One of the central painful points in the history of Georgian-Abkhazian relations is the period 1917 - 1921. The Abkhazian princedom, since 1864 included with its own local territory in the structure of Russia in the form of the Sukhum military department (and later the Sukhum military district), left it as the sovereign state of Abkhazia with its own territory,­ the same as it entered the Russian empire in 1810. Polemic on the question of ­ whether Abkhazia was a sovereign country till 1917 or not has ­ no essential value. Abkhazia continued to remain a part of the­ Caucasian region controlled by a Governor-General within the Russian empire, and had no relation to Tiflis or even the Kutais province, or to other regions of the Empire, or especially to "Georgia", which during this period did not exist on world maps. Separate independent princedoms in the structure of the region controlled by a Governor-General ­ were represented in the form of Russian provinces, in particular Tiflis and Kutais (Statement of Claim Е, pp 13 - 14, 2004).

The February revolution sharply changed the situation in Transcaucasia. ­The Provisional Government of Russia immediately created the “Special Transcaucasian Committee” (OZAKOM, later transformed into the Transcaucasian Democratic ­ Federal Republic - ZDFR). Abkhazia, which was at that time the Sukhum district under the protectorate of Russia, continued to be considered as an independent state. Next day, on March 10th, 1917 in Sukhum a meeting of representatives of the population of the Sukhum district took place. This formed its own local Provisional Government in ­ Abkhazia – the Committee of Public Safety under the presidency ­ of Abkhazian prince A. Sharvashidze (Chachba). The militia led by Tatash Marshania was simultaneously created. (Archive AGM).

The Provisional Government carried out the really revolutionary step which changed the political status of the Russian empire. As is known, until 1917 all ­ inhabitants occupying the country were subjects of the Monarchy. With ­ the arrival of the Provisional Government in the territory of the former Empire there was a new statehood - the Russian Republic was created, of which Abkhazia (called the Sukhum district at that time) was also a component. The new legitimate government of Russia introduced the institute of citizenship in the country covering all territories of the former Russian Empire. According to these huge changes in the legal regulations, all former citizens of the Russian state, including inhabitants of Transcaucasia and Abkhazia, from ­ September 1st, 1917 obtained the new status, i.e. they became citizens of Russia. At that ­ moment the principle of obtaining Russian citizenship “by the right of blood” began to operate. This principle, because Abkhazia and its population have not refused Russian citizenship, operates till now. Inhabitants of Abkhazia by definition are citizens of Russia.

After the February revolution, the Government of the Russian Republic (Provisional Government) started preparations for elections to the country’s Constituent Assembly. On September 23rd, 1917 the­ “Election Regulations for the Constituent Assembly of the Russian Republic” were confirmed, where in section V, ­ item 152 the list of the election  commissions for the Transcaucasian ­ district was given, including:

Subsection 2)  Baku, Elisavetopolsk, Kutais,­  Tiflis and Erivan provinces, and also Batumi and Karsk...

Subsection 3) …and also Sukhum and Zakatal districts  (The Russian ­ legislation, X - XX centuries, pp 136, 164).

This document shows that after the February revolution (27. 02. 1917) the Provisional government, which was legitimate (appointed by the State Duma in coordination with Petrograd Council­), considered the Sukhum district as independent, without ­any connection with the provinces of the former Caucasian region of the Russian empire listed above. The same document confirms the continuity between the old and new government of Russia, and the transfer of all powers of the Russian Monarchy to the Provisional government (Development of Russian legislation..., 1997, pp 251, 265).

Forming its own statehood, Abkhazia, in the form of the Sukhum territory, was included on May 1st, 1917 into the structure of Mountain Republic, a legitimate ­ state formation with a Constitution and a control body - the Central Executive Committee. From October 20th, 1917 it became a member of the “South-East Union of the Cossack Armies, Mountaineers of the Caucasus and Free people of the Steppes” (Georgia was not related with this Union), as ­ an independent allied state with the right to enter into agreements with other ­ subjects of international law. The agreement upon which basis Abkhazia entered the specified "Union" had no time limit, and exit from it was regulated ­ by a certain procedure. (“The union of incorporated mountaineers...” collection, pp. 23-50, 50-53).

Then, in May 1917, under the decision of the 1st Congress of the Mountain people of the Caucasus, ­ the Sukhum area (Abkhazia) was represented in the Mountain spiritual board, along with the Black Sea province and Zakatal district.

We quote some points from the Allied Agreement­ of the South-East Union of the Cossack Armies, Mountaineers of the Caucasus and Free people of the Steppes from October 20th, 1917:

“We, the undernamed Cossack Armies, Mountain people of the Caucasus and Free people of the Steppes conclude a union among ourselves, with the purpose of promoting an establishment ­ of the best political system, external safety and  order in the Russian State,­  and also to provide inviolability to members of the union, to support ­ internal calm, to raise the general well-being and thereby to maintain ­ the blessings and freedom won ­ by the revolution.


Item 1. The union is formed by the Cossack armies (Don army, Kuban army, Tersk army, Astrakhan army and Kalmyk people adjoined to the Astrakhan army) and the following mountain and steppes people united in the special Union of Mountaineers of the Caucasus:

...c)  The Mountain people of Sukhum district (Abkhazians);

... Item 4. Each member of the Union keeps full independence concerning their internal life and has the right to independently enter relations and agreements not contradicting the union purposes...


Item 5. The union sets as its purpose:

a) achievement of the prompt establishment of the Russian Democratic Federal Republic with a recognition of members of the Union as separate states...


Item 6. The allied power operates within the rights following from the present ­agreement and especially represented to the power by separate members of the Union.

Item 7. The allied power within the competence presented to it (Item 6) ­ is independent.

Item 8. At the head of the Union there is an incorporated government of the South-East Union.


Item 15. The incorporated government has a temporary location in the city of Ekaterinodar.


Item 17 Change of and addition to this agreement, and equally its termination, is to be made ­ by the Conference of representatives of members of the Union” (Allied agreement SOGK, 1917).

We wish to state that Abkhazia did not leave the structure of this Union. Even after ­ the territory of the North Caucasus had been occupied by A.I.Denikin's armies,­  and this Union had temporarily ceased to function, Abkhazia continued ­ to remain  true to this Agreement.

The October (Bolshevik) revolution in Russia did not lead to special changes in the statehood of the country. Sovereign Abkhazia at the first ­farmers’ congress in Sukhum on November 8th 1917 created its own ­ state structure headed by the ruling body of the Sukhum district ­ - “the Abkhazian National Council”, known to history as the first ANC, a factual legitimate body of independent Abkhazia. The purposes and ­ problems of political and state life of the Council are stated in the “Constitution of ANC” and “Declaration of Congress of the Abkhazian people”. According to the "Declaration":

“- ANC  undertakes to its fellow members:

Item 1. To help by all allied means in preparation of their internal ­structure as independent states of the future Russian Democratic Republic­". Then the Declaration on self-determination and the Constitution based on its principles was accepted. (S.Lakoba - Essays on political history of Abkhazia, Sukhum, 1990, pp. 62-63). Representatives of the Georgian delegation at Union congress opposed this decision in every possible way,­ believing that Abkhazia should enter automatically into the Transcaucasian committee into which kingdoms and princedoms of the Central and Western Transcaucasia, Azerbaijan ­ and Armenia, entered.

“Item 2. The Abkhazian people are sure that their brothers - mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan ­- will support them when they protect their rights.”

“Item 4. The Abkhazian people enter as a part “of the Union of incorporated mountaineers of the North Caucasus, Dagestan and Abkhazia"… also need to support a close connection with their northern brothers”. Simultaneously the Congress Declaration confirmed that ­ the major problem of the АNС was work on country self-determination, and the final form ­ of the state would be defined by the Constituent Assembly of all people of Russia, following the principles declared by Russia about society organization having found a response in the minds of Abkhazians.

“Item 5. The District Committee, Commissars and other administrative institutions and persons retain their former functions of management, but the work and activity of all ­ administrative and other institutions and persons, as this work and activity concern Abkhazia, should proceed in contact with ANC, in the interests of the achievement of fruitful results.

Item 6. ANC recognises the power and the competence of corresponding administrative agencies ­ and social-political organisations (the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers,… editor) as these institutes and  organisations observe principles ­ of democracy and national self-determination” (Central Archive of Abkhazia).

ANC confirmed the continuity of decisions accepted earlier, particularly decisions on the country entering the structure of “South - East ­ Union of Cossack armies, Mountaineers of the Caucasus and the Free people of the Steppes”. Neither the Constitution of the ANC nor the Declaration did not provide for any mutual relations ­between Abkhazia and  former Governorship regions of Russia in ­ Transcaucasia and, especially, any obligations to them. (The Statement of Claim­..., Appendices 7 & 8; the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers..., 1994, pp. 80-83).

The Constitution of the ANC, from which the basic points are given, said:

“1. The Abkhazian National Council is the national-political organisation uniting the Abkhazian people.

2. The representative and the spokesman of the will of the Abkhazian people in relations with both­ governmental administrative institutions and political ­ organisations is the Abkhazian National Council”.

“4. Aims of the Abkhazian National Council:

c) Spadework on self-determination of the Abkhazian people;

d) Maintenance and strengthening of relations of the Abkhazian people with the Union of Mountaineers of the Caucasus, and carrying out in life the general political slogans, decisions and actions of the Central Committee of the Union”.

Points 5 and 6 of the Constitution confirmed the legitimacy of both the District Committee and the structure of the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers of the North Caucasus..., together with the South-East Union, providing close contacts between the ANC and the specified structures.

The political situation in the country was difficult during this period, because of intensive settling of the Abkhazian lands by settlers from West and East Transcaucasia at the end of XIX - the beginning of the XX centuries, which followed the exodus from the country in the middle of XIX century of Abkhazians and related people (makhadjirstvo). ­The demographic structure of the population in Abkhazia had sharply changed­. According to the population census in 1886, of the general population of about 70 thousand persons, the number of Abkhazians was almost 59 thousand, and settlers from other regions hardly more than 4 thousand. From the census of 1897, their number had already increased to 26 thousand persons, with the same 59 thousand Abkhazians. Using an interpolation method   (fig. 3), it is possible ­ to draw the conclusion that by the beginning of 1918 the number of immigrants from other regions was equal to the number of Abkhazians living in the country. This circumstance ­ led to a split at the first Congress of the Abkhazian people (on November 8th, 1917), with the Abkhazian delegation in the decisions gravitating to Russia, and delegates ­ from immigrants to so-called "Georgia". This split led to open political opposition in the country. We quote I.Gomarteli's notes about the work of the Congress of Abkhazians, and the reasons for the Georgian-Abkhazian contradictions, below:

“... the representatives of Abkhazians are not only cool, but have met  the Georgian deputation to the meeting almost with hostility. They have decided in advance to reject advice from the deputation, and firmly to protect their own position, not making any concessions.

What do Abkhazians want when they speak to Megrelians about joining together with them in ­ the Union of Mountaineers and Cossacks? - That Megrelians have separated from their nation – Georgian. ... Abkhazians  should know well that Megrelians are Georgians and they will not separate from the Georgian nation on any question.

To this it is necessary to add national vanity. Georgians constantly swear friendship, and social democrats have not included any Abkhazian in the election list of candidates­; or is Abkhazia unworthy of having one representative in ­ the Constituent assembly?

The Abkhazian could not create culture, has not created writing and today he tries ­ to create writing by the spoilt Russian alphabet. Abkhazians cannot ­ create their own alphabet today. They do not have cultural force for this purpose. Therefore they should return to the Georgian alphabet, to Georgian writing, to that writing upon which the higher estate of Abkhazia was brought up and developed. Georgian language, certainly, should enter into Abkhazia.

If we consider the destiny of Abkhazians, does it matter who will swallow them,­ if this absorption is obligatory?”  (“Alioni”, November 16-23, 1917).

As you can see from the presented materials, by words and ­ actions ­ it still once again proves to be true that Abkhazians are not "Georgians", who consider Abkhazians as the lowest race and on this basis try ­ to dictate conditions and to teach them how to live; the scornful,­  pejorative relation to the Abkhazian people can be seen­. And after that are they surprised as to why Abkhazians do not love them, to put it mildly?

Since November 16th, 1917 in Ekaterinodar “the Incorporated Government of the South-East Union” began to function. Under the decision of the ANC, the Sukhum district was also included on a federal basis. Its main task was the realisation of "self-determination of the Abkhazian people”.

In “the Declaration of the Incorporated Government” it was especially noted: “Recognizing a democratic federal republic as the best form ­ of  state system for Russia, the South-East Union in practical activities ­ will keep a line of conduct suitable for supporters of the federal form ­ of rule. Guaranteeing its members full independence in their internal affairs, the Union undertakes to promote them by all allied means in the preparation of their internal systems, as independent states of the future Russian Democratic ­ Federative Republic” (Central Archive of Abkhazia).

About the aims of the ANC, the "Declaration" of Congress said: “During this disturbing time when much is razed to the ground and much is created anew, and when the­ conditions  of  life of all Russia, and hence Abkhazia, vary considerably, each nation should watch sensitively that its rights and interests have not suffered,  and would not be forgotten in a reorganisation of Russia with new beginnings.

One of the important aims of the ANC is work on self-determination ­ of the Abkhazian people. The Abkhazian people are a part of the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers ­ of the North Caucasus, Dagestan and Abkhazia - and, of course, require support in their close connection with northern brothers”.

The union Government extended its power to Abkhazia, both political power and, from the end of December 1917, state power. Then there was a decision about “formation of the Abkhazian horse regiment four hundred strong...”. This military formation at the ANC was made by horsemen of "the Abkhazian hundred” Circassian regiment of the Caucasian ("wild") division ­ which arrived in Sukhum from the front, and were a part of the armed forces of the Mountain Republic.

In Tiflis the opening of the National Council of Georgia (NCG) took place on November 19th, 1917. This was a Parliament, at which the representative of the Parliament of Abkhazia, Chechen Aslanbek Sheripov, said: “I am happy that  the great honour has fallen to me to send you warm regards on behalf of the Abkhazian National ­ Council. The Abkhazian people entering into the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers, congratulate fine ­ Georgia on its first steps on the way to national self-determination... The Abkhazians ­ who have entered into the Union with northern brothers, are assured therefore that in the near future they will meet the noble Georgian people in the general union of all people of the Caucasus. And in this future union the Abkhazian people think of themselves as ­ a member of the “Union of Incorporated Mountaineers” with equal rights.” (Archive of the Russian Federation.)

 From the given speech it follows that at the end of 1917 Abkhazia (and its ­ government ANC), entering into the Union of the states of the North Caucasus ­ as an independent subject of the law, did not aim to have any other mutual relations with the states of Transcaucasia, except equal  and good-neighbourly (the Statement of Claim..., p. 5).

The beginning of XX century was characterised by heightened interest of Menshevik functionaries in Abkhazia. From the moment of disintegration of the Russian empire and easing ­ of the central power, reorganisation of political state structures began, which inevitably led to repartition of territories. The question of Abkhazian borders became a point of discord firstly between the Transcaucasian committee and the Black Sea province, and then between the Transcaucasian ­ Menshevik government and Abkhazia. At the beginning of June 1917, the future commissar of internal affairs of the Transcaucasian commissariat A.Chkhenkeli arrived in Gagra. The aim of his arrival was the joining of Gagra district to Transcaucasia, i.e. an aspiration "to make this district Georgian". It was thus supposed that Abkhazia is Georgian, though at that time such a country as Georgia did not exist on ­ a political map of the world.

After the revolution in Russia on October 25th, 1917 the Special committee ­took steps towards the separation of Transcaucasia from Russia and the creation of an independent ­ government. It was the origin of chauvinism and obsessive nationalism in Transcaucasia. The Transcaucasian Seim (representative assembly) declared on April 9th, 1918 the separation of Transcaucasia ­ from Russia. This fact did not concern Abkhazia, as it ­ was a part of the Mountain Republic. At the end of 1917 in the village of Djirkhua a meeting of farmers of the Gudauta site was called, at which the decision ­ to create  the armed  farmers squad “Kiaraz” led by N.A.Lakoba was accepted.

When it became clear to so-called social democrats that for Abkhazians ­ the free life of the nation was a starting point and the purpose of all their aspirations, they showed the policy and behaviour natural to them - to break the persistence of Abkhazians “with fire and sword”. With the formation of TDFR (Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic) and its separation from Russia, there appeared a real threat of military expansion in relation to Abkhazia. ­ Heads of TDFR understood precisely that during this period a distancing of Abkhazia from Transcaucasia could happen. Bolsheviks also saw a threat in the expansion ­ of Georgia, and they made repeated attempts to establish Soviet power in the country by spreading their influence across all territory ­of the Sukhum district. After the new Bolshevik revolt which began on April 8th, 1918, Sukhum was released from Mensheviks, Soviet power was established in the capital, and on April 11th in Samurzakan. Over these four days, Soviet ­ power won all Abkhazia except for the Kodori site (Abzhui Abkhazia). The revolutionary-military committee of Abkhazia became the central body. Actually it was the first Soviet republic in ­ Transcaucasia. Soviet power in Abkhazia existed no more than 40 days, because from the Transcaucasian and Tiflis government (“virtual ­ Georgia”), attacks by military units began.

During this period in Transcaucasia separate groups ­ creating political parties and having  the task of re-partition of the collapsing Russia developed frenzied activity. This can easily be seen from the decision of the Constituent Congress of the National-Democratic party about the territory of Georgia. The Congress heard the report of Paul Ingorokva and decided: “The territory of Georgia includes the provinces of Kartli, Kakheti, Samtskhe-Saatabago, Imereti, Guria, Mingrelia, Svanetia and Abkhazia, components united by centuries-old state, cultural and ­ economic relations”.

Let's also give a fragment from the press reflecting the opinion ­of nationalist-inclined intelligentsia: “The Georgian autonomy should ­ include, first of all, so-called indisputable territories. These are, in our opinion, the Sukhum district, today's Kutais province, the Batumi district and ­ the Tbilisi province”  (“Alioni”, June 1917).

From P.Ingorokva's report at a session of the Historical and Ethnographic ­ society, about the borders of Georgia, on February 7th, 1918: “Political borders of Georgia often varied in the past, but the same territory was always called Georgia; there are ­ eight provinces where the Georgian nation has lived throughout the centuries: Kartli, Kakheti, Samtskhe-Saatabago (modern Muslim Georgia: Meskheti and Lazistan), ­ Imereti, Guria, Samegrelo, Svaneti and Abkhazeti. This territory - Georgia, - besides that it is a complete cultural-historical ­ unit, at the same time it is a uniform and indivisible geographical province, one country enclosed by natural borders”.

Mr. Ingorokva cheats. Until May 26th, 1918 no state of "Georgia" existed, and could not exist. This was also true of the Georgian territory. Over a certain period independent princedoms entered into the structure of the Abkhazian kingdom, during the VIII - X centuries. At a later time they had the nickname “Gurdjani”, transformed in XVIII-XIX centuries into the Russian transcription "Gruzini" (“Georgians”). This generalising term concerned different peoples, and till XX century did not have anything in common with a nationality or ethnos. As for the country being enclosed within natural borders, ­ it is surprising that this author did not include Armenia with ­ Azerbaijan.

The question of Samurzakan being an accessory continued to excite the minds of chauvinist politicians in Tiflis, as it went together with the belonging of the territory of Abkhazia to "Georgia" as ­a component of the Sukhum district. Apparently from the speech of Samurzakan representative I.Gegia at the National Congress of Georgia, functionaries perfectly ­ understood the illegitimacy of their claims. They (Georgians) knew that Abkhazians were not Kartvelians,­  but they had a huge interest in the territory of Abkhazia:

“And Samurzakan meets with delight the thoughts and visions of the true son of the fatherland Mr. Noi Zhordania. I only wish, gentlemen, to draw your attention to the historic facts testifying to the mutual relations of Georgia and Abkhazia in the past. Megrelia and Samurzakan are separated by Inguri, therefore Samurzakan is a continuation of Georgia (not absolutely clear from what it follows - the authors). Today Samurzakan ­ plays only the role of an intermediary between Georgia and Abkhazia, but in the future will also be the bridge [between them].

In conclusion, we hope that Abkhazia, Samurzakan, and the Sukhum district remain unchanged, and obtain a national-cultural autonomy within their border”  (“Alioni”, November 30th, 1917).

After the introduction of the ANC Constitution, pilgrimages of political and religious emissaries from Georgia began to deliberately try to separate Abkhazia from the Mountain Union, from their brothers by blood and by language. As a part of the first of these delegations, there was the Synodal public prosecutor calling Abkhazians to recognise the Supreme domination of the self-proclaimed non-canonical Georgian church. But Abkhazians declared their resolution that they had the historical and human right to consider their confession free and independent, without  recognition of the patronage of the newly-created Patriarch-Catholicos of Georgia. Despite this, the decree about submission of the Abkhazian church to the Georgian Catholicos followed from Tiflis by messenger, and the Metropolitan appointed by Tiflis was sent to Sukhum.

These were the first practical steps by Transcaucasian Mensheviks (NCG in the Transcaucasian federation), who considered plans for the annexation of Abkhazia. In the Tiflis press, appeals about the joining of Abkhazia to administrative ­ formations of Transcaucasia appeared­. In these conditions ANC, having become a real power, raised the question of a good-neighbourly settlement with NCG.

The official letter from NCG dated January 7th, 1918 addressed to ANC:

“Intented to arrange a meeting with representatives of the Abkhazian National Council for discovery of mutual relations between Georgia and Abkhazia, and also for the establishment of contact for activities in the future life of our people... For the establishment of a closer connection between the Georgian and Abkhazian people..., finding a way towards mutual understanding and the establishment of a close brotherly unification with Abkhazians. Georgians from their part ­ sincerely wish to find a way to such mutual understanding and the establishment of a close brotherly unification with Abkhazians. With that end in view... NCG asks ANC to send their­ representatives to this meeting in Tiflis on 20th January. Together with this we notify you that ­ representatives of Samurzakan are also invited to the planned ­ meeting. A companion of Chairman Chkhenkeli” (Archive AGM).

 From the given document it is possible to be convinced that at the beginning of 1918 mutual relations between these two countries were only good-neighbourliness between independent countries and nothing more.

In Tiflis, on the eve of creation of the Transcaucasian seim (representative assembly), a joint session of the Presidium of NCG and АNС led by its ­ chairman A. Sharvashidze took place on February 9th, 1918. At this meeting  was developed the: “Agreement about an establishment of mutual relations between Georgia and Abkhazia” which ­ recognised the existence of "uniform inseparable Abkhazia”. The Abkhazian delegation aspired, as they say in the document, to the political independence of Abkhazia,­  “having with Georgia only good-neighbourly mutual relations, as with an equal neighbour”, and also discussed questions on “principles of national self-determination” of Abkhazian people (Lit. Georgia, 1989, № 11. p. 146).

Three points of the Agreement of February 9th, 1918 said:

“1. To recreate uniform inseparable Abkhazia in limits from river Ingur to river Mzymta, into which structure will enter actual Abkhazia and Samurzakan, equating to the present ­ Sukhum district;

2. The form of the future political system of uniform Abkhazia should be developed ­(in conformity) with the principle of national self-determination, by the Constituent assembly of Abkhazia elected on democratic principles;

З. In the event that Abkhazia and Georgia should wish to enter into political agreements with other national ­ states, they are mutually obliged to have preliminary negotiations between themselves” (the Extract from NCG­ Executive Committee report ­№ 30 from 1918).

This Agreement produced the important official document legally confirming the presence for Abkhazia of its own territory from the river Ingur to the river Mzymta, and limited by the upper course of the river Kodor and the Caucasian ridge.

The "Agreement" was signed when "Georgia" was represented by "the Tiflis government”, even before the  “Independent Georgian ­ Democratic Republic” was declared. During this period, this country together with Armenia and Azerbaijan was a part of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federal Republic (TDFR). In these conditions Georgia could not present ­ a so-called “wide autonomy” for Abkhazia, as Georgia itself­ simply did not exist as a state, and Abkhazia continued to remain the sovereign ­ state in the structure “The Union of Mountaineers of the Caucasus”. (The Statement of Claim..., p. 6).

This "Agreement":

- Confirms the sovereignty of Abkhazia;

- Shows the good-neighbourliness of the independent sovereign ­ states defined “as the union of two state formations”;

- Specifies the indivisibility of Abkhazia;

- Legally confirms and fixes the territory of Abkhazia in limits from the river Ingur to the river Mzymta into which enter actual Abkhazia and Samurzakan. Hence the official document, confirming the presence for Abkhazia of its own territory from the river Ingur to the river Mzymta and ­ limited by the upper course of the river Kodor and the Caucasian ridge, is the specified ­"Agreement", signed before the formation of the Georgian Democratic Republic (or in fact Georgia) as a state­­;

- Confirms that Abkhazia during this period was not connected with Georgia. In the point “Concerning the establishment of mutual relations between Georgia and ­ Abkhazia” the sovereignty of Abkhazia is proved to be true;

- Confirms that sovereign Abkhazia at that moment was legally a part of "the Union of Mountaineers of the Caucasus” and “South - East Union” and, except for good-neighbourliness, had no other relations with the states of Transcaucasia;

- Proves that the signing by Abkhazia of any pact or agreement with the future state "Georgia" had no validity, as at the moment of their signing of the Agreement the state "Georgia" did not exist; during that time the historical right of the Abkhazian people to ­ Abkhazia in limits from the river Mzymta to the river Ingur was not called into question­. (The statement of claim..., p. 6).

Considering these points, if Abkhazia had been part of Georgia during this period there would have been no need for this Agreement.

The question of the development of the future political system of Abkhazia was not mentioned in the Agreement. Some Georgian historians assert that at that moment Abkhazia became a part of Georgia, which has presented it with a wide autonomy. The juggling of the facts is obvious.

Firstly, in the Agreement the question of autonomy was not considered. Secondly, at the moment of signing of the Agreement Georgia did not exist as an independent ­ state. The Agreement was signed by the so-called “Tiflis government”. By itself NCG de jure was a public association (organisation). Thirdly, before and after signing the Agreement, Abkhazia continued ­ to remain as a part of the Union of Mountaineers of the Caucasus de jure and de facto, having kept its sovereignty and independence. Fourthly, the second point of the Agreement says that “the form of the future political system of uniform Abkhazia should be defined... by the Constituent assembly of Abkhazia”, i.e. as ­ an internal matter for the people of the country.

The Georgian party considered this "Agreement" as a “Treaty” that ­ did not follow from the document text. After signing of the specified agreement ­ the question of frontiers of Abkhazia was removed from the agenda. This document, having international legal force, had again confirmed the sovereignty and territorially outlined borders of Abkhazia. From this document it follows that from the moment of the announcement by Georgia about its independence ­from  Russia, Abkhazia was not included within its structure. Relations which ­ existed between the countries were being built on the basis of equality of the parties (the Statement of Claim..., pp. 6-7).

A week after February 9th, Bolsheviks made an unsuccessful attempt to establish Soviet power in Abkhazia. From February 16th until February 21st, 1918 Sukhum was in the hands of the Bolshevist Revolutionary-Military Committee (­chairman E. Eshba). On February 17th the ANC was categorically ordered to liquidate Bolshevist authorities and after several days the new power fell.

The influence of the October revolution in the given region was already considerable­. A revolt started in  Sukhum, which after repeated attempts was successful, with the result that by April 11th, 1918 Soviet power had been established everywhere in Abkhazia,­ except for the Kodor (Ochamchira) site. Soviet power in Abkhazia did not exist for long. The Transcaucasian and ­ Tiflis governments at a meeting on May 14th, 1918 made the decision ­ to address a request to Germany to send armies for the suppression of­ revolutionary movements­ in the territory of Transcaucasia. According to the decision ­ of the Transcaucasian Seim, armed groups of Red Guards were simultaneously sent to Abkhazia, without the agreement of the ANC, and for the purpose of destruction of a young Soviet republic, to capture and attempt the annexation of the territory of Abkhazia under the pretext of struggle against Bolsheviks. Military troops were sent as one of the parts of TDFR under the command of Colonel Koniev and V.Djugeli.

On May 10th on the Kodor site there was a military landing of 600 ­insurgents with the task “by all means to take Abkhazia”. The Menshevist government had taken all measures to destroy claims of ­ independence by Abkhazia. Armies of the Transcaucasian government under ­ V.Djugeli's command ­ took Sukhum on May 17th, 1918. The Soviet power in Sukhum fell on May 17th, then New Afon was taken and troops approached Gagra. In Samurzakan the Soviet power held on till September 1918. Russia did not show any reaction to a call for help, and Abkhazia once again remained alone with its troubles and problems. In this situation the destiny of the Soviet power in ­ Abkhazia was predetermined.

As a result of intervention in Abkhazia the Soviet power was liquidated­. This act broke all norms of international law, represented an act of aggression, military expansion, and intrusion of armed forces of the adjacent ­ state onto the territory of an independent country, and was the first step in the aggressive policy of Georgia. In the given situation, i.e. the action of the Transcaucasian Seim, it is necessary to consider the occupation and annexation of the country as a military action against a sovereign ­ state. It was an attempt at the annexation of Abkhazia, ­an independent sovereign state which was in  “the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan”. From the “Union” side an immediate protest followed, concerning the illegal occupation of Abkhazia (one of the republics of the Union) by Georgia with the assistance of Germany. (the Statement of Claim, Appendix 10, 11).

ANC noted that it had applied to the National Board ­of Georgia “about rendering assistance in the matter of  leaving the government in Abkhazia at the disposal of the Council with the detachment  of Georgian Red Guards which is at present in Sukhum. As to the orders of the Georgian government published in the territory of Abkhazia, which are decrees about legal proceedings in the name of the Georgian ­ Republic and a decree about mobilisation, the Abkhazian National Council believes that these ­ orders grow out of a misunderstanding which could aggravate relations between two peoples,with damage to the interests of Georgia and Abkhazia. The Abkhazian National Council ­ hopes that the Government of the Georgian Republic will cancel the above-stated orders ­ and in the future will refrain from similar steps” (Archive of external politics of the USSR).

Hence, the input of military formations under V.Djugeli's command ­ in the middle of May 1918 was not only  an act of aggression, but also illegal intervention and occupation of the country, contradicting international law. But the most important fact was the beginning of the annexation of the country, ­ as under the pressure of the armed formations  the alien power had started to carry out military rule of occupied territory; namely, to publish orders on changes of legal proceedings, ­decrees about military mobilisation and so forth, i.e. had started the illegal government of a foreign state under the pressure of force.

In March 1918 in Abkhazia the second Congress of Farmers took place, in which­ questions of Bolshevist movements, mutual relation with TDFR, etc. were discussed. As the Abkhazian farmers did not support revolutionary ideas, a move towards Menshevik ideology took place, which had been introduced at this congress. From the report on work of the second Congress of Farmers of the Sukhum ­ district on March 4th - 9th, 1918:

“Up to three hundred delegates were at the Congress. There were representatives of peasants of all ­ nationalities living in the Sukhum district... One thing is absolutely clear: the peasantry ­ of the Sukhum district has turned away from the Bolsheviks, and rescue of our country is seen from the Transcaucasian Seim. Abkhazia has decided to enter into the general family of the Transcaucasian nations as ­ a member equal in rights, and to shape its destiny and best future together with democratic ­ Georgia”.

At the Batumi peace conference, the independence of the Mountain Republic within the territory from the Caspian Sea to ­ the Black Sea was proclaimed­ on May 11th, 1918. This act was presented “by the Declaration of the announcement of independence ­ of the Republic of the Union of Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan (Mountain Republic)” which, along with Dagestan, the Chechen Republic, Kabarda, Adygea and other countries, also included Abkhazia.

As this act was a logical continuation of the confirming of Abkhazia as having been a part of the Union of Mountaineers (SOGK) since October 1917, the conclusion was that the country remained an independent sovereign state, the subject ­ of international law as part of the Mountain Republic and, accordingly,­ that Abkhazia, with the support of Turkey, Germany and Austro-Hungary, had obtained ­ international recognition. This follows from the “Treaty on an establishment of friendly relations between the Imperial German government and the government of the Mountain Republic”:

“Point 5. The Imperial German government itself recognises the independence of the Mountain people of the Caucasus, and renders diplomatic assistance to a recognition of this independence by other states.

Point 6. The Imperial German government similarly undertakes ­ to support the government of the Mountain people of the Caucasus, by diplomatic means, towards ­ an establishment of the borders of their republic on the basis of national principles, and in particular to an establishment in the north of the border which passes through Gelendjik - Kuban (20 ­ versts to the north of Armavir), Stavropol, the Sacred Cross (Karabalik), and along the river Kuma until its mouth, and in the south of the border which passes along the  river Ingur, on the main ridge of the Caucasian mountains (on a watershed) and including within it the Zakatal district and the Dagestan region” (the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers... pp. 121 - 123).

As Abkhazia was a component of the Mountain republic, this international document confirmed its borders and its de facto sovereignty. From a legal position, considering the situation post factum, it is necessary ­ to recognise that in 1917 - 1918 in Abkhazia its statehood was being formed­. The society had not yet made a definitive choice regarding its form of development, and had no firm belief in the choice and  recognition of  legitimate power.

All subsequent documents between the formation of the Republic of Abkhazia and the association of some princedoms of Transcaucasia into the Georgian Democratic Republic on May 26th, 1918, did not mention questions of the borders of Abkhazia, and as Abkhazia remained an independent state the problem of territorial disputes, both with Russia and with Georgia, was absent. Abkhazia was outside the territory and limits of influence of both Georgia and Russia. (T.Shamba, A.Neproshin,  p. 248; the Statement of Claim..., p. 13).

In Sukhum, the declaration of independence of Georgia on June 2nd, 1918 became known. Recognising the right of the Georgian people to self-determination, the ANC ­declared: “in view of the current position, to completely take up all power within Abkhazia”, and concerning independence, noted that Abkhazia and "Georgia" were considered as  sovereign states, and the­ inadmissibility of “encroachments on the sovereign rights of the people by neighbours­” was underlined­­. At the beginning of the document the illegality ­ of the stay of the Georgian armed formations in the territory of Abkhazia is quite definitely noted­:

“From the moment of disintegration of the Transcaucasian Federal Republic and the announcement ­ of the independence of Georgia Abkhazia lost a legal basis of connection with Georgia, and a group ­ of the Transcaucasian Red Guards, being now a military part of the Georgian Republic, has appeared outside of the borders of the state, but all complete power actually ­ is in its hands” (AGM Archive Fund № 3).

This document confirmed the absence of any connection between Abkhazia and Georgia, following the exit of the latter from the Transcaucasian Federation, and noted the illegal ­ presence of its military divisions on the territory of Abkhazia and the intervention of the Georgian military authorities in the internal affairs ­ of the sovereign state of Abkhazia.

Thus, the ANC took diplomatic measures to counteract the starting annexation, and continuing capture and ­ occupation, of Abkhazia. For the purpose of streamlining the arising international conflict between Abkhazia and Georgia, as two independent sovereign states, there was the question of preparation of the corresponding document in ­ the development of the "Agreement" from February 9th, 1918. (AGM Archive Fund № 3). The June Agreement became such a document.

Under the conditions of the occupation and annexation of Abkhazia, the new second ANC was organized at the end of May 1918 under ­ the control of the Georgian occupational armies, and included  deputies from the Abkhazian population and from the Georgian enclave in Abkhazia on an equal footing. As a result of intensive settling ­ by migrants from the Central Transcaucasia, their number became equal to the­ number of the indigenous population. Accordingly, the numerical structure of the ANC contained a prevalence of Gurian - Mingrelian delegates ­ representing immigrants. It was torn apart by serious contradictions, and it immediately entered into a conflict with the first ANC, which was continuing to function. Representatives of the first ANC at the Batumi conference in May addressed the Turkish government and declared that Abkhazia did not wish to enter into a group of the Transcaucasian people, and was a part of and referred itself to the North Caucasian ­ association of Mountaineers which would have formed a special state ­ under the protection of Turkey. This was the most serious basis of contradictions ­ between the managements of both ANCs. Another reason for opposition was the acceptance by the Parliament of Abkhazia of the Agreement with Georgia from 8th – 11th June, 1918, ­ which led Abkhazia to catastrophic consequences.

The government of Georgia understood that with the termination of the existence of TDFR the continuity of statehood with the new Georgian state was lost, and the Agreement with ANC of Abkhazia from February 9th, 1918 had lost legal power8. Therefore it decided to reanimate the pact, having signed the new treaty on its basis. The delegation of ANC, headed by the representative ­ from Samurzakan, R.Kakuba, after its arrival in Tiflis faced ­ extended misinformation about ostensibly preparing for a Turkish intrusion into Abkhazia. The strongest pressure was put upon it on purpose, to concur, at least verbally, with the conclusion of the bilateral Agreement developed from the previous one of February 9th, 1918. The opinion of the ANC on this question was negative. Members of parliament understood that conclusion of the Agreement would inevitably lead to consequences “disastrous for Abkhazia” and “would be used to the detriment of interests of statehood” of the country (S.Lakoba, 2001. pp. 29 - 30, 32 - 33).

The head of the Abkhazian delegation signed on June 8th, 1918 a “Treaty” offered ­ by Georgia (the original of the Treaty is absent). This was ­ illegitimate, as at the same time ANC made a decision on the conclusion ­ of the interstate Agreement in a different edition, which was confirmed by it on June 10th,1918. (S.Lakoba, 2001, pp. 33 - 34).

But also the signing of the last edition of the Agreement caused serious objections within the ANC. In particular, S.Basaria, first chairman of the ANC and one of its founding fathers, in his special opinion stated: “In view of the fact that the  draught is categorical, depriving us of the possibility of considered free discussion, and whereas an important document like the future agreement ­ of Abkhazia with Georgia is being compiled hastily with a limited quantity of members of ANC and without the knowledge of ­ the population of Abkhazia who would think of political freedom without any guardianship from anyone, I suggest the Abkhazian National Council answers the ultimatum of Georgia by requesting that the population of Abkhazia is given the chance to arrange for the Abkhazian National Congress  competently to define a political system ­for Abkhazia, having assured the Georgian Republic that Abkhazia, as an independent ­ national organism, will necessarily enter into good-neighbourly unions and ­ agreements with Georgia. I ask for the present special opinion to be transferred on a direct line to the Abkhazian delegation”.  (History of Abkhazia, 1993, p. 297).


8Reminder - the Agreement had been signed two months prior to the formation of  TDFR.

As a result two variants of the Agreement took place, one of which ­ represented “political forgery” and “treachery of interests of Abkhazia”. In them there are points of difference in content and meaning. In themselves these items do not refer to territorial aspects of Abkhazia, but subsequently they were used by Georgia for the definitive occupation and annexation of Abkhazia.

The following items are from the Agreement of June 8th, 1918 signed ­ by the Abkhazian delegation and by the Georgian party:

“Item 4. For the prompt establishment of revolutionary order and the organisation of strong ­ power to help the Abkhazian National Council, by order the Government ­ of Georgia sends a group of Red Guards to be at the disposal of the ANC.

Item 5. In Abkhazia the international group which is at ­ the disposal of the Abkhazian National Council will be organised­.

Item 7. A congress of the population of Abkhazia on democratic principles will be convoked whenever possible ­ in the near future for a definitive decision on questions connected with the statehood ­ of Abkhazia.

Item 8. The agreement is to be reconsidered by the National Assembly of Abkhazia which will definitively decide the political system of Abkhazia, and also mutual relations between Georgia and Abkhazia” (Archive of GSSR; Lit. Georgia, 1989, № 11, pp. 150-151).

From the Agreement of June 11th, 1918:

“Item 6. For the prompt establishment of revolutionary order and the organisation of strong ­ power, the Georgian Democratic Republic is sending a group of Red Guards to help the Abkhazian National Council, which will be at its disposal until it is no longer needed.

Item 7. In Abkhazia the Abkhazian National Council is organising army units, and ­ equipment necessary ­ for these units. Uniforms, equipment and means are being provided by the Georgian ­ Democratic Republic and are at the disposal of the Council”.

Both variants of the specified "Agreements" provided: from June 8th - ­ introduction by Georgia of army units, but only for the necessary ­ period established by the Abkhazian ­ government, for the maintenance of order during the   establishment of power in the country; these units should be at the disposal of, and submit only to, the Government of Abkhazia. According to the document of June 11th, the time of stay of the Georgian army units is limited to their necessity, the terms of which are also defined only by the Government of Abkhazia.

The "Agreement" defined the subsequent mutual relations of the sovereign states of Abkhazia and Georgia. The government of the Georgian republic, having verbally promised ANC the widest autonomy, immediately signed this so-called treaty between Georgia and Abkhazia in “development and ­ addition” agreements on February 9th, 1918 (Archive AGM; Archive of GSSR). It is a surprising circumstance that both variants of the Agreement are signed by the same ­ signatories: G.D.Tumanov and R.I.Kakuba (Archive AGM).

In the specified agreement there were points contradicting ­the political course both of Abkhazia and of the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers:

- Term of convocation of the Congress of the population of Abkhazia for “the definitive decision” on the question of the political system of Abkhazia was not actually established;

- Item 4 assumed the introduction of groups of the Georgian Red guards for help in the organisation of strong power in the country;

- Reasons according to which the external management of Abkhazia ­ was transferred in Georgia to “the minister of affairs of Abkhazia” are not clear­;

- All points of the Agreement radically differed from earlier declared ­ postulates of Abkhazia, which was a member of the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers.

According to one of the points in the Agreement, it should have been reconsidered ­by the National Assembly of Abkhazia for the purpose of reaching a definitive decision on a political system for Abkhazia, and also mutual relations between Georgia and Abkhazia. The plenipotentiary representative of the Republic of Georgia ­ assured the population of Abkhazia and its Legislature that Abkhazia, ­ if it wished, had the right to leave the federal union with Georgia­. Also, the "Agreement" from February 9th, 1918 and the "Agreement" from June 8th and 11th, 1918 did not provide for Abkhazia, which was already a part of "the Union of Mountaineers”, to be considered as a part of Georgia in any respect. (The report of ANC session, June 23rd, 1918).

Georgian historians consider that after signing of the treaty on June 8th 1918 Abkhazia definitively became an "autonomy" as a part of Georgia, which allowed­ it to enter military formations on its territory and this, in their ­ opinion, was not occupation, but a protection of the integrity of Georgia in its struggle ­ against Bolsheviks. However, neither the specified "Agreements", nor any other documents possessing legal force, testified about the consent of Abkhazia to its inclusion in the structure of Georgia, nor to the autocratic actions of the Georgian government and the uncontrolled input of its military divisions. Moreover, Abkhazia during the same time was a member of “the Union of incorporated Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan” and actions of the Georgian armies in its territory, according to international law, were direct aggression and occupation which turned into political annexation of the country (the Statement of claim..., pp. 8 - 9).

Historians and politicians have argued until now on the legitimacy of this document and on its substitution. The main thing is that on June 17th-22nd, literally a week after its signing, on the basis of item 4 under the pretext of ­ helping ANC in the struggle against Bolshevism, armies of General G.Mazniev (Mazniashvili) which had occupied the coast as far as Sochi and Tuapse began to arrive (Archive of Abkhazia). Such actions of the Georgian ­ government perfidiously broke items 2 and 4 of the treaty just concluded, as all power was concentrated in the hands of Mazniev, instead of ANC. There could ­ be no discussion about submission of the General to the Abkhazian National Council­. Contrary to the "arrangement" military divisions were not at ­ the disposal of ANC, and in the second half of June 1918, in an infringement of the essence and spirit of the "Agreement", completely occupied Abkhazia.

There was a military coup d'etat. Full-scale occupation of Abkhazia and its annexation by Georgia had been achieved­. No action was forthcoming from international law, and the right of force which caused legal anarchy for many years and decades generated from Georgia a genocide ­ of the Abkhazian people, annexation of the territory of Abkhazia and the beginning of the destruction ­ of the Abkhazian ethnos.

Is it possible after that seriously to say that Abkhazia received,­ on the basis of this document, the widest autonomy as a part of Georgia­? Certainly not! Firstly, in the text there is no mention of autonomy, and secondly, in the document there is no basis for acceptance of the state, administrative and territorial ­ changes to the sovereign state which Abkhazia was at that time­. And how could Georgia give autonomy to Abkhazia, ­ which was a sovereign state as a part of the Mountain Republic?

The Mountain Republic in the summer-autumn of 1918 conducted very active work towards obtaining recognition by western countries, getting invariable support from the government of Turkey and from the sultan personally. In its field of vision constantly ­ there was “the Abkhazian question”. The diplomatic representative in ­ Turkey, G.Bammatov, in a letter from Constantinople on August 31st informed T.Chermoev about the Cherkessk club in Constantinople, at which delegates Tassun-bei, Rashad-bei and Isa-pashi had visited the German Ambassador Count Bernsdorf in person on August 29th, 1918 and had mentioned the problem of Abkhazia. G.Bammatov wrote:

“I have received some materials from our representative in Abkhazia S.Basaria, of the most major importance concerning the Georgian actions there – there is a campaign against Georgia here in the newspapers for this reason, by Circassian journalists... It is necessary to submit a protest on behalf of the government concerning the action of Georgia within Abkhazia. I have transferred this protest to the Georgian government, with copies to representatives of Germany, Austria and Turkey in Tiflis ... But a written ­ protest is necessary in the future”.

He also informed the powers of the Fourfold ­ Union about his protest, and demanded that they took necessary measures towards the withdrawal of the Georgian armies from Abkhazia. The same position in “the Abkhazian question” ­ was also taken by official Turkey.

Upon the intrusion of the Georgian troops into Abkhazia, the government of the Mountain Republic immediately reacted. The chairman of the Mountain ­government Tapa Chermoev declared: “I, on behalf of my Government, ­ protest most categorically against the type of action by Georgia in Abkhazia, a component of the Federal Republic of the Union of Mountaineers of the Caucasus, and in order to avoid serious consequences­ which could result from the specified policy of the Georgian Government, my ­ Government believes it necessary to immediately disengage Georgian troops, officials and emissaries from Abkhazia” (the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers..., pp. 133-135).

Simultaneously, the Mountain Republic which also included sovereign Abkhazia, requested the world community to take measures against the­ aggression of Georgia in the territory of Abkhazia, “which will bring the Abkhazian people to complete  annihilation” 9. When Georgia sent military divisions into the territory of Abkhazia, there was an immediate protest from the Union of Mountain Republics concerning the illegal occupation and attempt at annexation with the assistance of Germany. In the letters it is stated that “the February revolution has allowed the Abkhazian people, according to historical traditions and to the clearly expressed national will, to reunite their historical ­ destiny with the related people of the North Caucasus” and to enter into “­ the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers of Caucasus”, as “has been ratified by the General ­Congress of the Abkhazian people, taking place in the city of Sukhum”. On ­ the illegal act of intrusion of the Georgian troops the Union government sent protest № 53 to the Minister-Chairman of Georgia on June 1st, 1918, in which was underlined the excesses of the Georgian troops, committing outrages  against the peaceful population of Abkhazia. In the letter “it is ascertained that as a part of ­ the Georgian army operating in Abkhazia, there are regular ­ German troops”.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Mountain Republic, Gaydar Bammat, sent a note to the head of the German diplomatic mission in the Caucasus concerning the intrusion of German troops in Sukhum. We give quotations from this document:

                                                                                                                                               “June 13th, 1918.

Mr. Minister! Following the message received by me about the occupation of the city of Sukhum by German ­troops, I have the honour to send herewith to Your Excellency ­ a copy of my protest addressed to the President of Georgia on 1st June this year.

I have the honour to ask You, Mr. Minister, not to refuse to notify the Imperial government in Berlin of the point of view of the Government of the Union of Mountaineers of Caucasus on Georgian gangs being in Abkhazia and on the actions of agents of the Georgian Government in this district”.



9 Letter from the Abkhazian representative of the government of the Mountain Republic, S.Basarva, to the representative of the Turkish army, Gaydar-Bei, about illegal actions of the Georgian government in relation to the Abkhazian people.




In the protest it is underlined that the occupation of Abkhazia by German troops grew out of a misunderstanding into which the German command was led by the Georgian government. The given document also testifies about the Sukhum district (Abkhazia) being a part of the Mountain ­ Republic, about the gangster attack by Georgia on independent Abkhazia, and about German imperialists supporting Georgia in this. Even then it was already clear that the people of the North Caucasus republics, without consideration of whether Abkhazia was in this commonwealth or not, or whether it would be the will of the central ­ government or not, would reject pressure from any aggressor, as ­ occurred in 1992-1993.

After the May declaration of independence of the Mountain Republic, imperial Germany, believing that Abkhazia would be a part of the future ­ state of Georgia, began to take an absolutely different ­ position, unlike Turkey. The treaty on recognition of the Mountain Republic by Germany was not ratified, as Germany changed its policy about the “North Caucasus” question­. Having entered into an agreement with Soviet Russia, Germany received freedom of actions in Transcaucasia, “separation of which from Russia is being recognized by Bolsheviks in exchange for non-interference by Germany in “North Caucasus” questions” (the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers... p.141).

On August 8th  the ANC took the decision on creation of the commission for the preparation ­ of elections for the Abkhazian Constituent Assembly, in which Abkhazia had to completely define the political system and solve the problem ­ of mutual relations with Georgia. Under conditions of occupation and political annexation of Abkhazia, on December 17th, 1918 the Georgian government took its one-sided decision on the preparation of new elections to the ANC.

At this time General Mazniev inconsiderately trampled on “the independent rights” of Abkhazia. On July 4th,  1918 the Chairman of the National Council reminded the Georgian ­ government that Mazniev had been given “extensive powers, up to the right to announce the introduction of a state of siege, but exclusively when conducting military operations” (against Bolsheviks - authors). He demanded ­ cancellation of the order of the military minister in which Mazniev “without the  permission and ­ consent of the National Council” had been appointed as the Governor of Abkhazia and the chief ­ of the Sukhum garrison (Central Archive of Abkhazia).

However ANC not only could not control Mazniev, but soon, on August 15th, 1918, was itself disbanded by the armed forces of the Georgian ­ government. From October 1918 till March 1919 all civil management ­ of Abkhazia was carried out with the direct intervention of Georgian control. The country was under another's government.

To exclude any undesirable development of events from ANC deputies, the Georgian administration again found a simple way out: deputies were accused of “Turkophilia” and, the ANC having been disbanded, were replaced with more appeasable people of Pro-Georgian orientation. Simultaneously, honourable old men of Abkhazia were arrested by Georgians. A reorganised ANC was turned into a body convenient in every respect for the carrying out ­ of Georgian policy in Abkhazia and approval of the most severe retaliatory measures in relation to the indigenous population of the country. A growing discontent ­ with Georgian policy was felt not only by the population of the country, but also by deputies within the newly-created ANC, as its Georgian members had started to consider the question of the inclusion of Abkhazia as an autonomous formation within the structure of Georgia.

If one considers that at the moment of acceptance of this decision the numbers of Abkhazians and Kartvelians in the population of the country were approximately equal, it is hardly probable that they voluntarily selected 80 % of the ANC deputies as Georgians. It is obvious that this structure did not represent the population of the country, which (taking into account ­ Russians, Armenians, Greeks, etc.) did not wish to join Georgia. Similarly, the Georgians had no historic, ethnographic or economic basis for their claims on the Sukhum district. There were only attempts by Georgia to grasp a very valuable and expensive province from a temporarily weakened Russia. Georgia, free and young, and not yet having been recognised as independent, while preaching the rights of small nationalities to self-determination, applied all forces towards­ incorporating the whole neighbouring country within its borders, i.e. completely absorbing the Abkhazian people, who were not related ­ to Georgians.

The Georgian annexation of the territory of sovereign Abkhazia was triumphant. In the occupied territory of Abkhazia under the influence of external force there was a change of government. In the new Council only Georgian citizens were admitted, and all Abkhazians, Armenians, Russians and others not wishing to be recognised as citizens of Georgia were excluded. Violent change of structure of the government of Abkhazia, infringement of the rules of election of governmental bodies of the country, deprivation of the right of participation in activities of directing bodies of the state and change of demographic ­ structure of these bodies, banning people from participation in power structures ­ according to a citizenship principle – all of these confirm the illegitimacy of such authorities. Actions of the Georgian government and its military troops ­ in the territory of Abkhazia, regarding the replacement of power structures in the state, led to the situation that since August 15th, 1918 the existence of the legitimate government, ANC, had stopped. All subsequent Abkhazian documents of state were created by means of external military force, were not legitimate, and from the legal point of view were insignificant.

Violence, committed by Georgian guardsmen, overran all Abkhazia. Georgians occupied all administrative posts in the territory of Abkhazia,­ supervised all state organisations, and pursued a policy not corresponding to the interests of the Abkhazian people. Antagonism went deeper and deeper, and promised to turn into open ­ rebellion against the usurpers. Aversion to Georgian policy and to the actions ­ of its troops in Abkhazia was felt at all levels of civil society. The recreated Abkhazian National Council had not justified the hopes­ of the government of Georgia. On September 2nd, 1918 the Chairman of the ANC, Varlam Sharvashidze (Chachba) wrote indignantly to the minister of affairs of Abkhazia, R.Chkhotua, in Tiflis: “The arson of houses by the governmental troops, in the opinion of the population and from the point of view of the state, cannot be justified by any means” (Central Archive of Abkhazia).

The second Council was also disbanded by Mazniev on October 9th, 1918, and its most respected members were arrested and sent to Metehsk prison in Tiflis... Across all Abkhazia troops took punitive actions.

At the session of the third ANC on October 9th, 1918 which passed very argumentatively, attention was brought to the question of the originators and accomplices in the dispersal of the first ANC on August 15th. Deputies  demanded “to re-establish ­the violently dismissed National Council which has the full confidence ­ of the Abkhazian people, and is its lawful presidium”. The Council building was there and then surrounded ­ by Georgian guardsmen, and the next day the third ANC was disbanded by force. The minister of affairs of Abkhazia was dismissed from his post by the Georgian ­ government, and together with the district commissar of Abkhazia, I.Margania, was accused of a plot against the Georgian Republic, and also a number of ANC leaders (S.Ashkhatsava, D.Alania, V.Chachba, G.Adjamov, etc.)  finished up in Metehsk prison.

The commander of allied armies in the Caucasus, the English General Thomson, addressed the government of Georgia on this matter on December 5th, 1918. As is told in a document from the archive of Harvard university, he demanded ­ the immediate release of members of the Abkhazian National Council, as the arrest of these persons “is illegal, without any presentation of charges” (Archive of. Georgia, 1989, № 11, pp. 152-153).

The Abkhazian government, which had fallen into a trap, undertook vigorous ­ measures towards the breaking of the deadlock in the country. At last Abkhazians ­sent their representatives to the command of the Voluntary army with the request to help them to obtain release from their new conquerors... This action led to the political and administrative management of Abkhazia being arrested ­ under instructions from the Central power. The representative of the Georgian government, E.Gegechkori, informed Tiflis from Sochi on September 15th, 1918 that “the Abkhazian delegation” from ANC had approached General M.V.Alekseev with a request ­ to release Abkhazia from the armed intervention of Georgia (Archive of the USSR).

Then in September, a meeting took place between representatives of the Georgian republic, the Regional Kuban Government, and the Voluntary army, in which General N. V.Alekseev and Kuban representative N.Vorobyov participated. The latter declared that: “Georgia should begin its ­ borders behind Abkhazia whose aspiration to self-determination cannot be ignored ­ although some hundreds of Georgians live there” (Archive of Georgia, №11, p. 151).

The government of the Union classified these actions as a partnership of Germany in support of weapons in the hands of the imperialistic desires of Georgia directed against the North Caucasian Republic, and complicity ­ in violence committed by the Georgian troops against the tiny Abkhazian nationality. It demanded an immediate withdrawal from Abkhazia of the Georgian troops, officials and emissaries, and also of the German troops which had illegally entered there. In the second document it says that after the ANC session on August 4th, 1918, the Abkhazian delegation was sent to Tiflis with a protest against the actions of Georgia, which considered Abkhazia as a part of itself and ­ had directed its troops against Abkhazians and Kodorians, whilst German and Cossack troops had been directed against Gudaut Abkhazia. After the disbandment of the second ANC and arrest of its members, Extraordinary Commissar Chkhivikishvili was appointed ­by the Georgian government to rule the country­, and immediately organised the looting of some Abkhazian and Armenian villages. His appointment coincided with elections for the new ANC, where by “new rules” for elections ­ during the conditions of occupation he introduced non-Abkhazian representatives who were not connected with ­ the interests of the territory. During this period there was a complete rejection by the people ­ of Abkhazia of everything Georgian, including its policy (Archive of AGM).

Georgian politicians saw that elections for the ANC could not be entrusted to Abkhazians. Regarding the conditions of occupation of Abkhazia and its political annexation, on December 17th, 1918 the government of Georgia took the decision to prepare new elections for the ANC and to give autonomy to Abkhazia as a part of Georgia. Item 7 of "Regulations" defined the state language of Abkhazia as Georgian. This project was confirmed ­ by the parliament of Georgia on December 27th, 1918. Amendments to the law on elections as indicated above were approved,­  that ANC deputies could be selected from citizens ­ of Georgia who were not living in Abkhazia, and from those who had acquired the right to a residence in ­ Abkhazia after July 19th, 1914. Clearly, the results of elections had been predetermined ­ - the Abkhazian National Council consisted of an overwhelming majority of Georgians, and Abkhazians there were “a suppressed minority”. This unilateral decision was the definitive action on the violent ­ joining of Abkhazia to Georgia, contrary to all norms of international law.

Representatives of the Abkhazian people continued to search for an exit from the situation which had developed. In January 1919 they held active negotiations with General A.I.Denikin ("Nashe Slovo", January 16th, 1919) and asked for­ ANC elections by Georgian rules and under supervision of the Georgian military to be suspended. In a special message on February 1st, 1919 General А.I.Denikin ­informed English Generals Forester, Walker and Milne:

“Official representatives of the Abkhazian people have addressed to me the under-mentioned ­ application signed by members of the National Council­: the Abkhazian people make ­ a majority of the population of the Sukhum district situated on the  Black Sea coast between ­ the rivers Bzyb and Ingur. They were compelled to ask for help from the Georgians against Bolsheviks­. Taking advantage of this, Georgians moved their troops into the Sukhum district, installed their administration, and in compliance with their usual methods have started to interfere with internal affairs and have led the most ruthless persecution against outstanding ­ influential politicians of the Abkhazian people.... Therefore the Abkhazian representatives ask me to firstly suspend elections to the Council whilst under the influence of Georgian ­ authorities, and, secondly to approach allied command about an immediate departure ­ of the Georgian army from Abkhazia, to relieve the Abkhazian people of violence which could cause strong disorder and to give them the chance to start peaceful activities”.

General A.S.Lukomski noted: “... Misunderstanding continued because of the attitude­ of the Georgian authorities to the Armenian and Abkhazian population in the neighbouring Sukhum district”. On February 26th, 1919 General A.I.Denikin wrote to the chief of the British ­ military mission, General Briggs: “Official representatives ­ of the Armenian national union of the Sochi district have approached me with a request to protect the Armenian ­ population of the Sukhum district...”.

General A. I.Denikin demanded: “1) immediately to declare the Sukhum district (Abkhazia­) neutral; 2) to remove the Georgian troops to behind the river Ingur; 3) to remove Georgian administration from Abkhazia; 4) to assign the maintenance of order to freely chosen Abkhazian authorities”.

Then general A.S.Lukomski wrote to the British command:

“Transformation of the Sukhum district, occupied ­ mainly by the Abkhazian people, to a neutral zone would be the best exit from the created position, as English command has been informed, because Georgia had no rights of possession in this area. It would resolve all misunderstanding, and the loud but powerless Georgian government would, of course, obey this decision­. But it has not been made...” (Denikin-Judenich-Vrangel. Мoscow, 1927, pp. 96 - 98).

In January 1919 Denikin’s Voluntary army began a campaign on Sukhum, putting forward the claim for Abkhazia as a part of “uniform, indivisible Russia” to the government of Georgia. The Georgian troops constrained this attack, and the pro-Georgian ANC responded to it as follows:

From the Declaration of the social democratic faction of the ANC, March 18th, 1919:

“With the slogan of ... Self-determination of small nationalities, the democracy of Georgia, under the true guidance of the   social democratic labour party of Georgia, has brought brotherly democracy to the Abkhazian people.

The democratic territory of  Abkhazia is inviolable, and the Gagra site, as an integral part of it, should be within the territorial limits  of its historical and natural borders (river Mzymta), and should ­ now be in the hands of those self-determined people who wish to see within the territory a full celebration of revolutionary,­  democratic principles.

Proceeding from these preconditions, the Social-Democratic party of Georgia will support the following state system for Abkhazia in the Abkhazian National Council:

1. Abkhazia is a part of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, as an autonomous unit.

2. State affairs: foreign policy, armies, finance, monetary ­ system, customs offices, general judicial establishments and the Senate, civil and criminal legislation, mail, telegraph, railroad and highways, except for local roads, concern central ­ legislative and  government agencies of the Republic of Georgia.

3. In all other affairs in the area of management, and the internal life of Abkhazia in general,­ regarding: education and general culture in Abkhazia; management of local governments - rural and urban; courts, except for  general judicial establishments and the Senate; administration; local taxation­; medicine and sanitary; maintenance of the rights of national minorities living ­ in the territory of Abkhazia, etc., Abkhazia is autonomous, and all this is included within the competence of the Abkhazian National Council.

4. Until the development of the general Constitution of the Republic of Georgia, a minister of affairs of Abkhazia will be a member of the government of Georgia.

5. The democratic faction of the Abkhazian National Council will ensure that the stated positions have been included in the Constitution of Georgia”.

New elections for ANC were again conducted under the pressure of armed force. However, the Abkhazian representatives categorically declared that ­they would not accept any ­ participation in elections controlled by Georgia, and flatly refused ­ to recognise the right of Georgia to arrange their destiny. “Democratic principles were sacred for Georgia”, therefore N.Zhordania gave the order to the Georgian faction of the ANC to prepare “a Decree about the  autonomy of Abkhazia”, which was immediately produced. In the conditions of occupation ­ of Abkhazia by Georgia, on March 20th, 1919 at the first session of the newly-elected “on a democratic basis” ANC which under the decision of a session of Council was renamed National Council of Abkhazia - NСА (­even the Councils were started from scratch  by the Georgian government, specifying that ­ the previous Abkhazian ANC meant nothing to it), with the prevailing majority of delegates being of Georgian nationality (with the input of military formations from Georgia there was an intensive settling of Abkhazia by migrants from the central and boundary regions of Georgia), the decision on the entering of Abkhazia into the structure of  the Democratic Republic of Georgia as ­ an autonomy was accepted­.

The text of this decree contains only two points and 15 lines: “the First Abkhazian ­ National Council elected on the basis of general, direct, equal and secret ­ suffrage, at the session on March 20th, 1919 on behalf of the people of Abkhazia has decided:

1. Abkhazia is a part of the Democratic Republic of Georgia as an autonomous unit, and the government of the Republic of Georgia and its ­ Constituent Assembly are to be informed of this.

2. For the drawing up of the constitution of autonomous Abkhazia and the definition of mutual relations ­ between the central and autonomous powers, a mixed commission with equal numbers of members from the Constituent Assembly of Georgia and the National Council of Abkhazia  is selected, and the positions developed by it, after acceptance by the Constituent Assembly ­ of Georgia and the National Council of Abkhazia, should be included in the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Georgia”.

The original was signed: NCA Chairman Emukhvari

                           Affairs secretary G.Korolyov

                           Stamped: “Operating office NCA”.

                           October 27th, 1920

 (“Nashe Slovo”, March 21st 1919; Archive of Georgia, 1989, № 11, pp. 155 - 156).


That’s it, simply and clearly. It should be noted that the developed positions “after acceptance by the Constituent Assembly of Georgia and the National Council of Abkhazia, should be included in the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Georgia”. But positions under the constitution should have been developed ­ together with NСА, whereas actually, as will be shown further, this did not occur.

As a result of "elections" Georgian Mensheviks made the majority in NСА (27 deputies), and Abkhazians representing basically “independents” (R.Kakuba, S.Chanba, etc.) a minority (8 deputies). The representative of Georgian Mensheviks, Abkhazian prince D. Emukhvari, was selected as Chairman of the NCA (“Nashe Slovo”, March 20th, 1919). At this session the decision was accepted­ that NСА would have a legislature, and a commissariat­ executive, and according to article 7 of "Regulations"­ the state language of Abkhazia was declared Georgian. ­ The draft decree “about granting Abkhazia the rights of an autonomy within Georgia” was sounded and prepared ­ on December 27th, 1918 by the Constituent assembly of Georgia. (An article by D.Gamarkhia, Z.Papaskirn, and V.Chania in the newspaper “Sabchota Abkhazeti” of 3-4 August, 1990 was written in the Georgian language). This unilateral decision should be considered the definitive action on the forceful joining of Abkhazia to Georgia, contrary to all norms of international law.

By March 20th the Decree about the autonomy of Abkhazia ("Nashe Slovo", March 21st, 1919) had already been accepted. ­ Political annexation, including ­ intervention of military Georgian administration in the activity ­ of the machinery of state of Abkhazia and directed towards change of the political system of the country, became the main element of expansion, rather than the military element, which was of secondary importance. The capture was not just of a part of the country, but of all of its territory, which was subsequently joined to Georgia.

After the signing in the АNС of the “Decree about the autonomy of Abkhazia”, the faction of social democratic internationalists revolted against illegalities ­ concerning Abkhazia, and left the Social-democratic party ­ of Georgia in connection with disagreement over a number of constitutional questions (Archive of AGM).

In May 1919 at the Parisian conference Georgian delegates presented ­a report containing the territorial claims of Georgia. The Georgian government also tried to give a historical substantiation of their ­ interests in the Black Sea province. In the document it was specified that in the times of tsar David the Builder and tsarina Tamara the territory of Sochi and partly Tuapse districts were a part of "Georgia" or “Abkhaz-Kartvelian kingdom”, forgetting to say that the kingdom was Abhaz-Imeretian, instead of Kartvelian, and especially not Georgian. As a substantiation, ­ the fact was  also given that the territory of the Sochi district was at some time under the control of the Imeretian kingdom and the Abkhazian ­ princedom, up to its capture by Turks and Adygs in XVII century, though this fact has no relation to Georgia or to Kartalinia.­­ The territory of Abkhazia, completely occupied at that time by Georgian troops, was also included in “historic, ­ ethnographic and strategic substantiations of the future borders ­ of Georgia”.

In the report it was said that “during almost three hundred years the border of Georgia at the Black Sea ­ coast passed behind Anapa, reaching the mouth of the river Kuban; further, throughout XIV century the border gradually departed back to the river Makopse, and from XV century till XIX century, i.e. before the joining of this part of Georgia to Russia, the river Makopse (to the south of Tuapse) was always the border”.

These claims were presented as follows: “Defining their borders, the government of Georgia demands only those territories which always ­ belonged to the Georgian people and which have vital value for them, but thereby do not concern the vital interests of other people...”

Proceeding from these general reasons and certain administrative possibilities,­  the delegation asserted that the territory of Georgia should include: “Tiflis ­ and Kutais provinces, the areas Sukhum and Zakatal, the area Batum, two areas to the west of Kars (Olti and Ardagan) and some parts of the Black Sea area, and also Trapezund (Trebizond)” (Occupation and actual annexation.... pp. 61 - 62).

The town of Sochi appeared as  purely Georgian, and all the Black Sea district as an ancient Georgian province. The most improbable fact in this history was­ that claims for this territory were put forward on behalf of ­ Abkhazia, so it thus appeared that the northern border of Abkhazia passed near to Tuapse, and that this territory was occupied by the wish of the Abkhazian people who had a historical right to it (this document was created contrary to the opinion of the first АNС). Тhus Georgia showed its territorial claims, particularly on Abkhazia, which never (except for the period of its occupation from 1918 to 1921) belonged to it. Georgia did not mention the opinion of the government ­ and  people of Abkhazia, or the decisions accepted by them concerning their joining ­ to Georgia.

One of the basic infringements in acceptance of the above-stated ­ document was that the decision of the question on the future of Abkhazia, according to ­ item 7 of "Agreement" from June 8th, 1918, was represented only to the Congress of the population of Abkhazia. In the conditions of occupation and country annexation, and in infringement of the specified regulations, this document was accepted at a session of the non-legitimate ­NСА by a conciliatory commission of 5 persons from NСА and NSG, which initially defined “the Decree about the autonomy of Abkhazia as a part of Georgia” as not legitimate, and a legally insignificant document. However this Decree was ratified at once by the  parliament of Georgia, but the­ business did not go further, because of contradictions between ­ the Constituent Assembly of Georgia and the National Council of Abkhazia (even though this included a majority of Georgians).

At the opening of the renamed “National Council of Abkhazia” the representative of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, I.Ramishvili, declared: “We know the aspiration of reactionary groups of the people (Abkhazian - authors) to ‘independence’, but for this purpose the small nation is not yet ready and ­ enslavers could take it ­ and from this loop the people could not be released... (­ Prophetic words. For already more than eight decades Abkhazia has tried to be released ­ from the Georgian loop, a loop of so-called “colleagues in the struggle to the great future” in which under plans of the Georgian colonizers there should be ­  a genocide of Abkhazians). We are not similar to conquerors and the local land is not necessary to us, we search for colleagues in the struggle in which we will go together to great noble­ future socialism” (“Nashe Slovo”, 21st  March, 1919).

Next day in the local mouthpiece of Sukhum Mensheviks, the newspaper “Nashe Slovo”, an amendment to I.Ramishvili's declaration was given: “The aspiration ­ of the Abkhazian people to independent existence is quite natural. But this small nation is still not ready for this step, and under the name of independence ­ different enslavers will throw a loop on its neck from which ­ it will take many efforts to be released. When Abkhazia will feel capable of independent existence then our help behind it to the realisation of this ­ step will be provided” (“Nashe Slovo”, 22nd  March, 1919).

And we have had the opportunity throughout almost a century to be convinced that these words were nothing more than lies, shameless lies from several ­ generations of  Georgian politicians and their helpers the historians.

Grass roots diplomacy in “the Abkhazian question” had not played its last role. A "Memorandum" signed by the official representative of the people of Abkhazia, Lieutenant Alexey Hasaya, was addressed to the British Military Mission in Ekaterinodar on 10th June, 1919, ­ and was directed for transfer to the British government. It contained the request: “to disengage the Georgian army and administration from the territory ­ of Abkhazia”, then “a new election for АNС which will solve the destiny of Abkhazia” would be held. It was a question of infringements by Georgia of items in the Agreements from June, 1918. Requirements of this document were the following:

“1. Because Georgia had broken items 1 and 3 of the Agreement from June 11th, the Agreement had become void.

2. Because citizens had been excluded from elections, those who did not wish to recognise themselves as Georgian citizens as required by the decision of the АNС considered the  new Council illegal ­ and not expressing the will of the people.

3. Until a decision on the question of the re-selected Council, and guarantees of free elections, Georgian military divisions should be withdrawn from Abkhazia...” (Materials from Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain. “The Abkhazian question, 1919”;  "Republic of Abkhazia" newspaper ­№ 86, from 28 - 29 July, and № 130 from 13 - 14 September, 2001).

To understand the position of the Georgian politicians in relation to the country and statehood of Abkhazia, we give quotations from speeches by deputies of the supreme body of Georgia, and it can be seen that these statements are greatly penetrated by lies and hatred and that the aims of the speakers are monstrous­.

From the shorthand report of the session of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia on 2nd August, 1919, a discussion of conditions in Abkhazia:

“Our government has concluded the agreement which gave many different rights to Abkhazia and did not give any rights to Georgia. This is a big crime of our ­ government. In the agreement there is more than one unclear article, and according to these articles people ­ say that Abkhazia is already independent. What can we see? What is today's political ­ position in Abkhazia? It has the highest legislature, the National Council, it has the territory, has the government, and this means all elements of an independent state. From this rostrum it should be declared: the independence of Abkhazia­ is an absurdity. There, in our opinion, no government is necessary, ­ and the body possessing functions of the Constituent Assembly as it takes place today is also unnecessary­. There is Abkhazia, there is a territory of Abkhazia, and in this territory we should have created a certain ­ management and when we created such a body, we made a mistake, naming it not National Council of Abkhazia, but Abkhazians. If Abkhazia represents the territory, instead of the people, such a name even for this legislature is inadmissible...

Even if all the noblemen of Abkhazia become bandits or robbers, even if ­they write letters to Clemenceau, Lloyd-George and everyone, all the same it is necessary to exert tough measures against them...

It is necessary to adopt the same policy towards Russians who have settled in Abkhazia and extend all their support there. At the same time, we have carried on negotiations with them, and we are at fault in this.

Abkhazia is among the most dangerous suburbs. It is dangerous because the statehood ­ and independence of Georgia is threatened from there by our northern enemy - Russia.

The Abkhazian people are incited against the Georgians and, God forbid, at the military front our position will become complicated, and we could suffer an accident in Abkhazia. ­ Bolshevik meetings where propagandists oppose ­ Georgia are often held in Sukhum and in other settlements of Abkhazia and accept corresponding resolutions... Such hostile action ­ against Georgia is conducted even in the Abkhazian National Council...

This Abkhazian council is selected by a strange system in which suffrage was also given to non-subjects11 of Georgia... If we leave the formal side and we look at the matter with eyes of real interest, I am sure that for us the present ­ selective rule is rather harmful and unprofitable... In the National Council of Abkhazia our state interests must be reliably protected because the majority in this establishment is in the hands of our ruling party, and there should be a guarantee of our state and political durability in Abkhazia.

In general, in Abkhazia the situation is unsteady. There is a big Anti-Georgian movement over which supervision by Russian-Armenian Bolsheviks, Denikins and one part of the Abkhazian intelligentsia deepens.”



11 So in the text. The lecturer has forgotten that subjects exist only in monarchies, and in republics the people are citizens.


Georgian Mensheviks committed excesses in Abkhazia and on September 29th, 1919 fourteen deputies from NСА send a letter about this addressed to ­ the government of Georgia. But that government, since 1918 and practically from the very beginning of its existence, had pursued a policy of purposeful ­ intrusion into all spheres of the life of Abkhazia, breaking all rules of law. It did not keep assurances declared by it about the stability of an autonomy, and created in the people deserved mistrust not only of Georgia, but also of the local ­ legislature – the NСА. Deputies of Council I.Margania, D.Alania,­  M.Tarnava, M.Tsaguria, etc. wrote unambiguously on September 29th, 1919 about the inadmissibility of the annexation of Abkhazia by Georgia, having noted the arbitrariness and violence of the Georgian authorities and army.

“By a malicious irony, - they wrote, - the great Russian revolution which has given freedom and independence to almost all nationalities of the Caucasus has bypassed small Abkhazia,­  and in our country the great principles of revolution were absolutely smothered by the arbitrariness and violence of the authorities. And as all this violence was conducted in the name of the Georgian ­ Government, in the Abkhazian mind there is a representation of Georgians as tyrants and enslavers” (Archive of Abkhazia ; Archive of AGM).

During this period, thousands of Greek and Armenian families left the country in ­ which the Georgian aggressors committed excesses. In October 1919 at a session ­of NСА the question about “the criminal secret policy of the Georgian ­ government, leading to cancellation of the autonomy of Abkhazia” (“Nashe Slovo”,­ November 9th, 1920) was considered­­. From November 1919, at schools in Abkhazia where teaching was conducted in Russian, the teaching of all subjects in the Georgian language was started with the aim of Georgian nationalization (“Nashe Slovo”, November 20th, 1919).

It became obvious that the government of Georgia contradicted the items in “the Decree about the independence ­ of Georgia” adopted on May 26th 1918, in which they guaranteed to all people “ample opportunities for free development”. The so-called “autonomy of Abkhazia” appeared as­ fiction. The government of Georgia strengthened its reactionary policy in the field of international relations.

The National Council of Abkhazia, proceeding from the agreements, decrees and government assurances set forth above, repeatedly sent delegations to ­ the Constituent Assembly for definitive registration of mutual relations between Georgia and Abkhazia, it being known that Extraordinary Representatives of the Republic of Georgia took part in the spadework in the National Council. The desired­ result was not achieved. Proclamations from the government about the stability of an autonomy ­ were in practice far from the truth. In essence, ­ since 1918 the Georgian government had expanded its­ area of intrusion more and more into all spheres of  Abkhazian life, breaking even those rights ­ about which there was no dispute e.g. in the commissions developing the draft of the Constitution of autonomous Abkhazia. The contradiction was expressed­ on the one hand by numerous assurances of representatives of the Georgian ­ government about the stability of an autonomy, and on the other hand by ­ intervention in the internal affairs of Abkhazia. This created mistrust in Abkhazia not only of state power, but also of the local legislature - ­ the National Council of Abkhazia.

In the spring of 1920 the Abkhazian people boycotted elections for the Constituent Assembly of Georgia, demonstrating by this ­ their political position and the legal status of the country as independent of Georgia (“Nashe Slovo”, March 23rd and April 7th, 1920). Hence there were no legislative grounds ­for the registration of the so-called "autonomy" of Abkhazia as a part of Georgia. On May 6th 1920 the newspaper “Nashe Slovo” reported: “The Menshevik party gives the strong impression of regret at its dissociation from the Abkhazian intelligentsia, as a result of nonacceptance by the Abkhazian population of participation in elections for the Constituent Assembly”. Despite this, at the Constituent Assembly of Georgia on July 20th, 1920, the drafts of “Regulations about the management of autonomous Abkhazia” and “Constitution of autonomous Abkhazia” were approved. Based upon articles 129-131 in the draft of the Constitution ­ of Georgia, the territory of Abkhazia was recognized within the borders ­ offered by commissions of NCA. In particular, it was written: “Abkhazia ­ in borders: from the northwest to the southeast from the river Mekhadyr to the river Ingur”.

In a statement from some NCA deputies to the Government of Georgia it was emphasised that three variants of the Constitution developed by the Constitutional Meeting­ did not reflect the real picture and did not match the  requirements of the people of Abkhazia. The unreasonable policy of the Georgian government ­ in relation to Abkhazia, directed towards the rupture of brotherly relations between the countries, was thus indicated,­  and led to violence, arson of houses, and genocide ­ in relation to Abkhazians.

Before acceptance of the Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Constituent assembly of Georgia published the temporary Regulations below, about the control of autonomous ­ Abkhazia:

“1. Abkhazia from the river Mekhadyr to the river Ingur and from the coast of the Black Sea to the Caucasian ridge is an integral part of the republic of Georgia and within these borders autonomously ­ operates its own internal affairs.

2. Autonomous Abkhazia has its own local legislature - the National Council selected for two years by citizens of both sexes on a general, direct, equal, secret and proportional electoral system.

3. All lands and possessions ­ within Abkhazia and all persons living there, according to the general laws of the republic are subject to the autonomous control of Abkhazia­. The state possesses all bowels of the earth, according to the general laws of the republic.

7. The state language of Abkhazia is Georgian. But the National Council has the right to allow the use of local languages.

11. Members of the National Council of Abkhazia, representatives of its executive power, and also civil servants of autonomous Abkhazia promise to swear fidelity to the Constitution of the Republic of Georgia.

25. The right of general or partial revision of the Regulations about autonomous Abkhazia ­ belongs both to the Parliament of Georgia and to the National Council. Amendment and ­ confirmation of the Regulations are carried out by the Parliament of Georgia in ­ the manner defined by the law”.

At its discussion at the NCA session on May 21st, 1920 opinion on the inexpediency of the autonomy of Abkhazia as a part of Georgia was expressed. ­ Abkhazian deputies warned that the autonomy would be followed by a merging, with the­ absorption of Abkhazia by Georgia (Zukhbаi). Menshevik deputies, represented as a majority in NСА by Georgians, Mingrelians, Svans, etc., supported the autonomy. The assurance was not at all convincing that if autonomy with the normal number of rights did not take place, it would always be possible to separate. ­ Today it can be seen that this was nothing more than the short-sighted illusions of incompetent politicians (Archive of AGM}.

Struggle concerning the constitution and autonomy of Abkhazia continued. The work begun ­ on drafts of “the Decree about autonomy” and “the Constitution of Abkhazia” met difficulties, owing to disagreements between NСА and the Georgian ­ government. In Constitution drafts it was said that Abkhazia was a part of the GDR as an autonomy, but:

“It, Abkhazia, is independent in so far as as its independence is not limited by the present Constitution and, as that, it possesses all rights which have not been transferred to the Central power” (Dzapshba 1995, p. 116).

It is necessary to pay attention to the reasonable performance of deputy Kakuba in the course of the NCA session on September 20th, 1920. Confirming that ruling circles of Georgia receded from the co-ordinated order of consideration of drafts of the Constitution of Abkhazia, he asked the question: “What does this Decree represent? Yes, we united on an autonomous basis, but on what basis... Those conditions on which Abkhazia is a part of Georgia should be certainly noted­. These conditions are not fully discussed, not developed, not accepted. We name these conditions Constitutional­. It is hardly probable that this is correct. It is simply an agreement between Georgia and Abkhazia. An agreement concludes if there are two parties. When the agreement concludes, they should be equal, and if different there will not be an agreement, but a fiction...

All of us assert that Abkhazia voluntarily enters as a part of the Republic of Georgia. The voluntary decree is made according to how profitable it is to those making this decree. Abkhazia makes it as it is profitable to it, and develops conditions under which it wishes to join with Georgia. Georgia too has an inalienable right to say no, I don’t need you,­ go away. It is not only logical, it is a method used throughout history...

According to the Decree (from March 20th, 1919 - authors), the commission is created on an equal footing, mixed in equal numbers, both parties are represented in equal numbers...  The Commission reaches a certain decision, which is represented to the Constituent assembly (­ Georgia - authors) and in NСА. Neither of these can change these decisions. But they can reject ­ them entirely.

Decisions are subject (to confirmation and ratification - authors) in Legislative institutions­. The Constitution draft should be simultaneously presented to NСА and to ­ the Constituent assembly and should be confirmed by both”.

NСА made the following decision after this speech: “Recognizing in the question of the order of acceptance of the Constitution that it is obligatory to be guided by 2nd point of the Law from March 20th” (Archive of AGM, Report 21: About ­ NCA session  from September 28th, 1920, pp. 99 - 210).

In one of the detailed "notes" addressed to the chairman of the government ­ of Georgia, a delegation from the National Council of Abkhazia under V.Sharvashidze's presidency (members of delegation I.Pashalidi, A.Ubiria, V.Gurdjua, D.Zaharov, M.Berulava, M.Tarnava, D.Alania. M.Tsaguria) declared in November 1920:

“During the existence of the Special Transcaucasian Committee, Abkhazia and Georgia concluded an agreement on 9th February, 1918 mainly defining their mutual relation ­ as the union of two state formations... These mutual relations have been further formulated in the agreement between Abkhazia and the government of the Republic of Georgia on June 8th, 1918”.

However, “the Decree about autonomy...” remained on paper, and three various drafts of the Constitution were not approved and accepted owing to disagreements between ­NСА and the Georgian government.

The NCA delegation arrived in Tiflis on November 6th, 1920 for work on the draft of the Constitution of Abkhazia in the mixed commission, on an equal footing together with representatives of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia ("Nashe Slovo", November 9th, 1920). The Georgian government flatly refused to consider and accept the future Constitution of Abkhazia in the Constituent Assembly and National Council, unless the NCA delegation did not participate, even in its discussion. The Constituent assembly (Chairman V.Lomtatidze) and the Government of Georgia (N.Zhordania) rejected the proxy status of “the constitutional delegation” of the NСА in Tiflis, did not allow the “commission mixed in equal number (from Abkhazian and Georgian)” to be generated, and did not permit this commission “on a parity basis” to consider “the Constitution of Autonomous Abkhazia” which was actually co-ordinated by the NCA. Regarding a "Note" ­ from the NCA delegation dated November 7th, 1920 to the Government of Georgia, the latter did not even find it necessary to answer. The Constituent Assembly of Georgia announced on November 28th, 1920 in the Georgian language (ref. №4461) the unacceptability of the “existence ­ of the mixed conciliatory commission on (parity) ­ basis equal in rights”. It considered that such a commission would actually appear above “the sovereign supreme body” - the Constituent Assembly of Georgia, and therefore that Assembly  “unilaterally... has counted... has made itself... it is the unique and ­ competent organ of legislation in the field of the Republic Constitution,­  in particular for autonomous Abkhazia”. As for questions about the “existence of an Autonomous region and its relation to the Centre”, they could be considered after “acceptance of the general Constitution”, and could “become a separate ­ chapter of basic Laws” (Archive of AGM). In this way, item 2 of the Certificate from March 20th, 1919 was totally violated.

Due to this, members of the constitutional delegation from NCA made their last statement on December 5th, 1920, in which they said: “Because of such a radical ­ divergence of the points of view of National Council of Abkhazia and the central power relating to the working out and acceptance of the Constitution of Abkhazia, the delegation is leaving” (“Lit. Georgia”, 1989, № 11, p. 157).

The delegation returned with nothing. At the NCA session on January 4th 1921 the report of the returned constitutional delegation was heard and approved. As the process of preparation, consideration and the statement of “Constitution ­ of Abkhazia”and “Regulations about the management of autonomous Abkhazia” occurred without the participation of the Abkhazian party, it did not find approval at the NCA session where a protest in connection with infringement of the legislative rights of the NCA was made because of consideration of these documents by the Constituent Assembly of Georgia. These ­ documents could not have any validity, as they also contradicted item 2 of the NCA Decree from March 20th, 1919, which was recognised during that period by­ the Constituent Assembly of Georgia. Besides, Abkhazia boycotted elections for the Constituent Assembly of Georgia in the spring of 1920, which did not give Georgia ­any legislative basis for decision-making concerning the "autonomy" of Abkhazia. The NСА, at the session, made the definitive decision: “About an immediate recall of the delegation, in connection with infringement of an order of discussion of the Constitution according to item 2 of “the Decree...” from March 20th, 1919 (Archive of AGM; Report № 36 of NCA sessions, December 4th, 1920).

The political background during the working out of three variants of Constitutions of Abkhazia ­ in 1918 - 1921 was the occupation and annexation­ of the country by Georgia, and according to the press and the government of Georgia, it had all been done in the interests of the people, of whom the majority in Abkhazia during that period were already Georgians - such documents were not passed by any legislature of Abkhazia and did not receive any approval from the people of the country. In Tiflis on December 29th, 1920, the small Constitutional Commission of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia unilaterally presented the definitive drafts of “Regulations ­ about the management of autonomous Abkhazia” and “Constitution of autonomous Abkhazia”. This fourth variant of the Constitution of Abkhazia was accepted ­ unilaterally by the Constituent Assembly of Georgia on February 21st, 1921 under the conditions of annexation and the Georgian occupation, in infringement of norms of international law as well as the previous agreements between Abkhazia and Georgia, so was by ­ definition not legitimate. It also should not have been put into effect, as it was not  ratified or confirmed by the basic law of the country - the Constitution ­ of Abkhazia.

In Georgia, Soviet power was established on February 25th of the same year. The document concerning Georgia’s relation ­ to Abkhazia was imposed during conditions of military occupation and annexation of the country, against the will of the Abkhazian people and government, and was not legitimate. Articles concerning Abkhazia in the Constitution of Georgia did not come into force,  and from the legal point of view are insignificant­.

It is necessary to consider the events occurring in Abkhazia in the context of civil war. In 1917 - 1921 there were attempts at the construction ­ of statehood in several different ways:

1. The republic of Abkhazia was included within the Union of the Mountain people of the North Caucasus. This movement was headed by S.Basaria. Statehood had been defined by the Constitution ­of the Mountain Republic and it had been legitimate since 1917. The official termination of its existence is not available. It is thought that its ­ formal existence terminated with the signing of a treaty between the Russian Federation and Georgia on May 7th, 1920. Legally Abkhazia was a component of the Russian state for all of the period until May 1920, remaining formally a member of the Mountain Republic which under the decision of the All-Russia Central Committee was transformed on January 20th, 1920 into the Autonomous Mountain ­ Socialist Soviet Republic which was a part of RSFSR. Considering that the real facts about the withdrawal of Abkhazia from the structure of the Mountain Republic are not known, two infringements of international law took place:

a) Military expansion of Georgia against sovereign Abkhazia, a member of the Union of the Mountain people, which led to annexation;

b) Exclusion by Russia of Abkhazia from the structure of the Union of the Mountain people, in infringement of the Allied Agreement of October 20th, 1917 (the Statement of claim..., p. 10).

2. Abkhazia became a part of Georgia as an autonomous republic. Ideologists in this direction were deputies of the АNС, later NСА (Kakuba, Emukhvari, Sharvashidze). Realisation of the given project started after the arrival of Georgian military formations on the territory of Abkhazia, and its annexation in June 1918, after which the supervising body of the country, ANC, became non-legitimate. During this period the NСА accepted a number of political documents, namely: “the Decree about the autonomy of Abkhazia”, “the Constitution of Autonomous Abkhazia”, “Regulations about the management of Autonomous Abkhazia”. As a consequence the listed documents, accepted by the illegitimate ­highest ruling body of the country, the National Council of Abkhazia, during the period of occupation of the country by Georgian troops and political annexation, are insignificant and should be disavowed.

3. Independent Abkhazia. A number of ANC deputies of pro-Abkhazian political orientation (Alania, etc.), adhering to this viewpoint, were in a minority in the illegitimate АNС. This political line had found support since 1918 among ethnic Abkhazians - makhadjirs, Turks and the Turkish ­government.

4. The pro-Russian, Bolshevik direction which arose after the October ­ revolution in Russia. It was headed by E.Eshba etc., and it appeared to be the most popular among the people of Abkhazia who in 1921created the legitimate ­ government, which headed the country throughout the next 70 years of Soviet ­ power and provided continuity with the  modern government of the country­.

Throughout all the period until the overthrow of the Menshevik government in Georgia, the relation between Georgia and Abkhazia had not been confirmed ­in an appropriate way, and hence was not legally obligatory for either party. The population of Abkhazia possessed Russian citizenship, whilst Georgia, which proclaimed independence and  separated in 1918 ­ from the Russian Republic, presented to its population only ­its own Georgian citizenship. Therefore  a full distinction between the countries, in terms of ethnic structure of their populations, statehoods, and citizenship of their inhabitants, resulted. They were different countries. Thus, Abkhazia since that period has remained a sovereign state, the subject of international law.

It should be stressed that in the absence of any consolidation of Abkhazian society, leading to confusion in the minds of the population, conditions arose in the country which allowed criminals and fraudsters to prepare a basis for  seizing power, territories, and even the culture of the Abkhazian people. An important ­ role in this process was also played by so-called leaders of the Abkhazian ­ state of all ranks, guided by momentary benefits or empty promises of their Georgian patrons, and totally forgetting about their fatherland. A major factor was also the passivity of the Abkhazian people,­ who frequently were not informed about sudden changes in these historical processes which directly concerned them. As history has shown, the above situation continued throughout all XX century,­ and still continues up to the present time.

Throughout the relevant period of approximately three years, changes in the administrative power of Abkhazia, constant attempts at decision-making by the pro-Georgian or pro-Abkhazian sides, and mutual recriminations occurred repeatedly, until, at last, in 1920 the Georgian troops were expelled from the territory of Abkhazia by the forces of the Voluntary army of General A.I.Denikin. This had no influence upon any change of statehood of Abkhazia. Under the conditions of the Georgian annexation ­ the question of independence of the country could not be solved. It is necessary to note that all extremist actions in relation to Abkhazia were taken by a country which did not exist until May 26th, 1918, had gained independence only one year previously,­ and for that period had not yet been recognised as a state by any country in the world.

In Georgia there was an active revolutionary process, and on 11-12­ February, 1921 a Bolshevik revolt overthrew the Menshevik power in Georgia, and the Revolutionary Committee of Georgia was formed on February 16th, 1921.

As is known, the first attempt to establish Soviet power in Abkhazia in 1918 had no success, because it had not been supported by the population. But when the country had endured the deadly embraces of Georgia, the point of view of the people on ­ such "friendship" changed. Up to 1921, there were a number of events in which Abkhazia, in conditions of occupation by Georgian troops, tried to be released from the death grip of its neighbour and "friend". During all­ of the Georgian occupation of the country, activities of the Bolshevik­ movement were observed­. In March 1920 the District Committee of the Russian Communist Party of Bolsheviks – RCP(b) - appealed for a boycott in the  territory of Abkhazia of elections to the Constituent Assembly ­ of Georgia, and in many areas of the country this occurred. From­ September 25th, 1920 a partisan movement against ­ the Georgian aggressors developed­ in Abkhazia.

The Kodor Revolutionary Committee (Revcom) of RCP(b) at its session ­ on February 17th, 1921 made the decision to prepare for armed revolt, which proves there was no voluntary reunion of Abkhazia with Georgia. As confirmation, an Appeal on February 20th, 1921 from the Revcom of Abkhazia to the Abkhazian people, calling for an armed revolt against ­ the Georgian invaders, said:

“When Soviet Russia proclaimed the full autonomy of all small nationalities of the former Russian Empire - Bashkiria, Kirghizia, Turkestan, ­ Azerbaijan, Dagestan and all the mountain people of Terek, the Menshevik Georgian ­ government with blood and iron suppressed the lawful aspirations of Abkhazian, South Ossetian and Adjarian people to autonomy”.

And, as subsequent history has shown, these words are fully applicable to later events, especially after 1990 when Abkhazia again began the struggle for restoration of its sovereignty.

Events in Transcaucasia from February 1921 developed with ­ kaleidoscopic diversity: a telegram on February 17th, 1921 from the Extraordinary Commissar of the south of Russia, G.K.Ordjonikidze, spoke about the readiness of the Red ­ Army to come to the aid of the risen Abkhazian people in their struggle ­ against Georgian Mensheviks. The Constituent Assembly of Georgia quickly accepted on February 21st the “Constitution of the Georgian Democratic Republic” and unilaterally confirmed the “Regulations about the management of autonomous Abkhazia” as a part of Georgia. At this time, fights with Menshevik Georgian aggressors began in Abkhazia - on February 24th, the 31st division ­ of the 9th Kuban Red Army freed Gagra, on February 26th freed Gudauta, and on February 25th parts of the 9th army occupied Tiflis. After ­ the Constituent Assembly had been disbanded, ­ the decree about creation of the Georgian Soviet ­ Socialist Republic was accepted­.

Abkhazian armed groups, supported by parts of the 9th Red Army, together crushed Mazniev and freed Sukhum on March 4th, 1921. By March 8th all territory of Abkhazia to the Ingur had been released ­ from aggressors, and at the 1st Congress of Soviet delegates of farmers and workers there was a declaration of the independent Soviet Socialist ­ Republic of Abkhazia within its historical borders. This event was­ confirmed by a radio message on March 31st, 1921 to V.I.Lenin, I.V.Stalin and G.V.Chitcherin (the Union of Incorporated Mountaineers..., pp. 372, 373).

The motives for acceptance of such a decision were the fact that the chauvinistic policy of Georgian Mensheviks strengthened the tendency towards the restoration of full independence of the country, and national self-determination among the Abkhazians making the majority of the population of the Sukhum district. The same policy created among Abkhazians a mass desire to cast in their lot with Soviet Russia. Therefore at a meeting of ranking officers on March 4th, 1921,  the following unanimous decisions were reached:

“- Abkhazia should be declared a Soviet Socialist republic;

-  Soviet Abkhazia should enter into the all-Russian federation directly;

- The general policy in Abkhazia should be moderately cautious in relation to the bourgeoisie and peasantry”.

The new Revcom of Abkhazia was created on March 6th, and its structure included E.Eshba (chairman), N.Lakoba and N.Akirtava. Then the Organisation Bureau of RCP(b) was created in Abkhazia. At the second Regional Congress of working Mountaineers on March 8th, ­ the message “confidence is expressed to Abkhazia, that there will be no return to the menshevik-bourgeois government” was addressed to the Revcom. As soon as March 31st, 1921, independence of the state was declared in Abkhazia in the form of the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the idea about political, national and ­ state sovereignty was realised­. On May 21st, 1921 the Revcom of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia recognised the independence of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia. Abkhazia also continued ­ to remain a sovereign state, the subject of international law, after 1921.

The establishment of Soviet power in 1921 was perceived by the people of Abkhazia as a deliverance from the Georgian occupation and the repressive rule of the Menshevik party. Also, if in 1918 Soviet power had not received ­ support in the country, after the three-year occupation of Abkhazia by Georgia during which period the military Georgian administration disbanded the legitimate government of the country (ANC) and installed its own management, the situation had changed. The people saw Bolsheviks as the force which promised to relieve the country ­ of aggressors, and believed it. And Bolsheviks, after the establishment of Soviet power, at once declared the independence of the Abkhazian state in the form of the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic, having embodied the basic ideal for the sake of which the Abkhazian people throughout long years conducted a fierce struggle for political ­ self-determination.

With the declaration of Abkhazia as an independent, sovereign republic, both the territorial integrity of the country within its historical borders and their inviolability were again confirmed. Apparently from the above ­ material, activities of the Georgian government during all periods of its mutual relations with Abkhazia were aimed at the destruction of a stable ­ society and of the integrity of this state. These activities concerned the military expansion of Georgia to Abkhazia, occupation of the country and its political ­ annexation.

On the basis of these historical materials relating to the beginning of XX century, it is natural to come to the following conclusions:

1. Abkhazia in a struggle for independence formed military and political ­ unions with neighbouring countries. This confirms the fact that Abkhazia de jure and de facto remained the subject of international law, i.e. a sovereign state­.

2. After disintegration of the Russian empire in November, 1917 ­ the Mountain Republic (the North Caucasian Republic) was proclaimed­. Along with other North Caucasian ­ countries it also included Abkhazia. Thereby de facto ­ the Abkhazian statehood abolished in 1864 was restored­.

3. At a congress of the Abkhazian people on November 8th, 1917 in Sukhum the first parliament - the Abkhazian National Council - which accepted the Constitution and the Declaration of the Abkhazian people was selected.

4. Even before the moment of formation of the Georgian Democratic Republic (GDR), Abkhazia as the subject of international law had concluded the Agreement with the Tiflis­ government on February 9th, 1918 which confirmed the sovereignty ­ and territorial integrity of Abkhazia within borders from the river Mzymta to the river Ingur. Mutual relations were developed on the basis of equality of the parties.

5. In the agreement from February 9th, 1918 “concerning the establishment of mutual relations ­ between Georgia and Abkhazia” there are no words about autonomy, and all attempts by Georgian ­ politicians and historians to confirm otherwise have no basis.

6. Georgia, which proclaimed itself an independent republic on May 26th, 1918, occupied the territory of Abkhazia in the second half of June, 1918, on the basis of the treaty of June 11th, 1918 imposed upon Abkhazia, and with the direct ­ support of Germany. The government of the Mountain Republic made a protest to Georgia, and regarded ­ these actions as aggression against Abkhazia and all North Caucasian ­ states.

7. Up to the moment of formation of the Georgian Democratic Republic, Abkhazia was independent, not a part of Georgia, thus the territorial borders of Georgia had not been defined. Hence, at the moment of signing the Decree about the independence of Georgia on May 26th, 1918, in which in general ­ there is no mention of Abkhazia, that independent country was de jure and de facto outside the limits of Georgia and remained a sovereign state.

8. The agreement between Abkhazia and Georgia from June 11th, 1918 de jure and de facto confirmed the full sovereignty of Abkhazia.

9. Throughout three years (1918-1921) Georgia, whilst occupying Abkhazia, tried to create legal documents confirming the joining of Abkhazia to its territory. This action was carried out by the unilateral decision ­ of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia which accepted on February 21st, 1921 “Regulations about ­ the management of autonomous Abkhazia”, but this did not mean sovereignty loss de jure, as all undertaken actions were made without the consent of the people of the country, and ­ territorial borders remained unchanged. Besides, a change of status of the independent sovereign state was not reflected in the Constitution of Abkhazia – the official document. As mutual relations between the countries had not been officially confirmed, they legally were not obligatory for either­ party.

10. In struggles against its enemies, Abkhazia as a sovereign state asked neighbouring countries for help:   Russia at the beginning of XIX century, the states of the North Caucasus in 1917-1918, and also, in the struggle against Bolsheviks in 1918, - Georgia. These countries understood the reason behind their help in their own way.  ­In particular, Georgia under the pretext of military help undertook the annexation of Abkhazia. ­ Occupation proceeded from 1918 to 1921, till the moment of the termination of existence of the Georgian Democratic Republic. During this period in Abkhazia the legitimate government was liquidated,­  any display ­ of independence was choked,­  severe retaliatory operations ­ in relation to the people of the country constantly took place,­  dispersal of the authorities of independent Abkhazia occurred, and colonisation of the country by the aggressor - Georgia - took place.

11. All treaties and  agreements concluded between Abkhazia and Georgia ­ within the years from 1918 to 1921  could not have any validity, as they were imposed during the occupation and colonial enslavement of Abkhazia ­ by Georgia. Thus, Abkhazia from 1917 to 1921, remaining de jure a sovereign state and the subject of international law, could not take advantage­ of the rights of a sovereign state de facto, as it was in the position ­ of being an occupied, annexed country. Treaties, agreements and decisions ­ of the state bodies of Georgia in relation to Abkhazia in 1918-1921 (including confirming the sovereignty of Abkhazia) cannot be considered legitimate and legal, as:

a) Abkhazia had at that time a transition period during which there was ­ a search for its form of statehood whilst confronting both internal­  and external forces, and the state structures and their decisions were formed ­ under the pressure of these primarily external forces;

b) Depending on the influence of external forces, which were the occupation, ­ annexation and colonization of the country by Georgia, the expansion of Turkey, the development of the revolutionary ­ Bolshevik movement, the intrusion of the Voluntary army of A.I. ­ Denikin and support from the Union of Mountain people, each of these events formed different political views in Abkhazian society. In the country, inconsistent political and international decisions regarding the formation of the state were made­;

c) The countries which were neighbours of Abkhazia were in a similar position. Georgia, for example, originally was a part of TDFR, then became independent, and in 1921 ended its existence as an independent state. Those ­ agreements which were accepted during the occupation each time lost their force at a change of political regime or form of statehood, due to the absence of political and state continuity. For this reason they cannot be recognised as operating at the moment of termination of the transition period with its chaos and instability. Therefore all events which were taking place in Abkhazia during 1918-1921 should be considered in the context of civil war and ­ statehood formation­.

12. The treaty between Soviet Russia and Georgia on May 7th, 1920, which recognised the Sukhum district (but not Abkhazia) as a part of the Georgian state, had no legal force as Abkhazia two years prior to the signing of this ­ document was occupied by the Democratic Republic of Georgia as a result of military intervention. Thus, this document is a recognition by one party of the fact of its annexation by the other party. The treaty itself lost ­ force after the occupation of Georgia by Soviet Russia. At the same time it is necessary to note that after the treaty was concluded on May 7th, 1920, the Entente countries, primarily England, were compelled to recognise Georgia as being under the influence ­ of Soviet Russia.

13. The "autonomy" of Abkhazia was not legally drawn up. Only during the last days of the republic’s existence, on February 21st, 1921 to be exact, did the Constituent Assembly of Georgia (whose elections the Abkhazian population boycotted) accept the Constitution ­ of Georgia, having completely ignored item 2 of the Decree from March 20th, 1919. In the Constitution some kind of autonomous government of Abkhazia (the Sukhum area), Batum territory and Zakatal area was mentioned (Article 107).

14. The Constitution of Georgia did not come into force. On February 25th, 1921, Tiflis became Soviet.

15. The accepted Constitution of Georgia, with the articles concerning Abkhazia, did not create any rights or duties for the latter, as these articles ­ were not accepted by legitimate order and are not reflected in the Constitution of Abkhazia ­ or in any other legal documents expressing the sovereign will of the people of the country.

16. The policy of the occupational Georgian authorities in Abkhazia resulted in the extreme discontent of the multinational population of the country, which promoted the establishment there of Soviet power on March 4th, 1921. The new regime was perceived ­as providing deliverance from the armed intervention, occupation and colonial ­ government of Georgia in Abkhazia.

So, in 1918 the intervention which led to the occupation and political annexation of Abkhazia was carried out by Georgia­. According to its definition, annexation (from Latin - joining­) means an aggressive kind of violent capture of all or parts of the territory of another ­ state or nationality, and also the violent retention of a nationality ­ within the borders of another's state. It is the acquisition by one state ­ of the sovereignty over the territory of another, with or without the consent­ of the latter and without any treaty, as a result of either conquest or actions ­ which may not lead to war, but trample on the will of the other state. Having an aggression component, in this case it covers a wide spectrum of actions, for example, “application of an armed force by the state against ­ the sovereignty, territorial inviolability or political ­ independence of another state, or otherwise incompatible ­ with the United Nations Charter”. Thus the listing of infringements of the constitutional norms ­ of the annexed country is not obligatory, because the presence of the invader in the annexed territory  is important as the factor which interferes with the will of the people.

All agreements concluded between Abkhazia and Georgia within the  years from 1918 to 1921, even confirming the sovereignty of Abkhazia, could not have any validity as during this period the annexation of Abkhazia by Georgia took place­. Annexation is illegal  if it has occurred  after ­ formation of the relevant nation or national state, which occurred in Abkhazia. International law does not recognise the legality of domestic or international documents accepted during military occupation and political annexation of a state. Abkhazia, from June 1918 until 1921 was in ­the condition of being an annexed state, and  all decisions of its  state bodies  were accepted with  the participation of, and under pressure from, the Georgian military authorities­. Therefore all decrees and decisions accepted by Georgia concerning ­ the sovereign state of Abkhazia, and also those accepted by the state of Abkhazia itself, are void and insignificant, having lost their validity because of contradictions to the imperative norm. They should be disavowed by ­ the Government of Republic Abkhazia  (the Statement of claim..., p. 15).

International law, referring to annexation and intervention, especially the armed ­intrusion of one state into the internal affairs of another and directed against its territorial integrity, political ­ independence, etc., allows the annexed state the right to struggle against such intrusion.  The actions of Abkhazia, ­ which took place during its struggle against Georgian domination in 1918-1921 when the Abkhazian people were periodically rising in a struggle for freedom and independence, were violently suppressed by chastisers. Thus “state intervention into the affairs of another” is understood as the concept of   “intention to force another state to operate according to the intervener’s will”.

Bringing Georgian divisions into Abkhazia in April and from the middle of June, 1918 in infringement of items of the Agreements from June 8th and 11th, 1918 led to:

- Illegal military occupation of the country proceeding till February 1921;

- Political annexation by Georgia;

- Violent change of political power and of the political system;

- Compulsory decision-making in the Parliament of Abkhazia, by the subordinates of the military power, directed towards the joining of the country to Georgia;

- The beginning of the genocide of Abkhazians, following a mass resettlement in the country of ethnic Georgians from areas of central Transcaucasia for the purpose of change­ to the demographic situation in the country, etc. (the Statement of claim...,p. 14);

- An attempt by violence to deprive the population of Abkhazia of their ­ own Russian citizenship, and to turn the people of the country into ­ Georgian citizens.

The fact of occupation did not mean any transfer of sovereignty of an occupied territory ­ to the occupying party, as all these actions were made without the consent of its people, and its territorial borders remained unchanged. Military occupation does not permit distribution of the sovereignty of the occupying ­ state across the territory occupied by its army (Item 22 of the Appendix to ­ the Hague convention of 1907 on the laws and customs of overland war). Item 7 of resolution 34/103 of 1979 “calls for the removal of all occupation forces from territories, to give the chance to the people of all states ­ to define and solve their own affairs”. Because only people have the right of sovereignty, they   should also possess the right to define their own destiny and the destiny of their state.

Change of the status of the independent sovereign state Abkhazia in 1918-1921 is not reflected in one official bilateral document. Moreover, the state whose territory was occupied was formally considered ­ as keeping de jure its sovereignty, as well as being subject to international law. This is the acknowledged position of international law,­  i.e. the imperative norm. Loss of such rights, according to classical ­ international law, can take place only after the formal ­ certificate of annexation.

In cases of infringement of the imperative norm the basic principle "agreements should be carried out” loses its force and such agreements should be reconsidered concerning the exclusion of questions falling under the imperative norm, or cancelled completely. Thus unlike usual revision or denouncement at which the consent of the parties is required, such consent of the signing ­ parties is not necessary. At the same time the legality of an agreement is based on a presumption ­ of the validity of the agreement,, and it can be challenged only on the basis of ­ international law.

If a national liberation struggle using political means proceeds,­ the  forces of national resistance or ­ allies of the annexed country do not recognise annexation and continue to struggle for  liberation. The question can remain in a condition of legal ­ uncertainty for many years as has happened in Abkhazia. As ­annexation is at present defined in international law as  illegal,  any action associated with it,  from the point of view of the international community, has no validity and does not lead to loss of the sovereignty of the state or its status as a subject of the law.

The resolutions accepted post factum by the Supreme Council of the GSSR on November 18th, 1989, on March 9th, 1990 and on June 20th, 1990, which disavowed earlier confirmed official decrees and state decisions since 1921, ­ recognised them as illegal and void, having­ now lost their validity, according to the Georgian politicians. This essentially makes our work, on revealing ­ and confirming the necessary conditions for the sovereignty and statehood of Abkhazia, much easier. Only three years, from 1918 to 1921, were considered, as until that time Georgia as a state ­ did not yet exist, and after that time by its own admission ceased to exist as a legitimate, independent,­  sovereign state, which formed the basis for cancellation of all legislative documents of that period. (the Statement of claim ..., p. 11).