President of the Republic of Abkhazia



History of Abkhazia.

Main milestones (chronology)
Ancient period
Abkhazian during the Middle Ages
Abkhazia as a part of Russian Empire
Soviet period
Modern period

Main milestones (chronology)

Approximatelly 500 thousands years ago - the ancient settlement of a primitive man in Iashtukha village (north-eastern outskirts of Sukhum).

5 thousand year b.c. - appearance of protoabkhazian tribes on the territory of Abkhazia

III thousand b.c. - dolmen culture
Beginning of the I millennium b.c. - kolkhid-koban metallurgical province

VIII-VII centuries b.c. - appearance of metallurgy of iron

VI century b.c. - beginning of Greek colonization. Greek colony cities Dioskuria (Sukhum), Pitiunt (Pitsunda), Guenos (Ochamchira) appear on the seacoast of Abkhazia.

64 year b.c. - the period of beginning of roman dominion.

I century a.c. - first mentioning of apsilaa in the work of the roman scientist Pliniy Sekund.

I century a.c. - according to the church tradition, apostles Andrey First-called, Simon Kananit preached Christianity among Abkhaz ancestor tribes.

End of III century - new Christian community in West Caucasus is formed in Pitiunt, which is led by the participant of Nikey council (325) bishop Stratofil.

VI century - Abkhaz seacost is occupied by Persians for a brief period.

First half of the 6th entury - Abkhaz ancestors apsils and abazgs are adopted Chrisitanity as their state religion. Active construction of Christian temples started.

737 year - battle at Anakopiya fortress against Arab hordes.

786 year - formation of Abkhaz kingdom with a reign dynasty of Leonids.

End of X century - replacement of dynasty of Abkhaz ingdom (Bagrat III becomes the king). Formation of the "Kingdom of Abkhaz and Kartvels".

XIII century - disintegration of "Kingdom of Abkhaz and Kartvels".

Beginning of XIII century- middle of XV century - active assimilation of Abkhaz seacoast bz Italian merchants from Genuya city, construction of Genuya trading stations and fortresses.

Second half of XVI century - lands of Abkhazia are under the Ottoman Empire influence
XVI - XVII centuries - islamization of Abkhazia.

1810 year - Russian emperor Alexander I signed a Manifest, according to which Abkhaz princedom became part of Russian empire as autonomy.

Second half of XIX century - mass resettlement of Abkhazians to Turkey ("makhadjirstvo"), active colonization of Abkhazia by Mingrelians, Greek, Bulgarians.

1864 - with the decree of emperor Alexandr II Abkhaz princedom was abolished and renamed to Sukhum military department of Russian empire.

1864-1917 years - Abkhazia (Sukhum department, from 1883 - Sukhum district) is subordinate to administration of tsar's governor in Caucasus.
1866 - Likhni rebellion

1918-1921 years. - occupation of Abkhazia by the forces of mensheviks' government of Georgia.

March 4, 1921 - formation of Soviet power in Abkhazia

March 31, 1921 - formation of Abkhaz Socialistic Soviet Republic.

May 21, 1921 - Declaration of revolutional committee of Georgia of "Independence of Socialistic Soviet Republic of Abkhazia".

1925 y. - adoption of the Constitution of Abkhaz SSR

1931 - Abkhazia is transformed to autonomous republic within Georgian SSR.

1941-1942 - military actions on the territory of Abkhazia during the course of Great Patriotic war.

1992-1993 - The Patriotic war of the people of Abkhazia for independence.
1993 - sovereign Republic of Abkhazia is formed.

November 26, 1994 - new constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia is adopted. Vladislav Ardzynba becomes the first President.
October 12, 1999 - as a result of a referendum the Act of State independence of the Republic of Abkhazia is adopted.

August 26, 2008 - The President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev signed the Decree "on recognition of the independence of Abkhazia".

September 9, 2008 - The Agreement on establishing diplomatic relations between Russia and Abkhazia is signed.

September 17, 2008 - the Treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance is signed between Russia and Abkhazia.

November 24, 2014 - The Presidents of Abkhazia and Russia Raul Khadjimba and Vladimir Putin sign the Agreement "on Alliance and strategic partnership between Russian Federation and the Republic of Abkhazia".

December 22, 2014 - The agreement is ratified by the People's Assembly - Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia. January 23, 2014 - the agreement is ratified by State Duma of Russian Federation.

Ancient period.

The territory of Abkhazia was populated by mankind from the ancient times and numerous archeological findings of the Paleolithic period (Iashtukha settlement), Mesolithic period (Kholodniy Grot, Grot Apiancha), Neolith period (Lemsa, Kistrik settlements) testify that.

Abkhazians is one of the most ancient aboriginal ethnoses of Caucasus, language, culture and traditions of which are close and related to north Caucasian peoples: abaz, adygey, kabarda, circassians, ubikh. In linguistic relation they all represent Abkhaz-adyg group of north Caucasian language family. Abkhaz inhabit the territory of modern Republic of Abkhazia, which is situated in North-western part of Transcaucasia on the slope of Big Caucasus and Kolkhida lowland.

Supposedly, the first written mentioning of ancestors of Abkhazians are the cuneiform texts, made during the rule of Assyrian tsar Tiglatpalasar I (approximately 1115 - 1076 b.c.), in which there is information on abeshlaa tribes, and also kasks (possible ancestors of adigs). The theory of possible kinship of ancestors of abkhazo-adygs and khatts (people, living on the territory of the modern Turkish Anatoliya, who influenced the culture of the biggest state of Ancient East - Khett kingdom) is widespread among linguists.

The creation of colonies of ancient Greek city-states on the territory of modern Abkhazia, that played a major role in integration of Abkhazia to cultural habitat of antique world happened in VI century b.c. The most popular of those colonies were Dioskuriada (on the territory of modern Sukhum), Pitiunt (Pitsunda), Guenos (Ochamchira).

During Ist century b.c. after a long struggle with Pontiya kingdom the domination of Ancient Rome is established in the region. During this period the trade relations of the population of Abkhazia with the rest of Roman empire are actively developed; a rich archeological material is a proof of that.

Sebastopolis is the biggest city center of Abkhazia of that period of time, which was situated on the territory of modern Sukhum. The meaning of that city can be explained by simply translating the name of the city - Sebastpolis in translation from Greek means "Honorary city".

Abkhazia during the Middle Ages.

Authentic ancestors of Abkhazians - apsils and abazgs, are mentioned in antique resources in I-II centuries a.c.
In VI century on the territory of modern Abkhazia there are early feudal princedoms Apsiliya, Abazgiya, Sanigiya dependent on East Roman empire (Byzantine).

In 737 Arab troops invaded the territory of Abkhazia. They were defeated in abazg capitol Anakopia (modern Noviy Afon) by the troop under the command of the ruler of Abazgiya Leon I. This event led to strengthening of Abazgiya, which united all Abkhazian princedoms. Thus, Abkhaz kingdom was established, which acquired independence from Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) with Leon II as a ruler. The support of Khazar kaganat to Leon II, whose mather was a daughter of khazar tsar, promoted disintegration of Abkhazia from Byzantine.

The established Abkhaz kingdom was one of the most influential state entities among Easter Black sea countries. He succeeded in placing all territory of modern West Georgia right up to Likh mountain ridge under his control. In 806 the capital of Abkhazia was moved from Anakopiya to Kutais. Abkhaz kingdom was struggling for the possession of Kartli with Armenian kingdom. With the help of Abkhaz kings Byzantine spread Christianity among alans and other people of Caucasus.

In 1975 with the death of Abkhaz king Feodosiy the ruling dynasty of Leonids was suppressed and the power in Abkhazia was procceded to Bagrat III from the dynasty of Bagratids, who was the son of the sister of Feodosiy Gurandukht. This event acted as a fundament of the growth of power of the dynasty of Bagratids (Bagrationi) and the spreading of their authority to the territory of modern Georgia. Kutais remaind the capital of the joint state for a long time. In XII kind David the Builder appointed the son of shah Shirvan Otago as a vicegerent to Abkhazia, and later he became the founder of the new dynasty of Abkhaz rulers Shervashidze (Chachba). In XIII as a result of Mongol conquests "Kingdom of Abkhazians and Kartvelians" disintegrated.

By the end of XIII, beginning of XIV century Genuya republic spreads its influence on the territory of Abkhazia, which creates their trade settlements here, in particular San-Sebastian (Sukhum), Kakari (Gagra), Pitsonda (Pitsunda), Kavo di Bukso (Gudauta), San-Tamazo (Tamish), etc. After
Occupation of Konstantinopol by osmans in 1453 Genuya had to leave Abkhazia. In XVI as most of the state entities in Northern Caucasus and Transcaucasus, Abkhazia joins the sphere of Osman empire influence. The islamisation of Abkhazia is related to coming of Turkey to the region.

Abkhazia as a part of Russian empire.
In the end of XVIII and in the beginning of XIX century as a result of an obvious weakness of military and political potency of Osman empire and strengthening of the role of Russian empire, prince of Abkhazia Keleshbeiy Shervashidze (Chachba) takes the course of rapprochement with Russia. However, in 1808 Keleshbeiy was murdered and his elder son Aslanbey, oriented to Turkey, becomes the prince.
In 1810 with the help of Russia, the younger son of the murdered prince Seferby (Georgiy after baptism) becomes the ruler. On February 17, 1810, the emperor Alexandr I with his official document recognizes Georgiy as a prince of Abkhaz domain "under supreme patronage, power and protection of Russian empire". Thus, Abkhazia enters Russian empires on the rights of self-governed princedom. According to the opinion of some historians, one of the distinctive features of Abkhaz princedom, was that it, in contrast to Georgian princedoms (Kartli-Kahetiya, Imeretiya, Guriya, Megreliya), did not fully lose its statehood when entering Russia.

With the Russian military support the strengthening of the authority of Abkhaz ruler, who stands rather high in Russian military hierarchy, takes place. In particular, the last prince Mikhail Shervashidze (Chachba) had a rank of lieutenant-general and adjutant general and the order of saint Alexander Nevskiy.

At the same time Abkhaz rulers promoted advancement of Russian influence in Abkhaz free mountain societies and lands of neighboring ubikhs and shapsugs.

At the moment of the end of Caucasian war (1864) Abkhaz successive princedom lost its importance to the Russian administration and the same year it was liquidated. Sukhum military department was created in its place, directly subordinate to tsar administration in Caucasus.

Second half of XIX was the most tragic period in the history of Abkhaz nation, marked with mass evictions of Abkhazians to Osman empire (so-called mahadjirstvo) under pressure of tsar authorities. As a result of this most of the Abkhazians had to leave Motherland, and ethnic image of Abkhazia changed radically. Empty lands were populated by other ethnicities - Russians, Armenians, Estonians, and above all, colonists from Georgia. If in 1886 Abkhaz made up 85,7% of the population, in 1897 it was only 55,3 %. And this dynamics preserved for further decades.

In 1917 after the disintegration of Russian empire, part of the public and political forces of Abkhazia advocated for integration with the Association of united mountaineers of North Caucasus and Dagestan, which later unified with South-Eastern Association of Cossack troops, mountaineers of Caucasus and free peoples of steppes. This association was supposed to become part of the Russian democratic republic. In November 1917 Abkhaz National Council was created - the first representative body of authority in Abkhazia.

In May 1918, Mountain republic was declared in Batum, part of which, according to the plans of its creators, should have become Abkhazia. However, in June of the same year, the territory of Abkhazia was occupied by the troops of the newly established Georgian Democratic Republic. The government of GDR conducted the policy of suppression of political and national rights of the people of Abkhazia.
Non-stochastically the majority of the local population supported overthrow of Georgian government in Abkhazia, conducted by units of the Red army on March 4, 1921.

Soviet period

On March 21, the Revolutionary committee of Abkhazia declared the creation of independent Soviet Socialistic Republic of Abkhazia. On May 21 of the same year the independence of Abkhazia was recognized by the Revolutionary Committee of SSR of Georgia.
Nestor Lakoba, Efrem Eshba and some other statesmen played outstanding role in state renaissance of Abkhazia.
In December 1921 under the pressure of Stalin and Ordjonikidze led Caucasian bureau of the Central Committee of Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), Abkhazia had to sign treaty of alliance with SSR Georgia.

In December 1922, the representative of the SSR Abkhazia within the delegation of Transcaucasian Socialistic Federative Soviet Republic (TSFSR) signed the Agreement on creation of USSR.

In 1925, the Constitution of SSR Abkhazia was adopted, in which it was proclaimed a sovereign state that has the right to egress both the TSFSR and USSR.

In 1931 SSR Abkhazia was transformed to Autonomous republic within GSSR. The years of reign of Stalin were marked in Abkhazia with mass repressions and attempts of forced assimilation of Abkhaz nation. Simultaneously, Georgian authorities conducted the policy of mass resettlement of Georgians to Abkhazia, which resulted to Abkhazians being the minority on their historical Motherland. Abkhazians repeatedly expressed discontent with the policy of national suppression conducted by authorities of GSSR by means of gatherings and other acts of protest that gathered thousands of people in 1957, 1967, 1978, 1989.

Modern period.
From the beginning of 1990s the doctor of historical studies became the status leader of multinational Abkhazia (1945-2010). Being a national MP and member of Supreme Council of USSR he promoted decision-making aimed at protection of rights of autonomous entities and small nations of the Soviet Union.
He started conducting a policy on restoring the sovereignty of Abkhazia after becoming a Chair of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia in December 1990.
In 1989-1990 the Supreme Council of Georgia unilaterally made a few decisions which ignored the international nature of relations between Abkhazia and Georgia and led to abolition of Abkhaz statehood. Tbilisi recognize as illegal all state structures of soviet time starting from February 1921. In response the Supreme Council of Abkhazian ASSR on August 25, 1991 adopted a Declaration on state sovereignty of Abkhazia.

Coming to power as a result of armed revolution in Tbilicy, the supreme council of Georgia in February 1992 made a decision on abolition of constitution of Georgian SSR of 1978 and on transition to Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Georgia of 1921, in which Abkhaz ASSR was not stated as a subject of state legal relations.

With the goal of overcoming legal dissonance in relations between two republics, on July 23, 1992 the Supreme Council of Abkhazia decided to restore the action of the Constitution of Abkhazia of 1925 and also adopted new Emblem and Flag of the Republic of Abkhazia. Simultaneously the Supreme Council of the Republic of Abkhazia appealed to the authorities of Georgia with the proposal to restore equal state legal relations. In response to that on August 14, 1992 Georgia conducted armed aggression against Abkhazia, accompanied by purposeful annihilation and suppression of non-Georgian population, destruction of memorials of material and spiritual culture of Abkhaz nation and other mass human rights abuse.

The chair of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Abkhazia V.G. Ardzynba led the armed resistance to aggressor becoming the chair of the State defense council.

Hundreds of volunteers from North Caucasus, South of Russia, the Cossaks, the representatives of Abkhaz-adyg diaspora from Turkey and Syria came to assist Abkhazia.

As a result of sanguinary war the armed forces of Abkhazia succeeded in freeing the territory of Abkhazia from Georgian troops and on September 30, 1993 come to the state border of Abkhazia with Georgia on Ingur river.

In 1994 Peacekeeping forces of Russia under the flag of the CIS entered the conflict zone in brder regions of Abkhazia and Georgia.

During postwar years Abkhazia had to restore peace life in the conditions of destroyed economy and CIS sanctions. The goal of the sanctions was compulsion to agree to the terms stipulated by Georgia. But the republic succeeded in surviving and demonstrated its viability as an independent state.

In the autumn of 1999 the policy of Russia shifted in favor of multinational Abkhazia. Russian leadership introduced a visa-free policy, started granting Russian citizenship, etc. Meanwhile, Georgia repeatedly violated the arrangements on cease-fire and during after-war period invaded Abkhazia three times (May 1998, October 2001, July 2006) unsuccessfully trying to gain revenge for its defeat in 1993. The current leadership of Georgia has the same aggressive policy.

Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations were conducted from November 1993 under the sponsorship of the UN, under mediation of Russia and with participation of OSCE. A row of important documents has been signed with Georgia, in particular "Statement on the measures of political settlement" of April 4, 1994. From May-June 1994, thanks to the UN-sponsored peace-keeping operation, the fire is ceased in the border between Abkhazia and Georgia. The process of the return of refugees to Gal region started. As for today, almost all Georgian population returned to the region.

On November 26, 1994 the new Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia was adopted, and V.G. Ardzynba was elected the first President of the Republic of Abkhazia.

On October 12, 1999 based on the results of the referendum the Act on State independence of the Republic of Abkhazia was adopted.

In January 2005, Sergey Bagapsh (1949-2011) is elected President of the Republic of Abkhazia.

On August 26, 2008, after the aggression of Georgia against South Ossetia and after Russia implemented the operation to peace constraint, the President of Russian Federation D.A. Medvedev made a decision to recognize the independence of the Republic of Abkhazia and establishment of diplomatic relations between two states.

This event became a turning point in the history of the people of Abkhazia, which gave the opportunity for peaceful development and guarantees of preservation of independent statehood.

Agreement on Friendship, mutual assistance (2008), Agreement on joint Russian military base on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia (2010) and a number of other international and intergovernmental documents were signed between Russian and Abkhazia.

Besides Russia the independence of the Republic of Abkhazia is recognized by Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Republic of South Ossetia and Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.

Due to the death of the President Sergey Bagapsh on May 29, 2011, the Parliament called early Presidential elections.

In August 2011 in the course of early presidential election, Aleksandr Ankvab is elected President of the Republic of Abkhazia.

In 2014 after May political crisis in Abkhazia which resulted into resignation of the President Aleksandr Abkvab and Parliament's call on early election, the leading opposition party "the Forum of national unity" supported the candidacy of Raul Khadjimba for the post of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia. The candidacy of the leader of the public veteran organization "Aruaa" Vitaly Gabniya was nominated for Vice-president's post.

On August 24, 2014 Raul Khadjimba is elected President of the Republic of Abkhazia. His inauguration took place on September 25, 2014.

On August 27, 2014 the President elect Raul Khadjimba met with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. The possibility of signing a new agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Abkhazia and Russia before the end of the current year was discussed. The qualitative increase of level of integration between two sovereign states was announced as an aim of the new agreement. The readiness of Russia to increase financial assistance to Abkhazia and provide assistance in attraction of major Russian investors was also discussed.

On November 24, 2014 in Sochi the Presidents of Abkhazia and Russia Raul Khadjimba and Vladimir Putin signed the Agreement on alliance and strategic partnership between Russian Federation and the Republic of Abkhazia.
The Agreement brings the relations between Abkhazia and Russia to a qualitatively new level of strategic partnership. It foresees the creation of common defense and security space, the conduction of coordinated foreign policy, the formation of common social and economic space, the assistance to socio-economic development of Abkhazia, the creation of new conditions for sterling participation of the republic on integration processes on the post-soviet space realized with the initiative and assistance of Russia, preservation of cultural, spiritual and humanitarian space.

On December 22, 2014, the Agreement was ratified be the Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia, and on January 2015, it was ratified by the State Duma of Russian Federation.

© 2015 Administration of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia, Sukhum, Naberezhnaya Makhadjirov, 32, phone.: +7 840 226 46 31, fax: +7 840 226 46 31