Abkhaz passports may be returned to ethnic Georgians with Georgian citizenship
Ethnic Georgians may receive Abkhaz citizenship
In Abkhazia, the talk about the return of Abkhazian citizenship to the residents of the Gal region – ethnic Georgians who have Georgian citizenship has once again started. Ethnic Georgians were stripped of their Abkhaz passports in 2014, and an attempt to side with them cost then-president Alexander Ankvab his office. The idea was so disliked by former President Raul Khajimba that he broke a long silence on the matter.
The issue of the Gal region of Abkhazia populated mainly by ethnic Georgians was raised at the founding congress of the new public organization “Congress of the People of Abkhazia”, which was created by the famous Abkhaz politicians Oleg Damenia and David Piliya.
“This is not just one of the regions of Abkhazia, it is a border region. Residents of this area still ask – whose people are we?Do we have any relation to Abkhazia?”. If you recall the statistics, in Soviet times a fifth of the population of the republic lived here, which provided a third of the economic potential of Abkhazia”, said David Piliya.
According to him, people were massively deprived of citizenship “because of of the political situation”, and even children do not have national Abkhaz passports by birth.
In 2014, a special commission set up by the parliament came to the conclusion that the majority of the residents of the Gal district illegally obtained Abkhaz citizenship, since they have a second Georgian citizenship, which is a violation of the current legislation.
Based on the conclusions of the parliamentary commission, the People’s Assembly recommended to the former President Alexander Ankvab to bring the situation in line with the law, that is, to deprive the Galians of Abkhazian citizenship.
Alexander Ankvab refused to comply with the decisions of the parliament, as a result of which, in May 2014, the opposition stormed the presidential palace, forced him to resign.
Raul Khadzhimba, who headed Abkhazia after Ankvab, deprived more than 20,000 Galis who had Georgian citizenship of Abkhazian passports. Instead, they were issued residence permits.
“Thus, we are playing by the rules of Georgia”, David Piliya said. “Year by year, we are pushing hundreds of young people to the territory of another state. We have turned Samurzakan (Gal region) into a kind of incubator for growing young people, which we send to Georgia … This cannot go on. It is necessary to develop a state policy regarding the population of Samurzakan and its integration into the internal life of the country”.
Ex-president Raul Khadzhimba, who once came to power at the height of protest against the granting of Abkhazian citizenship to the Galicians, in response to the initiative of the “Congress of the People of Abkhazia” broke the long-term silence:
“Philosophical and psychological primitiveness voiced by Oleg Damenia is not worth a condemnation or any comments … Once again I want to remind everyone that this topic should not be stirred up. No one will allow changing the provisions made to the law on citizenship”, Khadzhimba said in an interview with the Abkhaz edition of Nugnaya Gazeta.
He advised his opponents to seek clarification from the well-known Abkhazian historian Stanislav Lakoba, whose arguments formed the basis of the decision to deprive Galians of Abkhazian citizenship.