Tag: Abkhazia

Explaining the Crisis in Abkhazia

A political crisis in the separatist entity of Abkhazia, which included coup rumors and Russia’s temporary detention of an opposition leader, has eased for now. But the sources of instability have not been fully addressed.

After large protests and counter-protests on December 15 in the capital, Sukhumi, the de facto president, Raul Khajimba, offered concessions to the opposition. But while this appears to have dampened tensions for now, Abkhazia seems likely to be gripped by uncertainty for months ahead.

So what set off this crisis? On November 30, the opposition party Amtsakhara announced that if Khajimba did not resign by December 15, it would convene a people’s assembly. The implicit threat was that this people’s assembly might seek Khajimba’s ouster. The government took the threat seriously, organizing a counter-protest, as well as a range of statements by political and civil society actors (including even former South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity) that uniformly appealed for unity. In addition, the State Security Service presented recordings it claimed featured certain opposition members discussing plans to forcefully overthrow Khajimba.