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Memory day without hope2010-09-28 18:12
The fight for Sukhum was over seventeen years ago. The fall of the capital of the Abkhaz autonomous republic became a hinge point in the confrontation between Georgian armed forces and the rebellious Abkhaz. In a week, by 4 October 4 1993, Georgian soldiers had to leave the territory of the republic. The history of the Abkhaz autonomous republic as part of Georgia was over; there started the history of the state that had been unrecognized until recently, the Republic of Abkhazia. From then on, Tbilisi held control only over the Kodorskoye Gorge in the territory of the former autonomy.
According to official information, the 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhaz armed conflict took the lives of 17 thousand people, including four thousand Abkhaz. Over 270 thousand Georgians had to flee from the republic (according to UN as of November 2004, there were officially registered 280 thousand refugees from the former autonomy inside and outside Georgia).
The collapse of the USSR stirred so much silt in the relationship of the once "brotherly" peoples of the former communist empire that now one can hardly tell the exact reason of the modern geopolitical configuration realities in the territory of one sixth of the land. However, the division of Georgia cannot be attributed to unavoidable consequences of the post-Soviet troubled years.
A 13-month war that resulted in Tbilisi's loss of South Ossetia and its loss of control over Abkhazia became the consequent of a long chain of events and circumstances, where an important role was played by self-assurance and short-sightedness of the then Georgian government that encouraged the nationalistically-minded powers of the Georgian society. Of course, the time of a sovereign nationality establishment implies certain hardships, especially in the context of a civil war; still, gaining political score in one's fight with the opponents at the expense of national minorities is an utterly thankless job.
It was not at once that the Abkhaz made their choice in favor of independence and armed confrontation with Tbilisi. Sovereign ambitions of some of the Sukhum political leaders were just one of the many possible scenarios of the Abkhaz sovereignty development under conditions when ethnic Abkhaz did not comprise the majority of the autonomy population, so the scenario was initially rather marginal. It was enough to assure the Sukhum elites of preserving the autonomy of the republic after declaring independence of the young Georgian state to make the events take a different turn.