“In the end, independence may be too expensive cost us”

Two years ago, on 26 August, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The special correspondent of Kommersant Olga Allenova asked the residents of both republics, that they think about their independence.

Two years of independence at first glance went Abkhazia only benefit. The number of tourists from Russia increased. The capital of Abkhazia, Sukhumi, where until recently the main streets were the ruins of the old war-ravaged homes, turns into a nice clean city, and even some half-dead city like Ochamchira, come to life here now, too, have visitors, and some Russians have bought apartments: here it is cheaper than in Gagra and Sukhumi. However, while real estate is not official, and buyers draw up real estate on familiar Abkhazians: the law of the land and property, which should legalize such transactions, the Abkhazian parliament has not yet accepted.

 In Sukhumi, had a large business center, and soon these will be another five, built a large supermarket, a new multi-storey houses. All this is part and parcel of a new life.

 A new life began two years ago, when Russia recognized the republic independent. The recent visit of Dmitry Medvedev in Sukhumi confirmed: Russia will support Abkhazia and beyond, as well as evidence of support within the next three years will allocate 11 billion rubles. The first 3 billion will go this year. "This money will go primarily to build roads, hospitals, schools, – and said the Abkhaz government. – In Abkhazia, a large tourist potential, and that it develops, it is necessary to fix the infrastructure. With Russian assistance, we will make it much faster than if I had to do it ourselves. "

 Moscow’s influence is really felt: except banners with Presidents Bagapsh and Medvedev, about him resemble gas station Rosneft and the Russian military in the form. For two years people in uniform was more: on military bases in Abkhazia, Moscow, under grant of lease, is located 3800 Russian servicemen.

The main result of Abkhaz independence has confidence in the future, which appeared in the republic. Previously, every day they waited for a new war with Georgia. Now they know, the war will not, because Russia will protect them. However, as Russia strengthens its presence in Abkhazia, many began to realize that Russia’s guarantees are very expensive. "The feeling of security that we have appeared due to Russia, business development and business, – said the Abkhaz politician Inal .- But this is only one side of the coin. The other side – our dependence on Russia, which becomes more pronounced."

Prior to the recognition of all agreements between Abkhazia and Russia were orally: as expressed Khashig, they were "gentlemen’s agreement". After the recognition of hand began to conclude treaties, which, according to local opposition, "Abkhazia does too much curtseys. The opposition is still critical of President Bagapsh for an agreement on joint protection of state borders. The contract stipulates that the border of Abkhazia and Georgia must protect the border of Abkhazia and Russia, but allows Russia to establish and own frontier. "As a result, today only protect our borders by Russian troops, the entire boundary is in their jurisdiction, and even the president of Abkhazia, and can not come to the frontier with the inspection without the consent of Moscow. These facts severely beaten on our independence," – says Khashig.

 "Many of our citizens have been the war and now can not understand why they can not buy a house here or a business"

 Its problems have arisen and the Abkhaz entrepreneurs: when the republic came wealthy Russian businessmen, local business is uncompetitive. "There is no preference to local businesses there, – said Khashig .- And in the devastated economy of our post-war society does not always respond appropriately to incoming business. Many of our citizens have been the war and now can not understand why they can not buy a house here or a business : prices are going up like mushrooms after rain, and this is due to the influx of Russian money. Moreover, some Russian companies to the Abkhaz authorities just give a hectare of land, and no one knows what caused it. It is clear that this is the price of independence. But in the end the independence of may be too expensive to cost us, and we will be bankrupt. If this goes on, there may emerge a serious social protest. "

 A lot of fuss in Abkhazia statement by the head of Rosneft Sergey Bogdanchikov, published on the website "Oil of Russia" in June. According to Bogdanchikov, OAO Rosneft owns 100% of OOO RN Shelf Abkhazia. According to the Abkhaz authorities, sharing the Abkhaz side in the LV Shelf Abkhazia "is 49%. In fact, even the signing of the treaty between Abkhazia and Rosneft on the conditions 49-51% of their time was the target of criticism of the opposition, believes that "the controlling stake must be where the raw material is extracted. Now it turns out that the Abkhaz side in the project Rosneft offshore development in general, a big question. Commenting on the story with the statement Bogdanchikov, an independent Abkhaz newspaper "right" states: "This is an example of colonial behavior."

Local environmentalists are sounding the alarm, too: where is the guarantee that the work of oil will not cause damage to the ecology of Abkhazia? "If Abkhazia has nothing on this project, it means that the Abkhaz authorities have been unable to influence the management of Rosneft – said Khashig .- And if there is some kind of accident or just the oil will work in good faith, our leaders simply are not legally should be able to cancel work on the shelf. "

 Fear of losing national identity – the only thing that brings the Ossetians and Abkhazians

Another result of Abkhaz independence – the growing popularity of Russian and Abkhazian rating fall. Abkhazia’s Russian-speaking population is growing, and local newspapers are increasingly breaking the law of 2008, obliging the media to fill in the texts of the Abkhaz language at least half of their area. Recently, in the Abkhazian Ministry of Justice of the editors of local newspapers demanded that the parliament "to cease obstructing the business" of their publications: the view of journalists, the Abkhaz is spoken by only a small part of Abkhazia, and obeying the law makes the newspaper at a loss. According to the Abkhaz journalist Vitaly Sharia, the republic’s authorities should invest in training Abkhaz language in kindergartens and schools, rather than spending money on textbooks for adults who read them.

 Two years of independence we do not give"

The language issue has recently escalated in South Ossetia: influx of construction workers, military and government officials from Russia, as many believe, could lead to that very soon the Ossetian language would lose their positions. Since 2001, the republic has a law, which recognized for the Ossetian language status of the state, but for Russian – official status. And today the official documentation in the republic is conducted in Russian.

However, if it were not for the July statement by the president, Eduard Kokoity, asked the MPs to the party "Unity" to make public the Russian language, language problems are not remembered. But the threat of national identity led deputies have the courage to raise his voice in defense of the Ossetian language. This has caused concern in Moscow: visited recently in South Ossetia, the State Duma of Russia South Ossetia called on colleagues to oppose attempts to sow discord between Russia and Ossetia. South Ossetian counterpart justified: the Russian language no one attempts, the question of his status as just discussed, and change the status is not easy – only through a referendum.

"To change the status of Russian language, it is necessary to hold a referendum – confirms the speaker of South Ossetia’s parliament, Stanislav Kochiev .- In my opinion, in our country where many people still live in tents, it’s not a matter of prime necessity." To show Russia that the Russian language in South Ossetia is not in danger, the authorities have put in the center of the monument to Pushkin. This white monument in the white square looks like an island of extraordinary prosperity in the half-ruined South Ossetian reality. 

The remaining issues of concern today Abkhazia, South Ossetia does not understand. It would have pleased the growth of investment attractiveness, as well as the arrival of large corporations and medium-sized businesses in Russia, but in South Ossetia, until now, two years after the war, not build houses, hotels and schools. Indicative Republican Library, revival of "Spetsstroy" six months ago: from the outside the building flawless, but inside is empty – the local authorities do not have money to buy shelving, and books stacked in piles in a brand new white halls.

 Hundreds of families remain on the street. Their homes were built last year, but due to opposition of local authorities and intermediaries through which Moscow sent into South Ossetia to restore the funds, the construction this year in general was not conducted.

Inara Gabaraeva, head of the fund to support victims of war, already two years living with neighbors. The ruins of her two-story house was demolished last year – cleared the site for new construction. Under the approved regulations, each victim’s family are entitled to a house at 125 square meters. The exception is residents of apartment buildings barrack-like: they rely on 80 square meters. Since the house Inara had a common wall with neighbors, she was offered 80. She fights for herself and for others, since such stories are numerous. She tries to help those who are living in tents and who is even harder (see the article "We built those whose money had been" in the N 31 this year), wrote a letter to the Russian authorities and international organizations. Living in the past two years, it seems to her hell. And those two years – the term South Ossetian independence.

When I ask her what she thinks about it, she honestly replied: "Two years of independence we have given nothing. We have two years of homelessness. Pohoril’tsi Many people tell me they are ready to seek political asylum anywhere. I am afraid to hear it. We do believe Russia, we were so happy when we are freed from the constant threat of Georgian, but now we see that the Russian leadership, as well as ours, for we do not care.

September 2, 2008, six days after President Medvedev recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Federal Agency of Geodesy and Cartography (Roskartografia) asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for advice on the designation of new states on maps. October 9, based on the recommendations of the agency issued an official letter, has determined to specify the capital of Abkhazia, the word "Sukhum" (instead of Sukhumi), and for the capital of South Ossetia – "Tskhinval" (instead of Tskhinvali). To indicate Abkhazia maps Roskartografia proposed use dot net yellow and blue colors, and South Ossetia – a grid of purple and blue colors.

Currently, the majority of maps and atlases represented in retail sales, comply with the instructions Roskartographya. Changes in 2008-2010 were, in particular, made a world atlas, prepared by the Federal State Unitary Enterprise PKO "Cartography", the political map of the world RUZ Publishing Co., a world atlas publishing ACT and other cards. However, the "Power" still found traces of the old traditions. The "Illustrated Atlas of the world" published by "Ultra Extents" on maps of the capital of Abkhazia and South Ossetia signed a new way, but in the alphabetical index of geographical names, they appear familiar with the letter "and" at the end.

Eugene Kozich


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