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Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia votes in presidential election


Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia votes in presidential election

abkhazia election
Photo: Vestnik Kavkaza

The breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia will hold a presidential election today, despite objections from Tbilisi.

Defeat in the 2008 Russo-Georgian war effectively ended Tbilisi’s control of the pro-Russia area. Despite traditional Abkhaz political leanings towards independence rather than integration with Russia, the region remains economically and politically dependent on Moscow.

Incumbent President Raul Khajimba is in the box seat after the main opposition leader withdrew from the race late due to suspected poisoning. Though Moscow doesn’t officially endorse any candidate, it likely backs Khajimba, who met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on August 6.

All candidates are pro-Moscow, so expect the territory’s dependence on its northern neighbour to continue, regardless of the outcome. Post-election, this means Moscow will fully fund the upgrade of the main airport and the modernisation of the Abkhaz military. However, border controls and a ban on real estate sales ban to foreigners, including Russians, will continue.

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Given Georgia’s ongoing objections to the region’s separatism, Abkhazia’s independence will remain globally unrecognised outside of Russia and four other countries. This situation will continue to stymie any independence aspirations and economic investment as international isolation forces Abkhazia to continue its Russian dependence.

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