Kremlin-backed Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania held a series of meetings on December 11-18 with Russian authorities during his Moscow trip, focused on the implementation of ‘Common Social-Economic Space,’ agreed at his November 12 meeting with Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
According to the Bzhania’s press service, On December 17, Abkhaz leader held meetings with the Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Head of Russian Federal Tax Service Daniil Yegorov. With Minister Siluanov, parties discussed socio-economic cooperation, while Yegorov informed Abkhaz leader about the Russian experience in the application of “advanced digital technologies” in tax administration. The parties also examined the possibilities of using Russian tax technologies in Abkhazia.
A day before, Bzhania held a meeting with Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev. Along with other agricultural issues, the parties also assessed the possibilities of establishing agricultural product processing enterprises in the occupied region.
On December 15, Bzhania held meetings with First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko and Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev.
According to Abkhaz leader’s press service, “a wide range of issues of Abkhaz-Russian cooperation” has been covered during the talk with Kiriyenko, while with Minister Savelyev, Bzhania discussed the prospects of restoration of the Sokhumi airport, closed since the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia, as well as “full reconstruction” of the old automobile bridge over the Psou river.
On December 14, Abkhaz leader met separately with Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration Dmitry Kozak.
At the meeting with Minister Murashko, the parties discussed cooperation in the field of health, including Moscow’s assistance to Abkhazia in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and possible vaccination of the Abkhaz population with Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
With Kozak, along with the implementation of the projects under the 2020-2022 Investment Program approved in December 2019, Bzhania talked about deteriorated energy security in the region and the situation on the Abkhaz section of the Russo-Georgian border.
Bzhania held his first meetings of the visit on December 11 with Moscow Government Minister and Head of the Department for Foreign Economic Activity and International Relations Sergei Cheryomin and Head of Moscow House of Compatriots Petr Gladkov, Apsnypress news agency reported.
The parties discussed the cooperation issues between the city of Moscow and Abkhazia envisaged under the “Common Social-Economic Space” program. The sides discussed public transportation and education, including the possibility of Abkhaz specialists to attend the “Moscow Education” program with an aim to contribute to the adaptation of the Abkhaz educational system.