Abkhaz opposition demands government's resignation over energy crisis
The opposition in Abkhazia is demanding the resignation of the government amid the acute energy crisis that has been going on since the fall of 2020. The main reason for the chronic lack of light is uncontrolled crypto mining.
The opposition believes that the crisis was caused by the incompetent decision to legalize crypto mining made by the government in September 2020. As a result, daily energy consumption in October-December 2020 increased from 6-7 million kW / h to 9-11 million kW / h, leading to numerous accidents on electrical lines, fires and massive long-term blackouts.
In early December of the same year, the authorities banned mining but crypto farms have continued to work, and, according to experts, their number is increasing every day.
The popularity of mining in Abkhazia is stimulated by low costs of electricity – only 0.4 rubles [about 0.5 cents] per kilowatt/hour, and even this symbolic payment is rarely collected there.
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The united opposition has sent a statement to the prosecutor’s office demanding a thorough investigation of the energy situation that led to the crisis. In particular:
The damage has been done to the population, which has been living on a meager electricity supply schedule for many months.
The company Chernomorenergo was seriously affected, as it lost a lot of equipment that burned down due to network congestion caused by the massive mining of cryptocurrencies.
The authorities were forced to start purchasing electricity from Russia at a significantly higher price, even before the Inguri HPP (the main source of electricity for Abkhazia) was closed for repair works.
Abkhazia’s debt to Russia for the supplied energy exceeded two billion 750 million rubles [approximately $ 38 million] and is comparable to its own annual budget revenues.
The opposition also appealed to the parliament with a proposal to form a commission and conduct its own investigation to determine the reasons for the crisis and those responsible for it.
The opposition offered ministers, including Prime Minister Alexander Ankvab, who approved the legalization of cryptocurrency mining, to resign voluntarily “not to escalate the political situation further with their actions and inaction and not interfere with the investigation”.
The statement specifically mentions that, having been in power for over a year, the government has not developed any reforms aimed at increasing its own budget revenues.
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