Russian special forces 'Rosgvardia' will not be permitted to enter Abkhazia
A stormy scandal erupted in Abkhazia when a draft interdepartmental agreement between the ministry of internal affairs of Abkhazia and the Rosgvardia unit of the Russian ministry of internal affairs was leaked online. This agreement implied the deployment of Russian Guard units in Abkhazia, responsible for maintaining public order, including dispersing unauthorized protests.
This sparked significant outrage within Abkhazian society. However, the alarm seems to be unfounded. Interior minister Robert Kiut clarified that this proposal ‘is not subject to approval by the leadership of the interior ministry of Abkhazia.
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Earlier, on the evening of February 9, Robert Kiut attempted to reassure the public by stating that the draft agreement “does not encroach upon the sovereignty” of Abkhazia.
However, his remarks only served to further exacerbate the situation. Nearly all opposition organizations and politicians issued vehement statements. For instance, former MP Almas Ardzinba labeled it as “hatred towards the people”:
“The agreement, which allows the National Guard troops of a neighboring state to intervene in maintaining order in Abkhazia, is not merely an assault on the independence of our nation; it undermines everything we’ve accomplished over the past 30 years. We are relinquishing policing duties to foreigners.
This is more than betrayal; it constitutes animosity towards the people of Abkhazia. It reflects a desire to demean and dismantle them—an endeavor to erase the history of our country, to obliterate our personal narratives.”
As a result, on Sunday, February 11, the Minister of Internal Affairs was compelled to issue a new statement, markedly different in tone from the initial one:
“The draft agreement on cooperation between the Federal Service of National Guard Troops of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, which has sparked intense debate within Abkhazian society in recent days, will not be endorsed by the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia.
We acknowledge and share all the concerns expressed by our citizens. However, as the Minister of Internal Affairs, I affirm with full responsibility that within our department, as well as across the entire leadership of the country, there are no individuals willing to act in a manner detrimental to the national interests of the Abkhazian state or the welfare of our citizens.
The Republic of Abkhazia stands as a sovereign, independent entity. This status has been steadfastly safeguarded and upheld for 30 years, and we remain committed to continuing in this vein.”
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Shortly thereafter, the press service of the opposition Abkhazian People’s Movement (APM) issued a special message, unequivocally stating that it was the opposition that compelled the minister to reverse his stance.
According to their account, during the night from Saturday to Sunday, the chairman of the movement, Adgur Ardzinba, along with several other opposition leaders, held a meeting with the head of the Interior Ministry, Dmitry Dbar, the head of the State Security Service, and Dadyn Chachkhalia, the commander of the special forces of the Interior Ministry. At this meeting, they “conveyed concerns regarding the aforementioned Agreement to the leadership of the Interior Ministry.”
“We wish to highlight that the heads of security agencies expressed complete solidarity regarding the risks posed by the document. They also voiced the opinion that it should not be ratified,” reported the press service of the IDA.
Simultaneously, the opposition appealed to parliament deputies to enact necessary amendments to the law “On International Treaties of the Republic of Abkhazia” to prevent the recurrence of similar situations in the future. These amendments would entail mandatory prior coordination of all draft agreements, including inter-agency agreements, with the parliament.
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