Abkhazia Shows Even Pro-Russian People in Enclaves Want a Voice in Their Own Affairs, Portnikov Says
January 13 – The protests in the breakaway republic of Abkhazia that forced the
ouster of Raul Khadzhimba highlights something the Kremlin does not yet
understand: even those in these places who are pro-Russian (by necessity if not
necessarily by conviction) want to have a voice in their own affairs and not
just follow orders, Vitaly Portnikov says.
Russian leadership does not see that people in Abkhazia as in South Ossetia,
Transdniestria and even in Ukraine want to have their own voice even if they
are disposed favorably to Russia, the Ukrainian commentator says. They don’t
want to be the serfs of either people like Khadzhimba or of Putin either (belsat.eu/ru/news/konets-abhazskogo-yanukovicha/).
they, like others in the post-Soviet space, “want to have the right to make
decisions on their own fate and on the fate of the regions in which they live.
And that is something that the Russian leadership has refused them, just as it
has refused that right to its own compatriots within the current borders of the
an essay entitled “The End of ‘the Abkhaz Yanukovich,’” Portnikov points out
that it is only partially true that the Kremlin doesn’t care who is in charge
in that republic. Moscow imposed Khadzhimba 16 years ago, has supported him in
the interim, and thus has had to give him up only with regret.
all Abkhaz politicians were and remain ready to cooperate with Moscow, but “Moscow
does not understand what cooperation is. It understands only what subordination
and the fulfillment of orders are. And that is why everywhere where it can, it
tries to promote the success of those who will not act as independent players.”
a former Chekist with whom Putin posed early on, was thus for the Kremlin
something who was more “understandable” and thus acceptable than his opponents
who wanted some freedom of action. This is exactly the same pattern as occurred
with Yanukovich in Ukraine.
it is why “in all the self-proclaimed republics, the Kremlin has consistently
supported the coming to power of siloviki. That was the case in Abkhazia, in South
Ossetia, and in Transdniestria.” In all these places, except now in Abkhazia
with Khadzhimba’s ouster, those in charge are people who “simply know how to
follow orders and fill their pockets.”