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Gennadi Leonidipa Gagulia (Abkhazian: Геннадии Леонид-иҧа Гагәлиа, Georgian: გენადი გაგულია; 4 January 1948 – 8 September 2018) was an Abkhazian politician who was three-time Prime Minister of Abkhazia and the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He served as the first prime minister of Abkhazia after the post was established by the constitution in 1995, holding it until 1997. He returned to the post in 2002 and remained for several months into 2003, and held it for a final time in 2018, before dying in a car crash.

Gennadi Gagulia
Геннадии Гагәлиа
გენადი გაგულია
Gennadi Gagulia.jpg
Prime Minister of Abkhazia
In office
25 April 2018 – 8 September 2018
PresidentRaul Khajimba
Preceded byBeslan Bartsits
Succeeded byDaur Arshba (acting)
In office
29 November 2002 – 8 April 2003
PresidentVladislav Ardzinba
Preceded byAnri Jergenia
Succeeded byRaul Khajimba
In office
January 1995 – 29 April 1997
PresidentVladislav Ardzinba
Preceded byoffice established
Succeeded bySergei Bagapsh
Head of the Presidential Administration
In office
15 December 2003 – 18 June 2004
PresidentVladislav Ardzinba
Preceded byMiron Agrba
Personal details
Born(1948-01-04)4 January 1948
Lykhny, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
Died8 September 2018(2018-09-08) (aged 70)
Myussera, Abkhazia
(de jure Georgia)
Spouse(s)Zair Otyrba
Children2 (one daughter and one son)
Alma materBelarusian National Technical University


Early life and careerEdit

Gagulia was born on 4 January 1948 in the Gudauta district of the Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. He graduated from the Civil Engineering Department of the Belarusian Polytechnic Institute in 1972 and worked at Stroymaster as the chief engineer and the head of the construction site from 1973-1977. He spent the following 15 years as a Deputy Director of Catering at Lake Rizal and as Chairman of the Gudauta district consumer cooperatives.

Political careerEdit

In the year after the Republic of Abkhazia was founded, he worked at the State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations of the Council of Ministers of the republic, before eventually serving as Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Abkhazia from 1992-1995. During the Georgian-Abkhaz War, Gagulia was a member of the Abkhazian Defense Committee, which was responsible for the distribution of food for the Abkhaz Armed Forces.[citation needed]

First Term as Prime Minister (1995–1997)Edit

Gagulia became the first Prime Minister of Abkhazia in 1995 following the adoption of the 1994 Constitution of Abkhazia.[1] As prime minister Gagulia had a reputation for being the most pro-Russian of Abkhazia's prime ministers. He steadfastly opposed both reunification with Georgia and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Georgian-Abkhaz border. He also alluded to the possibility of Abkhazia unifying with Russia.[citation needed] While in this role, he met with a number of foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.[citation needed] In 1997, Gagulia resigned from the prime ministership, citing health reasons.

Career (1997–2002)Edit

In between his first two terms as prime minister, Gagulia served as the chair of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Abkhazia. He was also deputy prime minister under Anri Jergenia.[citation needed]

Second Term as Prime Minister (2002–2003)Edit

When Jergenia was fired on 29 November 2002, Gagulia was appointed as prime minister for the second time.[2] He only served for only 5 months until Gagulia's government filed for resignation on 7 April 2003. Earlier that day, nine Abkhazian prisoners had escaped, four of which had been sentenced to death due to their involvement in the 2001 Kodori crisis.[3] President Ardzinba initially refused to accept Gagulia's resignation, but was forced to agree on 8 April.[4] Vice President Valery Arshba denied on 8 April that the government's resignation was due to the prison escape, and stated that instead it was caused by the opposition's plans to hold protest rallies on 10 April.[5]

Career after his Second Term (2003–2018)Edit

On 15 December 2003, Gagulia was appointed head of the Presidential administration, succeeding Miron Agrba.[6] On 18 June 2004, Gagulia resigned from his post, stating "There is a certain scenario to the presidential elections in Abkhazia. I don't match this scenario and thus I prefer to step down."[7]

It had been suggested that Ardzinba may have also favoured Gagulia to replace him as President, but Ardzinba instead decided to back then-Prime Minister Raul Khajimba.

On 24 June 2004, Gagulia was again appointed head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Abkhazia, succeeding Yuri Aqaba.[8] Gagulia remained in that position until April 2018.

Third Term as Prime Minister (2018)Edit

Gagulia was reappointed Prime Minister of Abkhazia in April 2018 by President Raul Khajimba, replacing Beslan Bartsits.[9]


Gagulia was killed in a car accident outside the village of Myussera, Gudauta District on 8 September 2018. He was returning from Sochi International Airport following a 3-day visit with Khajimba to Syria, which was one of the few countries that recognized Abkhazia's independence, and where a large Circassian and Abkhaz minority lives.[10][11] He also met Bashar al-Assad there.[10] A car collided with the convoy, and the impact forced Gagulia's car into the ditch.[12] The car was driven by a 22-year-old Abkhaz man, who was, according to local authorities, "under the influence of narcotics".[13] He died on the spot.[14] Two others, Gagulia's bodyguard and a driver, were injured in the crash.[10]

Khajimba, who was travelling in the same convoy and witnessed the crash, suggested it was not an assassination attempt or terrorism, but rather an accident.[15]


  1. ^ Лакоба, Станислав (2004). "Абхазия после двух империй XIX—XXI вв." // 21st Century COE Program Slavic Eurasian Studies — No. 5. Sapporo: Slavic Research Center, Hokudai University.
  2. ^ Khashig, Inal (2 December 2002). "Abkhaz prime minister ousted" (PDF). War and Peace in the Caucasus. Institute for War & Peace Reporting. pp. 204–205. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
  3. ^ Gordienko, Anatoly (9 April 2003). Правительство Абхазии уходит в отставку (in Russian). Nezavisimaya Gazeta / Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Breakaway Abkhaz Government in Crisis". Civil Georgia. 9 April 2003. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Abkhaz de facto Premier Remains on Post". Civil Georgia. 8 April 2003. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  6. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (17 December 2003). Экс-премьер-министр Абхазии назначен руководителем администрации президента республики (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  7. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (18 June 2004). Администрации Президента Республики Абхазия (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  8. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (25 June 2004). Бывший руководитель администрации президента Абхазии Геннадий Гагулия возглавил Торгово-промышленную палату республики (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Gennady Gagulia is appointed as Prime Minister of the Republic of Abkhazia". State Information Agency of the Republic of Abkhazia. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Abkhazia PM dies in presidential cortege car accident on return from official Syria visit". Russia Today. 8 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  11. ^ Sputnik. "Хаджимба на встрече с Асадом: это историческое событие". (in Russian). Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Abkhaz Prime Minister Gennadi Gagulia dies in car crash". 9 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Abkhaz Government Head Dies in a Car Crash". Civil Georgia. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  14. ^ Sputnik. "Дамения о гибели Гагулия: потеряли человека, который мог принести немало пользы". (in Russian). Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Abkhazia's de facto prime minister killed in car accident". 9 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
Political offices
Preceded by
Sokrat Jinjolia
Prime Minister of Abkhazia
January 1995 – 29 April 1997
Succeeded by
Sergei Bagapsh
Preceded by
Anri Jergenia
Prime Minister of Abkhazia
29 November 2002 – 8 April 2003
Succeeded by
Raul Khajimba
Preceded by
Miron Agrba
Head of the Presidential Administration
15 December 2003 – 18 June 2004
Succeeded by
Emma Avidzba
Preceded by
Yuri Aqaba
Head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
24 June 2004 – April 2018
Succeeded by
Tamila Mertskhulava
Preceded by
Beslan Bartsits
Prime Minister of Abkhazia
24 April 2018 – 8 September 2018
Succeeded by
Daur Arshba