home Ahkhazia is an administrative division of
northwestern Georgia. Its capital is Sukhumi, and it measures 3,320
(AHD, 1971, p.3) 1014
May 7, Bagrat III (b~960) of the Georgian
Bagrationi dynasty, died. He was King of the Abkhazians from 978 on
(as Bagrat II) and King of Kings of the Georgians from 1008 on. He
is known to have constructed a magnificent cathedral, the Bagrati
Cathedral, at Kutaisi, western Georgia. Its ruins named a UNESCO
World Heritage Site in 1994.
1918 South Ossetians made a bid
to break away from Georgia and thousands fled in the ensuing
violence. Menshevik Georgia waged a brutal war to absorb Abkhazia
and South Ossetia. In 1921 the Red Army regained control and
absorbed all three into the Soviet Union.
(WSJ, 8/27/08, p.A12)(Econ, 10/23/10, p.102)
1931 USSR leader Joseph Stalin
turned Abkhazia into an autonomous region of Georgia. Beria, his
secret police chief, later resettled Georgians from the western part
of the country in Abkhazia.
(Econ, 7/5/08, p.64)
1992-1993 Separatists in the northwestern province
of Abkhazia took over control in a civil war. War between Abkhaz
forces and Georgians killed 10,000 and left the Black Sea region as
a de facto independent but unrecognized state. The Georgian
inhabitants, who had numbered 45% of the population, were forced out
of the region.
(SFC, 2/21/98, p.A10)(SFC, 5/26/98, p.A8)(Econ,
8/21/04, p.41)(Econ, 7/5/08, p.64)
1993 Mar 19, Georgia shot down
a Russian warplane over the separatist Abkhazia region, killing its
pilot and heightening tensions.
1993 Sep 22, An aircraft
operated by Transair Georgia was shot down by Abkhazian separatist
forces. It crashed onto the runway and caught fire, killing 108.
1993 Georgia became a member of
Russia's Commonwealth of Independent States; Russia, in return,
backed Shevardnadze against Abkhaz rebels.
1994 Nov, Abkhazia declared
independence from Georgia and set up its own government. No other
country gave recognition. Residents of the area numbered about
200,000 and spoke their own language. Vladislav Ardzinba became
1994 Georgia reached a
cease-fire with Abkhazia.
(SFC, 11/24/03, p.A11)
1998 May 25, Fighting between
Abkhaz forces and Georgian irregulars raged inside a Russian
patrolled buffer zone despite an agreed 1993 cease-fire. Georgia
later claimed that 100 people died and that 38,000 Georgians were
driven from their homes.
(SFC, 5/26/98, p.A8)(WSJ, 5/26/98, p.A1)(WSJ,
2001 Dec, Abandoned Soviet
nuclear batteries were found in the mountains of Abkhazia filled
with strontium 90. Efforts followed to retrieve the devices.
(SFC, 2/1/02, p.A14)
2002 Mar 21, It was reported
that Georgian fighters expected to use their US training against
secessionists in Abkhazia, which was unofficially protected by
(SFC, 3/21/02, p.A1)
2002 Apr 12, Russia sent troops
into the Kodori gorge of Georgia to watch the Abkhazia border. The
move was condemned by Georgian officials and troops were soon
(SFC, 4/13/02, p.A11)(WSJ, 4/15/02, p.A1)
2002 Russia changed its
citizenship law to allow massive distribution of passports to people
in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia.
(Econ, 10/3/09, p.65)
2004 Feb 26, Mikhail
Saakashvili, the new president of Georgia, said he is ready to
negotiate full autonomy for the separatist Abkhazia region to end
the decade-long conflict.
2004 Dec 5, In Abkhazia
(Georgia) the two candidates vying for the region's presidency
agreed to conduct new elections and run on a joint ticket.
2007 Aug 25, A senior official
of the separatist region said a plane of uncertain origin went down
over Abkhazia, a day after Georgia reported that its forces fired on
a plane believed to be Russian that had violated the country's
2007 Sep 20, A clash between
Georgian and separatist Abkhazian forces too place some 330 yards
inside Abkhaz-held territory. Several Abkhaz soldiers were wounded
and 2 former Russian military officers were killed.
(SFC, 10/30/07, p.A6)
2007 Oct 15, The Security
Council voted unanimously to extend the UN observer mission in
Georgia, expressing "serious concern" at violence that has escalated
tensions between Georgia and the breakaway region of Abkhazia.
2008 Mar 6, A lawmaker said
Abkhazia, a region that broke away from Georgian government control
in the 1990s, intends to seek international recognition as an
independent nation, citing Kosovo as a precedent.
2008 Apr 20, A Georgian
unmanned reconnaissance flight was shot down over the Georgian rebel
region of Abkhazia. The next day Georgia's air force commander said
a Russian fighter jet shot down the spy plane as it flew over
Abkhazia, but Russia said it had been shot down by separatist forces
and that the flight violated UN ceasefire agreements. A UN report on
May 26 said a Russian jet shot down the spy drone.
(Reuters, 4/22/08)(AP, 4/22/08)(SFC, 5/27/08,
2008 Apr 29, Russia announced
it was beefing up its peacekeeping force in Georgia's breakaway
Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, saying it had evidence Tbilisi
was readying its forces for an attack.
2008 May 1, Russia said an
extra contingent of its troops had begun arriving in Georgia's
breakaway region of Abkhazia, a move Tbilisi said was an illegal act
of military aggression.
2008 May 4, Abkhazian
anti-aircraft forces shot down 2 unmanned Georgian spy planes. A
Georgian Foreign Ministry official, dismissed the claims as
"completely absurd disinformation" aimed at increasing tension in
2008 May 8, Georgia's breakaway
region of Abkhazia said it had shot down another Georgian spy drone.
2008 Jun 5, The European
Parliament called for the peacekeeping mandate for Russian troops in
the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia to be revised. The chamber
also demanded the EU sends its own border mission into the conflict
zone in Abkhazia.
2008 Jul 8, Abkhazia's leader
Sergei Bagapsh rejected a US proposal to deploy an international
police force there.
2008 Aug 9, Separatist forces
in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia launched air and
artillery strikes to drive Georgian troops from their bridgehead in
the region. The Abkhazian move was prompted by Georgia's military
action to regain control over another breakaway province, South
2008 Aug 11, Swarms of Russian
jets launched new raids on Georgian territory and Georgia faced the
threat of a second front of fighting as Russia demanded that Georgia
disarm troops near the breakaway province of Abkhazia.
2008 Aug 12, Georgia's Pres.
Mikhail Saakashvili said his government will declare that its
breakaway regions are occupied territories and will designate
Russian peacekeepers as occupying forces. Russia ordered a halt to
military action in Georgia, after five days of air and land attacks
sent Georgia's army into headlong retreat and left towns and
military bases destroyed. A Dutch television journalist was killed
overnight when Russian warplanes bombed the central Georgian city of
Gori. Russia later counted 133 civilian deaths in South Ossetia.
Rights activists later said fewer than 100 civilians were killed in
South Ossetia. The war cost some 850 lives and left over 35,000
displaced civilians, mot of the Georgian.
(AP, 8/12/08)(Econ, 8/23/08, p.43)(WSJ, 9/12/08,
p.A1)(Econ, 10/3/09, p.65)
2008 Aug 16, Russian forces
pulled back from the center of a town not far from Georgia's capital
after Russia's president signed a cease-fire deal. Russia’s Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov later suggested there would be no immediate
broader withdrawal. Georgia's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that
Russian-backed separatists from the province of Abkhazia had taken
over 13 villages in Georgia and a power plant. Russian troops blew
up a key railroad bridge linking the Caucasus to the Black Sea
(AP, 8/16/08)(SSFC, 8/17/08, p.A4)
2008 Aug 25, Russia's
parliament voted unanimously to urge the president to recognize the
independence of Georgia's two breakaway regions, a move likely to
stoke further tensions between Moscow and the small Caucasus
nation's Western allies. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned
ex-Soviet Moldova against repeating Georgia's mistake of trying to
use force to seize back control of Transdniestria, a pro-Moscow
(AP, 8/25/08)(Reuters, 8/25/08)
2008 Aug 26, Russia formally
recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the breakaway Georgian
territories at the heart of its war with Georgia, heightening
tensions with the West as the US dispatched a military ship bearing
aid to a port city still patrolled by Russian troops. In a direct
challenge to Russia, the US announced it intends to deliver
humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Georgian port city of Poti,
which Russian troops still control through checkpoints on the city's
2008 Aug 27, A US military ship
docked at the southern Georgian port of Batumi. Meanwhile, Russia's
missile cruiser, the Aurora, and two missile boats, anchored at the
port of Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia. The moves by both sides
underscored an escalating standoff between Moscow and the West over
this small Caucasus nation devastated by war with Russia.
2008 Aug 31, President Dmitry
Medvedev says Russia will follow the recognition of Georgia's
breakaway provinces with agreements on economic and military aid.
2008 Sep 8, French President
Nicolas Sarkozy pressed Moscow to honor its pledge to withdraw
troops from Georgia, while Russian soldiers prevented international
aid convoys from visiting Georgian villages in a tense zone around
the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Pres. Medvedev and Sarkozy
revised the EU-brokered deal to end the fighting between Russia and
Georgia. Medvedev said 200 EU monitors would deploy to regions
surrounding South Ossetia and Abkhazia by next month. After that,
Russian troops would pull out of those regions by Oct. 11 to a line
that preceded last month's fighting.
(AP, 9/8/08)(AP, 9/9/08)
2008 Sep 9, Russia said it will
station 7,600 troops in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, announcing an
imposing long-term presence less than a day after agreeing to pull
forces back from areas surrounding the provinces.
(AP, 9/9/08)(WSJ, 9/10/08, p.A1)
2008 Sep 13, Hundreds of
Russian forces packed up and withdrew from positions in western
Georgia. A Georgian official said Russia had met a deadline for a
partial pullout a month after the war between the two former Soviet
republics. A Georgian policeman at a post near Abkhazia was killed
by gunfire that came from the direction of a position where
Abkhazian and Russian forces have been based. Some 1,200 Russian
servicemen still remained at 19 checkpoints and other positions, 12
outside South Ossetia and seven outside Abkhazia.
2008 Sep 17, Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev signed friendship treaties with Georgia's breakaway
regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and promised them the backing
of Russia's armed forces.
2008 Oct 29, Russia's
parliament quickly ratified treaties cementing close economic and
military ties with Georgia's two breakaway provinces.
2008 Nov 15, A Georgian
policeman was shot dead by a group of armed Abkhazians. The group
was said to have entered Georgian-controlled territory to plant land
mines. Abkhazian presidential envoy Ruslan Kishmariya said police
from the separatist side killed one and wounded two Georgian
"saboteurs" in the tense Gali district.
2008 Nov 20, Georgian officials
said Russian and separatist forces attacked a Georgian police
checkpoint near the village of Ganmukhuri, near the breakaway
province of Abkhazia. Anatoly Zaitsev, the chief of staff for the
Abkhaz armed forces, said that a group of Abkhaz troops patrolling
the area were shelled from the Georgian side and returned fire, and
no Russian troops were involved.
2008 Nov 29, Georgia said it is
cutting diplomatic relations with Nicaragua after the Central
American nation recognized the breakaway regions of South Ossetia
2008 Dec 22, OSCE talks on the
Georgia collapsed, when Russia demanded the group join Moscow in
recognizing the statehood of the provinces of South Ossetia and
Abkhazia. The mission will expire on Dec 31.
2009 Feb 18, Georgia and Russia
agreed to let monitors visit anywhere they want in Georgia and its 2
(WSJ, 2/19/09, p.A1)
2009 Apr 30, Russia signed a
deal with Georgia's two breakaway regions giving Moscow the power to
guard the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a move sharply
criticized in Tbilisi.
2009 Jun 15, Moscow vetoed a
Western-proposed resolution to extend the mandate of UN monitors in
the breakaway region of Abkhazia. It designed to buy time to
negotiate a long-term plan for the 16-year-old monitoring mission in
the Black Sea rebel region.
2009 Aug 8, Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev hailed the Russian victory in a war with Georgia a
year ago, saying the war had redrawn the map of the Caucasus for
2009 Aug 12, Russian PM
Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Abkhazia and said Russia
will spend at least 15 billion rubles ($470 million) next year to
build Russian military bases in Abkhazia and tighten the separatist
Georgian region's borders.
2009 Sep 10, In Russia
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez recognized the pro-Russian rebel
regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, a rare
boost to the Kremlin's campaign for their international acceptance.
2009 Sep 15, Russian news
agencies said the country's coast guard warned that it will detain
Georgian ships entering the territorial waters of Abkhazia. Viktor
Turfanov, the head of the coastal division of the border guards
service, said that Georgia this year has intercepted more than 20
ships in Abkhazian waters.
2009 Dec 12, Abkhazia held
elections. Preliminary results indicated that President Sergei
Bagapsh defeated four other candidates. About 70% of the 130,000
registered voters took part in the vote. The province is also home
to some 40,000 ethnic Georgians who are not eligible to vote because
they don't hold Abkhazian passports. An estimated 200,000 ethnic
Georgians fled Abkhazia in the 1990s.
2009 Dec 15, The tiny Pacific
island of Nauru recognized the rebel Black Sea region of Abkhazia,
throwing its weight behind a Russian drive to win international
recognition for Georgia's breakaway territories.
2010 Feb 16, Georgia's
breakaway Abkhazia region said it would allow sponsor Russia to
build a military base on its soil for land troops, strengthening the
region's dependence on Moscow and provoking ire from Tbilisi..
2010 Aug 11, Russia said it has
deployed high-precision air defense missiles in the breakaway
Georgian region of Abkhazia, sending a defiant signal to Tblisi and
the West two years after a war with Georgia.
2010 Thomas de Waal authored
“The Caucasus: An Introduction."
(Econ, 10/23/10, p.102)
2011 May 29, Sergei Bagapsh
(62), the leader of Abkhazia, a separatist region of Georgia aligned
with Russia, died in a Moscow hospital where he was being treated
for lung cancer. Bagapsh had led Abkhazia since 2005 and was
credited with leading the region to de facto independence.
2011 Aug 26, Abkhazia, once
dubbed the Soviet Riviera, held elections for a new president, with
three veterans of the early 1990s separatist war against Georgia
vying for the post. Candidates Vice President Alexander Ankvab (59),
PM Sergei Shamba (60) and opposition leader Raul Khadjimba (53)
fiercely rejected reunification with Georgia. Alexander Ankvab
obtained 55 percent of the vote.
(AP, 8/26/11)(AP, 8/27/11)
2012 Feb 22, Abkhazia Pres.
Alexander Ankvab survived an assassination attempt. At least one
bodyguard was killed and 2 wounded.
(SFC, 2/23/12, p.A6)
2012 May 5, Russia's secret
service agency FSB discovered ten caches of arms and ammunition over
the last 48 hours in Abkhazia. The region is very close to Black Sea
resort of Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The FSB said it
suspects the attacks targeting Sochi were being masterminded by
Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov.
2013 Sep 9, A senior Russian
diplomat in Georgia's Moscow-backed breakaway Abkhazia region was
shot dead by an unidentified gunman.