Former Abkhaz VP: ‘Abkhazia must join Union State of Russia and Belarus’
The former Vice-President of Abkhazia believes that the republic must join the Union State of Russia and Belarus, which would “prevent the destruction of the Abkhaz state”.
Many in Abkhazia view his position negatively and are even calling it “traitorous”.
Valery Arshba, who was vice-president of Abkhazia for ten years (1994-2004) under President Vladislav Ardzinba of Abkhazia, insists that the republic absolutely must find a way to strengthen its cooperation with Russia.
He set forth the necessity of this concept in an article published in the newspaper Republic of Abkhazia.
In Arshba’s own words, “The time has come (and may not come again) for us to reassess our lives and make an important decision which is necessary for our people”.
Arshba believes there are ‘dangerous hints’ of possible political and economic cooperation with ‘the enemy’, Georgia, among certain groups in the Abkhaz government. To counterbalance this contact with Georgia, Arshba suggests closer cooperation with Russia.
“To preserve the country and the nation of Abkhazia, the Abkhaz elites must, together with their people, take a fateful decision and, without losing their sovereignty, prepare to join the already existing Union State of Russia and Belarus”, writes the former vice-president.
“We must come to this historical decision together, otherwise we are all complicit in furthering the destruction of our nation and the Abkhaz state. Future generations would never forgive us for that”, asserts Arshba.
Reactions to the former vice-president’s statements among social media users are mostly negative. Many have even called Arshba’s position “traitorous”.
What is the Union State?
Officially the Union State of Russia and Belarus is a supragovernmental organization of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus with unified politic, economic, military, customs, currency, legal, humanitarian, and cultural areas organised in stages.
The treaty governing its creation was signed in 1999. Thanks to the treaty, the border between the two countries is open, and Belarus takes advantage of a range of tax benefits on Russian energy resources and has easy access to the Russian market.
However, the two parties have yet to come to an agreement on a unified currency or political structure.