Under the conditions of Georgian occupation the Abkhazian people rose to an armed ­ struggle which had the character of a national liberation. Achievement of this purpose was assisted by the approach of the Red Army and the establishment ­ of Soviet power in the states of Transcaucasia. It is natural that in this situation the interests of Moscow and the Abkhazian national liberation ­ movement coincided. In Abkhazia Soviet power was established on March 4th, 1921. At a meeting of ranking officers of Abkhazia ­ the question of the country’s future was considered,­  and delegates  unanimously voiced the same opinion:

a) Abkhazia should be declared a Soviet Socialist Republic­;

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

c) The general policy in Abkhazia should be of moderate caution ­ in relation to the bourgeoisie and peasantry.

At a mass meeting in Sukhum on March 8th, 1921 the following resolution was accepted, and later directed to V.I.Lenin­:

“Today the workers of Abkhazia who were exhausted under the heavy yoke of autocracy from­ Georgian Mensheviks, footmen of imperialists, celebrate their freedom, ­ welcome the Red Army which has come to the aid of the insurgent people of Abkhazia, and send warm greetings to the leader of world proletariat, comrade Lenin... and to the staff of the world proletarian revolution - the Third Communist International. The chairman ­of the Revcom of Abkhazia, E.Eshba.

Note by E.Eshba: From all settlements in Abkhazia, salutatory resolutions are sent from  farmers’ meetings­. Workers enthusiastically welcome the Red Army”.

On the basis of this resolution only, it already becomes clear what the relation of the Abkhazian people to the Georgian invaders was during annexation of the country by Georgia in 1918-1921, and also how the force was defined which after the difficult years of Georgian enslavement rallied the people of Abkhazia to beat out their aggressors beyond the limits of the native land.

Being guided by the Declaration of the rights of the people of Russia, on March 26th, 1921 at an expanded session of the Organisation Bureau (orgburo) of the RCP(b) and Revcom of Abkhazia it was decided to declare Abkhazia a Soviet Socialist Republic. The independent Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia was proclaimed on March 31st, 1921. The report of the Batumi meeting on the structure ­ of Soviet power and the Communist Party in Abkhazia said:

“Heard:  about the structure of Soviet power and Communist Party in Abkhazia.

Decided: until the Congress of Councils of Abkhazia, the question of a federation of Soviet Abkhazia with Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) or the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia (GSSR) is left open, and Abkhazia is declared a Soviet Socialist Republic.

The party organisation before the conference carried the name orgburo of RCP in Abkhazia and worked under the direction of the Caucasian bureau of the Central Committee of RCP. Orgburo took necessary measures to overcome national hostility sown by Mensheviks between the people of Georgia and Abkhazia”.

On May 21st, 1921 the Revcom of the GSSR recognised the independence of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia (ASSR) and accepted the Declaration of the Revcom of GSSR on the independence of ASSR. We show items from the text of this document:

“Menshevik power, being in essence the power of the Georgian bourgeoisie, ­ along with oppression of workers in Georgia, with especial force suppressed any display of revolutionary activity by national minorities, which created terrible ­ antagonism among different nationalities in Georgia, nationalities living in this territory­ from time immemorial.

Soviet power replaces oppression by equality and the brotherly union of all workers without distinction of nationalities. The  unique true means of overcoming national prejudices and strengthening the rightful union of workers is the right of   nations to self-determination, as proclaimed by the Great October ­ revolution.

Proceeding from this, the Revolutionary Committee of the Soviet Socialist Republic ­ of Georgia recognises and welcomes the formation of the independent Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia... Revcom of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia”.

However, danger of an encroachment by Georgia on the sovereignty and territory ­ of Abkhazia remained. This  was understood both by politicians of free Abkhazia, and emissaries of the government of RSFSR, who saw in Abkhazia not only a problem of mutual relations ­ of two neighbouring countries, but also an interlacing of interests of the Entente countries,­ as well as a question of international policy in the broad sense. As an example, we give the following report:

From P.P.Sytin's report to the Soviet government “Measures of localisation of danger from Georgian chauvinism” on April 22nd, 1921:

“Undoubtedly, it is necessary to approach this question cautiously, but it is impossible to make the essential interests of the International a victim of the chauvinism of a small nation taking such an important territorial position (as a gateway to India) between RSFSR on the one hand, and Turkey and the Entente on the other... It should not be forgotten that the diplomacy of the Entente, which has met persistent counteraction to its ­ imperialist plans from Soviet Russia, looks at Georgian chauvinism as one of its ­ integral chances in its struggle against Soviet Russia, especially if the Entente will be able to reach agreement with Turkey. To defeat Germany and Russia, the Entente has already made concessions and, wishing to break the unity of its enemies, has selected a line of   least ­ resistance, i.e. Turkey, caressing in every possible way its nationalist dreams of full restoration of the Caliphate with Constantinople at its head. Payment from Turkey must be its betrayal of Russia. Confrontation on this issue is rather probable, and as this could occur in the territory of Georgia this territory is becoming of major strategic value.

Thus, keeping enough strong groups of the Red Army of RSFSR within Georgia, and especially along the southern ­ coast of the Black Sea and on the border with Turkey, should be one of the precautionary measures against local chauvinists, these measures also having a general political character....

The second measure weakening Georgian chauvinism, both territorially and financially,­ I would consider to be the separation of Abkhazia. It is necessary to confess that, as earlier in the Armenian question, Russia’s error in ignoring ­ the Kurds could always be seen­. We will note, by the way, that in Turkish Armenia it would be quite possible to involve Kurds on the Russian side. After all, Kurds have never considered themselves as citizens of the Turkish ­ sultan, and have always hated Turkish administration... The Soviet power has ­ many chances to win people round, and Georgians have paid little attention ­ to Abkhazia. Hardly anybody is interested in the sad destiny of these two peoples being wiped off the face of the earth by the chauvinism of Armenians and Georgians. The certain gravitation ­ of Abkhazians to Soviet Russia has been well considered by Georgian Mensheviks and for this reason they have artificially separated Abkhazia from directly bordering with Russia, having occupied a small coastal strip to the north of the river Bzyb. It is necessary ­ to immediately move the border of RSFSR to the right coast of the Bzyb, i.e. to ­ the immediate vicinity of Abkhazia. If a question on the desired form of their state is put to the Abkhazian people, for example by plebiscite (it is possible to organise this in a very short time), there is no doubt they will take the decision to fully join with RSFSR, and such an action, in addition to its huge strategic and political value for RSFSR, will transfer into Russian hands the huge national riches of this country currently ruined by Georgians. Even if it is Soviet, Georgia itself (or especially Abkhazia alone), ­will never cope with the problem of the correct exploitation of the huge wood and mountain resources of this country, or even with the correct organisation of tobacco production, fisheries ­ etc.

On population structure, Abkhazia cannot be under the authority of Georgia at all, ­ because they (Georgians) are least in the total of inhabitants...

The separation of Abkhazia cannot adversely affect the foodstuffs of Georgia as one sometimes has to hear, because Abkhazia, plentiful with natural riches ­(till this moment almost unused, because only RSFSR has enough power to do it), hardly feeds itself...

After Abkhazia, it is necessary to pay attention to Mingrelia, a country also differing from Georgia in language and nationality and always burdened with Georgian sovereignty. Mingrelia directly borders Abkhazia on the river Ingur and stretches south to the river Rion. This territory includes the mouth of the river Rion, at which ­the building of a big port, able to replace Batum, has been projected for a long time... the territory is­ extremely big in strategic relations, and also can be subordinated to the direct influence of RSFSR if, as with Abkhazians, ­autonomy will also be given to Mingrelians­...

This created position will probably be found to address one measure, namely: the strong seizure by RSFSR of the Transcaucasian railways, and not only in the sense of military protection but also concerning management, as in this ­ last sense the underlined exaggeration of the value of narrow Georgian interests brings huge damage to Russia...”.

Independence was also received by other states of Transcaucasia. However,­ the central party leaders forced rigid submission to their ­ influence and decisions, the states having accepted the corresponding document:

From the resolution of a meeting of the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of RCP(b) on 2nd-3rd July, 1921, about the political position of the Transcaucasian ­ republics:

“1. To admit the necessity of confirming the independence of the Caucasian republics ­(Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia), with the unconditional preservation of existing party relations between Central Committees of  Communist Parties of these countries and the Central Committee of RCP”.

Using the slogan of Soviet power "Authorities should be local", Revcom of Abkhazia became the full owner of the country, and gave the necessary political and economic rights to the indigenous population­. The Abkhazian intelligentsia, having believed in the independence of the country promised by Bolsheviks, supported this power. An economic upsurge in the country began at that moment.

After the declaration on March 31st, 1921 of the independent Soviet ­ Socialist Republic of Abkhazia (the SSR Abkhazia) and its recognition on May 21st, 1921 by Revcom of Georgia, “the  Workers' and Peasants' Union Treaty between the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic and the Socialist Soviet Republic of Georgia” was concluded that very day. This treaty had no relation to SSR Abkhazia, which­ was not mentioned in it at all,­ thus confirming the sovereignty of Abkhazia and its independence from­ Georgia in the spring of 1921.

With the initiative of  Georgian national chauvinists both in Georgia and in Abkhazia, intensive propaganda activities directed towards the formation in the country of a pro-Georgian atmosphere, with the purpose of creating favourable conditions for the joining of Abkhazia to Georgia, again began­­. In the press ­ there were articles proving the political, economic and ­ cultural unsoundness of Abkhazians as a nation and Abkhazia as an independent ­ state.

From correspondence to the newspaper "Socialist-Federalist" about discrimination against Georgians in Abkhazia:

“Many new events have occurred in Abkhazia after the establishment of Soviet ­ power. It is known that the so-called “independence of Abkhazia” was declared here, which in practice means the establishment of domination by Russians. It is completely   impossible to describe the orgy reigning here. Russian politicians, "admirers" of Abkhazians, and some persons who have fallen in love with Russia, having all become privileged, have presented “the independence” ­ of Abkhazia ­ as hatred of Georgia...

Almost all posts are occupied by Russians. Georgians suffer from prosecution and oppression. The words "Georgia" and "Georgian" have been transformed into abusive terms”. (­ the signature “Sukhum Georgian”).

From the report in the newspaper "Socialist-Federalist" on E.Eshba's meeting with the public of Gali district about local population requirements, July 20th, 1921:

“Eshba’s answer, that for the Bolshevik party the question of an addition of Abkhazia to Russia or to Soviet Georgia is unimportant, did not satisfy the­ public. At the meeting propensity towards the union with Georgia was obviously shown. It is necessary ­ to note one fact which caused a big protest. After Eshba had answered questions, a certain Jason Agumava spoke, and started to prove to those present that the native language of Samurzakans is ostensibly Abkhazian, and therefore demanded introductory training in elementary schools in the Abkhazian language; all the meeting unanimously declared their protest to the impudent speaker”.

From P.Mirianashvili's article “Apropos the “independence” of Abkhazia”:

“The Abkhazian separatists motivated their isolation, and separation from their native brothers, by considering that they ostensibly were not Georgians... Abkhazian national statehood ­ did not exist yet, and neither did any Abkhazian national culture. We considered and consider nowadays the possible creation of Abkhazian national culture without a declaration of independence... The rescue is unity with Georgians, with Georgia”.

From correspondence in the newspaper “Socialist-Federalist”:

“The party in power should at least now rectify this error, and remind the Revcom of Abkhazia that independence was then the means of freedom from Mensheviks and introduction of the Soviet system within Abkhazia. Well, the independence of Soviet Abkhazia from Soviet Georgia is not now meaningful, and is rather harmful to both ­ parties. We will look at what arguments will be put forward after that by leaders of Abkhazia in favour of ­ independence.

We know that Abkhazians differ from other Georgians in their features, customs, belief and language.

We are deeply sure that a wide autonomy will quite satisfy the labour peasantry ­ of Abkhazia, and whoever demands more should firstly ask the people”.

From V.Kotetishvili's article “To the integrity of Georgia” in the newspaper “Socialist-Federalist”:

“Today we wish to call the attention of the working people of Georgia to “independent ­ Abkhazia” where dubious persons develop old methods and sow rage to the detriment of Georgia.

And in such a corner, by what right can any "politicians" subordinate the majority? What reasons justify such impudent behaviour? Who has so inconsiderately granted the right to appropriate the larger part of the Georgian land? In the "Abkhazian" alphabet they have published a newspaper... Is this the independence of Abkhazia? Is it self-determination? Is it demanded by the working people of Abkhazia? No... Abkhazia both ethnically and linguistically, both historically and culturally, is a part of Georgia, and its question should be decided on the scale of Georgia, at the will of the working people of all Georgia.

Do not give the chance to the regenerated Abkhazians and Georgians to conduct any ­ wild policy which will give a bad fruit for the territorial integrity of Georgia, for its national existence! In the interests of the working people we resolutely demand ­ to clear Abkhazia of a different sort of adventurers. We demand to cancel the Declaration written somewhere in an "office" on the "independence" of Abkhazia and to reestablish live communication and the integrity of our country”.

Under this pressure and with a change of policy of the central party ­leaders in Moscow, pressure upon Abkhazia was deliberately increased with the aim of incorporating it within the structure of Georgia. Leaders of the country, being  in an ambiguous situation, started to incline towards this idea. Being Abkhazians, they were obliged to carry out the will of the people. But as representatives of the multinational people of Abkhazia, there was a continuous Georgian influence on them both from within and from the outside. But most importantly, submitting to instructions from the central office of the Bolshevik party, they ­were obliged to carry out its decisions which contradicted the national policy and selfconsciousness of Abkhazians. It was a tragedy for the government of Abkhazia. The evidence for the above is contained in texts of speeches by the leaders of the country.

From a speech at the meeting of ranking officers of Abkhazia on July 23rd, 1921:

“... N.Lakoba has specified the necessity for a federal union between Soviet Abkhazia and Soviet ­ Georgia owing to their   ethnography, history and common way of life, and has also specified that Abkhazia cannot have a federal union with Soviet Russia because it is lagging behind Russia by four years. Besides, Soviet Georgia and Abkhazia are independent economically but in political terms they submit to the centre through RCP in the name of the Central Committee of the party of Georgia and Caucasian bureau of Central Committee of RCP; that is why it is absolutely irelevant whoever Abkhazia will have a federal union with, the fact is to keep the idea of the Soviet power”.

From the report of the Chairman of the Council of National Commissars (CNC) of Abkhazia, N.Lakoba, at the third session of the All-Georgian  Central Executive Committee in Sukhum on June 13th, 1926:

“Some people understand the Abkhazian republic in the sense that the Abkhazian republic is the republic for Abkhazians. Such a situation does not correspond to the reality of business in Abkhazia and this is why: though we are called Abkhazia, in Abkhazia we deal not only with Abkhazians.

Here the main peoples, by their numerical weight, are the following: Abkhazians, Georgians, Armenians and Greeks. But the Abkhazian should not argue thus: if I was oppressed earlier more than others, I now have the right to more freedom, and to more privilege in comparison with other nationalities.

... Some of our opponents always build their tactics on the weakening of the government of the republic of Abkhazia thus: Abkhazia will leave Georgia if it wants, will remain with Georgia if it wants... From Soviet Georgia, Soviet Abkhazia is not going ­ to leave for anywhere,­  but together with Soviet Georgia, as a part of Soviet Georgia, Abkhazia will go, even to the next world if necessary...

For the majority of workers in Abkhazia the answer once and for all is: the destiny of Abkhazia is the same as for­ Georgia… Abkhazia has included itself in the structure of Georgia...” (“Labour Abkhazia”, 19th June, 1926).

Seeing the threat to the independence of the country, the government of Abkhazia made a­ desperate attempt to save the situation. The variant of entering the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia directly into the Transcaucasian Federation (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) as the fourth union republic was suggested, without first joining Georgia. This did not occur. Soon, under Stalin's instruction, steps towards the­ liquidation of the independent Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic were undertaken­. At a session of the Central Committee of the Caucasian Bureau on July 5th, ­ in the presence of Stalin, the decision on the question “About the situation in Abkhazia” was made, including the following points:

“1. To consider the existence of independent Abkhazia as economically and politically inexpedient.

3. To invite Comrade Eshba to present his definitive decision on the occurrence of Abkhazia ­within the structure of the Federation of Georgia as an autonomous region ­ in the Russian Soviet Socialist Federal Republic (RSFSR)”.

The accepted decision obliged the Orgburo of RCP(b) in Abkhazia and the Revkom of the Republic to work on the basis of economic unity with  Soviet Georgia. Such a decision was based on the supposition that Abkhazia as an independent republic could not separately exist economically, although Abkhazia, both during that time and at present, despite having economic difficulties, was and is a self-sufficient country. To achieve the necessary result, RSFSR began an economic and financial blockade of Abkhazia. Strong pressure was also applied by channels of party and administrative powers.

The decision of the higher party body had no formal validity, but E.Eshba as a communist was compelled to consider the decision of the Caucasian Bureau and he chose association of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia with the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia on the basis of ­the agreed federation. It was a compromise, because Abkhazia remained as a union republic (ASSR).

On October 15th, 1921 at an expanded plenary session of Orgburo RCP(b) in Abkhazia, with ranking officers from Revcom, the decision ­ about the independence of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia was accepted­:

“Proceeding on the one hand from the program of RCP on a national question, and from the new economic policy approved by 5th congress of RCP, and on the other from the facts developed during the domination of Menshevik national mutual relations between Georgian and Abkhazian peoples, the meeting completely approves decisions of the Batum meeting on March 28th of this year, and the declaration of the Georgian Revcom from May 21st about independence of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia.

At the same time, considering not only the disproportionate economic power ­ of Abkhazia, the small size of its population, and its historical connection with ­ the Georgian people, but also the similarities of the economies and corresponding ­ economic policies of Georgia and Abkhazia, the meeting finds the establishment of a close connection between both republics to be necessary and in view of the Sovietisation in the near ­ future of these republics, the meeting considers it necessary now to register the specified connection of Georgia and Abkhazia by the official  agreement of two union republics equal in rights”.

On December 16th, 1921 SSR Abkhazia and SSR Georgia, as subjects ­ of international law, signed the Alliance  Treaty according to which there was ­ an association with SSR Georgia on an agreed federal basis, and ­ through it Abkhazia was included into the Transcaucasian federation. A number of responsibilities­ of the Republic of Abkhazia were transferred into joint jurisdiction with Georgia. However, both the sovereignty of SSR Abkhazia and its territorial integrity remained­.

It should be noted that during the specified period Abkhazia continued to formally remain a member of Mountain Republic, which under ­ the decision of the All-Russia Central Committee was transformed on January 20th, 1920 ­ into ­ the Autonomous Mountain Soviet Socialist Republic which was a part ­ of RSFSR. Legal confirmation of an exit of Abkhazia from the structure of the Mountain Republic ­ is absent.

The status of Abkhazia as an independent state did not last long. Russia once again betrayed the people of Abkhazia. Despite favourable ­ political conditions in Russia after the ending of the rule of tsars and the proclaimed right of the people to self-determination, the national ­ policy of Bolsheviks in relation to the people of Russia was false from the very beginning. Division of nations into big and small, important and unimportant, advanced and backward proceeded. For various reasons the Soviet government ­ created new state formations for some non-native ­ people of the country and even raised their status, but limited the level of statehood for many native people, and for Abkhazians even ­  lowered it.

The independent Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia existed from March 31st, 1921 till February 17th, 1922. It was really independent as during this period it did not enter either Soviet Russia or Soviet Georgia.

We give quotations from the Alliance Treaty between SSR Georgia and  SSR  Abkhazia, December 16th, 1921:

“The Government of SSR Georgia­  and the Government of SSR Abkhazia, proceeding from the deep strength of national bonds connecting the workers of Georgia and Abkhazia... have decided to conclude the present treaty.

SSR Georgia and SSR Abkhazia conclude between themselves a military, political, financial and economic ­ union.

Foreign affairs remain entirely under the authority of SSR Georgia.

Railways pass under the direct management of Transcaucasian Railways. Foreign trade goes under the control of a united Ministry of Foreign Trade of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

In all regional associations, in particular in the Federation of Transcaucasian republics, ­ Abkhazia enters through Georgia which gives it one third of its places”.

According to this treaty, SSR Georgia and SSR Abkhazia decided to conclude between themselves only a military, political, financial and economic union. To fulfill these aims, the two sides declared themselves united in a number of directions which ­ thereby became areas of joint management. Thus,­ legal state relations between Abkhazia and Georgia ­ arose on an agreed  basis, and at the moment of signing of the above-mentioned Alliance Treaty Abkhazia and Georgia were two states equal in rights which were not connected with each other in any legal manner. They remained with the same equality of rights after signing of the Alliance Treaty, until February 1931.

In the Treaty it was also said that Abkhazia would be included into the Transcaucasian Federation ­ through Georgia which would give it one third of its places. This treaty was ratified by 1st Congress of Unions of Abkhazia in February 1922. There it ­caused serious arguments. The leaders of Abkhazia, who were under pressure from the central Bolshevik government, were compelled to convince delegates that the treaty did not threaten the independence of Abkhazia. So the Chairman of the Council of Peoples’ Commissars, N. Lakoba, in his speech to calm congress delegates, assured them:

“Georgia does not take away the independence of Abkhazia. If Georgia takes that away, we ­shall appeal to the revolutionary staff of RCP, to the Central Committee, to Comrade Lenin. ­ Nobody is able to take away the independence of workers ­ of Abkhazia, as long as Soviet power exists”.

Objectively speaking, this treaty was imposed upon Abkhazia under pressure from the government of RSFSR. Of that fact, there are incontestable proofs. The government of Georgia was interested in this treaty, as was Stalin, who directly supervised national policy in RSFSR. Being Georgian himself, he shared the national ­ prejudices of his fellow-tribesmen towards Abkhazia and lobbied the interests of Georgia. Even though a number of activities of the Republic of Abkhazia were conducted jointly with Georgia, the sovereignty of the Abkhazian SSR remained,­  as well as its territorial integrity. But at the same time, the joint colonisation of Abkhazia by Georgia and Soviet Russia began.

Nevertheless, SSR Abkhazia participated as a sovereign state in the creation of the Union of SSR, and in December 1922 its representatives signed the treaty on the formation of the USSR. Then the Congress of Councils of Abkhazia charged the Central Executive Committee of SSR Abkhazia to develop a new treaty with SSR Georgia, ­similar to the alliance ­treaty between the republics of Transcaucasia. Work on this treaty started ­ after acceptance of the 1924 Constitution of the USSR. The association ­ of the sovereign republics of Abkhazia and Georgia (entering at that moment in the structure ­ of the association of the Transcaucasian states) was fixed on an equal rights basis in the Constitution of SSR Abkhazia (April, 1925):

“Article 5. SSR Abkhazia is a sovereign state which holds state power in the territory independently and irrespective of other any ­ power. The sovereignty of SSR Abkhazia, in view of its voluntary joining into the Transcaucasian ­ Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (TSFSR), is limited only by the subjects specified in constitutions of these Unions”.

This meant that in the specified documents it was a question of an association ­ of republics equal in rights in the federation, but not about the entrance of one ­ republic into another. The conclusion of the Alliance Treaty was fixed ­ by the Constitution of Georgia from 1927, in which article 83 said:

“SSR Abkhazia owing to the special treaty (­ chosen by us - authors) enters into SSR Georgia and through it into TFSFR”.

The constitutions of all ­union republics, including SSR Georgia and SSR Abkhazia, were based upon the Constitution of the USSR ­. In them there were headings devoted to the mutual relations of the two republics. These texts in each constitution were identical. Both constitutions were adopted at Congresses of the Republics in 1927.                                  

In the second Constitution of Abkhazia, the territorial integrity of SSR of Abkhazia was also fixed; article 5 said:

“The territory of SSR Abkhazia cannot be changed ­without its consent”.

A feature of these constitutions is that in them ­were legally fixed and agreed federal state-legal mutual relations equal in rights for the first time, and these were legislatively fixed. Thus, Abkhazia continued to remain an independent, sovereign, territorially integral state, being ­ thus de jure the subject of international law. After the election of a new ­ structure of the Supreme Council, all political struggles for the restoration ­ of real Abkhazian statehood proceeded within the precincts of parliament.

During this period, especially after 1925, the Georgian and pro-Georgian press in Abkhazia again began to show great activity, proving the necessity ­ of a unification of Abkhazia and Georgia. But leaders of Abkhazia had also come to this idea a long time previously, which follows from their statements:

From N.Lakoba's speech at the 4th Congress of the Communist Party of Georgia on December 2nd, 1925:

“Comrade Kakhiani was right when he said that some ranking officers had thought about the direct entrance of Abkhazia into the Transcaucasian Federation…

 We have forgotten about this once and for all... In Abkhazia the idea that it is really independent and somehow wishes to leave Georgia to go somewhere will lead to its break-up like a house of cards. Comrades, our errors concerning the­ carrying out of a national policy within Abkhazia are not deliberate. They were mistakenly made ­ during our practical work...

The first error concerns the question of mutual relations of Abkhazia and Georgia. We have made a bad constitutional mistake believing that Georgia is a corridor through which Abkhazia can enter the Transcaucasian Federation, and the Transcaucasian ­ Federation, according to the same Constitution, should be a passage to get to the Union of Republics.

Our second error concerns language... The study of the numerical, cultural and economic situation of the nationalities occupying Abkhazia does not satisfactorily permit the use of only one Russian language...

The third error concerns the nationalities of the administrative authorities. Mingrelians, Armenians and Greeks have lately begun to say that they don’t mind Lakoba or someone else,  but do not agree that all the management in Abkhazia should be exclusively in the  hands of Abkhazians...

We have honestly confessed to these errors and undertaken their correction...”.

On February 19th, 1931 SSR Abkhazia was transformed into an autonomous republic and included within the structure of Georgia. The reduction in status of the republic was explained using the slogan “reorganisation of the state machinery of autonomous republics and areas”. Objections were useless as deviations from the principles of the national policy proclaimed in October, 1917 had begun in the country at the end of the 1920s, and centralisation and the power of the party machine were established. In April, 1930 at a session of the Central Executive Committee of Abkhazia ­ the question of the Alliance Treaty between Abkhazia and Georgia was considered, and the conclusion was that the treaty had lost its value, except for one point - the association of Abkhazia with Georgia. Stalin's opinion on the Abkhazian question was important, as were ­ reprisals which developed in the country­.

Thus, the narrowing of the sovereign rights of the agreed ­ republic of Abkhazia begun in the 1920s was finished. Heads of the country E.Eshba and N.Lakoba paid for this activity with their lives. After the death of Nestor Lakoba, in the years of Beria’s control in Transcaucasia,12 the Abkhazian Аutonomous SSR ­actually ceased its existence, and the territory of Abkhazia from 1936 to 1953, as a matter of fact, was again occupied by Georgia. These years saw a massive, at times violent, resettlement in Abkhazia of peasants from areas of  Western Georgia, mainly in  Abkhazian villages in Ochamchira, Gudauta and Gagra regions for the purpose of the dissolution of Abkhazians in a  Georgian environment. Even during the war (1941-1942) this planned resettlement on which huge sums were spent, not only did not stop, but on the contrary increased. At the expense of such unnatural mechanistic gain, the Georgian population in Abkhazia between the censuses of 1939 and ­1959 increased by­ almost 70 thousand persons, whilst native Abkhazians only increased by 5 thousand persons.

Since 1988 a third wave of immigrants has strengthened the Georgianisation of Abkhazia, and the­ suppression of Abkhazians has increased­. In 1990 in the autonomous republic the stream ­ of immigrants from all areas of Georgia was directed­. (In 1886 Abkhazians were 85.7% of the entire­ population of Abkhazia, and Megrels 6%, and in 1989 Abkhazians were 17.8%, and Georgians 45.5%). The purpose of this planned demographic aggression was to create an absolute majority of the Georgian population in Abkhazia at the expense of the strengthened ­ immigration and outflow of Russians, Greeks, Armenians and other people living in ­the autonomous republic.

As a result of intensive resettlement in Abkhazia of people from Georgia, a demographic imbalance was artificially created, with the number of the majority ­Kartvelian nationality more than five times that of Abkhazians. Georgia has opposed Abkhazian requirements for self-determination, declaring that Abkhazians have no rights, as their number is below the number of Georgians in Abkhazia.

The reduction of the independent republic of Abkhazia to an autonomous status and ­ violation of its sovereign rights was a hard blow to the people of the country. ­ For several decades it has been deprived of the possibility of defining the course of political, economic, demographic, cultural and other ­ processes proceeding in Abkhazia, which for the native people has had, in essence,­ an ethno-destroying character. The reduction of the status of the republic was considered ­ by the Abkhazian people in a national referendum on February 18-26th, 1931 ­ as the latest treachery by Russia, and the referendum failed to trust either Soviet power or the government. The struggle of the Abkhazian people for independence ­ by the carrying out of mass actions continued, taking place in 1957, 1965, 1967, 1978, and 1989. It is necessary to note the all-national peoples’ movement in 1978, connected with acceptance of Brezhnev's Constitution of the USSR. National referenda and strikes occurred in practically all large cities of Abkhazia. The Abkhazian people demanded to include in the text of the Constitution a­ point on the right of a free exit by the Abkhazian SSR from the structure of the Georgian SSR.

Mass national protests reached their peak in 1989, when they resulted in direct interethnic conflicts. Ruling circles of Georgia and Russia irrespective of political orientation were not in touch­ with reality, remaining uniform in their imperial ambitions.


12 In 1931 Beria became the first secretary of the Central Committee of the CP(b) of Georgia, and in 1932 the first secretary of the Transcaucasian Regional Committee of the Russian CP(b), holding these posts till 1938.


Originally, facing aggression and large-scale genocide of Abkhazians by Georgia, the Abkhazian national movement wanted the country to leave the structure of the Georgian SSR and enter the RSFSR. But after a number of betrayals by Russia of the Abkhazian ­ people, their view of the problem changed. The requirement of receiving sovereignty, with state and political ­ independence, was formulated by Abkhazia. This requirement was stated on March 18th, 1989 at a gathering in Lykhni, where more than 30 thousand people demanded a revision of the status of Abkhazia, to restore it to what it was during the period from 1921 to 1931.

It should be noted that all decisions across Abkhazia in the 1920s, including the changing of its statehood and political status, were made only by party leaders, mostly not being considered at Congresses of Councils of the Republic. And even if these matters were discussed, such pressure was put upon decisions by the higher party ­ management of Georgia, the Transcaucasian regional committee of RCP(b), and sometimes the Central Committee of RCP(b), that the leaders of Abkhazia, submitting to these authorities on party lines, made decisions contradicting the interests of the country and its people.

Considering the interval of time from 1922 onwards, we are convinced that the struggle for historical justice during all these years has not stopped, as the Abkhazian intelligentsia have never lost their belief in the restoration of the sovereignty of the country. During this struggle by the people, only lawful­­ resistance methods, including parliamentary, were used, namely: mass meetings of people,­ demonstrations and strikes, hunger-strikes, protests, picketing, and letters to authorities. Powerful protests by Abkhazian society were provoked by various sorts of legislation and constitutions ­ which confirmed the non-independence of Abkhazia, or its accession ­ to Georgia. Actually the Abkhazian national movement has not stopped ­ all these years, though it was more secret for obvious reasons during the years  of Beria, and has become more open recently. Memories of sovereignty were transferred from generation to generation, giving people confidence in the correctness of the struggle for restoration of the independent sovereign state.

A comparative analysis of all existing constitutions of Abkhazia allows us to estimate those difficulties which faced the country in its struggle for the preservation of its status as a sovereign state, and the struggle which was conducted by its ­ people throughout the century for the preservation of its independence. In table 2 substantial extracts from these constitutions, defining the status of Abkhazian statehood, are given.


Table 2



From the Alliance Treaty of the Southeast Union of the Cossack Armies, Mountaineers of the Caucasus, and Free people ­ of the Steppes.

October 20th, 1917












From the constitution of the Abkhazian National Council.

November 8th, 1917













 “We the undermentioned Cossack armies, Mountain peoples of the Caucasus and  Free peoples 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 security to members of the union, to support internal calm, to lift the general well-being and to ensure ­ the blessings of freedom won by revolution­.

 I. Structure of the union.

Item 1. The union is made by the Cossack armies: Don army, Kuban army, Tersk army, Astrakhan army, the Kalmyk people adjoined to the Astrakhan army, and united in the special union of Mountaineers of the Caucasus following Mountain and Steppes people:

c) the Mountain people of the Sukhum district (Abkhazians);

Item 2. Each member of the union keeps full ­ independence concerning their internal life and has the right independently to enter relationships and treaties not contradicting the  union purposes...”.



“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 communications with both governmental administrative agencies and political ­ organisations is the Abkhazian National ­ Council.

 4. Tasks of the Abkhazian National Council:

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

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






From the Constitution of the Georgian ­ Democratic Republic - about autonomous control of Abkhazia.

 February 21st, 1921






From the Constitution of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia. February 28th, 1922










From the constitution of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia.





Chapter 11, Independent ruling

 Article 107,

Abkhazia (the Sukhum district), Muslim Georgia (the Batumi territory) and Zakatal  (Zakatal district), ­ being integral parts of Georgia, are given autonomous control in local affairs.

 Article 108,

The positions of the autonomous boards mentioned in the previous article will be defined by a separate law.



Chapter 1 General regulations...

1. Having dethroned the government of the Constituent assembly and all central and local bodies ­ of the former Georgian Democratic Republic, workers,­  labour peasantry and Red Army of Georgia... establish in all territory of the country the sovereignty and proletariat dictatorship, having transferred all central and local government power  to Councils of the deputies.

Note: the structure of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia includes on the basis of voluntary ­ self-determination the Autonomous Soviet Socialist­ Republic of Adjaria, the autonomous region of South Ossetia and the Soviet Socialist Republic ­ of Abkhazia which unite with the Soviet ­ Socialist Republic of Georgia on the basis of a special alliance treaty ­ between these republics.



Chapter 1

 General regulations of the Constitution of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia

1. Having dethroned the government of the former Georgian ­ democratic republic in the territory of Abkhazia,workers, peasants and Red Army men of Abkhazia ­ have formed the Abkhazian SSR and have established the sovereignty and proletariat dictatorship,­  having completely transferred all aspects of the government ­ to Councils of workers, peasants and Red Army ­ deputies.

4. The SSR of Abkhazia, having united on the basis of a special “alliance treaty” with the SSR of Georgia, through it is included within the Transcaucasian Socialist Federal Soviet ­ Republic and, as a part of the latter, in the Union ­ of Soviet Socialist Republics.

 At the same time the SSR of Abkhazia declares its firm ­ readiness to be a part of a uniform International ­ Socialist Soviet Republic as soon as ­ conditions for its occurrence are  created.

 Chapter II

 5. The SSR of Abkhazia is a sovereign state ­ which is carrying out the government in the territory ­ independently and irrespective of other any power.

 The sovereignty of the SSR of Abkhazia, in view of its voluntary occurrence in the TSFSR and USSR, is limited only by the subjects specified in Constitutions of these unions.

 Citizens of the SSR of Abkhazia, keeping republican citizenship, are citizens of the TSFSR and USSR.

The SSR of Abkhazia reserves the right of a free ­ exit from the TSFSR and from the USSR

The Territory of the SSR of Abkhazia cannot be changed without its consent.

 6. The official language of state bodies of the SSR of Abkhazia is Russian.

Note. All nationalities occupying the SSR of Abkhazia are provided the right of free development ­ and use of the native language  in ­ national, cultural, and government  ­ establishments.

 7. The residence of all central official bodies of the SSR of Abkhazia is the city of Sukhum.

Chapter XII

About subjects concerning Congress of Councils of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia and the Central Executive Committee:

 65. This Congress is responsible for all questions of a general meaning, except for those carried to  the ­TSFSR and the USSR , namely:

 a) the general management of all internal policy ­ of the SSR of Abkhazia;

b) the general administrative division of territory ­ of the SSR of Abkhazia;

c) the publishing of general decisions about the acquisition and ­ loss of rights of  Abkhazian citizenship;

66. To exclusive conducting by Congress of Councils of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia are submitted:






From­ the Constitution of the Soviet Socialist ­ Republic of Abkhazia

October 27th, 1926, Sukhum
































From the Constitution of the Autonomous SSR of Abkhazia.

January 7th, 1935

From the Constitution of the Autonomous SSR of Abkhazia.

August 2nd, 1937


















a) establishment, addition and change of the basic contents of the Constitution of the SSR of Abkhazia;

b)  consideration of a question on change of borders of the SSR of Abkhazia according to  basic laws ­ of USSR and TSFSR.


Chapter II

About agreed mutual relations of the SSR of Abkhazia with the SSR of Georgia.

17. The SSR of Abkhazia owing to the special treaty is included in the SSR of Georgia and through it in the Transcaucasian ­ Socialist Federal Soviet ­ Republic.

20. Congress of Councils of the SSR of Abkhazia, the Central Executive ­ Committee and its Presidium, and local authorities of the SSR of Abkhazia ­ will be organised on the basis of the Constitution of the SSR of Abkhazia.

21. The National Economy High Council, submitting to the Central Executive Committee and Council of National Commissars of the SSR of Abkhazia, carries out the instructions of the High Council of the National Economy of the SSR of Georgia.

22. Codes, decrees and the decisions accepted by the All-Georgian Executive Committee, with ­ distribution of their action on all territory ­ of the SSR of Georgia, have a binding force in territory of the SSR of Abkhazia, and the Supreme authorities of the SSR of Abkhazia in development of and addition to these decrees can publish legislative decrees having a binding force in territory of the SSR of Abkhazia.

23. In questions of general (finance, labour and workers' and peasants' inspection) and incorporated (national economy) state management in the territory of the SSR of  Abkhazia, all decisions and orders of the All-Georgia Central Executive Committee, its Presidium and the Council of National Commissars ­ of the SSR of Georgia have a binding force...

Chapter VII

About the state emblem, flag and capital of the SSR of Abkhazia.

 101 - The State Emblem of the SSR of Abkhazia has the image of a gold ­ sickle and a hammer against a landscape of Abkhazia. In the top part the red five-pointed star in sun beams is represented. The emblem is framed by an embellishment representing ­ a wreath from corn, tobacco and grapes and surrounded by a red border with an inscription in three languages - Abkhazian, Georgian ­ and Russian “The SSR of  Abkhazia” and “Workers of the world, unite!”

102 - The national flag of the SSR of Abkhazia has a red or scarlet ­ panel with the image in its top corner nearest the flagstaff ­ of a gold sickle and a hammer, and over them a red five-pointed ­ star framed with a gold border, under which are the four letters “SSRA”. The relation of width to length is 1:3.

103 – The capital of the SSR of Abkhazia is the city of Sukhum.


Chapter I, General regulations

 2. The Republic of Abkhazia is a socialist state of workers and labour peasantry, entering as an autonomous republic in SSR Georgia and through it in the TSFSR...


Chapter I.  The Social system.

 Article 1. The Abkhazian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic is a socialist state of workers and peasants.

 Article 6. The land, its bowels, waters, woods, factories, mines, railway, water and air transport, banks, communication facilities, large state-organised agricultural enterprises (state farms, farm vehicle stations, etc.), and also the municipal enterprises and the basic available housing in cities and industrial towns are state-owned, which means national property....

Chapter II.  The State system.

 Article 13. The Abkhazian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic enters the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic with the rights of an autonomous republic.

 Out of limits of article 14 of the Constitution of the USSR and article 14 of the Constitution of the Georgian SSR, the Abkhazian Autonomous SSR implements   government with autonomous rights...

 Article 16. Laws of the USSR and the Georgian SSR are obligatory in territory of the   Abkhazian ASSR. In any divergence between the Abkhazian ASSR laws and laws of the USSR and the Georgian SSR, laws of the USSR and the Georgian SSR operate.Article 17. Each citizen of Abkhazian ASSR is a citizen of the Georgian SSRand the USSR. Citizens of the Georgian SSR and all other union republics on the territory of Abkhazian ASSR have identical rights to citizens of Abkhazian ASSR.

Even at first sight the surprising frequency of acceptance and brevity of the period of existence of the main basic ­ document of the country, the Constitution of Abkhazia, is obvious­­. So, from 1921 to 1937, for this small country   five versions of the constitution were accepted­. And if one considers that during the period from 1918 to 1921 there were three more variants of the Constitution of Abkhazia which were never accepted, it is possible to draw the   conclusion that the constitutional situation in the country was abnormal.­ The reasons for this abnormality are partly given in our work, and we ­ have made an attempt to clarify some details about the situation.

With the  downfall of the Georgian state in 1921,  history  gave Abkhazia  a  chance  to restore its statehood and independence, although  this ­ did not occur. The short-sightedness of politicians and ­ heads of Abkhazia, and possibly other reasons, led to the people of the country again being downtrodden under the Georgian yoke. Though Abkhazia obtained the status of a soviet socialist republic, having kept its territory, its statehood was ­ incomplete as the control of and responsibility for a number of powers were transferred to Georgia on the basis of "the special treaty”. But this had already happened in 1918, and we know how it all ended. History tought Abkhazians nothing.

Constitutions of 1925 and 1926 confirmed the status of Abkhazia, and the country continued ­ to remain sovereign with limited statehood in the TSFSR, through SSR Georgia. Being in political and legislative chains, Abkhazia step by step made desperate attempts to break free of them, entering into the Constitution a unique item - the right of free exit ­ from under the guardianship of Georgia. This did not mean that Abkhazia would immediately take advantage ­of this right, but there would be a freedom of choice which people have in the majority of countries. But Georgia, like a tick in the body of Abkhazia, did not spare even a thought about granting the slightest freedom, carrying out a complete genocide ­ in relation to the Abkhazian people, by conducting a policy directed towards their utter annihilation.

It is known that in Soviet Russia there were no elementary principles ­ of democracy, there was a dictatorship by the central party leaders,­  and from the middle of the 1930s came an epoch of repressive methods ­ of ruling. In these conditions each leader was obliged to be a member of the unique communist party and strictly to execute its decisions. Thus advice and  recommendations of "the leader of the peoples” Stalin were the order for their irreproachable execution. For this reason, ­ against the will of the people of Abkhazia, and only on the basis of a decision at 3rd Session of Central Executive Committee RCP(b), the country was compelled to be a part of Georgia as an autonomous republic. On February 11th, 1931 the sixth Congresses of Councils of the Georgian ­SSR and the Abkhazian SSR made the decision on transformation of the "agreed" ­ Abkhazian SSR into the Abkhazian Autonomous SSR as a part of the Georgian SSR, as was reflected in the constitution of Abkhazia of 1935. This decision by the heads of the country   caused an instant reaction from the Abkhazian people. A protest against the decision was made at a meeting in Duripsh which lasted from February 18th until February 26th, 1931, and the people of the country failed to trust the government of Abkhazia. After acceptance of the new Constitution of the USSR at 8th­ Extraordinary Congress in 1936, and the termination of existence of TSFSR, Abkhazia’s autonomy status in the Georgian SSR was definitively fixed­.

In 1937-1938 in Abkhazia there passed a wave of severe political ­ reprisals. The chairman of the Central Executive Committee of Abkhazia N.Lakoba, presumably poisoned ­ during a supper with L.Beria, posthumously appeared as “the enemy of the people”.­ All his relatives ­ and colleagues were subjected to arrests, tortures, and physical destruction­. The place of the chairman of the Central Executive Committee of Abkhazia was occupied ­by Beria’s protege  Alexey Agrba (he was arrested on September 18th, 1937 and shot on April 21st, 1938). In the autumn of 1937 in Sukhum, open litigation concerning 15 “followers of Lakoba” took place. However, the reprisal process continued afterwards. On incomplete data, 2186 persons were arrested, and of them 748 were shot. In August-September 1941 the second wave ­ of reprisals began,­  and it fell upon the rest of the Abkhazian intelligentsia who had escaped ­ during 1937-1938. Over this period the mass ­ deportation (eviction) of Abkhazians from their historic native land occurred­. On March 13th, 1945 the­ Abkhazian Regional Committee (and after it - on June 13th – the Central Committee CP of Georgia) accepted the decision: “About actions for improvement of the quality of teaching and educational work at  Abkhazian ASSR schools”. This actually ­ destroyed the Abkhazian national schools, cancelled teaching of the Abkhazian language, and provocatively opposed the Abkhazian and Georgian ­ cultures against each other. The genocide of the Abkhazian nation began from that moment.

In the country, discontent with the policies of the Georgian government, who occupied ­ all key party and state posts, ripened­. The people sated with mockeries and humiliation from the "superior" Georgian nation, already representing ­ the majority of the population in Abkhazia by then, were ready to act on uncompromising decisions. In 1957 ­ the Abkhazian intelligentsia addressed the central Russian authorities for the first time about the question of a transition of Abkhazian ASSR to the jurisdiction of RSFSR, and in 1967 representatives of Abkhazian society repeatedly brought up ­ a question before the Central Committee of the CPSU and other authorities about an exit of the country from the structure of the Georgian SSR.

Counteraction against the central power by the Abkhazian people,­ concerning infringement of statehood, was most severely shown in 1978 ­ after acceptance in the USSR of "Brezhnev's" Constitution. The constitution of Abkhazia had been the last to be accepted. This acceptance occurred at an Extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet in a building of the Abkhazian Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia, surrounded by troops. Discussion of the Constitution was accompanied by indignant people holding meetings in all Abkhazian cities and by strikes. The Abkhazian ­ people demanded inclusion, in the text of the Constitution, of an item about the right ­ of a free exit of the Abkhazian ASSR from the structure of the Georgian SSR, i.e. realisation ­ of the basic requirement for which the country had struggled since 1918, from the moment of the beginning of the annexation of Abkhazia by Georgia.

Naturally, nobody considered the will of the people, and the Constitution was accepted with preservation of its former text. The Abkhazian people were deprived of the opportunity to create a state, and under the decision of party leaders the sovereign territory of Abkhazia was transformed into an appendage of Georgia. This was all contrary to the declared slogan of Bolsheviks that all oppressed nations have the right to ­ self-determination, up to separation. Because of suppression by the ruling Georgian party leaders, “the Abkhazian letter” was written and sent to the XIX All-Union conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Its authors - representatives of the Abkhazian artistic and scientific intelligentsia - brought up a request for a change of the statehood of Abkhazia, i.e. its transformation from an autonomy as a part of Georgia into a union republic. As no decision was found to this question, the Abkhazian ­ community created a national Peoples’ Forum of Abkhazia “Idgylara” (Unification) which took this question to a  meeting of thirty thousand in Lykhni. This meeting sent a request to M.S.Gorbachev to remove Abkhazia from the ­ structure of Georgia, to give it the status of a union republic, and to introduce into the territory a form of “special management” from Moscow.

The above actions of the Abkhazian people underline and sum up the­ more than 70-year-old struggle of the country for freedom, independence and ­ sovereignty. The people of Abkhazia in their attempts to free themselves of annexation by Georgia, saw the decision to the problem of statehood as unity with Russia, confirming and supporting a policy of the Bolsheviks offered to them in 1917.

Since 1989, Georgia has carried out actions directed towards ­ an exit of the country from the structure of the USSR. Considering developing political ­ conditions, a forum of “Idgylara” on July 8th addressed the Supreme Soviet of the USSR about the immediate introduction in Abkhazia of “special management”. ­ Work on an association of progressive forces of all North Caucasus was simultaneously conducted. On August 25-26th in Sukhum 1st Congress of the people of the Caucasus took place, with participation ­ of representatives of informal public organisations (national movements) of Abasinians, Abkhazians, Adygs, Ingushes, Kabardians, Circassians, Chechens. The decision was taken to create the Assembly of the Mountain People of the Caucasus, for the purpose of a reconstruction of the Caucasian Mountain state, with its capital in Sukhum. At congresses and assemblies in republics of the North Caucasus,­ the requirement was expressed to the government of the USSR of “acceptance of immediate measures” on the protection ­ of constitutional rights of the Abkhazian people, and presentation to Abkhazia of the status of “special management”.

In connection with decisions of the Supreme Soviet of Georgia, directed towards its exit from the­ structure of the USSR, a meeting of thirty thousand representatives of the mountain peoples of Caucasus on May 31st, 1990 in Sukhum demanded the exit of Abkhazia from Georgia. On November 1st-3rd in Sukhum the Congress of the mountain peoples of Caucasus confirmed a unification ­ of the people of Abkhazia with the peoples of the North Caucasus.

In February 1992 the government of Georgia cancelled the Constitution of the Georgian ­ SSR of 1978 and announced a transition to the Constitution of 1921, ­ according to which Abkhazia unilaterally was entered into its structure and “is ­ an integral part of Georgia with  autonomous rights in local affairs” ,and  thus  did  not appear as a  subject of legal state relationships. All aspects of the Soviet period introduced in Georgia since April 25th, 1921 were declared illegal. In this connection it was necessary to revise the legal ­ documents forming the basis of present treaties, certificates and agreements between Georgia and Abkhazia, concluded during the period from the moment of formation ­ of the state of Georgia until the present time. These actions actually also denounced the Alliance Treaty concluded in December 1921. In the overall USSR, Georgia and Abkhazia were connected only by the Soviet legislative and standard documents, and all of them now lost their legal force. Accordingly,­ the items of the Constitution of Georgia from 1922 and 1927,­ defining the entrance of Abkhazia into the Georgian SSR, and through it  into TSFSR, lost their validity. The decision of the Soviet government from 1931 about transformation of the Union Republic of Abkhazia to an autonomous republic as a part of the Georgian SSR  also became invalid. Besides, Georgia left the structure of the USSR, absolutely ignoring all ­ Soviet laws.

By the moment of conducting a referendum in Georgia on March 31st, 1991, concerning ­the restoration of  state independence (Abkhazia did not accept participation in it), there was a law regulating the exit ­ of a union republic from the USSR. According to this law, autonomous republics ­ had the right to solve the question of their legal status independently.

It is necessary to note that according to the Constitution of the USSR of 1977 autonomous republics were proper states. They had their own constitutions, and supreme bodies of legislative, executive and judicial power. Besides, according to the constitution, autonomous republics possessed exclusive sovereignty on their territories, hence the sovereignty of Georgia did not extend to the territory of Abkhazia ­ even during Soviet times, i.e. each of them had their own territory.

Thus during this period Abkhazia possessed both ­ administrative and territorial sovereignty, though  its foreign policy was limited - not in favour of Georgia, but conducted according to ­ the competence of the USSR which solved all international questions for allied and ­ autonomous republics.

Autonomous republics, according to the Constitution of the USSR, participated in the decision of questions considered by the government of the USSR, and it therefore follows that they were subjects of the USSR. Further to this, in the law of the USSR from April 26th, 1990 “About differentiation of powers between the USSR and subjects of  the federation” it is directly said that “autonomous republics are Soviet socialist states which are subjects of the federation - the USSR”. Thus, in spite of the fact that Abkhazia was an autonomous republic in the structure of the GSSR, relations between ­ Georgia and Abkhazia were relations between states ­ which were subjects of the USSR.

In an all-Union referendum on March 17th, 1991 the majority of the population of Abkhazia supported the continuation of the USSR on the basis of ­ the updated treaty.

In a counterbalance to wrongful actions of Georgia, the Supreme Soviet of Abkhazia on July 23rd, 1992 by a simple majority of voices (36 out of 65) accepted ­ the resolution “About cancellation of the Constitution of Abkhazian ASSR of 1978”, having restored the Constitution of the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic of 1925. Thereby ­ the orientation of actions on maintenance of the sovereignty of Abkhazia and on preservation in Abkhazia of the Soviet socialist system was underlined. The State Council of Georgia accepted on July 25th a decision declaring this  resolution void ­ and without legal validity.

On the basis of the above material it is possible to make the following conclusions­:

1) The leapfrog of acceptance of an uncountable quantity of Constitutions of Abkhazia ­ testifies to the infringement of human rights in the country, and the continuous struggle of the native ­ people for their rights,  territory, statehood and sovereignty.

2) From March 31st, 1921 to February 17th, 1922 there existed the independent Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia. It was called “independent” as within this period it did not enter into either Soviet Russia or  Soviet Georgia, and on May 21st, 1921 Revcom of Georgia recognised its independence.

3) Two independent states with equal rights, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia and the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia, signed the Alliance Treaty on December 16th, 1921, and entered a military, political, financial and economic union. In this treaty it was stated that the sovereignty of the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic remained (item 4). In February 1922, 1st Congress of Councils of Abkhazia ratified this Treaty.

4) Abkhazia, as a sovereign state, participated on December 30th, 1922 ­ in the creation of the USSR, and the representative of Abkhazia signed the Treaty on ­ the formation of the USSR.

5) The character of interstate relations between Abkhazia and Georgia was reflected in the Constitution of Abkhazia of 1925. The sovereignty of the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic was fixed in item 5 of this Constitution.

6) The territorial integrity and  sovereignty of Abkhazia were fixed in the Constitution of Georgia of 1927, in which it was underlined that the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia ­was a state which was under construction on a federal basis.

7)The "agreed" Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia, by the resolute decision of party ­ functionaries, was transformed into an autonomous republic, and included in the structure of Georgia, on February 19th, 1931. The Abkhazian people protested against this decision at a national meeting lasting from February 18th to 26th, 1931 and failed to trust ­ the government or Soviet power. Though according to the Constitution ­ of the USSR the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic dejure possessed both administrative and  territorial sovereignty, and relations with Georgia had the character ­ of mutual relations between states which were subjects of the USSR, de facto the sovereignty ­ of Abkhazia was reduced and seriously limited.

8) The violent inclusion of Abkhazia within the structure of Georgia ­was wrongful, as this was not legitimate, and did not express the will of the people of Abkhazia.

9) In Abkhazia genocide and discrimination proceeded with renewed force, the colonial policy of the Georgian goverment having begun from­ the moment of occupation of Abkhazia by Georgian troops in 1918.  It appeared  in numerous actions, including:

a) Ideological war against the Abkhazian people;

b) Intensive settling of the country by Georgians;

c) Change of ethno-demographic balance in the country;

d) Transformation of Abkhazians into a national minority in their own country;

e) In connection with the excess of the Georgian population, the­ transfer of all supervising posts in the country into the hands of Georgians;

f) Introduction in the country of the Georgian alphabet and replacement of Russian and Abkhazian languages by Georgian;

g) Large-scale infringements of the rights of  the native ethnos;

h) Assignment and joining of territory of Abkhazia to Georgia;

i) Suppression of attempts at restoring the sovereignty and deprivation of any possibilities for its return;

j) Attempts to transform the sovereign state into a province or region within Georgia, in which the small nationality of Abkhazians live.


10) Throughout all the period during which Abkhazia was a part of Russia and the USSR, the Abkhazian people represented themselves as an independent sovereign state, and conducted a constantly uncompromising struggle against Georgian chauvinism, attempts ­by Georgia to capture the territory of Abkhazia, and the colonial enslavement of Abkhazians.

11) Starting in 1917, after the annexation of Abkhazia by Georgia and the overthrow by military Georgian administration of the legitimate government (the Abkhazian National ­Council) in 1918, Bolsheviks supported the creation of an independent Abkhazia. They took up all force and responsibility in the struggle against the Georgian ­ interventionists, and in 1921 freed the country. The legitimacy of the Bolshevik government was  confirmed by both Georgia and Russia, and this ­ government, which existed before the disintegration of the USSR, was given the name ANC, which ­ nowadays corresponds to the Parliament of Abkhazia.

12) Having appreciated the "friendship" of the Georgian revanchists, Abkhazians undertook ­ desperate steps to refuse the "embraces" of their neighbour and for almost ­ a century counted on Russian help in this struggle against Georgian invaders, and assistance in establishing the full statehood and sovereignty of their country.