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Lakoba’s resignation before elections. Situation assessment20.08.2009 | 22:57
Secretary of the Security Council of Abkhazia Stanislav Lakoba recently submitted resignation. Georgia considers Lakoba's act as the evidence of the political crisis in the country. Sukhum associates Lakoba's resignation with the coming presidential election. Some Russian media suppose Moscow is getting ready for the change of power in the republic. At all events the main intrigue is still ahead. Remembering 2004 elections one thing is certain: the Caucasus is a delicate matter. Puzzling out the intricacies of this newborn country's politics GeorgiaTimes correspondent talks to Abkhaz and Russian politologists.
You can never enter the same river twice, the saying goes. Here is the second attempt of the Abkhaz politician to resign.
As Kommersant writes in May 2005 he already tried to step down but President Bagapsh was against it. Then Mr. Lakoba didn't approve of the staff policy of Abkhaz leadership and Sukhum's foreign policy. This is how Stanislav Zasimovich explains his decision as Russian media report: "I disagree on amendments to the law on citizenship of Abkhazia the parliament adopted on July 31, but my resignation is connected with other events too". Lakoba was evasive about these other events.
It is believed in Sukhum that amendments to the law are just a pretext, while the real reason is the start of the election campaign. The Secretary of Abkhazia's Public Chamber Natella Akaba, a politologist, was quite frank telling GeorgiaTimes correspondent that Lakoba's resignation should be connected with the coming elections. However, this move of now ex Secretary of Abkhaz Security Council was not a surprise for the experts. A day before Lakoba sent in resignation journalist Pavel Sheremet wrote in Ogonyok magazine: "He did a lot for Sergey Bagapsh's victory at the last election, but he is likely to take a new path this time". Lakoba told the journalists he had taken this decision a few days before but decided "not to submit resignation from the post of the Secretary of the republican Security Council at the time of Russian PM Vladimir Putin's visit to Abkhazia".
Stanislav Lakoba has made no statements about joining the opposition yet. That's why analysts wonder if he will stand as a candidate at the coming elections on his own or in tandem with other oppositionists who rose against Bagapsh after he proposed amending the law on citizenship. On July 31 the parliament adopted the amendments allowing massive issuance of Abkhaz passports to the Georgians of Gal district most of whom are in favor of Bagapsh. But under pressure of the opposition the entry into effect was postponed.
As the Caucasian Knot reports the opposition believes this law makes equal the number of Abkhaz and Georgian citizens of the republic granting equal rights to those "who fought for Abkhazia's independence and those who have been pursuing Georgia's colonial interests for many years". The opposition is not happy about Bagapsh's proposal allowing Gal district residents to vote with both - Abkhaz passports and the so-called interim forms number 9. The opposition believes this may cause falsification as the same person can vote several times with this document.
RBC Daily (Russia) with reference to a source associated with Russian special services reports that the issuance of passports shows Bagapsh's attempt to restore trust relations with the West that were interrupted after the August war. The newspaper ponders that Moscow doesn't mind changing horses in midstream. Why then did Vladimir Vladimirovich meet with the opposition? The head of Strategic Planning Service of the Association of Near-border Cooperation Alexander Sobyanin told the newspaper: "Generally speaking Putin made it clear that Russia was not going to put all eggs in one basket and is ready to deal with the opposition that will probably take over after the Abkhaz presidential election in December".
The Georgian side made its own conclusions of Stanislav Lakoba's resignation. According to the head of the so-called Abkhaz government in exile Georgy Baramia, Lakoba's resignation confirms the peak of the political crisis in Abkhazia. According to Giya Gvazava, Chairman of Supreme Council of Abkhazia stationed in Georgia Stanislav Lakoba's resignation may be connected with distribution of Abkhaz passports in Gal district. "Lakoba is an extreme nationalist believing that the Georgian population must leave Gal district and Abkhazia and there must be no passport issuance to them. It is not impossible this could be the reason of his resignation though there might also be more serious causes", - Gvazava thinks.
Well, impartiality of the Georgian politicians evaluating the situation in Abkhazia is clear. However both Abkhaz and Russian experts agree that citizenship issue will be one of the top ones in election race for the presidential position. Aforementioned Natella Akaba remarked that most probably the passport distribution issue was the pretext for Lakoba. Difference in opinions is easily explainable and it confirms democracy and not single-party like-mindedness. Different opinions don't mean a political crisis, she believes.