President of the Republic of Abkhazia




The President Raul Khadzhimba responded the questions of «Apsnypress».

Raul Djumkovich, how is the process of working on the Agreements that add up to the base Agreement of November 24, 2015 going?

Russian side, as it is known, proposed a number of projects of the documents related to the creation of information and coordinating center (ICC) of the bodies of internal affairs, and also a Joint force grouping (JFG).

Our field-oriented departments are also conducting activities on elaboration of those documents.

We are interested in the situation when the Agreement between the Republic of Abkhazia and Russian Federation on alliance and strategic partnership would acquire the real sense; this would create firm guarantees of security of Abkhazia and additional opportunities for its socio-economic development. That is why when elaborating the documents; the representatives of Abkhazia are strictly following corresponding articles of the basic Agreement.

It is natural that we have differences between the documents that are elaborated by the parties. However, this is a normal situation, which characterizes the work on any agreements. I am sure that we will form, along with our Russian counterparts, common approaches on the whole package of issues as we have common strategic tasks.

By all appearances, the activities are conducted in a difficult environment; the recent discussion in the Parliament, in the course of which the Prime-minister of Abkhazia said that the financial assistance aimed at increase of salaries and pensions will not be sent to the republic until the texts of the agreements on ICC and JFG, is an indicator of that?

I would like to highlight that none of the official representatives of Russia pose the question this way. The idea of package implementation of the developmental to the main Agreement documents was voiced on the expert level. I disagree with this approach, because there is a high level of trust between Abkhazia and Russia, which is based on the long historical tradition of our alliance. That is why, to my opinion, the agreements that came to power should be implemented without any relation to other documents. The Agreement envisages the deadline of conclusion of those agreements and those deadlines are not disregarded.

We understand that a lot of socio-economic problems cannot be addressed without Russian assistance. 

We are also interested in creation of common space of defense and security, viewing it as a guarantee of our sovereignty. 

At the same time, the cooperation with Abkhazia is of high importance for provision of strategic interests of Russia in a difficult Caucasus region. Thus, we have a good base for a long-term equal cooperation in all directions. In the course of the meetings with the President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin we found full understanding on the whole complex of issues of cooperation between our countries. We have big plans to strengthening cooperation with Russia and we count on support of our partners.

There are a lot of rumors that the ICC of the bodies of internal affairs will become a supranational body, second MIA in a way and that the staff strength will stand at 400 employees?

I would like to highlight again that we are not intending to create structures that would substitute the authority bodies of Abkhazia. It does not involve 400 employees. We cannot put question like that. It will be a small center with about 40-50 employees, the main tasks of which will be assisting in organizing cooperation of the bodies of internal affairs of the parties. At that, half of the employees would be Abkhaz specialists.

The practice of such cooperation is well-known in the world, and the states involved in it proceeds of the fact that there is trans-border, international crime, which cannot be tackled without coordination of efforts and information exchange. This does not infringe nations’ sovereignty.

The work on the documents that develop the Agreement is transparent, the materials are presented to the members of parliament. I conducted a number of meetings with the chairs of political and public organizations in order to voice my position.

Thus, we are sequentially adhering the principle of openness. I am confident that, together with our Russian counterparts, we will elaborate the document, which would correspond to the needs of our states. 

There is a church dissent in Abkhazia for five years already; what influence does it have on internal political situation and on relations with Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and, to your opinion, what is the way out of this situation?

Until recently, the religious factor did not influence internal politics of Abkhazia, because our society always had a high level of religious tolerance. However, unfortunately, in these latter days the issue of inter-church relations started to be politicalized, which, to my opinion, creates tenseness in the society and impedes the solution to this problem. 

Abkhazia is a secular state and we do not have the right to interfere into canonical issues. Along with that we will do everything possible for depoliticization of the church issue and for creation of conditions for dialogue between parties of this difficult process. 

Along with that, the orthodox life in Abkhazia needs support from the side of ROC, which assists in revival of church institutions in our country. This assistance is above all conducted in the interests of religious people, despite the vagueness of the canonical state of our church.

It is obvious, that solving the issue on the status of our church is not in the nearest prospective. But this does not mean that the spiritual life in Abkhazia should be in a standstill; we have a large field for enlightenment activities, aimed at affirmation of traditional orthodox values. That is why our priesthood should, to my opinion, concentrate on addressing this issue.

As for now, unfortunately, the church topic, in the opinion of the public, is an endless conflict, which does not contribute to the authority of the church. I think we should change that; the priesthood has to remember its initial purpose.

Lately, the ex-President Ankvab gave diffuse interviews, in which he voiced his opinion on the events of May of last year and the situation in the country. How would you comment on that?

First of all, I am surprised that Ankvab commented on the situation with such a delay. Obviously, he thought that this is the right moment to return to public policy and chose a usual genre for that – letters from afar.

Second, his evaluation of the events of May 27 does not correspond with the facts. And the facts say that he created a conflictogenic situation refusing to have a dialogue, and when he saw that big masses of people displeased with his policies gathered, he escaped and went into hiding on a Russian base.

No imaginary life threats could be the justification of such actions. He refused his responsibilities that were laid upon him by the Constitution; there were a burden too heavy for him. He made a choice in favor of himself, once again. I do not think someone can count on upkeeping of a reputation after that.

I am sure Ankvab is deliberately politicizing the issues of investigation of financial violations that took place in the country during the period of his leadership.

This is nothing else but the attempt to create unfavorable public background in order to escape responsibility. 

Moreover, those violations are obvious; we are breaking our heads over what to do with the objects, roofs of which are leaking, the floors are of bad quality, and that is only after 1-2 years of exploitation. Along with that, no resources are envisaged in the budget for their exploitation. It is unclear what to do with such objects as the kindergarten in Gudauta, which are built with gross technical violations and are a life threat. And the money is spent on them.

There is an internal debt in the country which sums up to 700 million rubles, and that is for the building of objects, the financing of which is not foreseen neither by the budget, nor by the complex plan. For the damage, that was caused to the state, everyone of us will have to pay. I do not think that the state prize n.a. D.I.Guliya, that Mr. Ankvab is receiving, will be enough to pay for all of that. This is why, the law-enforcement agencies have to name and call to account those people that made their own country bankrupt. There is and there can be no political constituent to this – the issue lays in the sphere of whether or not we can provide strict compliance with the law, regardless of the rang and financial shape of lawbreakers. We have to give an unambiguous answer to that and the future of our state depends directly on that.

Raul Djumkovich, how would you characterize the socio-economic state of the republic?

The state is not easy, and our citizens know that. Unfortunately, for the last years little has been done to develop our own economic opportunities. We are now trying to fill up that gap by means of attracting investment to the country, development of relations with different regions of Russia, creation of additional opportunities to credit native business. I am sure, these activities will bring necessary results.

Along with that, the existing resources are utilized inefficiently. In particular, by means of increasing tax discipline we managed to significantly increase budget revenues. This enabled us to solve some of the issues by our own means. We have to understand that the real By means of taxes, we have to support our own state, create opportunities for its development. This is the display of true patriotism and responsibility for the future of our nation.

From our side, the bodies of authority will do everything possible, so that Abkhazia becomes economically independant legal state. This is a difficult path, but we do not have any other.

Source: "Apsnypress".

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