On April 28, Aslan Bzhania, Moscow-backed leader of Abkhazia announced changes to the occupied region’s “cabinet of ministers,” increasing number of cabinet members from twelve to fourteen.
Below is the composition of Abkhaz “cabinet of ministers” after a recent overhaul:
- ministry of internal affairs;
- ministry of healthcare;
- ministry of foreign affairs;
- ministry of culture;
- ministry of defense;
- ministry of taxation;
- ministry of emergency situations;
- ministry of education and language policy;
- ministry of agriculture;
- ministry of social protection and demographic policy;
- ministry of tourism;
- ministry of finance;
- ministry of economy;
- ministry of justice.
As a result of Bzhania’s cabinet reshuffle:
- “The language committee” was merged into “education ministry” forming the “ministry of education and language policy;”
- “The ministry of health and social protection” was split in two separate bodies – “the ministry of healthcare” and “the ministry of “social protection and demographic policy;”
- Committee on resorts and tourism, along with the committee on agriculture were transformed into two respective “ministries.”
Several “ministers” in the previous cabinet kept their jobs, while some new ministers were appointed, including Beslan Jopua – “first vice prime minister” of the region, and Vladimir Delba – one of the three “vice prime ministers” – who will also be in charge of the region’s finances.
Beslan Jopua – born in Abkhazia in 1962 – is an agronomist by training. According to the Russian media, he fought with Abkhaz separatist groups against the Georgian government forces during the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia. In 2007, he entered the Abkhaz “assembly” as a deputy. From 2011 to 2014, he served as the agriculture minister of the occupied region.
45-year-old Vladimir Delba held the jobs of “finance minister” and “deputy prime minister” from 2011 to 2014. From June to September in 2014, he also served as acting prime minister of occupied Abkhazia.
Following “state committees” were left after the reshuffle:
- state committee on sport and youth issues;
- state committee on standards, consumer rights protection and technical supervision;
- state committee on statistics;
- state committee on state property management and privatization;
- state customs committee;
- state committee on repatriation;
- state committee on ecology;
- state committee on communications, mass communication and digital development.