Chapter 3. Legal basis of statehood.

3.1. Sovereignty and general provisions of international law.

Before considering the question of a substantiation of legal aspects of sovereignty, it is necessary to give an explanation of the formulations and interpretation of some concepts and definitions. Examples include: ethnos, the people, a nationality, the nation, a national minority, etc. For Abkhazia, the ethnos is Abkhazians together with closely  related people of the North Caucasus (Adygs, Abazinians, etc.). They represent ­ an isolated ethnolinguistic group. An ethnolinguistic group ­ living in the same territory may be presented as a nation, as ­ a people or as a nationality. As  L.A.Steshenko remarks,

“…in a broad sense ­ the nation category can be defined as ethnosocial (and not always related by blood), a community with a developed and fixed consciousness of their identity (a common historical destiny, psychology and character, adherence to national material and spiritual values and ­ national feelings, national symbols), and also (mainly at a formation stage), territorial language and economic unity ­ which further, under the influence of integration and migratory processes, prove ambiguous, quite often losing their  main meaning though by no means disappearing. Owing to various vital events, national unity can be supported by both material and (for a number of nations) by spiritual and psychological factors, in particular ­ a common origin and historical destiny”.

 All of this has ­direct relation to the Republic of Abkhazia and its people, as Abkhazians are not simply the nation, but the host nation. The number of defining ­ signs of a nation also includes unity of the territory which it occupies.

Representatives of other nationalities who are also a part ­ of the nation live in each state simultaneously with the native people (ethnos)­. The term and concept of “the native peoples” were introduced for the first time in 1957 by the ITO Convention № 107 “About the native peoples conducting a breeding way of life, in independent countries” and were confirmed by the similar ITO Convention № 169 of June 27th, 1989: “About protection and integration of the native and other populations conducting a breeding and semibreeding way of life in independent countries”. The native people, according to the Convention, are understood as the people living on their lands before the arrival there of settlers from other areas. But for some reason Adygs, Abkhazians, etc. are not considered as native peoples living primordially on their lands, though a large quantity of people from the central areas of Transcaucasia were artificially moved to their country for the purpose of ­ transferring the Abkhazian monoethnos to a small nationality, and ­ realisation of the "legitimate" capture of power by the creation of an artificial Georgian majority in the territory of Abkhazia. Besides, Abkhazians do not conduct ­ a "breeding" or "semibreeding" way of life, and represent modern civilised people who are, as ­ history confirms,­  the indigenous population, living on their own land and possessing ­their own sovereign and independent state by definition­. In advance, we will say that the representatives of the Georgian nation occupying ­ Abkhazia in the XX century, by one of the definitions given above, do not enter the concept of “the people of Abkhazia” and are invaders and newcomers, ­ as the French were invaders and newcomers in Algeria and the­ Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique.

Concerning the question of the right of a people or  nation to self-determination, ­ it is necessary to consider the  problem from the point of view of the possibility of development of the given ­ people or nation. If all the necessary conditions exist for self-development, the question of national state independence or ­ self-determination does not arise. In conditions when the development of the people is limited by the actions of another state (occupation or annexation), or as a result of dictatorship of the numerical majority of the people representing another ­ ethnos, especially if this majority was artificially created (as took place in Abkhazia), there is a question of the right of the people and the nation to self-determination, and in this case it is lawful.

A considerable number of conflicts in the world are generated by one ­ more numerous nationality using  force ­ to suppress the aspiration of a small nationality to independence. This is because small ethnoses, as a rule, together with independence also ask for territory on which they can enjoy this independence. The aspiration of a small nationality to independence, which is strictly called separatism, begins with the “small” peoples trying to study history actively. Then near to the textbook ­ of history of the people, the geographical atlas is always found. During this period amazing things happen: the small people will come across pages of history ­ when they were not small at all, and occupied a bigger territory than they do today. Then they investigate the history of “big” people and do not find any similar facts in it. The conflict begins with this discovery, and expands as the small people learn more and more of the facts confirming that the present majority became the majority by the intended policy of genocide and assimilation of the small people. At this moment the first explosion occurs, and the people start to fight for their rights, territory and ­ sovereignty as a whole.

 It should be noted that Abkhazia has always owned and now owns its own territory, and in this respect has all the foundations of sovereignty. The country territory is some kind of material resource for any ­ state, without which it cannot exist. This is both a natural and social condition of its existence and functioning. Change of ownership of territory should and can occur only on the basis of ­self-determination by the peoples and the nations. Old methods of appropriation ­ of territory - annexation, previous acquisition and cession - have lost their value and can be abolished and  disavowed, if this does not contradict the main principles of international law, and gain as a way ­ of acquisition of territories is forbidden under modern international law. But this is the theory, and in practice it occurs in another way. In our case, ­ Georgia immediately used the aim of its withdrawal from the territory of Abkhazia to its own advantage. ­ As Georgian power over this territory increases, the power of Abkhazians is reduced i.e. Georgia’s introduction of its ethnos at its own discretion leads to extermination of the native ­ people of the country.

The principle of a national approach in the practice of building a state plays the major role. The degree of its influence on a policy is so great­ that neither religion nor ideology can be compared to it. Only the sovereignty of  the nation can provide legitimacy to the state, and make available the closest connection between principles of nationality and legitimacy. ­ Necessity for the presence of statehood is defined by the people living in the local territory.

The creation of new superpowers is based in most cases ­ on the use and application of force, and military expansion against states which are weak in the defence or economic spheres. But if ­ the stronger state, using brute force, tries to impose its power on other people, why do the people of the oppressed but self-dependent ethnos not throw off their oppressors even if ­ the order imposed ­ by the oppressors, and the territorial integrity of the country, will thus fail?. This was performed by the people of Abkhazia in 1992-1993.

The major sign of the state is the sovereignty. The sovereignty of the people means its full power or leadership in the decision of major questions during the life of the country, the government receiving the legal opportunity to independently solve all pressing questions of internal and foreign policy. It concerns both its internal make-up­ and the organisation of mutual relations with other subjects of international law, etc. Important, but not fundamental in the existence of a state is its recognition by the international community. Sovereignty is leadership of the state in the country within its borders and independence on the international scene, and it appears ­ immediately with the creation of a state, getting de facto status without dependence upon its recognition or non-recognition by other subjects ­ of international law.

World practice of development of statehood and international law established foundations and principles of sovereignty a long time ago. These are the presence of ethnos, the nation owning its own territory, cultural property, presence ­ of a national language and traditions of statehood. Thus possession of territory is a material basis of state and national ­ sovereignty. As a political basis of sovereignty, the existence ­ of a stable, developed state is required, as well as a sufficiently developed political organisation and power structure. A legal basis of sovereignty ­ is constitutions, declarations, international treaties fixing ­ a sovereign equality of states, their territorial integrity, and­ non-interference in their internal and foreign affairs.

In the world there always have been and still are states with formal or limited sovereignty. Formal sovereignty is considered to be when it is legally and politically proclaimed, but actually, owing to the influence of other states dictating their will to it, does not happen. Partial restriction of sovereignty can be compulsory or voluntary. Compulsory restriction is imposed by the winning state after a war (or under the decision of the Central Committee of the RCP - the CPSU Central Committee as it was in Abkhazia in 1935-1990), and it always means servitude.

Voluntary restriction of sovereignty can be supposed by the ­ state under a mutual arrangement with another for the sake of achievement of certain­ common purposes for them, and also when an association in the­ federation occurs, to transfer to it a part of the sovereign rights. But in this case the right of refusal of such voluntary restriction should remain, so that ­ the federal treaty does not become one-sided.

After acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations, the principle of self-determination of the people ­ has repeatedly, since resolution 545 (VI) in the General Assembly, received confirmation in United Nations documents. Among them it is necessary to name a document accepted ­ by resolution 1514 (XV) from December 14th, 1960: the Declaration on the assignment of independence ­ to colonial countries and their people. Other such documents include  the International pact about ­ economic, social and cultural rights and the International pact about civil ­ and political rights (1966) and the Final certificate of the OSCE Meeting (1975), in which the right of the people to dispose of their own destiny is especially underlined.

The principle of self-determination of peoples is fully and clearly shown in the Declaration on the principles of  international law, concerning ­ friendship and cooperation between states according to ­ the United Nations Organization Charter, and ­ the resolution 2625 (XXV) accepted on October 24th, 1970 which includes: “Creation of a sovereign and independent ­ state, free joining to an independent state, or association ­ with it, or an establishment of any other political status freely defined ­ by the people, are forms of realisation by these people of the right to self-determination”.

In the Declaration it is also emphasised that each state is obliged ­ to refrain from any violent actions which could prevent ­ the people from realisation of the right to self-determination.

An important element of the considered principle is the right of the people to ask for and receive support according to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations if they are violently deprived of their right to ­ self-determination. The declaration states that “nothing in the above should be interpreted as authorising or encouraging any actions which would lead to a partition or to partial or full infringement of the territorial integrity or political unity of  sovereign and independent states, observing in the actions a principle of equality ­ and self-determination of the people...”.

Thus, the parties which signed the Declaration oppose applications under an unreasonable and far-fetched pretext, ostensibly rendering assistance in realisation of the right to self-determination, or any actions breaking the territorial integrity and political unity ­ of states, already “observing in the actions a principle of equality and self-determination of the people”, by other states or international ­ organisations. But this document is directed towards   preventing ­ demagogic use of the slogan of self-determination for any hostile actions concerning a state in whose territory ­two or more peoples live, voluntarily realising their right to self-determination in the form of joint residence. Towards this,   some of the international documents accepted within the limits of the CIS, including Agreements on creation of the CIS (item 5, 1991) in which ­ the parties have confirmed “inviolability of existing borders within the limits of ­ Commonwealth”, are directed.

The right of nations to self-determination and statehood is one of the higher achievements of civilisation, based on equality and mutual respect of the rights of all peoples without exception. At the same time, problems of international ­ relations and, in particular, questions of national territorial determination, world experience shows to be the most complicated and difficult to solve. The reasons for that are two opposite ­ approaches to the principle of self-determination. On one interpretation, the right to self-determination assumes the right of people to solve the question of their ­ destiny and to simultaneously solve the question of the status of the territory occupied by them, and hence to define, according to their freely expressed will, the form of the state and its borders. The other interpretation denies the people ­ of the annexed area or state the right to determine their destiny, and thereby the destiny of the territory occupied by those people, if  the country from ­ which they wish to separate does not agree­.

The moral and political characteristics of recreated­ states, and the legitimacy of their existence and functioning, are directly dependent upon the legitimacy of their methods of creation and on ­their degree of support from the population. From experiences of the formation of new states in various ­ parts of the world, it follows that the states which have arisen with the support of the masses always have more chances of survival and further development than the countries which do not have such support, especially if power belongs to another state. History testifies that states arise and perish as a result of periodically increasing contradictions and conflicts within themselves and as a result of contradictions between the old state which is becoming obsolete and a rising new state. This process is endless, never ­ interrupted and not avoiding any country. Collapse of the Roman, British, French, Portuguese, etc. empires, and of the   USSR, testifies to this. Both superstates and ordinary states ­ pass this way, undergoing considerable changes, and in due course leave the world scene. This process will certainly concern all states existing nowadays, even the apparently strongest and most stable in ­ industrial, military and other fields: the USA, Canada,­  France, etc. The processes observed in the modern world confirm that in the near future the main accent in mutual relations ­ between peoples will be transferred from economic aspects to ethnic,­  which will undoubtedly result (and already has resulted) in collision between not only states, but also civilisations.

The final certificate of the OSCE Meeting confirmed the Declaration of Principles by which  state participants ­ should be guided in mutual relations. It solemnly confirmed that, proceeding from a principle of equality and the right of  peoples to dispose of their destiny, “all peoples always have the right to define, under conditions of full freedom,­ when and how they wish, their internal and external political ­ status without intervention from the outside and to carry out at their own discretion their­ political, economic, social and cultural development”. All the international documents mentioned above proceed from this inalienable and non-cancellable right.

The subjects of international law involved in the process of self-determination are considered to be: the people, aspiring to take advantage of their inalienable law­; the state in whose borders these people live; interstate ­ organizations; struggling nations in the name of bodies of national ­ resistance, as initial subjects of international law; and also transnational corporations, people and representatives participating ­ in the economy, and international non-governmental organisations. As for the people, it is a question first of all of ­ the population long since living in a certain territory - the host­ nation, which on occasions (and this concerns Abkhazia) makes less than 50 % of the whole population. But especially for this nation and these people, the ­ possibility of their own development ­ is provided. The requirement   to honestly carry out the instructions of international law concerning the principle of self-determination is initially addressed to the state from which the self-determined people are separating. An unconditional duty of the state to respect the expressed will of the people corresponds to the right of the direct subjects of legal relations - the people making the free decision about their destiny, up to separation. Hence, the necessity of submission to the will ­of involved people represents the essence of the principle of self-determination­. This is fair for the states whose evolution ­ occurred  in the background of natural historical events, as was the case in Abkhazia ­ till 1864.

As to the development of evolutionary processes during the subsequent period in Abkhazia, it is necessary to take into account the settlement of a wide territory by people from areas of Central Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia) and from ­ Russia, which completely changed the demographic condition of the country. In world opinion, such actions by an aggressive state are considered as colonial policy, annexation or occupation, and first of all steps must be directed   towards the ending of the occupation and the exile of an aggressor from territory grasped by it, and towards the elimination of all consequences of such a policy. In the majority of countries which achieved independence, repatriation of newcomers and their descendants, even those who were born in the occupied country, was a consequence of illegal settlement by foreign people, as was the case in Abkhazia.

According to Article 27 of the International pact about civil and ­ political rights, in the countries “where there are ethnic, religious and language ­ minorities,  persons belonging to such a minority, cannot be refused the right... to use its culture, to practise its religion, to execute its ceremonies, and also to use their native language”. It is the list of those human rights which were broken concerning ­ the Abkhazian people. Resolution 47/135 of the United Nations the Declaration on the rights of  persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and language minorities had been accepted. But it was all declared for "national minorities",­  and after all Abkhazia was an original country, a state occupied by its native ­ people, making a  nation which by usurpation of power, and territory annexation, was made a national minority under a colonial regime.

In the advisory conclusion about Western Sahara the International Court, referring to the well-known Resolution 1514 (XV) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, confirmed that “application of the right to self-determination can be carried out ­ only under the conditions of the free will of the interested ­ people”. The International Court also noted that Resolution 2625 (XXV) of the General ­ Assembly of the United Nations “once again reminds us of the necessity to take into consideration the will of the interested people”. Forms of realisation of sovereignty can be various - from national and cultural autonomy, territorial federation, or democratisation of the state ­ up to full separation into an independent sovereign state. Resolution 49/148 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, called “World realization of the rights of the people to self-determination”, says: “The General Assembly of the United Nations... underlines the importance of world realisation of the rights of the people to ­ self-determination for an effective guarantee of human rights”. Also, ­ the resolution of the 49th session of the Committee of the United Nations on March 8th, 1996, on the destruction of racial discrimination, states in Item 7 Part V: “... The right of the people to ­ self-determination is one of the main principles of international law”. The question of how to carry out and reveal this will of the people is not­ legal, but political. Its decision depends upon the competence ­ of governments, the local and central authorities which should ­ ascertain the free will of each person in the given territory and, in case of self-determination of the people and exit of the territory from the structure of another state, to take all measures for the realisation of a peaceful, nonviolent change ­ of statehood.

When there is a speech about the Republic of Abkhazia, many publicists and politicians ­ necessarily add the   definition "self-proclaimed", aspiring thus ­ to underline the “second-rate” status of the country. It is necessary to be reminded that ­ many states of the world, including the USA, “the sample of modern democracy”, are self-proclaimed. As is known, in 1776 thirteen British colonies of North America accepted the Declaration of Independence, and thereby “self-proclaimed” a republic, and then by an armed struggle ­compelled their mother country to recognise their independence. ­ Almost all South American states were self-proclaimed. In the 1820s they proclaimed independence and forced Spain to recognise their sovereignty through military actions. In Europe, Belgium and the Netherlands are included in the number of the self-proclaimed. Algeria too “self-proclaimed” independence and after a liberation war forced France to recognise the new state, despite the counteraction of some groups lamenting the sad destiny of one million ­French "refugees", or repatriates to be exact, lodged in that country in colonial sovereignty, and in the 1960s expelled from "their" land. As it is possible to see from these examples, the fact of self-declaration is not something unusual in world history or in international law.

The principle of the integrity and inviolability of a country also considers in an equal measure the prohibition of its violent partition or capture and ­ seizure. Similar actions from abroad, from whomsoever they proceed, are classified ­ as actions of direct aggression. Each state has a right and a duty ­ to protect its territory and the citizens living on it. ­ At the same time, the Charter of the United Nations does not use the concept of integrity of territory. It is a question of “territorial inviolability”, and the given concept is not concerned with self-determination, but with the non-use of force between states.

It is well-known that at the collapse of the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, nobody showed a wish to infringe the integrity of these ­ states. The world community never undertook to keep the borders of any state which signed the Helsinki Agreement. As ­V.P.Stupishin notes in the article “Nations and freedom, real and imaginary”, ­ to give up “the right to self-determination means to doom all ordinary people at best to violent assimilation, and at worst to extinction”. Within living memory, numerous examples of imperialist­ colonial powers putting forward such slogans as “Algeria is France”, “Mozambique is Portugal”, etc. have occurred, where the seized countries attached ­ by force were  declared “uniform and indivisible” territories of mother countries, who violently kept possession and confirmed that any  self-determination by the people threatened the territorial integrity of the multinational colonial states and the firmness of their ­ frontiers. The same occurs today in relations between Abkhazia and Georgia.

The concept of self-determination of the people has received a further development in ­ United Nations documents. The General Assembly defined colonialism and all other forms of foreign domination and exploitation as an infringement of the right of the people to self-determination and of fundamental human rights, and as the right to self-determination is among collective human rights its negation also represents a mass infringement of human rights. However the world community organisations ­(the United Nations, EU) shut their eyes to these illegal actions by Georgia in ­ Abkhazia. To show how political propoganda works in practice, as a veiled kind of leader to infringement of the rights of the people,­  we will quote from the letter written by A.Totadze, in charge of international relations for the Central Committee of the Georgian Communist Party, to the magazine "Dialogue" (1990 edition), in reply to A.Tausova's article “The day before” in № 13 of this magazine:

“The formation of the Abkhazian ASSR was an error from the very beginning, and it did not deserve ­ this status basically because of two circumstances: the native Georgian population of Abkhazia quantitatively was much larger than that of Abkhazians, and  under the practice operating at that time, for assignment of the status of a Soviet republic its population ­ should make more than one million...

Perhaps A.Tausova and like-minded people will explain to us whether Abkhazia ever existed, or where it was situated?

It is interesting why Abkhazians so assiduously voice the groundless opinion that in Abkhazia Georgians  ostensibly lived in  insignificant numbers, and its only indigenous population are Abkhazians. Why is attention directed only to growth in the Georgian population , whilst representatives of other nations ­ have increased in much greater quantities? There is a question: how to answer the  fact that ­ Georgians have lived in Abkhazia from time immemorial?”.

Very good questions! We hope that they are fully answered in the present work.

The principle of self-determination mentions not only the rights of the people, but also ­ relations between the state and the person. The rights and freedom of the person and the right of the people to self-determination are interconnected and mutually dependent. There cannot be a speech about using the rights and freedom of the person if its collective right - the right of the people to self-determination – is not recognized, and conversely, it is impossible to carry out the right to self-determination if ­ human rights are broken. The resolution of the General Assembly 637 (VII) of the United Nations on December 16th, 1952 specifies this interrelation and mutual conditionality, in which it is noticed, in particular, that the right of people and nations to self-determination is the precondition for using all major human rights. Therefore all international certificates about human rights ­ carry the right of the people to self-determination as one of the basic, fundamental ­ human rights. Only the Abkhazian people living in their own territory can define their own statehood, or ­ confirm it if it already existed a long time before its de facto sovereignty was interrupted owing to various ­ influences both from the outside and from within. Hence, from the point of view of international law, the Abkhazian ethnos has all the preconditions necessary ­ for the recognition of Abkhazia de facto and de jure as an independent sovereign ­ state.

V.Ilyin notices that for the development of a people or nation, a symbiosis of national aims and the political, economic, social and cultural interest of the nation is always necessary, thus no idea can be separated from these interests. The policy is always the balance of forces equalising expansion and national will. For this reason, active resistance from the people of Abkhazia ­ to the attempt at its annexation­ by Georgia, and to Georgia’s political expansion, took place­. Its forces were not in a condition ­ to defeat such counteraction by the Abkhazian people, and it is impossible to change this attitude of the country - it can only be destroyed, as ­ the leaders of “democratic” Georgia tried to do. It is possible not to recognise its sovereignty, it is possible to arrange a blockade, to transfer terrorists to the territory of Abkhazia - but these ­ mean nothing, if there is a people and army in this country.

Imperialist formulas about “uniform and indivisible” possession, ­ put forward under the pretext of protection of the territorial integrity of the state, in practice, as a rule, excused policies of annexation and national ­ seizure. It is regrettable that such relapses into imperialism occur­ at different times, and currently this directly ­ concerns Georgia and   its mutual relations with Abkhazia. Revival of such ideas of serfdom is naturally accompanied by negation of the right to self-determination of the people, by which the fate of a silent appendage, in the form of the annexed areas, is prepared. The principle of self-determination assumes ­ the possibility and legitimacy of change of the political status of the people, and thereby the possibility and legitimacy of change to the status of the territory occupied by it. On this basis, changes to borders of the state which result from occupation, breaking ­ national independence, national unity, or the territorial and ­ ethnic integrity of the people are lawful­­. Here there is no contradiction with the right to territorial ­ inviolability. After all, as we already mentioned above, the principle ­ of territorial inviolability concerns the protection of  states against external ­ encroachments onto their land.

At any real collision of principles as detailed above, it is necessary to ascertain:

a) Whether the "offending" government observes the principles of equality ­ and self-determination of the peoples;

b) Whether the government really “represents all peoples” living ­in the territory of the given state, and whether there is no discrimination by “race, creed or colour of skin”.

If a state keeping the people within the limits of a territory­ does not answer these minimal requirements it should voluntarily agree in the name of justice that the people seeking self-determination will say so. The methods of self-determination are known - creation of a sovereign and independent ­ state, free joining to an independent state or the establishment ­ of any other political status.

Which form to select depends upon the will of the people. In a case when the state neglects its international obligations and applies repressive measures against the people demanding self-determination, they have a full right not only to show resistance, but also to address other states, or­ the international community, for help. All other states not only should render no help to the annexing state, but, on the contrary, are obliged to render to the people struggling for a statement ­ of their right to self-determination, all necessary moral and ­ material aid. In the particular case of Abkhazia, Russia is twice obliged to render such ­ help - not only as a neighbour, but also as the original perpetrator of the present situation.

Concerning the institutional basis of statehood, it is necessary ­ to consider the power which is violating the rights of the people, carrying out terror against the people, is not recognized by society and gives ­ the need for civil disobedience. The international community recognised the following forms of the will of the people as ­ an implementer of the right to self-determination: articles in the press, indignation, protests, revolts, national meetings, decisions ­ of a representative body, and the resolutions of public organisations. The higher organized ­ forms of direct democracy are

plebiscites (referenda) 17. These actions are especially lawful if the power which is violating the rights of the people is foreign, and the government representing this country ­ is an aggressor. In this case the annexed state falls under the criterion of “foreign dependence” or “other forms ­ of foreign dependence”, as is the case concerning Abkhazia.

­                Consideration of infringements of these rights as penal ­ international crimes becomes one of the legal guarantees of observance of the right of the people to self-determination­­. In the draft of “the Code of crimes against the peace and safety of mankind” developed by the Commission of International Law on the instructions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, special kinds of crimes are allocated as­ extremely gross infringements of the right to ­ self-determination: an attempt at annexation, an establishment or preservation by force ­ of colonial domination, forced submission of any nation, or part of it, ­ to foreign domination, etc. The seriousness of such crimes is shown by the fact   that they undermine the basis of existence ­ of a human society, such as took place in Abkhazia up to the end of the 20th century.

Connection of these types of crimes with infringement of the right to self-determination ­ is especially visible in the case of an annexation, which means­ not only violent seizure, but also forced retention of the region by a foreign power, contrary to the will of its population. Annexation, according to the definition of aggression developed by the international community ­ and accepted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 14th, 1974, is a part of this international crime and merits international ­ responsibility.

It is very important to define what is necessary and sufficient for the recognition of state sovereignty. The basic attributes defining conditions of self-determination of a nation are:

1) presence of own territory and indigenous population united by citizenship;

2) presence of an operating constitution accepted by legitimate representative body;

3) statehood and power institutes - a working parliament ­ possessing legislative powers;

4) laws accepted by parliament and obligatory for execution by both citizens and government institutes;

5) a general state language for the whole population;

6) political and economic independence from other countries.

According to the latest requirements of international law and the demands of people for self-determination or for the joining of one state to another, historical, ethnographic and economic reasons are usually considered,­  and also the will of the population of disputed ­ territories (for self-determination) is taken into account­. For the Abkhazian people, the nation possesses all these given signs.

It appears that for a recognition of the full sovereignty of a state this is insufficient. Practice shows that even the smallest state structure will be sovereign de jure only if and when its sovereignty is recognised by the majority of countries. The important factor influencing the existence ­ of a state is its viability, and this­ concerns small states in a major way. Great powers possess full independence and sovereignty, but for small nations these always present problems. Their sovereignty, as well as their independence, is always in doubt,­ and subject to repeated investigations from their neighbours, especially if these are large ­ states. However, small states, in the case of conflict situations,­  always have the possibility of obtaining help from other ­ neighbours.

Expansionists, aspiring to the seizure and capture of another's territories, do not of course concur with this interpretation of the right to self-determination. They ­have always tried, and are still trying, to present this democratic form of mutual relations ­ between peoples as undesirable and breaking the "lawful" status quo of "separatism".18. This is also promoted by a substitution of the concepts ­ which occurred in the Final Helsinki Agreement. The slogan “territorial ­ inviolability”, providing for the inadmissibility of aggression, annexation and occupation, and wars as a whole, was  changed to the slogan “territorial ­ integrity”, thereby legalising all kinds of “Anschluss” and presenting an insuperable ­ barrier to people, nations and ethnoses seeking realisation of their legitimate right for self-determination which, by the way, was declared by the same Helsinki ­ Agreement and other international documents.

In resolution 2200 (XXI) of the International pact about economic, social and cultural rights, accepted on December 16th, 1966, it is stated that: “All ­ peoples have the right to self-determination. Due to this right they freely ­ establish their political status and freely provide economic, social and cultural development” (article 1 item 1). Having signed the Final Helsinki Agreement, the participating states were obliged to respect “the right of the people to dispose of their destiny”, having confirmed that “all peoples always have the right to define, under conditions of full freedom, when and as they wish, their internal and external political status without intervention from the outside, and to carry out their political, economic,­ social and cultural development at their own discretion”.


17 As is known, the question on the independence of East Timor, occupied by Indonesia for more than 25 years, was solved by a referendum in 2002. After the fall of the dictatorship of General Suharto, the new authorities of Indonesia had to recognise the will of the people on the small island, of whom a third had been killed in 1975-1979 during the annexation and occupation of this territory.

18 States preventing the fair requirement of self-determination for people use the term "separatism" in an abusive, offensive sense, although it only describes the evolutionary development of countries in the course of formation of their statehood. Separatism is the political movement whose purpose is the separation from a state of part of its territory, creation therein of a new state (name) and diplomatic recognition of this state by the international community. Upon achievement of this purpose, separatism exists no longer.  Along with separatism there are also other kinds of national movements: irredentism - movement for separation for the purpose of subsequently joining a territory to a neighbouring state, and autonomism - not encroaching on  the territorial integrity of the state.


Some leading Georgian politicians name the­ struggle of the Abkhazian people for their rights as “aggressive separatism”­. Is it possible to name the aspirations of Abkhazians to solve their problems by civilized parliamentary means, in response to bullying Georgian chauvinism, as “aggressive separatism”? By the way, Abkhazians are supported by all non-Georgian nationalities in Abkhazia. Where is the line between separatism and sovereignty, and why does the concept of "separatism" concern Abkhazia? This label only confirms the desire of Georgia to grasp ­ territory not belonging ­ to it, therefore for a justification of its aggressive and expansionist actions it looks for and uses such labels.  It is very strange that the international community has taken an absolutely clear approach regarding Abkhazia -  it has affirmed that the self-proclaimed independent republic does not admit that it should remain an integral part of Georgia.

The time has come to call things by their proper names: chauvinism is­ chauvinism, annexation is annexation, liberation of the people is­ liberation. It is necessary to completely eliminate the double standard concerning self-determination: one rule for Algeria, Bangladesh, East Timor,­  Goa, Western Sahara, Macao, Palestine, Papua-New Guinea and many other countries and territories (even the USA, “a democracy stronghold”, in 1775 eventually gained independence by “self-declaration”­), and another  for Abkhazia, for example.

The connection between observance of the right of people to self-determination and the prevention ­ of  international conflicts and wars was addressed in resolution 545 (VI) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, related to international peace preservation, which was­ accepted on February 5th, 1952. Infringement of this right always was an occasion for war, always led to bloodshed, and is considered as a constant ­ threat to the world (casus belli). The general Assembly of the United Nations correctly speaks about the necessity of reckoning with the political expectations of all peoples,­  promoting these whilst preserving international peace and safety and developing a friendship between nations based on recognition ­ of the principle of equality of the people and their right to self-determination. In practice, ­ international relations, as well as available standard material, confirm­ that from both political and legal points of view   the right ­ of peoples to self-determination is both a precondition and a necessary ­ condition of the world for friendship between peoples and between states. Thus the right of nations to self-determination as an imperative norm should ­  always be recognised for  all cases, no matter under what circumstances ­ and on what basis the territory whose people  ­ bring attention to the question of self-determination was joined.

As for Abkhazia, there are some questions which ­ are insufficiently explained in international documents, or are not considered at all during the study of problems of its sovereignty, unless a tendentious ­ approach is taken at their discussion. These questions are the following:

1) How to solve the problem of restoration (not acquisition) of the sovereignty of Abkhazia, which was lost  owing to aggression from the state which seized that country (Georgia), and also how to proceed if, thanks to a successful attempt, this sovereignty is returned, but the world community ­ does not wish to recognise it?

2) What to do if one of the states (Georgia) concludes with the other (­ Abkhazia) a political, economic or military union by means of ­ military or other force, imposes another hegemony, and thereby changes Abkhazia’s status, statehood, ethnic structure of the population of the country, ­national policy and culture?

3) How to exist if neighbouring states (Russia19, Turkey) and world community organisations (the United Nations, the European Union, etc.), owing to unclear­ circumstances indifferently observe from the sidelines an occurring genocide, direct aggression and attempts at destruction of one of the most ancient ethnoses, and sometimes assist in these actions?

In Transcaucasia the situation has arisen in which ­ the state of Georgia, existing for less than a century, using a policy of expansion ­ and active military aggression during criminal non-action by the world community (and frequently  with its complicity and help), could ­ enslave, colonize, and for a while completely occupy the sovereign ­ state of Abkhazia, carrying out a genocide leading to the destruction of its autochthons (the ancient ethnos of Abkhazians), and to the appropriation of territory primordially belonging to the Abkhazian people. The periods 1918-1921 and 1992-1993, when military and political expansion by Georgia took place in relation to Abkhazia, accompanied by intervention, ­ occupation of the country and its political annexation, are known to the whole world­. Finally, the occupation ­of 1918-1921 resulted in the violent change of a political system, which is defined as “the violent intervention of one ­ state in the internal affairs of another, directed against its territorial ­ integrity, political independence, etc.”. The military intervention ­ which took place during the specified periods is the most dangerous type, and ­ represents aggression.

The right to an establishment of the fact of aggression, the most dangerous kind of international ­ crime, belongs in each concrete case ­ to the UN Security Council. In the case of direct aggression, the question of its identification does not usually arise - it is any military occupation and annexation with the use of force and weapons, or the blockade of ports or coast by armed forces of the invading state.


19 As for Russia, it is hardly possible to name the circumstances as unclear. Here we have both the influence of “the Georgian lobby” and fear of losing its position in the Caucasus (by the way, this has been lost for a long time, because of  the cowardly policy of the Russian authorities - in the Caucasus, as is known, people first of all respect force and boldness), plus the desire not to think about the possibility of revising the results of the “Belovezhsky deal”, and many other things.

Military occupation is classified as temporary occupation­ by armed forces of enemy territory during a war. The state, submitted to interventions, military aggression and an annexation attempt, ­ being in an occupied condition, has the right to struggle against an aggressor by all means accessible to it. Thus self-defence can be ­ individual if the state possesses sufficient resources for ­ resisting aggression, and collective, being the victim state’s right ­ to reflect aggression together with other states, and it can ­ address the third states with a request for help in resisting­ attack. Such help can be given in many ways - from ­ delivery of weapons to direct participation in resisting aggression.­ Concerning both the   beginning and termination of actions on the basis of ­ collective self-defence, all rules obligatory for ­ individual self-defence operate­.

In the document accepted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 12th, 1973 [­ resolution 3103 (XXVIII)], it is stated to be true that “the struggle of the people who are under both colonial and foreign domination and the control of racist regimes, for realisation of the right to self-determination and independence, is ­ lawful, and completely corresponds to international law principles” (item 1).

V.Chernichenko notes that the victim state has the right to use armed force in self-defence, but stipulates that it should be individual self-defence which provides a lawful ­ application of force, and the main task, along with rejection of the armed ­ invasion, should be the prevention of any escalation in armed conflict.­ Protective actions include the armed response of the state and the people, as a reaction by the victim state to the illegal application ­ of armed force by the aggressor, i.e. one of the most dangerous ­methods of breaking the principle of the non-use of force. If the actions of an aggressor have the characteristics of a confrontation and occur in ­the territory of the victim state,­ any actions of the latter for the purpose of suppression of this ­ infringement, proportional to its scale and intensity, are justified. According to article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, self-protective actions should proceed only till the moment of acceptance by the Security Council of the measures necessary to end the heinous crime and restore international peace and safety.

As the above material shows, the international community ­ possesses a sufficient arsenal of rules of law, and precedents for their decisions, ­ in the field of problems to be considered. The question is only why till now have these norms not been applied to Abkhazia?

The United Nations declare that all people and states, irrespective of their sizes of territory, population or level of development, are in an equal position (which it is impossible to say about those states which are not members of the United Nations). Tens of dwarfish, so-called ministates, as members of the United Nations, have sovereign rights on a level with those of China with its milliard population, or such giants as the USA, India ­and Russia, bringing their contribution to a common cause. Along with these there are states, in particular Abkhazia, whose equality with others even similar or smaller in population and in size of territory, does not, according to ­ the world community organisations,  grant the right not only to reception,­  but even to restoration of sovereignty. Thus the United Nations, declaring its position about the equality of all countries in respect of their sovereignty, distinguishes from the general list those who are less equal than others. A very strange approach to the definition of equality between the states is thus taken. It is supposed that only members of the United Nations can be subjects of the law. However, according to Roman law, each state ­ is a legal body (universalitas personaram) and, as ­a legal body, is a subject of the law and should be recognised by the law (lex generalis).

 Concerning interstate relations between Abkhazia and Georgia throughout the long period of their mutual ­ coexistence, numerous infringements of international law occurred which­ seriously abused the rights of Abkhazians as a people and as a nation. Subjects of the law have the official opportunity to undertake legal actions which become legal facts when they are directed towards the conclusion, change or termination of legal ­ relations. In particular, this allows Abkhazia to revise all earlier concluded ­ interstate resolutions and agreements with Georgia, in connection with newly arisen ­ circumstances. It grants Abkhazia the right to look at the problem from the point of view of humanitarian international law and to protect the people from such offences by Georgia as genocide, military expansion, annexation, chauvinism and extremism.

As international law is the special legal system regulating ­ the relations between its subjects by means of legal norms, apparently Abkhazia, as a country possessing all the necessary attributes­ defining its sovereignty, should be recognised as a subject of this law. However, as a result of ­ the information war intensively used against it, ­ and introduced by Georgia to mislead the international community ­(facta illicita), the status of Abkhazia as a sovereign state de jure and de facto is not defined to this day. In essence, Georgia, in ­ infringement of all moral rules and human laws, has imposed a political,­  military and economic blockade against the Abkhazian people.

This is a conflict based upon the parity of international and national laws. In the actions of Abkhazia there are no contradictions with any of the concepts of mutual compatibility of international and national laws: dualistic  theory (Tripel), theory of the primacy of international law over national (Kelzen), theory of the primacy of national ­ law over international (Gegel), the doctrine ­ of dialectic dualism accepted in Russia­. The dispute is conducted during the   possession by one nation (­ Georgians) of another (Abkhazians), with assignment of territory of the latter to the former.

V.P.Panov considers the principles of international law, among the main points of which­ is the  protection of human rights, people and nations, and ­following from this is the self-determination of people and nations. These ­ principles are completely broken by Georgia in relation to Abkhazia. When Georgia unilaterally found it possible to become a “self-proclaimed” independent sovereign state ( having thus committed perjury by breaking their oath - after all, at some time or other all kingdoms and princedoms making modern Georgia had sworn “eternal ­ fidelity to Russia”),  for Abkhazia, despite its similar rights in this matter,­ Georgia made no such claim. Despite the principles of the United Nations and the laws of the USSR, to which both states submitted ­and should be guided by, ­ Georgia not only does not recognise the rights of Abkhazia, but by means of armed forces, and with the­ support of some members of the United Nations, tries to force Abkhazia to refuse claims on the restoration of its own sovereignty de jure and de facto which it possessed to the full during different periods of history.

Simultaneously Georgia breaks the main principle of peaceful co-existence by­  creating and inflating the fire of military extremism in the region, and also breaks the principle of preserving peace and international safety, with all the  ­ consequences following from it: infringement of the territorial borders ­ of Abkhazia, application of military force, and also constant threat of its use instead of the peace process for international disputes. ­ The international community, in the name of the United Nations, OSCEs and the Council of Europe, shut their eyes to these infringements of international law, acquitting Georgia from international responsibility for the infringement of one more main principle. Thus,­  over a period of more than ten years, there is a foul-smelling magnificent ­ bouquet of infringements of international law ­by Georgia, whose direct accomplices ­ are the world community organisations.

The question is whether the basic rights of sovereignty ­exist for Abkhazia, according to the norms of international law? Based on ­ V.P.Panov's analysis,­ it is possible to make the conclusion that Abkhazia in its basic form can be considered as a sovereign subject of international law, and is in the full sense a state with all its prominent features, which owing to its circumstances is continuing to struggle for the preservation of its independence. Therefore it is of little value as to whether this state is a member of the United Nations or not. Sovereignty de jure is defined only by statehood with all its features, and a demand for sovereignty carries only the character of a claim.

This concerns the question of state recognition, in particular of Abkhazia,­ as a subject of international law. Abkhazia undoubtedly has the right to be the recipient­ of a recognition in international law, as it is a full state with a legitimate government, and as it is quite possible ­ to see, a recognition in international law has been granted to weaker subjects. As for the recognition theory, Abkhazia  according to the declarative ­ theory is recognised as a subject of the law, which is confirmed by the International non-governmental organisation the Commonwealth Lawyers for Cooperation in АТR, in particular.

3.2. Historical aspects of the sovereignty of Abkhazia.

Does Abkhazia have the necessary and sufficient requirements for its existence as an independent state and for its sovereignty? In respect of the stated­ material, it is necessary to express unequivocally that the following  preconditions exist and also prove to be valid:

a) The presence of its own nationality, characterised by its own language not having any analogues in the world  except for related languages met only among the peoples of the North Caucasus; the national identity is an indicator of  who a person considers himself to be, and to which ethnos he refers himself;

b) The fact of existence of the indigenous population “Abkhazians” or their ancestors from II-I millenia BC, confirmed by chronicles from V century BC and ­ historical annals from VIII century AD. Developed contacts not only with neighbouring states,­ but also with the countries of the Mediterranean, Persia, Golden Horde­­ etc., have documentary proof;

c) Statehood confirmed by historical data from the end ­ of the first millenium B.C.;

d) Presence of original Abkhazian language and culture, ­ generated throughout several millenia, and use ­ of different writing methods, since the early Middle Ages: for contacts with Byzantium, the Greek alphabet was used; with Romans, Latin; during the existence of the Abkhazian kingdom the Hutsuri alphabet, which was accepted in Iberia, was used. Later, from XIX century till now, Cyrillics have been constantly used;

e) Constant struggle throughout the last two centuries against ­genocide by Georgia, directed towards artificial change of ethno-demographic conditions in the country; this artificial demographic imbalance allowed Georgia to accomplish annexation.

These, as well as other criteria and signs necessary for self-determination, show that the Abkhazian people have every right to state independence and sovereignty.

There is an opinion that one of the conditions for the right of people to ­ self-determination is their number. But this is not true. In table 3 below, states are presented which are not only sovereign, but are also included in the Council of Europe, and whose population, including the basic ethnos, is the same, or even smaller, than that of the Republic of Abkhazia.

Table 3

Small member states of the Council of Europe

    Population and area of some Council of Europe member states in comparison with Abkhazia20



3.3. Legal confirmations of statehood of Abkhazia.

The statehood of Abkhazians is defined by most historians as existing at the beginning of II-I centuries BC. However, the first legal confirmation of their statehood was ­ the official  document (manifesto) known as “Throne of the Abkhazian Tsars”, produced by the governor of the Abkhazian kingdom Bagrat III in XI century. The manifesto specifies the existence of the Abkhazian kingdom from the beginning of VIII century and, naturally, the presence of the Abkhazian governors and the Abkhazian ethnos who, whilst occupying their local territory of modern Abkhazia,   extended both their influence and rule over all the territory of modern Georgia.

The official legal document confirming Abkhazians as autochthons is Results of census of 1886, from­ which, according to statistical data, the Abkhazian princedom was occupied by about ­ 70 thousand persons, 59 thousand of whom were Abkhazians (Tab. 1). The census shows that 4166 Georgians lived in Abkhazia at that time, but as is known, the Georgian ethnos did not exist then, so for the sake of justice it is necessary to specify that they were Mingrelians (inhabitants of a neighbouring country) ­ partially occupying Samurzakan.

The next similar official document is Results ­ of population census of the Abkhazian princedom in 1897, which ­confirmed that the same number of Abkhazians (about 60,000 persons) were residing in the country, but the number of Georgians had increased almost fivefold relative to 1886. The reason for this phenomenon has already been given.

The presence of Abkhazian statehood is also confirmed in the Charter from February, 17th, 1810, according to which ­ the protection of the Russian empire had been given to Abkhazia­. The Charter includes:

“... We confirm and recognise you as our kindly loyal hereditary Prince of the Abkhazian possession under the Supreme protection of our great and glorious Russian empire, and include you, both your house and all inhabitants of your Abkhazian possession, in our loyal number”.

Hence, these four legal documents ­ confirm that during different periods of time, since VIII century AD, the Abkhazian ethnos living in its­ own territory was a monoethnic autochthon. Historical science, being based on annalistic ­ sources from V century BC to the middle of XIX century, does not confirm any change, destruction or replacement of the Abkhazian ethnos by any other peoples. All statements of Georgian politicians and historians that Abkhazians were never in Abkhazia and that it was a Georgian kingdom, and that Abkhazians is a name for Georgians, as well as fabrications that Abkhazians came down two centuries ago from mountains in Transcaucasia – all these are nothing more than myths which have in themselves neither actual nor legal historical grounds.



20 Data from K. Lye, World Factbook, N.Y., 2001.


Fig. 4. A map of "Georgia" when Kartli and Kakhetia were in the structure of the Caucasian region controlled by a Governor-General (beginning of  XIX century).


Confirmation of the territorial integrity of Abkhazia is contained in Kartlis Tshovreba where data on the transfer of complete power from the Byzantian Caesar (the ruler of the Western Black Sea Coast) to the Abkhazian ­ Tsar Leon I is given, covering all territory from Klisur to the Kuban river.­ A little bit later, when Leon II (nephew of Leon I) with the help of Khazars separated ­ from Byzantines, he added northern areas of Colchis to Abkhazia. This happened in VIII century.

The document confirming that Abkhazia was an­ independent state until XVIII century is the map “Plan of operations of the troops of Major-General Sukhotin in Asia in the campaign of 1771” (Fig. 2). Analyzing this document, it is possible to draw the conclusion that 12 years prior to the signing of the Georgievsk treaty, i.e. during the time when possessors of princedoms of Transcaucasia called themselves Tsars of Kartli, Kakhetia, Tao-Klardjeti etc., the Russian military leaders gave the name “Georgia” to Kartli. Georgia, as follows from the map, was situated only in the central part of Transcaucasia. In XVIII and previous centuries, neither Imeretia, Guria, Mingrelia, nor especially Abkhazia had anything in common with so-called Georgia, which was given that name by Russian tsars and military men.

Another legal document of international value is “the Highest manifesto on the joining of Georgia to Russia”, in which the representation of Russia shows the clearly defined border of so-called Georgia, which by 1801 consisted of  two princedoms, namely: Kartalinia (Gori, ­Lori and Dushet districts) and Kakhetia (Telavi and Signakh districts). These two princedoms were all that comprised Georgia. There was no Imeretia, Guria, Mingrelia, or particularly Abkhazia. These listed districts made a Russian region in Transcaucasia, controlled by a Governor-General, during this period (Fig. 4).

The document confirming that the territory of Abkhazia was defined between the borders of Samurzakan (river Ingur) and the country of Djigets (Sochi area) is the book “Data on conveniences of apartment accomodation for all kinds of troops in Abkhazia (Short military-statistical review with apartment map)”, representing the military-political research of Military authorities ­ of the Governor-General of Transcaucasia, which was published by the 1st branch of the  Department ­ of the Joint Staff of Russia in 1843.

Besides these materials, there are sources which state that Russian authorities in Caucasus made the decision in 1864 to cut from the Abkhazian district (Princedom) in favour of Russia a site adjoining Sochi and belonging to Abkhazia, and to attach it to the Black Sea district. This ­ attachment was confirmed in 1904 by the decree of the emperor of Russia. The border of Abkhazia was thus displaced from the river Mzymta to the river Bzyb (later this decision ­was cancelled).

“The New and full geographical dictionary of the Russian state, or Lexicon”, 1788, was an important document which also defined the borders of Abkhazia, stating that “... Abkhazians are the free and numerous people living in the Caucasian mountains... The land on which these people live is called Absny in their own language. During former times these people lived only on the western side of the Caucasian mountains adjoining to the Black Sea, along the rivers going directly to this sea between Kuban and Engur. This latter river separates them from Mingrelians”.

Thus, by 1788 the border of Abkhazia had been outlined. As for its southern border, it is known from historical sources that Samurzakan, situated­ on the right bank of the river Ingur, was a territory disputed between Abkhazia and Mingrelia up to the 1880s, and later prince Michael Sharvashidze, the governor of Abkhazia, confirmed that this territory, to the river Ingur, belonged to Abkhazia.

The relevant legal document confirming that Abkhazia owned the territory from the river Ingur to the river Mzymta, and was limited ­ by the upper courses of the river Kodor and the Caucasian ridge, was signed on February 9th, 1918, even before the  formation of the Georgian Democratic Republic (or actually Georgia as a state). This document was “Agreement” between the National Council­ of Georgia and the Abkhazian National Council. One of its items accurately established the borders of Abkhazia as a sovereign state, from the river Ingur in the south to the river Mzymta   in the north. No subsequent documents from the period of formation of the Republic of Abkhazia, or from the incorporation of some princedoms ­ of Transcaucasia into the Georgian Democratic Republic on May 26th, 1918,   mentioned the borders of Abkhazia, and the problem of territorial disputes, both with Russia and with Georgia, was also absent.

All given documents confirm the absence of any ­ legal obstacles to the self-determination of the Abkhazian people, and also the presence of the already existing sovereignty, territorial integrity and ­ political independence of the Republic of Abkhazia, as a state and the subject ­ of international law.

However, on May 7th, 1920 Georgia concluded the union with RSFSR, and one of its items attached Abkhazia to Georgia’s territory, without the consent of Abkhazia. Representatives of Abkhazia were not invited to the discussion and signing of this contract,­ and were not informed about it at all. We will give ­ the full text of some articles from this contract, directly concerning Abkhazia, with our comments:

“Article 1. Proceeding from the right, proclaimed by the RSFSR, of all peoples to free self-determination, up to full separation from the state into whose structure they are included, Russia unconditionally recognises the independence of the Georgian ­ state and voluntarily refuses any sovereign rights which ­ Russia had in relation to the Georgian people and land”­.

It is necessary to notice that in this article there is no concrete definition peculiar to international ­ contracts. On the one hand, where the­ main principles of self-determination are mentioned, all is correct. But on the other hand, when the sovereign rights of Russia are included “in relation to the Georgian people and land”, questions ­ which, undoubtedly, should have been considered by career diplomats involuntarily arise­: who are meant by “the Georgian people”? The answer is clear - the population ­ of that territory in which Russia has established sovereignty,­  naming it “Georgia”. However, if Georgian diplomats named the territory of occupied Abkhazia as a Georgian state, such treatment  contradicted international law. A very important question is why Russia, declaring the right to self-determination for ­ Georgia, did not confirm and has not confirmed it concerning the independent ­ state of Abkhazia, recognising in 1920 the annexation of this country by Georgia and ­ continuing to recognise it till now? What justifies Russia’s unwillingness to put its declared principles into practice, confirming the free will ­ of the people of Abkhazia?

“Article 2. Proceeding from the proclamation in previous article 1 of the present ­ contract of principles, Russia undertakes to refuse any intervention in ­the internal affairs of Georgia”.

The treaty between Russia and Georgia and its decisions concerning Abkhazia were ­ unexpected not only for the newly-formed state of Georgia, but also for the world community as a whole. During this period the Entente states   were taking part in the re-partition of the territories of Transcaucasia. They issued strong-willed orders which resulted   


Fig. 5. “Border between Turkey and Armenia”. A map of the Joint Staff of the USA Army.


from the map of borders of Armenia defined  in his own hand by US president Woodrow Wilson in 1920, presented as Fig­ 5. The map contains rather curious and valuable information. On the extract from it presented as Fig. 6, the reader can see that Georgia at that time ­ consisted only of Tiflis province and Batumi region. Neither the Kutais province (an   Imeretian princedom) nor Abkhazia, were in the structure of Georgia.

As we have already noted, on February 25th, 1921 Tiflis was occupied by the Red Army. During this period, when the Caucasian countries, including Abkhazia and Georgia, were a part of the USSR, Abkhazia in practice possessed territorial inviolability as a sovereign or autonomous republic. Nevertheless, in 1990 when Georgia unilaterally   left the structure of the USSR, it appeared that this treaty presented the territory of Abkhazia to Georgia, and  ­ self-evidently gave the statehood of Abkhazia to Georgia also, and it therefore was an element in the capture and occupation of the country and its political annexation. Since that moment even the truncated sovereignty of Abkhazia de jure has appeared to be completely ­ cancelled.



Fig. 6. Extract from a map of the Joint Staff of the USA Army concerning Georgia, the Kutais province and the Abkhazian district (Abkhazia).

3.4. Statehood and the sovereignty of Abkhazia.

Statehood is a special feature by which historical development of a country is noted, with a people who were able to create their own state or to restore­ a state lost owing to various reasons. It not only the property of a society and an indicator of its development. It is an ideology, and the public, political ­ and cultural orientation directing the people towards development of the state, its protection, etc. As V.V. Ilyin notes in “Political science”, the basic ­ symbolic signs of statehood are the use ­ of an official state language, state emblems (the arms, a hymn, a flag) and ­ specific forms of the state (political) organisation of a society: forms of government, a political system, political relations, power structures etc. The problem of development of statehood is always acute, especially in transition periods of formation of  states that were connected with the disintegration ­ of empires and state unions. Abkhazia has already passed this way.

World experience in building states has revealed a number of the major factors in their legitimate formation and existence. These are: presence of a direct connection of the people with territory of residence,­  i.e. the right of the people to the given territory; aspiration of the people to ­ political self-determination, i.e. to the formation of public authorities; ability of the people to provide the functioning of the state. All these factors are present regarding the Abkhazian state. As S.Shamba states in his work “To a question on a legal, historical and moral substantiation of the right ­ of Abkhazia to independence”, the Abkhazian state – which existed for­ twelve centuries, and was recreated in the 1990s - is formed by the Abkhazian people on their native land, and it independently and successfully functioned under  various historical conditions. During its development the Abkhazian ­ statehood changed its form and content, at times ­ weakening to the lowest level and even being interrupted, but never disappearing ­ from the consciousness of the people.

The political desire of the Abkhazian people to maintain sovereignty, ­expressed in numerous actions throughout the centuries, always was and still­ remains the pledge of existence of their state. Acceptance by Georgia of decisions ­ which disavowed earlier operating official state ­documents has essentially facilitated work on demonstratively revealing   ­the presence of the necessary conditions confirming ­the statehood and sovereignty of Abkhazia. As was earlier noted, the documents accepted by Georgia during the period from May 26th, 1918 to the termination of the Georgian­ occupation in 1921, and also during the following years, were insignificant from the very beginning, invalid, and had no   legal power. They should be disavowed by the government of the Republic of Abkhazia, which would lead to the­ restoration of the initial status of the country (restitutio in integrum).

Abkhazia not only struggled for preservation of the USSR, and for its integrity, but wished to remain within it. This relationship was maintained up to the end, even when the Soviet Union was threatened with the danger of disintegration. But ­the centrifugal force of reorganisation and perestroika grew, and Abkhazia was the last to depart from the USSR. The forces which really united these countries were their proximity, both overland and by sea, the close unity of their Slavic horde and the Caucasian people, the historical association of their separate groups, their mutual gravitation to each other, and their interlacings of spiritual and economic interests. Too many vital threads, material and spiritual, were stretched between them.

The thesis about “the right of the people to self-determination” is constantly forgotten by ­ politicians and government officials. This firstly concerns the United Nations, the OSCE and so on, which define the development of interstate relations. Irrespective of any decisions made by different governments or international organisations, Abkhazia has every basis and right to insist on the restoration and recognition of its full ­ independence.

In fundamental research into the circumstances leading to loss of sovereignty, such as occupation and annexation of the state, V.Chernichenko shows that such characteristics as personality, the legal validity of the state, and sovereignty are closely connected with each other. Thus “the personality of the state” is understood as the role played by  government personnel in the country and their position in defining state policy i.e. the personality of the state is defined through the realisation of a vector of the wills ­ of separate representatives of the state and of social groups.

In a period of full occupation of the country, even if the state perishes, losing its personality, it keeps its legality, as the territory of the country and its population remain as subjects of international law, even after loss of statehood. If the people, being a source of the state sovereignty, remain, ­ it is considered that the state sovereignty, as well as its legality de jure also remain. In this case the state de facto loses only its capability to function, because  the society which generated this state remains, and upon the­ approach of favorable conditions the roots of the state will produce new shoots. It is easy to destroy state structures by occupation, more difficult to destroy economic ­ interrelations, and  impossible to destroy the spiritual aspect of a society and its culture. This thesis is confirmed in practice by the evolution of the Abkhazian state, which was subjected to  military, economic and other expansion by ­ Georgia during the period from 1918 to 1993. It testifies that even the long period of loss of the personality of the state and its international legal validity (as well as its “revival”) depends on both objective and subjective factors.

At the same time the fact of occupation does not mean, in the opinion of V.Chernichenko, any transfer of sovereignty to the occupying party. Moreover, the state whose territory is occupied is formally considered as keeping  its sovereignty de jure, as well as its international legality. This is the conventional position ­ of international law, i.e. the imperative norm. Loss of legality, according to classical international law, can take place only ­ after a formal acceptance of annexation. If a national liberation ­ struggle by the use of political means proceeds,­ the national resistance force and allies of the annexed country do not recognise ­ annexation, and continue the struggle for its liberation. The question can ­ remain in a condition of legal uncertainty for many years, as has taken place in the case of Abkhazia. As annexation is defined in current international law as an illegal action, any document supporting it, from the point of view of the international community, has no validity and does not lead to loss of the sovereignty of the state or to loss of its legality.

In our work we have shown that all activity of the Georgian government regarding mutual relations with Abkhazia has always been directed towards the destruction of the stability and integrity of that state. These ­ actions concern: military expansion of Georgia into Abkhazia, occupation of the country, the attempt at annexation proceeding throughout more than 70 years, illegal ­ resettlement of the Georgian population from the mother country into Abkhazia, and genocide ­ in relation to Abkhazians. The purpose of these actions has been to create a superiority in strength of the Georgian enclave by changing the demographic situation in Abkhazia, having carried out the conversion of the indigenous population of Abkhazians into a small nationality, with appropriation of their territory and ­ its inclusion within the structure of Georgia.

The retrospective recognition of the annexation of Abkhazia as void and wrongful means that although it was not earlier considered illegal, it is now recognized as legally nonexistent, and so are its legal consequences, so its actual   consequences should be removed. But for many countries, subject to annexations, the full and real implementation of this postulate is impossible. As for Abkhazia, its life, development and the evolution of history promoted its exit from the condition of annexation. The reason for this was first of all the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and then the legal actions of the country’s  leaders to create an independent state – ­ the Republic of Abkhazia.

The essential basis for recognition that the annexation of Abkhazia by Georgia was illegal is that, as shown in our work, the annexation of the country occurred after legal confirmation of the fact of formation ­ of the Abkhazian nation, people and national state, which had already been recognised by the Russian empire in 1810, and this fact is confirmed by the corresponding international agreement.

We believe, that the listed facts, supported by legal documents (facta concludentia), are enough to draw a legal ­ conclusion.

Attempts to solve the problem of restoration of the sovereignty of Abkhazia began at once after the termination of the occupation of Abkhazia by Georgia in 1921­. A partial success was achieved. Abkhazia was an independent republic until 1922, and then again started to lose its sovereignty. Work on the restoration of its sovereignty was especially intensive upon termination of the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993, followed by termination of the Georgian annexation. Though Abkhazia established its own Constitution declaring its sovereignty, the international ­ community and neighbours in the CIS did not support such a decision and did not recognise ­ it. The General Assembly of the United Nations accepted on November 17th, 1989 the resolution 44/23 about the declaration of the 1990s as “Decade of international law”, but during all this time it could not or did not want ­ to solve the question of the sovereignty of Abkhazia, or to punish Georgia for continuous actions of military extremism and aggression in relation to Abkhazia.

The reason for that is the superficial approach to the problem of mutual relations between Abkhazia and Georgia. The history of Abkhazia, as well as of other countries ­ which were or are in a similar situation, confirms that ­ the decision of the problem rests with the granting of sovereignty to countries dependent on other states. As for Abkhazia, as shown ­ in our work it has historically remained an independent state throughout two ­ millenia, possessing   all the necessary features and attributes of sovereignty ­ recognised today by the world community. It demands only one thing, that the international community should confirm and legitimise this sovereignty in the same way as it has done for other states in a similar situation. It is also necessary to remember that Russia, leaving the structure of the USSR having accepted its debts and obligations, has left alone all ­ states within the administrative structure of the USSR, having given them the opportunity to develop and build their countries in their own way, and thus having confirmed that the territory of the USSR is not the territory of Russia. Also, the independent Georgian ­ state became the successor to the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, having forgotten that its assignment extends only to territory which is actually Georgia. Abkhazia,­ which entered the Soviet state under special conditions as a part of the Georgian SSR, is not a part of Georgia, either in an ethnic, territorial, or administrative capacity. The territory ­ of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and the territory of Georgia are different concepts. International law in this situation has a firm position - nemo ex suo delicto meliorem suam conditionem fasere potest - nobody can improve their position by breaking laws.

Hence, the sovereignty of Abkhazia was defined and confirmed as a result of the disintegration of the USSR and its reallocation, together with further steps towards finding independence, including the self-determination of the country on the basis of a referendum. Due to the form of recognition, Abkhazia de facto and de jure ­ is the subject of international law, and we hope that time will put everything in its right place.

Being the subject of international law, Abkhazia has restored its sovereignty ­ as a state formed as a result of the division of the Soviet Union,­  leaving it with its indigenous population of Abkhazians living in the territory historically belonging to them. Thus all ­ states of the world have been notified of the assignment of the government and the people of Abkhazia ­ to the state and the territory.

3.5. Georgian aggression and attempted annexation of Abkhazia.

Underlying the Abkhazian-Georgian conflict, unsettled problems regarding the sovereignty of Abkhazia not only resulted in 1992-1993 in military ­ expansion, but also in the subsequent unextinguished process of Georgian military ­ escalation and tension in the region. UNOMIG is powerless to solve the problem because of the unwillingness of the United Nations to completely unravel the tightened knot. The problem has thousand-year-old roots though it has ripened throughout the last century - and all this time has been fostered by powerful mini-imperialistic ambitions of   Georgian politicians encouraged morally (and materially!) by the world community, at the heart of which is the basic slogan – “the political status of Abkhazia must be defined considering Abkhazia as a part of Georgia”. Thus, they have tried and are trying to impose upon the people of Abkhazia an absolutely unacceptable form of coexistence ­ with Georgians, forgetting that the policy of such a dictatorship, which began more than 100 years ago, has not brought anything to the Abkhazian people except genocide.

In 1992 the parliament of Abkhazia made the decision to restore the sovereignty of the country. Thereby, the Georgian annexation which had begun in 1918 was stopped de jure. Then it was stopped de facto as the Abkhazian government completely took control in all territory of the country.

The State Council of Georgia set a task for their military formations - the repeated annexation of Abkhazia and the physical destruction of Abkhazians, for the­ realisation of a numerical superiority of the Georgian component of the population in the country, with the subsequent abolition of an administrative unit of Georgia (autonomous Abkhazia). The military action (war) was prepared with the assistance­ of military-political strategists and carried the symbolic name “Sword”. At the beginning, ideological diversions were created, with the artificial kindling of national dissension. (During this period the countries had not yet been divided by state frontiers according to their choice of ways of development).

As T.Achugba notes in his work “To a substantiation of the state ­ independence of Abkhazia” (2002), in Abkhazia, immediately after a referendum, educational institutions,­ enterprises, creative unions, sports teams and even ­ the Ministry of Internal Affairs began to be divided by nationality at the initiative of Georgia­­. Two Offices of Public Prosecutor were created, then two ­ parliaments, and eventually two governments of Abkhazia. The government of Georgia started the creation of illegal Georgian ­armed formations in the territory of Abkhazia, involving the Georgian diaspora ­ of Abkhazia in their numbers.

On August 14th, 1992 the invasion of the Georgian army began, which had the aim of liquidating the statehood of Abkhazia and depriving its people of political independence. Georgia made an armed attack upon­ Abkhazia. The   army of occupation pulled down cities, towns and other settlements, and destroyed ­the cultural values­ of the nation. The army included thousands of criminals who had been let out of jail especially for this purpose. They deliberately burnt the Central state archive of Abkhazia, which was the unique scientific research institute for Abkhazian studies, cruelly treated prisoners of war and ­ wounded men, killed and raped civilians, and plundered and looted ­ public and private property. The Georgian military-political authorities were guided by the principle “Abkhazia - without Abkhazians”, which was officially confirmed on television by the commander-in-chief of the occupation army, Colonel G.Karkarashvili, on August 25th, 1992.

In the massacre of Abkhazians, including children, women and old men, the most active participants were the Georgian population of Abkhazia, especially inhabitants ­who were immigrants from the Stalin epoch. As a result of ethnic cleansing in the occupied part of Abkhazia, including Ochamchira, Sukhum and Gagra, practically none of the Abkhazian population remained. For example, according to the Office of the Public Prosecutor ­ of Abkhazia, out of seven thousand Abkhazians living in Ochamchira, more than 400 were compelled to register as Georgians, hundreds were killed, and the others were forced to seek safety in flight.

The Georgian invaders conducted their main attack across East Abkhazia. Under instructions from the Georgian government, in this region they surrounded and isolated all exclusively Abkhazian settlements from the external world, including Tquarchel. Having been saved from genocide, Abkhazians and representatives of other nationalities from Sukhum, Gagra and other settlements of the republic came to Bzyb Abkhazia, and were clamped within an enemy ring and torn off from the external world, conducting an  unequal fight with invaders, the same as in East Abkhazia. Thus,­ at  the end of the XX century the Georgian nationalists, in the eyes of all the civilised ­world, carried out a deliberate systematic destruction ­ of the Abkhazian people, which according to the already mentioned Convention of the General Assembly of the United Nations from December 9th, 1948 is qualified as genocide.

Once started, the war was directed towards the physical destruction of the Abkhazian ­ ethnos, and simultaneously of other nationalities in the country: Armenians, Greeks, ­ Jews and Russians. The Georgian special  services struck their names from lists of tenants against their will, took written obligations that they would never return to Abkhazia, forced them to hand over keys from dwellings with all their furniture and belongings, and deported them under guard. Members of these gangster formations ­ diligently carried out a change ­ of the ethno-demographic structure of the country defined by the State Council of Georgia, but did not forget about themselves, raping youngsters and pregnant women, marauding, plundering, looting, and pulling out the teeth of old men and women to extract their gold crowns...

War against the civilian population and the peoples’ volunteer corps (as Abkhazia at that time had no army) was conducted with extreme cruelty. Georgia used the most advanced weapons, which it had inherited from the USSR, against the civilian people of Abkhazia: the systems of mass destruction “GRAD” and “URAGAN”, the volumed (needle-shaped) shells, the use of which was forbidden by the Geneva ­ Convention of 1949. The aggressor purposely and methodically destroyed the Abkhazian ­ population of Abzhui Abkhazia, who comprised almost half of all ­ Abkhazian people. During operations a number of the Abkhazian settlements were wiped off the face of the earth. In documents of the command of the 24th brigade of the Georgian army, taken by soldiers of the Abkhazian army as a trophy, ­ the plan for a massed nuclear attack on December 26th, 1992 with 34 targets, including settlements in East Abkhazia, was discovered.

It is difficult for a normal person to imagine, at the end of the XX century, ­ that a nation which is proud of its civilisation and nobleness, could raise its weapons against a tiny ethnos only because it had demanded the restoration ­ of its trampled rights, i.e. against a people who at that stage only wished to gain independence and realise the natural rights given to them by God. But in Tbilisi they probably considered themselves above God. These “inhabitants of Heaven” usurped the right of the people of Abkhazia to a definition of their destiny.­ At their own discretion, and up to the destruction of Abkhazia, they tried to repeat what they had not had time to finish during their occupation of the country in 1918-1921.

Georgian mass-media covered the Georgian-Abkhazian war deceitfully­. For Abkhazians, the war began with the absolutely unexpected invasion of the Georgian army. From the first hours this was accompanied by the cruel murder of civilians and by continuous looting. Georgian interpretations of the war always begin with its final phase – the hurried escape of the Georgians. The armed opposition to them which continued for more than a year ­is dismissed in half a line,  approximately in the following form ­ - “blood-thirsty Abkhazian rebels expelled innocent Georgians from their houses”. And never a word about what preceded their expulsion. The circumstances which induced Abkhazians to take up arms, and the main reason for the expulsion of Georgians, are in every possible way ignored or misinterpreted.

Shamefully expelled in 2004, E.Shevardnadze only once gave any actual facts about the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and Georgian military expansion into Abkhazia. This occurred in November 1993 in A.Karaulov's telecast “the Moment of Truth”. From his words it appeared thus: Shevardnadze and Ardzinba during a  telephone conversation on August 12th, 1992 agreed to carry out joint actions for the protection ­ of trains regularly plundered on the line between Ochamchira and Samtredia railway stations. That very day Shevardnadze ordered   Minister of Defence Kitovani to go to Sukhum and there, having met with Ardzinba, to specify details of the actions planned by them. Exceeding his powers, Kitovani under his own initiative entered divisions ­of the Georgian armed forces into the territory of Abkhazia on August 14th, which began to move towards its capital Sukhum.

The Georgian population of Abkhazia in considerable numbers supported the Georgian national guards occupying the republic, took an active ­ part in the operations, and in every possible way supported the advancement ­ of the Georgian military units. The hands of many Georgians, living in Abkhazia, were soiled by blood. They participated in the plunder of national treasures,­ destruction of historical monuments, looting of  Abkhazian dwellings, robberies and murders of Abkhazians and other excesses. All this occurred assuming that Abkhazians as a nation would be eradicated and would disappear as a nationality, and the people who left the country would never return. They were convinced of this by propaganda from the Georgian government, and ­ were assured  by President E.Shevardnadze personally­. The most tragic part of this war was that the Georgian population of Abkhazia, not wishing to take part in a war, ­ was systematically involved in it by the Georgian authorities, and so the war became a civil war­. Behind the actions of these people there was a confidence in their impunity, guaranteed by the government of Georgia.

Abkhazians, peacefully living on their land, were very severely treated. The Georgian government, having considered that active armed forces were insufficient for the destruction of Abkhazians, also armed the local Georgian population. This was confirmed in an interview with the head of the Georgian parliament. The obvious question is who  armed all the Georgian population, which was several times greater than the number of Abkhazians, and why was this done? After all, until August 14th, 1992 – the day of invasion by the Georgian army – Abkhazia did not undertake any aggressive ­ actions against them. The question answers itself: they were armed for only one purpose - to kill Abkhazians.

Apparently, by giving out the weapons, leaders of the Georgian state ­ decided that Georgians living in Abkhazia had more rights to live than ­ local Abkhazian inhabitants. Otherwise, what was the reason to arm only one section of ­  the people in the community? Weapons, as is known, have two missions - they can protect and they can kill. ­ Nothing threatened the Georgian population of Abkhazia,­ behind its back there was the Georgian ­ army which had invaded the country, but there was nobody to be protected from. Hence, they was armed to kill. And who to kill in Abkhazia if not   Abkhazians?

With the victory of the Abkhazian people in this war, many Georgian settlers, being afraid of revenge for their own evil deeds or those of their compatriots, ­ left the country, taking with them both their own and stolen property. Georgians whose hands and conscience were clean remained to live in Abkhazia, and in relation to ­ them there are no elements of reprisals that are reflected in ­ OSCE documents. The only commission on this question sent to Abkhazia by the United Nations Organization did not confirm the presence ­ of persecutions (5/26795 on November 17th, 1993). It is necessary to underline that before the attack by Georgia on Abkhazia in 1992, throughout all historical periods there was no oppression by Abkhazians of other nationalities within the country, but it is impossible to say the same about the actions of the Georgian government in Abkhazia from 1918 to 1991. The eviction ­ of Greeks from Abkhazia after the Second World War should not be considered in this respect, as the authorship and realisation of this process belonged to both Stalin and Beria, and Abkhazians only by a lucky chance escaped the same fate.

No action has damaged the prestige of peace-making ­ activities of the United Nations in the 1990s more than its unwillingness to distinguish a victim from an aggressor. This was directly declared by Kofi Annan in his report at the 55th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Unsolved by international organisations, primarily the United Nations, the basic problem relates to definitions of the originator of aggression, its punishment, elimination of the consequences of aggression and acceptance of measures for their prevention, and the prevention of further escalation and aggression by an aggressor (e.g. Georgia). This situation leads to subsequent provocations and creates favorable conditions for the next act of aggression, and this statement is not merely words. After all, it is known that punishment ­ for illegal actions is given not only because such actions were committed, but also to prevent their being repeated  (punitur non quia peccatur, sed ne peccatur). Silence is a sign of consent to further offences (qui tacet consentire videtur), and is used by revanchist ­ Georgia.

We see and feel today the breath of war in Transcaucasia, provoked by­ both the former and the present head of Georgia with the connivance and direct assistance of the United Nations which has not revealed, defined nor eliminated the reasons generating this escalation. But nothing contradicts consent as much as violence and threat (nigil consensui tam contrarium est, quam vis atque metus).

The attempt by the Georgian government to represent the war of 1992-1993 as aggression by Abkhazia against Georgia is absolutely groundless, and with what follows from ­ United Nations documents, this international organisation also agrees because:

a) armies of the Georgian National Guard, and not Abkhazians, started war against the civilian population of Abkhazia, though the international organisation keeps silent about this;

b) war began under a far-fetched pretext, and the true reason was the session of the Supreme Soviet  of the АССР planned for August 14th, 1992, concerning the statehood of Abkhazia in connection with the exit of Georgia from the structure of the USSR;

c) Georgian interventionists, and not Abkhazians, invaded another's land­ to impose their will by means of the methods peculiar to fascists of all ­ times: killing, and the destroying of all the rebellious and innocent. The United Nations has not said anything about the circumstances for the occurrence of the international conflict known as the war in Transcaucasia.

Knowing these three factors, it was easy to establish the true aggressor -­ Georgia, which attacked a peaceful   sovereign country - but this has also not been done;

d) even the fact that the war started by the Georgian aggressors ­ was conducted in the territory of Abkhazia, where the people of the country lost their sons who were protecting their native country, culture, land, and their right to live on it outside of the Georgian yoke, has not persuaded officials from the United Nations that these actions directly classify Georgia in this conflict as an aggressor. Aggression is a crime which, according to the status of the International court, arrives under its jurisdiction, as does genocide which the International convention defined on December 9th, 1948 ­ as­­: “actions made with the intention to destroy in full or in part ­ any national, ethnic, racial or other religious group by: murder of members of such a group, causing of serious ­ physical injuries... premeditated creation for any group of such living conditions as are calculated to result in its full or partial physical destruction etc.”.

Once again the United Nations, the international organisation created for the purpose of ­ prevention of wars and aggressions, became the protector of an aggressor which had managed to get ­the support of reactionary forces, being representatives of those countries who were interested in the destruction of the administrative ­ state structures of the USSR, primarily in the Caucasus. That Abkhazia could remain as a part of the USSR or even in the form of an independent state, did not suit the United Nations and its rich sponsors in any way.

3.6. About so-called “refugees”.

Not having solved basic questions by defining the true originator of aggression and instigator of war in Transcaucasia and, especially, by not having applied international sanctions against it directed towards the suppression of further attempts at­ aggression, the United Nations have untied the hands of Georgia in its further claims on lands not belonging to it. The slogan “Abkhazia is Georgia” has not been forgotten by officials from the United Nations and their protege. Understanding that forcing Abkhazia ­ to agree to a new annexation will not be possible, steps towards the ­ creation in Abkhazia of the required demographic situation, which ­ were carried out actively throughout the previous  century by their Georgian ­ wards, have been undertaken ­ again­­ within the United Nations. The problem is how to install in the country as large a quantity of Georgians as possible, then having artificially created a numerical superiority of this part of the population there, to ­return Abkhazia by “legitimate” parliamentary means to the bosom of Georgia. This group of Georgian people will naturally make a “fifth column”, by means of which it will be possible to dethrone the unshakeable government of Abkhazia and to enable the election in Abkhazia, as M.Saakashvili has stated, of a “proGeorgian” ­ president. With this aim in view, at the request of Georgian political demagogues the United Nations declared all the Georgians wishing to settle in Abkhazia as refugees, and in its annual decisions demanded that the Abkhazian side provide Georgians with the opportunity of returning to the country.

Since the moment of connection of the United Nations to the peace-keeping process in ­ Abkhazia, in its documents items continuously appear from year to year about “the political status of Abkhazia as a part of Georgia” and about the returning of refugees to its territory. The aim is to return refugees at any cost to Abkhazia, which belongs to Georgia. Georgia and world community organisations forget that the formal recognition of the presence of refugees from Abkhazia to Georgia ­ is a recognition of Abkhazia as a sovereign country, as “refugees” (by the definition of experts of the United Nations) cannot be in one country, which is the category in which Georgia together with Abkhazia considers itself. Inside the country there can be only “internally displaced persons (IDP)”.

But this is not the main point. As Abkhazia is not a part of Georgia, ­ the Georgians who left Abkhazia after its finding of independence are not refugees, but repatriates. The convention on the status of refugees, accepted on July 28th, 1951 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries about the Status of Refugees and Repatriates, called according to  resolution 429 (V) of the General Assembly from December 14th, 1950, makes the following definition of this category of persons:

“Article 1 - Definition of concept “refugee”

A. In the present Convention the term “refugee” means a person who:

2)…owing to quite proven fears of becoming a victim of prosecutions on the basis of race, creed, citizenship, an accessory to a certain social group or political convictions, is out of the country of their civil affiliation and cannot use the protection of this country or does not wish to use such protection owing to such fears; or, not having certain citizenship and being out of the country of the usual former ­ residence as a result of similar events, cannot or does not wish to return to it owing to such fears.

C. Regulations of the present Convention do not extend any further for a person ­ falling under the definitions of section A who:

1) voluntarily has again taken advantage of the protection of the country of their civil affiliation; or

2) having lost the citizenship, again has obtained it voluntarily; or

3) has acquired new citizenship and uses the protection of the country of their new civil affiliation; or

4) voluntarily has again settled in the country which they had left or out of ­ whose limits they had stayed owing to fears of prosecutions;

F. Regulations of the present Convention do not extend to all those persons concerning whom there are serious reasons to assume that they:

 a) have committed a crime against the world, a war crime or a crime ­ against humanity in the definition given to these actions in international ­ documents, which were drawn up with the aim of acceptance of measures concerning similar crimes­;

b) have committed a serious crime of a non-political nature outside of the country which has given them refuge and before they have been admitted into this country as refugees;

c) are guilty of committing acts contradicting the purposes and principles ­ of the United Nations Organization”.

Thus, though officials from the United Nations consider that “all Georgians who left Abkhazia, running from the horrors of war, are refugees”, ­in reality it is a different matter. According to the international documents on this question, the right to define “who is who” belongs only to the country ­ which people left. For the country into which the people from another state arrive, refugees are only foreigners. ­ Convention rules ­“do not extend any further for a person falling under the definitions of section A (refugee - author)”..., in the case where that person... “voluntarily has again taken advantage of the protection of the country of their civil affiliation” (i.e. for Georgians who returned to Georgia).

With the beginning of military actions, heavy Georgian army weapons­ and gangs of National Guard bandits came into the southern part of Abkhazia, and in this region the arson of houses of Abkhazians and Armenians began, together with beatings, tortures and shooting of the civilian population. The people left possessions acquired over  decades ­ and ran from the Georgian aggressors and the horrors of war, trying to escape from­ ethnic cleansing and their destruction due to their nationality. They ran to the north, over the river Psou to the Krasnodar region of Russia. No, the ethnic Georgians living in Abkhazia did not run. They met the Georgian bands ­ named “guards” with flowers, Georgian flags, and greetings of welcome. From the horrors of war and ethnic cleansing ran Abkhazians, from the horrors of war ran Russians, Armenians, Greeks, Jews and people of other ­ nationalities, as all of them on the lands seized by Georgians were subjected­ to mockeries, robberies, violence, and physical destruction. They ran beyond the borders of their country of residence and they, and only they, are “refugees”. There is no mention of this in United Nations documents, and the world community doesn’t want to know about it.

Having occupied the southern part of Abkhazia and seized Sukhum, Georgians dethroned the lawful government by force (manu militari). The legitimate Abkhazian government moved to Gudauta for the period of occupation. The invaders, having created their own, Georgian, government, started to introduce ­ a military regime in the country­. This was aimed at the destruction of all Abkhazians without exception, from young to old, and the violent removal from the territory of Abkhazia (in truth, only from its occupied part) of all foreigners. With this end in view, the expulsion from the country of ten thousand Greeks and Jews was organized. They were humiliated, compelled to board chartered ships without things which had been stolen from them, lost their homes and belongings, and were sent to  Israel or Greece. There was a compulsory exodus of a mass­ of the people, with the violent deprivation of their right to live in their country of residence­ and of their citizenship. Nevertheless, this category of persons, according to­ United Nations rules, also has no right to the definition “refugees”, for although they were violently compelled to leave their country of residence, they “voluntarily have again taken advantage of the protection of the country of their civil affiliation”. This fact of a holocaust does not trouble officials from the United Nations in any way, and they are concerned ­ only with the resettlement of the Georgian fanatics.

As for the category of “internally displaced persons”,­ the ethnic Georgians who left Abkhazia together with the Georgian army in 1993 cannot be referred to it by definition­. The IDPs, according to decisions of the Viennese convention from May 23rd, 1969 and the quadripartite Agreement from April 4th, 1994 (Moscow) about voluntary returning of refugees and displaced persons, in the language of experts are called people who have left their native places but have not left the country. Displaced persons cannot count on the protection and help given to refugees.

The only real “internally displaced persons”, who left their houses during the Georgian occupation and ran away to Bzyb Abkhazia, are Abkhazians, Armenians, and Russians who ran from one part of their­ native land to another. Unfortunately, this basic definition ­ is not accepted in the legal documents of Abkhazia.

Those who returned to their historical native land (in this case Georgia) from the country in which they lived before, are called repatriates ­(from latin “re” - a prefix designating renewal, + “patria” - “native land”). Such “returned home” people were one million Algerian Frenchmen, and it was of no value that the majority of them were born in Algeria, as was one of the presidents of France. In the concept of repatriation, such circumstances as one’s birthplace, or  reasons for appearing in another country and returning from it, are not included. Millions of citizens of European countries occupied by Hitler - “displaced persons” who after the war returned to their countries - were repatriates also. Some of them had given birth to children in concentration camps or on German farms, but these children were not considered as refugees ­ from Germany, but were also repatriates coming back to their native land after having been born  in another country. As we have shown above, based on data from population censuses, till the end of XIX century in Abkhazia there were practically no Georgians. Therefore all Georgians of Abkhazia (excluding Mingrelians from Samurzakan), possessed and still possess only Georgian citizenship, and were newcomers on Abkhazian land, so it is not  their native land. We underline that the rules of Conventions “do not extend any further for a person ­ falling under the definitions of section A” (a refugee - authors), in case that person “voluntarily has again taken advantage of the protection of the country of their civil affiliation”.

One of the actions of the Georgian administration in the occupied territory of Abkhazia, along with a genocide in relation to Abkhazians and a holocaust to Greeks and Jews, was the issue of arms to all the suitable  population - ethnic Georgians. If ­Georgian statistics specify that the so-called “Georgian ­ refugees” make 250 thousand persons, in Abkhazia there is authentic data about more than 45 thousand of them listed by surname who were armed recruits. The Georgian military authorities gave out to each ethnic Georgian living in the territory of Abkhazia an  automatic gun­ or other fighting weapon (even the numbers of the weapons which were given out to identified persons are known), and they were entered into the structure of the armed forces. Each ­such Georgian family provided a fighter against sovereign Abkhazia, or even two.

A.Otyrba gives the following information, making comments on a major interview of the speaker of the Georgian parliament by the “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”:

“The sensation is that since the termination of the Georgian-Abkhazian war, Tbilisi has persistently asserted that the refugees who left Abkhazia are innocent peaceful inhabitants, who were expelled by Abkhazians absolutely groundlessly. And here for the first time at official level this was refuted. On a comment from the correspondent that in Sukhum they declare today that they consider it not only possible but also necessary to accept the return ­ of those refugees who did not commit crimes and were not at war against them, but the Georgian authorities do not allow them to come back, Nino Burdjanadze answered thus:

“I consider that those people who committed war crimes should ­ be punished, whether they be Georgian, Abkhazian, Russian or Chechen. But the fact is that Abkhazians name as criminals all, without any exception, who took weapons and protected their houses, wives, children and families. Because of this, it turns out that none of the refugees should come back”.

Thereby, Nino Burdjanadze admitted that Georgian inhabitants of Abkhazia had been armed without exception. But, as is known, a person who has taken a fighting weapon in his hands is not a civilian person nor even a combatant. Naturally, these persons also do not enter the category of “refugees” or “displaced persons”. They are military criminals, and left Abkhazia together with fleeing members of the Georgian troops.

According to norms of the United Nations, “Regulations of the present Convention do not extend to all those persons concerning whom there are serious reasons to assume that they:

 a) have committed a crime against the world, a war crime or a crime ­ against humanity in the definition given to these actions in international ­ documents, which were drawn up with the aim of acceptance of measures concerning similar crimes”.

Nevertheless, for officials of the United Nations, all these persons (though all of them ran from a fair penalty for murders, and for betraying their country of residence, together with fleeing Georgian troops) are “refugees”. All efforts by this organisation are directed towards the return of this part of the efficient aggressive ­ population. The reason for this is clear.

The defeat of the aggressors and their flight was predetermined. The president of Abkhazia, during the conduct of operations to clear Abkhazia of invaders, stated that: with the proviso that ethnic Georgians did not take up weapons in their hands and did not oppose the people of Abkhazia, the option was offered to persons ­ of Georgian nationality who were not participating in evil deeds against the people of the country not to leave Abkhazia, and each of them was guaranteed the rights of a citizen ­ of the Republic of Abkhazia.

This address to Georgians did not achieve success. Euphoria at the beginning of a victorious campaign by the Georgian armada in Abkhazia completely untied hands for a genocide in relation to the peoples of Abkhazia, and impunity for military and criminal offences turned the heads of ethnic Georgians. In this dancing “on the graves of the murdered”, begun by Georgia on August 14th, supporters and non-supporters of  Gamsakhurdia joined together. Ethnic Georgians ­ living in Abkhazia only found such permissiveness with the arrival of regular Georgian troops. In this, and with their returning to the so-called “Democratic Republic of Georgia”, the essence of Georgian culture was shown. As the newspaper “Droni” from September 4th, 1992 wrote: “input of the Georgian troops has encouraged the Georgian population. The hope has appeared that we are not alone”.

During the existence of the USSR, despite the evidence of a genocide and of ethnic violence from the Georgian administration, there was no friction in its­ relations with the multinational people of Abkhazia, including ethnic ­ Georgians. It was one community, an amicable family ­ building socialism. But the ambitions of political functionaries of Georgia ­ extended much further, in the area of creation of the Georgian empire, and were especially shown after the disintegration of the USSR. Modern Georgian ­ politicians, in achievement of these other-wordly purposes, did not shun and do not shun anything - from distortion of the history of Transcaucasia to the direct planning of Anschluss, the capture by military force of everything that a thievish hand can get, and its inclusion in the structure of Georgia. But there has come a day of reckoning, and Georgians have received what they struggled for.

This should be understood by officials from the United Nations. But the United Nations continue to prepare the next documents, trying to present these homebrew fighters as “innocent lambs”, victims of Abkhazian aggression­. Moreover, there is a desire to drag into basic ­documents the subject of ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia in relation to ethnic ­ Georgians, as one of the worst crimes against humanity, though special investigations have found no evidence of this phenomenon. In this respect, the United Nations is guided by hypocrisy ­ and double standards.

Today Georgian officials, giving reasons for their claims to Abkhazia, refer to the quantitative structure of refugees. They assert that the number of refugees exceeds the quantity of people who have remained in Abkhazia, and this gives them the right to define the future of Abkhazia. From such an argument it appears that it is possible to justify any robbers, on the grounds that during a previous unsuccessful robbery there were more robbers than planned victims, and on this basis they should be allowed to repeat the crime. But according to all laws and ethical standards, the superiority in strength of criminals over their victims only accentuates the fault of the former.

As a result of the war started by the Georgian adventurers, and their utter defeat and subsequent departure with a considerable part of the Georgian population who had done evil deeds in the territory of Abkhazia, the status quo was restored, which has led ­ to normalisation of the ethnodemographic situation.

Georgia puts one of the conditions for termination of the conflict as the returning of all refugees to Abkhazia. However, as all Georgians who left ­ Abkhazia during the military Georgian expansion were either insurgents in the army of aggressors or their helpers, i.e. were military criminals, and because from the point of view of world practice their actions were illegal, their return would be accompanied by criminal investigation or investigation of war crimes, and the  sentence of guilty in the courts. Regarding criminal and war crimes against representatives of Russian, Abkhazian, ­ Jewish, Armenian and other sections of the population, more ­ than 45 thousand persons of Georgian nationality are under investigation for committing evil actions against the people ­ of Abkhazia. These criminals consider themselves as refugees, and most actively demand their return, including through bodies of the United Nations, the European Union, ­ etc. They know that their hands are covered in the blood of the innocent Abkhazian civilian­ population, and understand that upon  their returning to independent Abkhazia there is only one road for them - to a dock. Therefore an indispensable ­ condition of their returning is revenge, the condition that Abkhazia will be a part of Georgia.

Are they refugees? No! Firstly they, unlike other members of the­ population of Abkhazia having Abkhazian and Russian citizenship, were citizens only of Georgia and, having left Abkhazia, returned to live in the country of their   own citizenship; secondly, they are not internally displaced persons, as they left for another country­. The fact that they consider the Abkhazia occupied previously by them as a part of their country changes nothing. If the criminal aspect of these people is ignored, it appears that they left the country by their own ­free will according to their own decision, as is   the right of each citizen of a free democratic country. It was their choice, not made ­during the year of military actions. They did not run from the horrors of war, in fact during those horrors they freely lived in ­ an occupied territory, enjoying the possibility of plundering the houses of other people in the country, believing that their lawlessness would remain unpunished.

Has the United Nations any right to demand the returning to Abkhazia of persons of this category­? No! Such a  right is available only to the people who left Abkhazia in 1992 and 1993, really running from the horrors of the war started by the Georgian invaders, along with ethnic cleansings and  genocide conducted by them in the territory of sovereign Abkhazia. Do ethnic Georgians have the right to return to Abkhazia? The answer is also no, as they ­ were repatriated, returned home, and left Abkhazia by their own free­ will. Do they have the right to apply for residence in Abkhazia? Undoubtedly, as everyone has the right to ask permission ­ to reside in any country of the world. This, as a rule, involves a check by relevant bodies about any previous offences,­ the issue of a residence permit for a certain period, and ­ decision by the host state regarding the possibility and expediency of granting citizenship to this person.

Georgia does not intend to solve this problem on the basis of compromise, as it is necessary to solve (partially at least) the question of “refugees” on the terms of ­ the status of independence of Abkhazia existing ­ today, and there would be a necessity to recognise the sovereignty of Abkhazia de jure. This is not included in Georgia’s revanchist plans.

The problem of “refugees” has one more aspect. As T.Achugba shows, the more the problem of refugees is publicised by Georgia, the more strongly ­ Georgia can influence the international community, as the problem of mutual relations with Abkhazia becomes more crucial. The Georgian government will not attempt to improve the living ­ conditions of “refugees” in Georgia, as in that case the international pressure on Abkhazia would decrease at once, and the problem of their return would never be solved.

We believe that any attempt to enable the uncontrolled return of so-called “refugees” (ethnic Georgians) without assigning them Abkhazian citizenship and cancelling their Georgian citizenship (which it is possible to name as  repatriation­), is directed towards a change in the demographic situation in the country, and the reconstruction ­ of a “fifth column” whose purpose is to overthrow the government and seize power in sovereign Abkhazia. It is known that the settling of an independent ­ state by foreigners deprives the indigenous population of their right to free-willed self-determination. The United Nations requirement about Georgian settlers, who ran from Abkhazia, returning from their historic native land of Georgia, cannot be considered ­ from the point of view of international law as legal, as the fact of foreigners settling in Abkhazia has all the elements of the colonial policy of an imperialist country and is a nonsense in  modern policy and practice.

If you have expelled aggressors (for example, fascists in the Second World War) from an occupied territory of the USSR, are you now obliged to return them to this territory for permanent residence, because during the occupation, within three-four years they became accustomed to living there, and this place became their native land? You will answer that this is an absurdity. Nevertheless, the suggestion that this ­absurdity must be carried out in Abkhazia is made by the international community, in the name of the United Nations and the European Union.

History knows a precedent similar to the Abkhazian situation. After the Second World War, Czechoslovakia  evicted from their territory three million ethnic ­Sudeten Germans who had lived there from time immemorial. Nothing happened as a result, and nobody considers this fact as a genocide. Moreover, it was not ­ an obstacle for the introduction of the Czech Republic into the European Union.

3.7. The role of international organisations in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.

In the politics of the United Nations, which is formed by states which are called ­ democratic but are not always so, an approach based upon double standards is defined as a choice of priorities otherwise dependent upon necessity. Declaring to the whole world that the basis of their principles is “care of human rights”, in real life the principle of “integrity of the states” is paramount, thus the interests of individual nations and all mankind are sacrificed to the ambitions of leaders of the major countries or the politicians necessary to those leaders. As for “care of human rights” concerning Abkhazia, it is reduced to one thing - the world community has been anxious only to preserve the “right” of Mr. E. Shevardnadze to conduct a genocide and utter annihilation of the Abkhazian people as an ethnos within territory which has been­ the property of Abkhazia for a period of more than two millenia. It ­ is becoming the same concerning the new president of Georgia. Universal justice does not define approaches to the question of granting self-determination to  nations,­  but a group of international officials decides how separate people, nations or ethnoses should live and develop. As a rule, the wishes of these people are completely ignored, and in most cases,­ as for example with Abkhazia, its opinion is not asked for at all, though its will has already been expressed over a long period quite lawfully and  democratically through a referendum.

The question is to whom is this favourably important? (cui prodest). ­ Analyzing the policy of the United Nations in the conflict in the territory of Transcaucasia, one is convinced that basically the corporate interests of  countries entering in one way or another into the blocks representing the political, economic and regional ­ interests of these countries sponsor the United Nations, or, to put it clearly, pay officials servicing this organization. The more such  money for the United Nations machine a country allocates, the more it is guaranteed that its suggestions, even the most ridiculous ­ and anti-human, will be accepted. We observe this in the examples of Afghanistan, Iraq... It appears that the USA can act for the protection (i.e. the ­ interests) of itself in the territory of a distant, not neighbouring, independent sovereign state. Abkhazia has no right of protection of its people, independence and statehood even in its own territory. Where is the logic, where is the declared ­ justice? Or is it only because the USA puts huge sums into this black hole called Georgia, because America arms the Georgian bandits and­  prepares special troops for the punishment of civilians in South Ossetia and ­ Abkhazia, that Georgia is given the right to destroy the people ­ of Transcaucasia - the most ancient ethnoses – with impunity­? All that matters is that Georgia has intended ­ to clear a region for the further installation of USA military bases in the proximity of Russia.

In these plans the United Nations does not take a neutral stand. Its attitude has degenerated into that of the League of Nations, which tolerated fascism, leading to the start of the Second World War. During that period, as well as now, all injust actions of the relevant organisation were made through double standards. The League of Nations justified Hitler's actions in the same way as the United Nations judges the actions of E.Shevardnadze, and nowadays of  M.Saakashvili. Finally came the inevitable court of history, and the instigators appeared behind bars or on the gallows. In that instance those officials of the League of Nations who promoted the development ­ of the anti-human scenario evaded judgement, as on their hands no blood was visible - they worked only with papers. Officials of the United Nations also hope for the same.

As an example, we will pay attention to the following: at the moment of acceptance ­ of Georgia as a member of the United Nations (July, 1992), the country was ruled by the State Council of Georgia, an illegitimate body which came to power­ unconstitutionally. Georgia at that time did not represent ­ a uniform political formation, its jurisdiction did not extend to ­ Abkhazia, South Ossetia, or (partially) to Adjaria, and in Mingrelia during this period ­ there was a civil war between supporters and opponents of the ex-president. World practice does not recognise states if their power does not extend to those territories or state organisations which they declare as being within the structure of the state. But, as we see, Georgia, together with all of its infringements of international law, military expansion, genocide and war crimes, was included by the United Nations within its number. European states entered it with pleasure and honour into the structure of the Council of Europe, which was a nonsense in itself, and calls into question European and world law.

The deceit of the international community undertaken by Georgia consisted and consists of Georgia’s presentation to it of the information that Abkhazians are really Georgians, and that all of their lives (and earlier) they  have dreamt only to be in the bosom of Georgia, but that turncoats, to Russia’s advantage, in every possible way pursue a policy of tearing Abkhazia away from its native mother country. The will of the people of Abkhazia, ­ stated in the most democratic way by means of a referendum, is thus ignored,­ and the Georgian government ­ expresses friendship and love to the Abkhazian people ­ by means of military aggression, tanks and machine guns, terror and ­ sabotage.

The view of the problem of mutual relations between Abkhazia and Georgia ­ was formed in the world and in international organisations on the basis of its deceitful  representation in a false and deformed way. As an example, we will give one small detail completely characterising the position of PACE and its view of the mutual relations of Abkhazia and Georgia. The lecturer T.Davis, concerning the draft of Georgia’s demand to join the Council of Europe, in item 7 states­: “Georgia has gone through two confrontations in Abkhazia (1992-1994) and in South Ossetia (1990-1993)”. In other words, Georgia did not attack the sovereign state Abkhazia, not did it start the military conflict, but went through it as a victim of aggression from Abkhazia.

The leaders of Abkhazia know that the physical existence of the people of the country, and primarily its native ethnos­ (the host nationality), depends upon their every step at negotiations on conflict settlement between Georgia and Abkhazia. They learnt about “friendship to the grave” with Georgians,­ but understand that the primary goal of the Georgian government is “to drive all Abkhazians into this grave”. The World community should have understood a long time ago that the form of coexistence imposed upon these peoples ­ is absolutely unacceptable by definition. This proves to be true in various ways (e.g. ethnic structure, national culture), and ­ is simply because these people were never represented by one statehood,­  and Abkhazia was always an independent state whose people had only Russian and Abkhazian citizenship. Also,­ it would be desirable to know for what reason, and on what legal basis, the people of Abkhazia, actually­ living independently, should agree to domination in their own country by an alien ethnos, with a change of their own ­ citizenship to Georgian.

The international community, and in particular the United Nations, OSCE and other organizations, should remember that Abkhazia, annexed by Georgia in 1918, left its structure, as well as that of the USSR, following the­ disintegration of the latter. Then as a result of its military victory in 1993, it was released from its annexation and declared this­ to the international community. From then on Abkhazia became a completely sovereign,­ independent state, the subject of international law, without dependence upon its recognition by the international community. Besides, sovereign Abkhazia is a part of the Confederation of the Mountain Peoples ­ representing the ethno-social political Union of the states of the North Caucasus, whose tasks include the protection of the statehood and independence ­ of its members.

3.8. Prospects of a decision to the problem.

International public law says: at the moment of destruction of a former ­ state system (which the Soviet Union was) and with the organisation of a new one (the Republic of Abkhazia), when the old power concedes reins to the new government, and if this separation process is finished and confirmed by the national will ­ of the people, with a recognition of independence by other governments de facto, all previous agreements and treaties lose their validity. Actually, the newly appeared sovereign state initially inherits the recognized rights and duties of a subject of international law, and then acquires new ones (clausia rebus sie stantibus).

With the disintegration of the USSR, the status of Abkhazia as a state was changed, and all international treaties were automatically invalidated owing to this,­ or to the special statement that corresponds to item 16 of the Viennese ­ convention on the assignment of  states concerning treaties, from August 23rd, 1978:

“A new independent state is not obliged to keep any treaty in force, or to become its participant, simply because of the fact that at the moment of ­ state assignment this treaty was in force concerning the territory which is the object of the assignment of the states”.

As to the problem of international recognition of the independence of Abkhazia ­ after the disintegration of the USSR and creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), it is necessary to note that by 1990 the statehood of the Transcaucasian ­ republics had not been formed according to the laws concerning the formation of the CIS, though   attention was directed to the question of revival of the updated union and on the possibility of self-determination of each nation. The form of the new states was also not defined. Thus Georgia as a sovereign state should not have received recognition, as any decisions concerning the priorities of one nation affected the interests of others. Various obligations ­ of international documents have legal abilities to form ­one indissoluble whole, and the parts concerning Abkhazia and its sovereignty should not have been separated from other parts of the same treatise. But ­ the world community, pursuing its   aims of the quickest disintegration of the USSR, shut its eyes to this essential infringement of international law and quickly recognised the sovereignty of Georgia.

We should notice that the deadlock which Abkhazia has reached in its attempts to restore its sovereignty was created by an information war. It is clear that this has been planned by the Georgian government, which in every possible way tries to convince the international community about discrimination against the Georgian people making the majority of the population of the country in Abkhazia. Dear reader, think about that twaddle - there are 95 thousand people now representing the Abkhazian ethnos, who have gone through genocide from Georgia throughout almost a century, and been subjected to discrimination by the Georgian part of the population of Abkhazia, which was 250 thousand people.  As well as this, all managerial­ posts in the country belonged to Georgians, and a policy of Georgianisation of the language, culture and consciousness of Abkhazians was followed, controlled by the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Army i.e. the power structures which were under ­ the full control of Georgia. Nothing but gibberish!

It is amazing that the Georgian view is supported by the international community in the name of the United Nations, the CSCE, etc. Even the most simple question - a recognition of the act ­of aggression by Georgia in relation to Abkhazia which was the victim, has not been solved. The Security Council, into whose duties enter official  confirmation of the fact of aggression, cannot and does not do this concerning Abkhazia, and­  simply does not prosecute the aggressor. In the case of a possible ­ consideration of a question on the act of aggression, someone from the members of the Security Council ­can always use a veto, but after all this will not change features of the act of aggression representing intervention of the state in affairs of another with intention to force the other state to operate according to ­ its will.

We wish to show an interesting document clearly characterising double standards in the politics of Georgia and the inconsistency of its claims to Abkhazia. In the left-hand column we provide the full text of “the Statement about restoration ­ of the state independence of Georgia”, in which the Georgian ­ government proves the requirements for a recognition and restoration ­ of the sovereignty of the country, and furnishes convincing proofs in favour of its recognition. In the right-hand column we have placed only some parts of actual and legal ­ proofs stated by us in the present work, and have entered them into the text of the above Statement, but having shown the given ­items  relating to Abkhazia. The Abkhazian government, unfortunately, has not prepared a similar document, therefore we will dare to execute it for them. Simultaneously, in italics we will note discrepancies and distortions, not affecting any validity, which occur in the Georgian original of the Statement.

The statement about restoration of the state                                ­independence of Georgia


The statehood of Georgia ­ originating in the heart of centuries (Pure lie! Statehood ­ of "Georgia"  never existed till 1918, and so there was nothing to  restore. ­ Speech can be  only about Kartli-Kakhetia which ­ Russians named Georgia at end of ХVШ  century - authors) was lost by the Georgian people in XIX century, owing to ­ the annexation of Georgia carried out ­ by Russian empire and abolition of its statehood (According to the Georgievsk treaty and the Manifesto of 1801,­  governors of Kartli-Kakhetia ­ asked about inclusion of these ­ princedoms in structure of Russian territory on Caucasus, as was received,­  therefore to speak about annexation  is not truthful.) The Georgian people ­ were never reconciled with loss of freedom­. On the basis of the Statement about independence ­ of May 26th, 1918 ­ the abolished ­ statehood of Georgia was  restored ­ and the Georgian Democratic ­ Republic with its Constitution and representative bodies­ elected on the basis of ­ a multi-party system was formed­­­.

In February - March, 1921 ­  Soviet Russia, roughly having broken the peace treaty concluded between Georgia and Russia on May 7th 1920, by  armed aggression occupied the Georgian state recognised by it, and then  carried out its actual ­ annexation.


­ Georgia was included into structure of Soviet Union ­  involuntarily, and its ­ statehood was restored (originated - authors) in 1918, and exists  today. The statement about ­ independence of Georgia and its Constitution   have  validity today as the government ­ of democratic republic did not sign the document about capitulation and continued activity in emigration.

All period of violent stay of Georgia as a part of the USSR is noted by bloody terror and ­ reprisals, last display ­ of that was the tragedy on April 9th, 1989. The latent war against Georgia proceeds  today, its purpose - to prevent aspiration ­ of Georgia to freedom and democracy.


The Republic of Georgia Supreme Council, elected on October 28th, 1991 on the basis of multi-party, democratic elections, following the will of the population of Georgia, ­ unanimously expressed by it in ­ a referendum on March 31st, 1991, ­ decides and for the whole world proclaims ­ restoration of the state independence of Georgia on the basis of ­ the Statement about independence of Georgia of May 26th, 1918.

The statement about restoration of the state ­ independence of Abkhazia


The statehood of Abkhazia originating in V century  BC, ­ was lost by the Abkhazian people in XIX century, owing to ­ the annexation of Abkhazia carried out ­ by Russian empire and abolition of its statehood­. The Abkhazian people were never reconciled with loss of freedom. On the basis of the Allied treaty of October 20th, 1917 ­ the abolished statehood of Abkhazia was restored­ through its introduction into the Southeast Union of the Cossack army, Mountaineers of Caucasus and the free peoples of Steppes. Congress of the Abkhazian people accepted on November 8th, 1917 the Constitution ­ of Abkhazia and elected the Government - ­ the Abkhazian National Council.






In May - June, 1918 the Georgian ­ Democratic Republic, roughly having broken the Agreement from February 9th, 1918, by  armed aggression  occupied the Abkhazian state recognised by it, and then carried out its actual ­ annexation.


Abkhazia was included into structure of Georgia  involuntarily, and its statehood ­ was restored in 1917, and exists today. The statement about ­ independence of Abkhazia and its Constitution have validity today as the government ­ of democratic republic did not sign the  document about capitulation and continued activity in the conditions of ­ an occupation regime­.

All period of violent ­ stay of Abkhazia as a part of Georgia ­ is noted by bloody terror and reprisals,­  last display of that was the tragedy on August 14th, 1992. The latent war against Abkhazia ­ proceeds  today, its purpose - ­ to prevent aspiration of Abkhazia to freedom and democracy.


The Republic of Abkhazia Supreme Council, elected on October 28th, 1991 on the basis of multi-party, ­ democratic elections, following the will of the population of Abkhazia, ­ unanimously expressed by it in a referendum on March 17th, 1991, decides and for the whole world proclaims restoration ­ of the state independence ­ of Abkhazia on the basis of the decision of the first Congress of the Abkhazian people which took place on November 8th, 1917, on which the country Parliament (Abkhazian National Council) was elected and defined its main task as­ work on self-determination ­ of the Abkhazian people, and also, according to ­ decision of Orgburo RCP (b) and Revcom Abkhazia from  March 31st, 1921 which declared Abkhazia as Independent ­ Soviet Socialist ­ Republic.

The territory of sovereign ­ Republic Georgia is uniform and indivisible. In Republic Georgia territory ­ the Constitution and the Republic Georgia power have command only. Any action directed on restriction ­ of leadership of the power ­ of Republic Georgia or infringement of its ­ territorial integrity, will be qualified as intervention ­ in internal affairs of the sovereign ­ state, and aggression as ­ rough infringement of international law.


Primacy of international law concerning laws of Republic Georgia and direct action of its norms in territory of Georgia are ­ one of the basic constitutional principles of Republic Georgia.

The republic Georgia, aspiring ­ to take a worthy place in commonwealth of the states of the world, recognises and equally follows­ all fundamental laws provided by international law, and provides freedom of the person, ­ national, ethnic, religious and language groups as demanded by the United Nations Organization charter, the General declaration of human rights, and international pacts and conventions. (Simultaneously being Aggressor, source of violence and ­ genocide, and the cause of the international pressure in Transcaucasia).

The Republic Georgia Supreme Council declares that it will firmly observe the standard principles ­ of political, economic and cultural cooperation with other states.



Restoration of the state ­ independence of Republic Georgia completely corresponds ­ to the United Nations Organization charter, the Helsinki and Viennese statements recognising and fixing ­ the right of all people independently ­ to define political destiny of the country.


The Republic Georgia Supreme Council hopes that the international ­ cooperation of the states does not remain  indifferent to lawful ­ and fair steps of the Georgian ­ people and recognises ­ the revived state independence ­ of Georgia that is one of the firmest guarantees of safety ­ of Republic Georgia.


Signed by members of the Supreme Council

and the Republic Georgia government.


April 9th, 1991.

12.30 am.

The territory of sovereign ­ Republic Abkhazia is uniform and indivisible. In Republic Abkhazia territory the Constitution and the Republic Abkhazia power have command only. Any action directed on restriction ­ of leadership of the power ­ of Republic Abkhazia or infringement of its territorial integrity, will be qualified as intervention ­ in internal affairs of the sovereign state, and aggression as rough infringement of international law.


Primacy of international law concerning laws of Republic Abkhazia ­ and direct action of its norms in territory of Abkhazia are ­ one of the basic constitutional principles of Republic Abkhazia.

The republic Abkhazia, aspiring to take a worthy place in commonwealth ­ of the states of the world, recognises and equally follows­­­­­­ all ­­ fundamental laws provided ­ by international law, ­ and provides freedom of the person, ­ national, ethnic, religious ­ and language groups as demanded by the United Nations Organization charter, the General declaration of human rights, and international pacts ­ and conventions.




The Republic Abkhazia Supreme Council ­ declares that it will firmly observe ­the standard principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation with other ­ states.


Restoration of the state independence of Republic Abkhazia completely corresponds ­ to the United Nations Organization charter,­  the Helsinki and Viennese statements recognising and fixing the right ­ of all people independently ­ to define political destiny of the country.


The Republic Abkhazia Supreme Council ­ hopes that the international cooperation of the states does not remain ­ indifferent to lawful and fair steps of the Abkhazian ­ people and recognises the revived ­ state independence of Abkhazia ­ that is one of the firmest ­ guarantees of safety ­ of Republic Abkhazia.



There is a fair question, which is on what basis has Georgia, making ­ all conceivable and inconceivable infringements of the norms of international law, been recognised as a sovereign state? And why cannot Abkhazia, possessing ­ the same if not more powerful arguments in favour of its sovereignty,  find the freedom and rights which it deserves and for which it  has ­ all historical and legislative grounds?

Also, though the obvious does not require proof (manifestum non eget pro-batione), Abkhazia, given the position of the United Nations and the CSCE, will not be able to receive a fair ­ decision from the international community. In our opinion, the only way to reach a positive decision in this matter is to knock on all doors and to prove the truth by means of legally convincing arguments. We hope that the present work will make a contribution towards untying this tightened knot.

The ethnic conflict which took place in Abkhazia throughout XX century was a consequence of the presence of sharp national contradictions resulting from the strong dependence of the Abkhazian people on the ethnically alien Georgian ­ state, and on subjective actions by the persons who were at the head of this ­ state and its forces, and the policy followed by them. Such ­ actions of the state, in relation to the Abkhazian ethnos, as genocide, deportation,­  various sorts of national infringements and restrictions (language, ­ culture, the government) were indefensible­­­. But this is the roughest infringement of international public law, as it appears the hostage of actions by private persons (Jus publicum privatorum'pactis mutari non potest). ­ As an ethnos is a system of interconnected elements, any restriction ­to one of them (and furthermore to several simultaneously) will inevitably demand ­ the restoration of these elements through a system of connections with a different community, and this leads to the ethnos replacement that is called genocide.

We cannot be judges of our own case (пето index in causa sua), therefore we believe that for the definitive decision of this problem it is necessary to transfer the process of its consideration by international organisations into a legal ­ channel and to start to work in a legal field defined by these organisations. The international community provides a complex of legal means ­ for the peaceful solving of international disputes, namely: direct negotiations,­  intermediaries, the resolution of disputes by international organisations. In our opinion, the most effective solution could become the international investigatory procedure (inspection) i.e.  investigation by an international body ­( the international court or  international arbitration­) of the concrete circumstances and the fact sheet underlying the international disagreement. Though the conflict has reached a deadlock phase, it makes sense to again address those who will allow an investigation of its root causes by using legal means available to their organisation’s legal department. In this case there will not be inexpedient use of  a solely historical approach in an estimation of possibilities of confirmation of the sovereignty ­ of Abkhazia. Both parties should present their demonstrative data on the basis of ­ legal documents concerning this question. In the final instance, there should be an international court or other impartial proxy­ body able to make a corresponding decision. Transfer of consideration of the question of sovereignty to a legal environment ­ will outline at once the limits of consideration of the problem and will define the borders ­ of use of legal documents as arguments by the contradictory parties.