Russian Economic Minister Visits Abkhazia

Maksim Reshetnikov, the Russian Minister of Economic Development, arrived for a visit to occupied Abkhazia on 11 August where he met with the region’s Kremlin-backed leader Aslan Bzhania, among other officials.

While meeting with Reshetnikov, Bzhania’s press service reported that the pair discussed avenues for economic development with Reshetnikov positively assessing his initial impression of development in Abkhazia. “I am very impressed with the work done, indeed, over 13 years, with the support of Russia, a lot of work has been carried out, more than 500 facilities in total,” he stated.

Reshetnikov however, highlighted that some issues continue to exist, “especially in matters of energy,” which he called an “extremely important and sensitive” topic for Abkhazia.

Following their meeting, the two held a joint press conference according to Sokhumi-based apsnypress, in which Bzhania denoted, “Issues related to the implementation of large investment projects in Abkhazia, as well as issues related to ensuring energy security were discussed.”

“We also discussed the humanitarian sphere of our cooperation. In everything we talked about, it seemed to me, we found an understanding…,” Bzhania added.

For his part, Reshetnikov reiterated Russian business interests in investing in Abkhazia and stated, “We see the current tourist season and understand how high the demand is and what unique opportunities for tourism development there are…”

“In general, the Russian Federation has helped, is helping, and will continue to help Abkhazia become more economically self-sufficient, and independent, and this movement is already underway,” Minister Reshetnikov underscored.

Along that line, the Russian Economic Minister drew attention to the growth of Abkhazia’s own revenues which have “significantly exceeded the growth rate of assistance from the Russian budget…”

According to apsnypress, Minister Reshetnikov was met by Kristina Ozgan, the “deputy prime minister and minister of economy”, upon his arrival with the two going on to examine construction projects completed with Russian financial assistance.

The Russian official inspected the Prince of Oldenburg Park and the colonnade in Gagra. Per apsnypress, Minister Reshetnikov also inspected newly finished construction work at the Sokhumi airport and a school built with Russian assistance.

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