Following his visit alongside fellow deputies from occupied Abkhazia’s legislature to Moscow on 10 November, former Abkhaz “prime minister” Leonid Lakerbaia told RFE/RL’s Ekhokavkaza on 14 November that they presented two conditions to Russian parliamentarians for the transfer of 186 hectares of the Bichvinta resort town to Russia.
According to Lakerbaia, “Firstly, these are the incorrectly indicated coordinates, which expanded the area to be transferred […] And the second is to include a clause on the non-transfer [of the land] to third parties.”
Lakerbaia emphasized that the “Russian side acknowledged a mistake in one case and the validity of our concern in another.”
He also revealed that a visit by members of the Russian State Duma to occupied Abkhazia has been planned to further discuss the transfer agreement.
It was first decided in 1995 that Bichvinta would be transferred to Russia through a long-term lease though no practical steps had been taken until Russia stepped up efforts to finalize the deal this past year with the text of a new agreement that seeks to transfer the land for 49 years emerging on January 19, 2022. The issue has been a hot topic of discussion in Abkhazia since, with both the public and officials divided on the matter.
Concerns over the transfer were also raised in Georgia, with civil society organizations, and opposition politicians criticizing the Georgian government for failing to address the transfer.
- 26/07/2022 – Georgian President Decries Bichvinta Transfer
- 29/09/2022 – Outrage at Lukashenka’s Visit to Abkhazia