28 Years since War in Abkhazia

Today, Georgia is commemorating the 28th anniversary of the war in Georgia’s currently Russia-occupied Abkhazia region.

The war lasted 1 year, 1 month and 13 days (14 August 1992 – 27 September 1993) and ended with the loss of the capital of the region, Sokhumi.

On July 23, 1992, the functioning of the Georgian Constitution in the autonomous region of Abkhazia was terminated. The judicial war that had begun between the Georgian capital and the region degenerated into an armed confrontation within less than a month. The war has left thousands of people dead and 250,000 Georgians banished from their homes in Abkhazia.

The War in Abkhazia from 1992 to 1993 was fought between Georgian government forces for the most part, and Abkhaz separatist forces, Soviet Russian government armed forces and North Caucasian militants. Ethnic Georgians who lived in Abkhazia fought largely on the side of Georgian government forces. Ethnic Armenians and Russians within Abkhazia's population largely supported the Abkhazians, and many fought on their side. The separatists received support from thousands of North Caucasus and Cossack militants and from the Russian Federation forces stationed in and near Abkhazia.

From 13,000 to 20,000 ethnic Georgians and approximately 3,000 Abkhaz were reported killed during the war, while more than 250,000 Georgians became internally displaced or refugees and 2,000 are still missing.

Significant human-rights violations and atrocities were reported on all sides, peaking in the aftermath of the Abkhaz capture of Sokhumi on 27 September 1993, which was followed by a large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing against the ethnic Georgian population.

Russian and Abkhazian forces occupied the territory along the Enguri River on September 30, 1993, and this is the day when the self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia celebrates the day of its independence from Georgia.

The war heavily affected post-Soviet Georgia, which suffered considerable financial, human and psychological damage. The fighting and subsequent continued sporadic conflict has devastated Abkhazia.

The conflict has not been resolved and up to the present, Abkhazia remains a breakaway region of Georgia.

By Ana Dumbadze 

Image: Enguri Bridge, connecting occupied Abkhazia with the rest of Georgia, during the war

Image credit: Mike Goldwater

14 August 2020 13:05