War Veterans’ Group Calls on Abkhaz Leader to Resign

At its March 11 congress, Aruaa, an influential group Abkhaz war veterans, called on Kremlin-backed leader Aslan Bzhania to resign voluntarily, without compelling the opposition to resort to “rallies and revolutions.”

Temur Gulia, supreme council chair of the grouping known for its hardline stance against Tbilisi, said the series of revolutions should end, and “this is exactly why we offer Aslan Bzhania to resign voluntarily,” Apsnypress reported.

Opposition supporters have been demanding Bzhania’s resignation following his former aide Benur Kviraia’s controversial visit to Tbilisi. Moreover, Aruaa and other opposition political groups have cited the region’s energy crisis and the foreign policy concept clauses, which include normalizing relations with Georgia proper, among the issues behind the resignation demand.

Police reportedly took “extraordinary measures” to safeguard Abkhaz leader’s administration building today, in light of the Aruaa congress. Law enforcement leaders called Aruaa supporters earlier to maintain calm and order.

In the meantime, scores of Bzhania’s supporters gathered outside his headquarters in downtown Sokhumi. The Abkhaz leader came to address them, noting that “our course remains unchanged, we secure, defend and promote the interests of, first of all, Abkhazia and its people in strategic partnership with the Russian Federation”

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