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Ex-Donbas Militant Appointed as Aide to Abkhaz Leader

Aslan Bzhania, Moscow-backed leader of Abkhazia, appointed Akhra (Akhrik) Avidzba as his aide charged with international relations on June 11.

Avidzba, 34-year-old ethnic Abkhaz born in Sochi (Russia), made his name after joining the ranks of local insurgents in Eastern Ukrainian territory of Donetsk in 2014, with whom he fought against the Ukrainian forces, adopting a nom de guerre “Abkhaz.”

His name came under the spotlight again during the January unrest in Sokhumi which led to toppling former leader Raul Khajimba. Avidzba led the charge when a mob made up of opposition supporters stormed the “presidential headquarters” of Khajimba on January 9. Khajimba resigned on January 12, clearing the way for new polls.

In 2014 Avidzba also took part in ousting Khajimba’s predecessor Alexander Ankvab. The latter was tapped by Bzhania as the head of Abkhazia’s “cabinet of ministers” on April 24.

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