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The 1992-93 Georgia-Abkhazia War: A Forgotten Conflict

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Author(s): Alexandros Petersen

Journal: Caucasian Review of International Affairs
ISSN 1865-6773

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 187;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Georgia | Abkhazia | Russia | ethnic conflict | Caucasus

ABSTRACT
The 1992-93 Georgia-Abkhazia War, in which ethnic Abkhazians effectively extracted northwestern Georgia from Tbilisi’s control, is a conflict largely forgotten in the West, despite its high profile re-ignition in August 2008. Historical arguments can be made both for Abkhazia’s unity and autonomy from Georgia, but the conflict cannot be solely blamed on Soviet ‘ethno-federalism’. It must, however, be understood within the context of Georgian independence. Ethnic tension between Abkhazians and Georgians was a necessary but not sufficient cause for the conflict. It took an unstable transition in Moscow, and chaotic Russian involvement in the run-up to the conflict, to turn tension into violence. Russia’s one-sided role in ending hostilities meant that the conflict’s causal issues were left frozen, only to be violently thawed fifteen years later.
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