Dear participants of the conference! Dear guests!
The necessity to analyse and summarise the rich and unique experience of the national movement of liberation of our state and the tendencies of the development of the socio-political processes that in the end led to the realisation of our people’s right to self-determination is dictated by the logic of the fateful events that happened to us and a conscious aspiration to move forward with confidence on the way of further strengthening of our statehood.
At the same time, the 25th anniversary of the Independence and Victory and the 10th anniversary of the recognition of the Republic of Abkhazia by the Russian Federation have deep symbolic meaning. They are permeated by the spirit of a constant and consistent fight for the revival and recovery of values that determine the essence of our national thought. These dates are characterised by the drama and poignancy of independence and freedom for which we suffered. They have not only a historical and political but also an ideological meaning. In the context of the current reality of Abkhazia, the events that started to unfold in the 1980s and 1990s played an important role in determining the identity of our people, the national security of our state and first of all, the restoration of state sovereignty that was subjected to the most severe repressions in the years of Stalinism. These events were important for the preservation of our ethnic identity and for the destinies of all small nations that suffered through the toughest trials, and for the entire Caucasus as a whole. These milestones are marked by tragedy, yet at the same time, they were the turning points that helped our country and our society to move towards utterly new social and political changes.
At the foundations of our independence, there stood worthy representatives of our national intellectual class, the public, and the academic, creative, political and military elite. Even in the period of totalitarianism, despite the persecutions, they continued to raise important issues at the highest state levels. These issues included the preservation of national identity, language, culture, print, radio broadcasting and education in the native language, history, geography, toponymy and many other values without which it would be impossible for the nation and the state to develop fully. Our academics expertly refuted the unscientific fabrications of Georgian authors who denied that our people were indigenous to Abkhazia. They spoke openly against the mono-national ideology of the Georgian government that was elevated to the rank of state policy.
The fight against the Georgian national chauvinist propaganda and assimilative and purposeful resettlement policy that was carried out by Tbilisi lasted for a number of decades.
Every year, the waves of mass political protests of those periods grew and overwhelmed Abkhazia. Last year, 40 years have passed since the famous Abkhazian letter was sent to the highest bodies of state power of the former USSR.
Having survived through hardship and deprivation and withstood the severe trials of the time and historical circumstances, the Abkhazian nation relentlessly pursued the path of restoration and revival of its true history. Since it was impossible to coexist with Georgia in a civilised manner, it was necessary to restore the political and legal status of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia of 1921. This issue was raised again in the famous Lykhny speech. A similar demand was also made in the Letter to the 19th Presidium of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which was signed by 60 representatives of the Abkhazian intellectual class and the public of the Republic.
The tragic pages of the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia of 1992-1993 have a special place in the modern political history of our state.
The path to the international recognition of the independence of our Republic was also difficult.
The dramatic events that our people survived confirm its readiness for further struggle and tireless work to preserve and multiply our priceless victories – freedom, independence and the strengthening of the state sovereignty of the Republic of Abkhazia which is a guarantee of the full development of all its citizens and all of our multinational society.