Bzhania: Georgian Leaders Have Shown Pragmatic Approach to Everything

In an interview with the Russian state-owned news agency TASS, Abkhazia’s de facto leader Aslan Bzhania, when asked what he thought about “improving relations with Georgia, taking into account the political changes in Georgia”, said that “in recent years, since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, the Georgian leaders… have shown a pragmatic approach to everything”.

He added: “They did not engage in the provocation that Ukraine imposed on them. Repeated calls by the Ukrainian leader to open a second front failed to gain traction” adding that this was a sign of “political maturity”. In a wide-ranging interview, he also spoke about the recent fuel and electricity problems in the occupied region, relations with Russia and the prospects of uniting with Russia and Belarus in a union state, NATO activity in the Black Sea and the development of tourism prospects in the region.

Relations with Tbilisi

Asked about the situation on the occupation line the de-facto Abkhaz leader said that despite “small incidents” the “security is firmly ensured” by the “border services” of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation.

Speaking about the relations with Tbilisi he said that “In the future, if they [the authorities] are pragmatic, I think it will be possible to avoid unnecessary incidents. We have decided on our future. The Georgian leadership will have to recognize the existing reality. He added:” …We would like to have good neighborly relations with Georgia.”


Bzhania gave an overview of his visit to Moscow. He acknowledged that Abkhazia has problems with electricity and noted that as a result of consultations with the Russian side, the region will receive a certain amount of electricity, which Abkhazia will receive free of charge. He said: “It is clear that this cannot continue indefinitely. We need to take measures to restore our own energy sources,” adding that electricity tariffs used to be unjustifiably low and should be raised and that the electricity sector needs substantial investment.

Asked about Rosneft’s plans to obtain the exclusive right to export oil products duty-free to Abkhazia, and whether the company had been already granted this exclusive right, Bzhania avoided a direct answer, saying only that negotiations were underway with the Russian side on the “mutually beneficial fuel supply agreement”.

NATO activity in the Black Sea

Asked by TASS about the “hyperactivity of NATO in the Black Sea” and the possible consequences, Bzhania argued that “this is an escalation of tension” which is “complicating the fate of Ukraine.” He repeated the Kremlin’s narrative that “no one from NATO countries thinks about Ukrainians” and that Ukraine is becoming “a bargaining chip to achieve political goals aimed at weakening and destroying Russia”.

Joining the Union State with Russia and Belarus

Asked about his views on joining the Union State of Russia-Abkhazia and Belarus, Bzhania said: “We want to be together with Russia, Belarus, we want to be active participants of this integration process while preserving our independence” however added: “But we have to go through a certain stage, normative acts have to be prepared. This story may take several years, about 5-10 years, just like the story related to the recognition of Abkhazia’s independence by Russia.”


Asked whether the region had a tourism development program, given Abkhazia’s dilapidated buildings and neglected infrastructure, Bzhania said that tourism and agriculture were the basis for developing Abkhazia’s economy. He added: “Taking into account our geography, the development of transport communications is also favorable, as well as such modern, new types of technologies as IT technologies,” he claimed:  “We are moving in these directions and we are on the right track.”

He went on to say that Abkhazia was developing its transport infrastructure and had established regular maritime links with the Russian Federation.

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


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