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Elections in Abkhazia: the race is on2011-06-10 19:56
Presidential elections in Abkhazia are scheduled for August 26. Only three months are allowed for them. That's a very little time in general and it is an especially little time now, after Sergey Bagapsh's sudden death when no one in the political field was ready for the pre-election race. It is rather symbolic that the new leader will be selected on the Independence Day - a meaningful milestone in history, which the late Bagapsh's name will always be associated with from now on
late Bagapsh's name will always be associated with from now on.
Abkhazia's current emotional state could be compared to a disturbed hive. Instead of playing backgammon, Abkhaz old men now play solitaire using the names of the future candidates for presidency.
A week ago, Sukhum was a deserted place. The country was mourning for Sergey Bagapsh who died an early death. Everyone thought it necessary either to go to the Philharmonic Hall where the burial service was held, or to visit the president's native village where he was buried. Flags were dipped and few visitors were sitting in restaurants with mournful faces. That is not funeral hypocrisy which is traditional for the Caucasus. The Abkhaz loved Bagapsh."Everyone scolded him when he was alive and now that he is dead everyone weeps", - a resident of the Abkhaz capital is telling about the atmosphere in the city.
Now everything has changed. "The king is dead - long live the king", - it sounds cynically but that's always true. The people make mournful faces when mentioning the late president and start enthusiastically discussing the struggle for his seat the next moment.
With the first summer days, dozens of small cafes start their life along the Sukhum quay. This year, their owners must be pleased, for they may reckon not only on tourists. The holiday season did not promise anything good: the main bridge at the Russian border was closed for repair works; prices jumped and the weather was bad. But now the Sukhum quay will surely become lively. Crowds of journalists, various experts and obese political consultants are coming to Sukhum. The capital of Abkhazia is turning into a political center of the South Caucasus as it has been for many times.
Now presidential elections in Abkhazia have turned into business. It is a fashionable trend among the Abkhaz political elite to hire political consultants from Russia. And though they cost much and it usually takes them long to clear up the specific situation in Abkhazia, each time they grow in number. The "veterans" of the latest elections ask their Abkhaz partners for their ICQ number, send them messages in Facebook and call their mobile numbers, offering help.
Little time has passed since the last elections, and the tariff rates for their services have hardly grown. The problem of the Russian political strategists is that the Abkhaz politicians' appetites have become milder than two years ago. At that time, they used to get ready for the pre-election race, raising money beforehand. Now that the elections have dropped from the skies, no one has got any means; besides, there have been enough mistakes on the part of the coming specialists. However, it is due to the previous campaign that there appeared political strategists in Moscow and even in Minsk who know Abkhazia much better than many of the Abkhaz.