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Location of Abkhazia

Abkhazia (/æbˈkɑːziə/ ab-KAH-zee-ə), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised state in the South Caucasus, on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It covers 8,665 square kilometres (3,346 sq mi) and has a population of around 245,000. Its capital and largest city is Sukhumi.

The political status of Abkhazia is a central issue of the Abkhaz–Georgian conflict and Georgia–Russia relations. Abkhazia has been recognised as an independent state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria; however, the Georgian government and nearly all United Nations member states consider Abkhazia a sovereign territory of Georgia. Lacking effective control over the Abkhazian territory, Georgia maintains an Abkhaz government-in-exile.

The region had autonomy within Soviet Georgia at the time when the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s. Simmering ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz—the region's titular ethnicity—and Georgians—the largest single ethnic group at that time—culminated in the 1992–1993 War in Abkhazia, which resulted in Georgia's loss of control over most of Abkhazia and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians from Abkhazia.

Despite a 1994 ceasefire agreement and years of negotiations, the dispute remains unresolved. The long-term presence of a United Nations Observer Mission and a Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States peacekeeping force failed to prevent the flare-up of violence on several occasions. In August 2008, Abkhaz and Russian forces fought a war against Georgian forces, which led to the formal recognition of Abkhazia by Russia, the annulment of the 1994 ceasefire agreement and the termination of the UN mission. On 28 August 2008, the Parliament of Georgia declared Abkhazia a Russian-occupied territory, a position shared by most United Nations member states.[dead link]


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Presidential elections were held in Abkhazia on 3 October 2004, the first that were competitive. Election law prohibited incumbent President Vladislav Ardzinba from running for a third term and he instead backed Prime Minister Raul Khadjimba, who also enjoyed support from the Russian authorities. Khadjimba's main opponent was Sergei Bagapsh, who was supported by the two major opposition parties, United Abkhazia and Amtsakhara, and later also by Aitaira when their candidate Alexander Ankvab was barred from running in a controversial decision by the Central Election Commission.

Bagapsh won in the first round with just over 50% of the vote. However, the results of the elections were heavily contested, with Khadjimba claiming that he had received the most votes and that a run-off was necessary. The Central Election Commission issued several conflicting rulings and the stand-off lasted for two months until on 5 December, Bagapsh and Khadjimba agreed to share power as President and Vice President respectively. (Full article...)
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Igor Muratovich Akhba (Abkhaz: Игор Мурат-иҧа Ахба; Georgian: იგორ ახბა; Russian: Игорь Муратович Ахба) (born 5 February 1949) is an Abkhaz diplomat and politician. From 2008 until 2021 he was the first ambassador of the Republic of Abkhazia to the Russian Federation, and in 2004 he was for a short time the Minister for Foreign Affairs of his country. (Full article...)

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