"Friendship is a two-way street" - Speaker of Russian Duma in Abkhazia
Speaker of Russian Duma in Abkhazia
Speaker of the Duma Vyacheslav Volodin arrived in Abkhazia to talk behind closed doors with deputies of the People’s Assembly. In a week, the Abkhaz deputies will deliberate on ratification of the transfer of the Pitsunda (Bichvinta) estate to Russia.
Local experts consider Volodin’s statement that “[w]e believe that friendship is a two-way street” to be an important message and even a veiled threat.
However, the official purpose of the visit is the signing of an inter-parliamentary agreement on cooperation between the Duma and the People’s Assembly.
After meeting with the Abkhaz deputies, Volodin said that “the conversation in a closed format was very useful”:
“We need to get to know each other better, given our allied relations and the desire to build them […] more effectively. The pace is set by the heads of our states, the governments are working in this direction. As for parliaments, we have not had effective communications for a long time.”
“Development is possible only on the basis of trust. It is impossible to form trust without dialogue,” Volodin said.
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Another speaker of the Duma said that he considers it extremely important to harmonize the legislation of Abkhazia and Russia.
Meanwhile, the Abkhaz expert community agrees that the main purpose of Viacheslav Volodin’s visit to Abkhazia is to convince the Abkhaz colleagues to ratify the agreement on the Pitsunda estate in the form in which it was signed in January 2022.
And this is despite the fact that in this document, incorrect data are indicated in the coordinates of the territory to be transferred to Russia. The territory to be transferred is noticeably larger than the territory of the estate itself — 343 hectares instead of 186.
Moscow agreed that this was a mistake, but did not want to correct the document before ratification. It proposes that Abkhazia ratify the agreement as is, then make changes by a separate resolution.
Officially the authorities of Abkhazia have not yet expressed their position; however, photos of two versions of the draft law have appeared on Facebook.
The first option is a draft law on the ratification of the agreement in its current form.
The second option is a law on ratification which directly indicates the proposed changes.
Omar Smyr, a member of the Supreme Council of the opposition organization “Abkhaz People’s Movement” of the IDA, writes on his Facebook page:
“No matter how good the intentions of the authors of the laws are, I remind you that Article 26 of the agreement on the transfer of the Pitsunda estate says that the termination of the Agreement does not entail the termination of ownership of the facility.”
This means, Smyr writes, that there are no guarantees that the agreement can be terminated and the estate and territory can be returned if Russia does not fulfill the agreement and does not amend the agreement after its ratification.
“I believe that the agreement, due to errors and inaccuracies, should be withdrawn from the People’s Assembly,” Smyr writes.
Speaker of Russian Duma in Abkhazia
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