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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Independence Illusions of Separatist Regimes


After the declaration of independence of Kosovo, Kremlin-backed separatist leaders of Abkhazia (Georgian Apkhazeti) and Tskhinvali region of Georgia (soviet-communist name: "South Ossetia", Original name: Samachablo) have increased their contacts and travels to Moscow. They are trying to arrange their regions’ independence this way. The Kremlin will not back them openly of course, but in reality it is quite generous towards these regimes. At the beginning of March 2008 for example, Russia lifted the economic sanctions against the regions. It will not even mean a lot of change, because Russia was already importing contraband and providing arms, money and military instructors to the regimes. The so-called Russian peacekeeping troops in the regions are loyal to the Kremlin and are unfamiliar with principles of freedom of press and human rights.

Another question is what justice there is in the claim to independence of Abkhazia and "South Ossetia"(Original name: Samachablo) in comparison with Kosovo.


And why are the leaders of both regions in a hurry to get it? The regime in Abkhazia claims that a referendum and election results prove that the majority of the population wants to separate from Georgia and live in an independent state. But how was the ‘majority’ established? In September 1993 more than 300,000 ethnic Georgians were driven out of Abkhazia. By international standards this was nothing short of an ethnic cleansing. These refugees now live in Georgia and dream each day of returning to the homes they had to leave behind. The regime in Abkhazia resists this by all means. After the Georgians other inhabitants left: Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Russians and even quite a few Abkhazians. In 1989 Georgians were over 50 % of the population of Abkhazia. Of the population of 1989 only 20 % remains today. Manipulated referenda and elections held for this 20 % population are given by the regime as proof of the will of the people. More than 70,000 that have already returned and live in Abkhazia(Georgian: Apkhazeti) cannot take part in the referenda and elections. The reason for this was that they had not applied for citizenship of (non-recognized republic) Abkhazia!

A similar situation exists in the Tskhinval region. (soviet-communist name: "South Ossetia", Original name: Samachablo) where Georgians are already a majority. The Tskinvali regime states that they do not have citizenship of (non-recognized republic) "South Ossetia" and can therefore not take part in the referenda and elections.

The United Nations or any other international organization could not be present during these referenda and elections. They did not recognize them. Only Russia did.. That was no wonder, because Russia spent a lot of money on them and Russian observers were present. Russia is the only country that continuously threatens Georgia with recognizing the independence of the republics, thus trying to force Georgia away from a Western orientation.

Now the question remains: when will the international community finally demand of Abkhazia(Georgian: Apkhazeti) and "South Ossetia"(Original name: Samachablo) to let the refugees return to their homes? Both regimes know that when this happens, balance will be restored and independence will remain an illusion.

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