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Abkhazia: origins of independence2009-10-01 12:46
Today Abkhazia is celebrating 16th independence anniversary. On September 30 1993 Abkhaz troops defeated the numerically superior forces of the adversary, the republic's "big brother" - Georgia. Abkhazia paid a high price for its freedom: according to unveiled data over five thousand Abkhazians were dead in the course of the conflict. The names of these heroes are commemorated today in Sukhum, Gagra and other towns of the independent country.
On August 14 1992 the National Guard of Georgia entered Abkhazia after the local government revalidated the Soviet republic's constitution and its autonomous status on Georgia's secession from the USSR. It took three thousand soldiers led by Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani three days to occupy most of the Abkhaz territory.
However light-armed resistance forces of the autonomous republic were not going to surrender. On August 31 assisted by volunteers from Chechnya and Adygei the militia squads defended Lower Eshers village marking the start of the victorious counter-offensive of the Abkhaz troops.
Earlier in September 1992 the resistance forces won away Gagra after which the town's interim commandant Georgy Karkashvili threatened genocide. "I can assure the separatists that with overall 100 thousand victims among Georgians all your 97 thousand (i.e. the whole Abkhaz nation - ed.) will be dead", - was the Georgian general's TV address to the resisting Abkhazians.
Karkashvili's speech wasn't effective. On the contrary the militia troops got even more ferocious. Day after day they occupied strategic altitudes and gradually approached the capital of Abkhazia. Sukhum was the scene of the historic battle that actually signalized the republic's liberation from the Georgian troops, as President Sergey Bagapsh said.
In September 1993 the resistance troops fought off Sukhum compelled to oppose the aviation forces and 12-thousand group of Georgian troops. By September 30 the Abkhazians were in control of the whole of the autonomy.
"On that day we erected a state flag on the Abkhaz border on the Ingur river" - Caucasian Knot quotes Givi Agrba, combatant, the hero of Abkhazia.
In later years Georgia made three failed attempts at restituting Abkhazia. The Abkhazians didn't give away both Gal district and Upper Kodory gorge. The proud autonomy, as Sergey Markedonov says, was a "suitcase without a handle" for Tbilisi: much desired but hard to lift...