Sergei Bagapsh

Sergei Uasyl-ipa Bagapsh (Abkhazian: Сергеи Уасыл-иҧа Багаҧшь, Georgian: სერგეი ბაგაფში, Russian: Сергей Васильевич Багапш; 4 March 1949 – 29 May 2011) was an Abkhaz politician who served as the second President of the Republic of Abkhazia. He was Prime Minister from 1997 to 1999 and was later elected as President in 2005. He was re-elected in the 2009 presidential election. He died on 29 May 2011, at the age of 62, from complications of surgery.

Sergei Bagapsh
Сергеи Багаҧшь
სერგეი ბაგაფში
Sergei Bagapsh (Interfax).jpg
Bagapsh in 2008
2nd President of Abkhazia
In office
12 February 2005 – 29 May 2011
Vice PresidentRaul Khajimba
Alexander Ankvab
Preceded byVladislav Ardzinba
Succeeded byAlexander Ankvab
2nd Prime Minister of Abkhazia
In office
29 April 1997 – 20 December 1999
PresidentVladislav Ardzinba
Preceded byGennady Gagulia
Succeeded byViacheslav Tsugba
Personal details
Born(1949-03-04)4 March 1949
Sukhumi, Abkhaz ASSR, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
Died29 May 2011(2011-05-29) (aged 62)
Moscow, Russia
Political partyUnited Abkhazia
Spouse(s)Marina Shonia[1]
Alma materGeorgian State University of Subtropical Agriculture

Early life and careerEdit

Sergei Bagapsh was born on 4 March 1949 at Sukhumi in the Georgian SSR. Throughout most of his life, he had lived in Abkhazia.[2] In his youth, Bagapsh was a member of the Georgian basketball team.[3] Bagapsh graduated from the Georgian State University of Subtropical Agriculture in Sukhumi. During his studies he worked first, in a wine cooperative and later as a security guard for the state bank. In 1972, he fulfilled his military service, worked as the head of a sovkhoz following which he became instructor with the Abkhazian regional committee of the Komsomol. In 1978, Bagapsh became responsible for information in the central committee of the Komsomol's Georgian branch and in 1980, first secretary of the Abkhazian regional committee. In 1982, Sergei Bagapsh became secretary general of the communist party in the Ochamchira district. After the fall of communism, Bagapsh became a businessman and the representative of the Abkhazian government in Moscow.[2] From 1995 until 1997, Bagapsh was First Vice-Premier of Abkhazia. On 9 November 1995, Bagapsh was seriously wounded in an attack.[4]

Prime ministerEdit

Sergei Bagapsh was appointed to the office of Prime Minister of Abkhazia on 29 April 1997.

The Georgian-Abkhazian tensions during Bagapsh's term in office came to a height in May 1998, when the Tbilisi-based government deployed forces along the Abkhaz-Georgian border.[5]

2004 presidential electionEdit

Sergei Bagapsh (on the left) with Dmitry Medvedev and Eduard Kokoity

From 2000 until 2004, Sergei Bagapsh was the managing director of the Abkhazian state-owned power company Chernomorenergo.[6] During the same period, he began to emerge as a likely opposition candidate in the lead-up to the 2004 presidential election. In early 2004, he became one of three leaders of the newly founded opposition party, United Abkhazia.[7] On 20 July 2004, United Abkhazia joined forces with Amtsakhara, another important opposition party, and the two named him as their joint candidate for the coming October presidential elections, beating out other hopefuls, such as former foreign minister Sergey Shamba. In the elections, Bagapsh and his main opponent, Raul Khadjimba, disputed the results. The Abkhaz Electoral Commission originally declared Khadjimba to be the winner, with Bagapsh a distant second, but the Supreme Court later found that Bagapsh had actually won with 50.3% of the vote. The court then reversed its decision when Khadjimba's supporters stormed the court building. At one point, Bagapsh and his supporters threatened to hold their own inauguration on 6 December 2004. However, in early December, Bagapsh and Khadjimba reached an agreement to run together on a national unity ticket. New elections were held on 12 January 2005, with this ticket easily winning. Under the agreement, Bagapsh ran for president and Khadjimba ran for vice-president.

2009 Presidential electionEdit

Bagapsh first addressed the matter of his candidacy in the 12 December 2009 presidential election when during a press conference in Moscow on 18 April 2009 he announced that he would probably make use of his constitutional right to run for a second term.[8] Bagapsh was nominated on 27 October by United Abkhazia, with Prime Minister Alexander Ankvab of Aitaira as his Vice Presidential candidate.[9] On 18 November, Bagapsh received the additional support of the Communist Party of Abkhazia.[10]


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pays his respects to Bagapsh at a service in Moscow on 30 May 2011.

In May 2011, Bagapsh was diagnosed with growths[clarification needed] on his lung. On 21 May, Bagapsh underwent surgery in a Moscow clinic. Though the growths were successfully removed, Bagapsh died on 29 May due to heart failure that resulted from complications[clarification needed] from the surgery.[11][12] After the surgery, doctors discovered he had cancer.[13] Alexander Ankvab took over as acting president with an election scheduled to be held on 26 August.


Abkhaz parliament speaker Nugzar Ashuba told Russian state television that, although the death was completely unexpected, the situation remains calm.[14]

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev offered his condolences saying: "Bagapsh was a loyal supporter of friendship and alliance with Russia, and he tirelessly worked to deepen close bilateral ties between our countries."[13]


Bagapsh on a 2006 stamp of Abkhazia

A state commission was installed to perpetuate the memory of Sergei Bagapsh. On 26 January 2012, the City Council of Sukhumi unanimously accepted a proposal by Mayor Alias Labakhua to rename the Square of the Constitution of the USSR after Bagapsh.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Last respects to President of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh". Moscow: Presidential Press and Information Office. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Sergueï Bagapsh". 11 January 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  3. ^ Melkonian, Ardavadz (19 November 2009). Абхазская пятерка рвется в бой (in Russian). New Caucasus. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  4. ^ The Jamestown Foundation (13 November 1995). "GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ TALKS BOGGED DOWN". Monitor. 1 (132). Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  5. ^ "The Army and Society in Georgia" (PDF). The Center for Civil-Military Relations and Security Studies; the Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development. May 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  6. ^ "Breakaway Abkhazia Elects New Leader". Civil Georgia. 2 October 2004. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  7. ^ "Abkhazia's Leadership Struggle". Institute for War & Peace Reporting. 4 April 2004. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  8. ^ В Москве состоялась пресс-конференция Президента Абхазии Сергея Багапш (in Russian). Администрация Президента Республики Абхазия. 18 May 2009. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  9. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (27 October 2009). Багапш будет баллотироваться в президенты Абхазии в паре с Анквабом (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  10. ^ Выпуск №555-556-557-558 (in Russian). Apsnypress. 18 November 2009. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  11. ^ Barry, Ellen (30 May 2011). "Sergei V. Bagapsh, 62; Led Abkhazia After Break With Georgia". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Abkhazia President Sergei Bagapsh dies at 62". BBC. 29 May 2011.
  13. ^ a b de Carbonnel, Alissa (29 May 2011). "Head of Georgian rebel Abkhazia region dies in Moscow". Reuters.
  14. ^ "Head of Georgia's rebel Abkhazia region dies". 29 May 2011.
  15. ^ "ПЛОЩАДЬ КОНСТИТУЦИИ СССР ПЕРЕИМЕНОВАНА В ПЛОЩАДЬ ИМЕНИ СЕРГЕЯ ВАСИЛЬЕВИЧА БАГАПШ". Apsnypress. 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2012.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Abkhazia
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Abkhazia
Succeeded by