Opinion: crisis of emotions in Abkhazia
Political crisis in Abkhazia
A political crisis erupted in Abkhazia, the cause of which was the beating of a deputy by the security forces, which caused massive discontent and protests. JAMnews Abkhazia editor Inal Khashig analyzes its causes and possible consequences.
The President of Abkhazia is at a crossroads. For the sake of temporary stability, he was offered to sacrifice the Minister of the Interior. The very conditional Abkhazian internal political stability that stretched out for a year and a half (this is when there are no rallies that develop into an assault on a complex of government buildings) suddenly disappeared.
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The authorities, of course, were expecting protests back in the summer, said Timur Gulia, leader of the opposition movement Aruaa. They also expected protests in late autumn, when the energy crisis, which tortured the population with its regular power outages, was scheduled to reach its record bottom.
And then the crisis frowned right after the festive fireworks.
Deputy Gary Kokaya, who celebrated Victory Day [in the Georgian-Abkhazian war in the early 90s] and independence together with his father and his army comrades in a restaurant on the Sukhumi embankment, ended the feast by firing a pistol into the air. At the same time, a hundred meters from this place in another restaurant on the same embankment, President Aslan Bzhania celebrated the holiday. Interior Minister Dmitry Dbar, who was in his company, promptly reacted to the shooting and personally went to investigate.
It is quite possible that if another deputy was in Kokaya’s place, even one not too loyal to the current government, the situation could have developed quite peacefully – both the one who fired and the one who went on duty to pacify the violator could even disperse without fanning the conflict, and even drink a glass of champagne together.
However, we have to admit that the Abkhaz political environment is too prone to emotions. The reaction to the same action, as a rule, is diametrically different. Assessment and conclusions directly depend on political preferences. The action itself is not important, it is important whose it is.
So, Gary Kokaya appeared in politics quite recently, nevertheless, he has already earned a reputation of one of the main irritants of the current government. In turn, Dmitry Dbar, due to his harshness, is just as unloved in the opposition environment.
In general, from the meeting of two political antipodes, while people with a heightened sense of their own dignity, the conflict was a priori inevitable. And it took place.
In this fight, initially the forces were unequal – the deputy and his fellow countrymen from the village of Adzyubzha were beaten by the militiamen led by the minister. After that, the winners with a sense of accomplished duty left the scene, and the losers were then taken to hospitals by their relatives.
And the very next day, angry villagers gathered at the walls of parliament demanding satisfaction. The parliament, which urgently gathered for its meeting on the day off, was quite capable of reassuring the Adzyubzha residents if a resolution passed recommending the president to temporarily remove the minister and all the policemen who participated in the beating from their posts. But for a positive result, two votes were not enough, and the question was postponed until Monday.
Such a postponement further inflamed passions, for practically the entire opposition was in solidarity with the Adzyubzhins.
President Aslan Bzhania realized in time that the situation, if not promptly responded to, could get out of control, and interrupting his business trip to Moscow, he returned to his homeland, and, as they say, played ahead of the curve.
Without waiting for a new session of parliament, or, to be more precise, a protest rally outside the walls of the government building complex, Bzhania removed Dmitry Dbar from his post while investigating the incident with shooting and fighting.
It was possible to remove people from the square with assurances from the authorities that the investigation of the circumstances of the incident would be completed within a week.
Despite such a turn, the Adzyubzhins and the opposition gathered on Monday, as they considered the temporary suspension not only as a half measure, but as a kind of political maneuver aimed at knocking down the protest wave.
Now the president was faced with a choice – to sacrifice one of the key figures in his entourage, or to enter into an open confrontation with the opposition ahead of schedule, because in such unstable countries as Abkhazia, it is he, and not the investigating authorities, who put the accents in high-profile cases.
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