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Abkhazia and the Caucasus: the west’s choice
 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:10 am    Post subject: Abkhazia and the Caucasus: the west’s choice Reply with quote

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Neither of these territories - both ethnically distinct - wanted to be part of Georgia when the Georgians declared independence in 1991. Both fought vicious wars against Georgian encroachment in the next few years. Both have now been effectively independent for over fifteen ears, and there is no prospect of a Tbilisi government taking control of them except by the use of armed force. As that would precipitate another, perhaps even a deeper and more savage Russian invasion of Georgia, it is out of the question. American or British talk of “restoring Georgia’s territorial integrity” is therefore nonsense: at best hypocritical, at worst suicidally ignorant.

But the differences between South Ossetia and Abkhazia matter too. South Ossetia, with a mere 70,000 people, is not really a proposition. Its people, if they were ever allowed a free choice, would probably reject independence and join their North Ossetian relatives in the Russian Federation. Abkhazia, in contrast, has a plausible future. It has about 250,000 inhabitants, the most beautiful stretch of the entire Black Sea coast, and rich sub-tropical agriculture. Most importantly, its people want to make a reality of their independence. They have no intention of letting the Georgians conquer them. To prevent that, they accept the presence of Russian troops and warships. But neither do they want to become just one more slatternly Russian colony. They would like Abkhazia to become a small, free, prosperous Black Sea state with close links to Europe.


http://www.opendemocracy.net/neal-ascherson/abkhazia-and-south-caucasus-west’s-choice
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