"End law on occupation, don't offer Monaco" - a comment from Abkhazia
Abkhazian reaction to comments by Georgian PM
What do people in Abkhazia think about the proposal to become the “Monaco of Georgia”? On December 28, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili made this comment. “If our country is unified, we can invest about $10 billion in Abkhazia and Samachablo [South Ossetia] in the first three years,” Garibashvili said, presenting the government’s annual report to parliament.
“We want to heal the wounds from so many wars,” he said.
From time to time the leaders of Georgia try to lure the Abkhazians, promising them a comfortable life in the future Caucasian Switzerland. “You will ride upon waves of milk and honey,” Gamsakhurdia, Shevardnadze, Saakashvili have all said in turn.
However, Switzerland has not yet been built in Georgia itself.
The Abkhazians themselves dreamed of building their own Switzerland, which, as you know, also remained only a wish.
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And now the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, has decided to interest the Abkhazians in another castle in the air. Now he says Abkhazia can be Monaco, and promises to rebuild its capital Sukhum in Monte Carlo.
This geographic rebranding is a very sensible psychological choice on Garibashvili’s part. There are two components here.
First, Abkhazians can do nothing.
“You, Abkhazians, don’t need to produce chocolate, don’t bother with making cheese, or set up the production of expensive watches. You don’t have to do anything at all – the money will come to you. You just put your signature here below, and we will immediately roll out 10 billion dollars. And this is only the first tranche.”
The second distinguishing point is that the Georgian Prime Minister never threatened Abkhazia — unlike his predecessors, whom the Abkhaz perceive only as ghouls. And, apparently, that is why Garibashvili’s idea was not taken with rancor, but simply as not serious.
Why is Tbilisi trying to sell this fantasy just now?
Russia has become bogged down on the Ukrainian front, giving the West a reason to draw up far-reaching plans for its containment and even dismemberment.
It is difficult for Moscow right now, although, perhaps, everything is not as catastrophic as some experts assess its situation. Russian forces are very limited. And this is noticeable in the South Caucasus, where Nagorno-Karabakh, together with Armenia, is slipping away from under its feet.
But the “Karabakh case” is noticeably different from the Abkhaz one.
At least in the first case we are talking about a conflict between two countries with which Russia has very even relations. And if it weren’t for the Turkish factor, one could call it an “internal cabal” in the zone of Russian interests.
In the case of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, it is all too obvious for Moscow whom to support here. Abkhazia, because it is the most loyal post-Soviet region for Moscow.
And unlike Karabakh and Armenia, Russia is right next door, a step away from the Sochi residence “Bocharov Ruchey” of President Vladimir Putin.
However, even if Russia had no time for Abkhazia at all now, Georgia would still think about whether to unleash a “second front” or not.
In 1992, when the leaders of the State Council of Georgia at a closed meeting decided the issue of bringing troops into Abkhazia, the only one who spoke out against it was the former thief in law Jaba Ioseliani.
The territory of Abkhazia can be captured, but the Georgians will not have enough resources to keep it by force. Garibashvili understands that even without the Russians, the Abkhazians will “give money back.” And so it is better to persuade them with an offer.
But there is one important detail in his speech. Saying Abkhazia could become Monaco, he also calls it “occupied territory”. But if it is in this status that Abkhazia is perceived in Tbilisi, why make the proposal a forced one? It is more logical to offer the “Monaco” project and 10 billion in addition to the “occupier”, that is, Moscow.
Despite the rhetoric about “occupied territory”, Irakli Garibashvili understands perfectly well that the fate of Abkhazia cannot be decided without the Abkhazians.
Before offering such fantasies, the Georgian law “On the occupied territories” that offends Abkhazians should first be repealed, then we can talk about Monaco. It is unlikely that they will agree, but still they will look at Georgia a little differently.
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Abkhazian reaction to comments by Georgian PM