president to the regions since the war two years ago, Dmitry Medvedev met with the Abkhazian leader Sergei Bagapsh in Sukhumi, the main city of Abkhazia.
During the Abkhazian conflict of the early 1990s, this business, especially the ammunition production facilities, flourished.