Sokhumi, Moscow Sign Dual Citizenship Agreement

Inal Ardzinba, occupied Abkhazia’s top diplomat, signed a dual citizenship agreement with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, on 27 September in Moscow, as Georgia marked 29 years since the fall of Sokhumi.

The Abkhaz “foreign ministry,” denoted that the agreement will launch a mechanism in the near future which will allow Abkhazians to obtain Russian citizenship without giving up their Abkhaz passport.

Notably, Ardzinba promised during a meeting of the public council of the Abkhaz foreign affairs establishment in July, that Russian President Vladimir Putin would issue a decree to settle the issue “in the near future.” “At every stage, I will keep you informed about the progress of the negotiations,” he said at the time.

The matter has long been a sticking point in Abkhazia. While many locals hold Russian passports handed out en masse by Moscow to secure control over the occupied territory, a significant portion of the population and leadership look with suspicion to granting Abkhaz “citizenship” to Russians, fearing takeover of land and other assets.

Such fears have been compounded by discussions about Russia taking ownership of the Soviet-era resort town of Bichvinta – approximately 186 hectares of land. While it was initially decided in 1995 to give Bichvinta to Russia through a long-term lease, it wasn’t until recently that Russia stepped up efforts to finalize the deal, with a new text of the agreement foreseeing ownership by Russia, appearing on 19 January 2022, triggering controversy. The issue has been a hot topic of discussion in Abkhazia since with both the public and officials divided on the matter.

Also Read:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Back to top button