Abkhazian people have occupied these lands for more than 2 millennia. The territory—like many in the Caucasus region—has been fought over, conquered and occupied by different empires (Mongolian, Ottoman, and Russian) throughout this time. Although it has been a difficult history, Abkhazia has maintained its own unique language, culture, and heritage.
The Greek Empire established ports along the Abkhaz coast, including the ancient city of Dioscurias, which today is Sukhum. Abkhazia was part of the kingdoms of Colchis and Egrisi, and under rule of the Roman Empire until the 4th century CE. Abkhazia became an autonomous principality under the Byzantine Empire in the 7th century and had varying degrees of independence over the next centuries. It was under Byzantine influence that Abkhazians adopted Christianity, and Islam gained influence with the rise of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1810 Abkhazia was incorporated into the Russian Empire as an autonomous principality, and preserved that autonomy until 1864. The Russian-Circassian war of the mid 19th century forced many Caucasians to flee to the Ottoman Empire and allowed Russians and Georgians to emigrate into Abkhazia. At the collapse of the Russian Empire, Georgia and Abkhazia both established themselves as independent states, but in May 1918 the new Georgian Democratic Republic occupied and annexed Abkhazia. From 1918 until 1921, Abkhazia fought a liberation war against Georgia, backed by Caucasian regional organizations.
In 1920 Abkhazia became part of the Soviet Union and was initially granted full republican status, this status being recognised by Soviet Georgia. The establishment of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federation some time later in the 1920s saw Abkhazia becoming a member in treaty-alliance with Georgia (the two entities were still separate republics at this time). This status was later undermined by Joseph Stalin in 1931, when he subordinated Abkhazia to Georgia (his home-republic, of course) and soon thereafter began the mass-deportation of so-called ‘Georgians’ (mainly Mingrelians and Georgians) to Abkhazia.
In the period 1937-1953, the Abkhaz were deprived of the right to teach their children in their native language. All Abkhaz schools and institutions were closed. The Abkhaz were only allowed to study in Georgian schools. Abkhaz script (originally based on the Latin and then on Cyrillic) was altered, against the will of the Abkhaz people, to one based on Georgian characters. As a result, after 1938 the Abkhaz were deprived of the right to read newspapers, journals, and other literature in the native language.
As a result of the massive Georgification of Abkhazia, by the 1990s, less than a fifth of people in Abkhazia were ethnic Abkhaz. Despite their status as minorities in their own state, Abkhazians actively pushed for independence. The period of perestroika (mid- to late-1980s) under the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev gave Abkhazians, as well as other Soviet minorities, encouragement to voice grievances about their treatment under the Soviet regime. At the end of this period (1990-91), Georgia made a move to withdraw completely from the Soviet Union and annulled all Soviet Legislation. It also annulled the legislation which had subordinated Abkhazia to Georgian control, thereby nullifying its control of Abkhazia. On July 23, 1992, Abkhazia adopted the Constitution of 1925, which effectively declared independence, though this went unrecognized internationally. Georgians responded through military aggression in the summer of 1992, which was fiercely defended by the people of Abkhazia until the Georgian forces withdrew in the autumn of 1993. During the war of 1992-93, Abkhazia lost 4% of its population as well as large swathes of infrastructure and historical/cultural treasures. A cease-fire was signed between the two sides in May 1994.
Abkhazia adopted a new constitution on November 26 1994, declaring Abkhazia’s national sovereignty, which went unrecognized internationally. Abkhazia was blockaded by Georgia, Russia and the CIS states issued economic sanctions in January 1996. This had severe impacts on the economic growth and development of Abkhazia.
In 2006, Georgian President Saak´ashvili once again raised tensions when he introduced, under the guise of a policing operation, military personnel into that part of Abkhazia (the Upper K’odor Valley) which had had remained in Georgian hands since the end of the war in 1993. There were plans in place to attempt another armed incursion into Abkhazia in the spring of 2008, but, in August 2008, it was South Osetia which instead became the focus of the Georgian military attack. At that time, Abkhazia and South Osetia requested assistance from the Russian government in resisting the deadly attacks of the Georgian military. Russia immediately complied with the request, and the Georgian threat was repelled.
Since the five-day war of 2008, Abkhazia’s independence has been fully recognised by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.
|Government & Institutions
People's Assembly - Parliament
Ministry of Interior
National Bank of the Republic of Abkhazia
State Committee of Sports and Youth
State Committee of Tourism
Embassy of Abkhazia in Russia
Embassy of Abkhazia in Venezuela
Embassy of Russia in Abkhazia
| Mass media
Abkhazian State TV
State Information Agency "Apsnypress"
|MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPUBLIC OF ABKHAZIA||E-mail: email@example.com; Tel: +7 (840) 226-70-69; Adress:. Sakharova, 33|