For the first time ever, an Abkhazian citizen has been accused of treason. Twenty-eight-year-old Tkuarchal (Tkvarcheli) native Daur Buava is alleged to have campaigned for ‘the annexation of Abkhazia to Georgia’ on social media.
Buava was convicted in absentia. According to his most recent videos, Buava currently appears to be living in Tbilisi.
In the videos published by Daur Buava, of which most, investigators allege, were posted on TikTok, the young man describes the various benefits that the inhabitants of Abkhazia can receive if it becomes a part of Georgia.
‘I see unity and a strong family’, he says in one video, referring to the Abkhazia-Georgia relationship. ‘Abkhazia will be an autonomous republic (within Georgia) with guarantees of language, culture, and our distinctiveness.’ He then goes on to praise the gains in education, medicine, and economic development Abkhazia would make as a constituent part of Georgia.
Calling for the rejection of independence in Abkhazia is a criminal offence, with Abkhazian sovereignty protected by its constitution.
In another video posted to TikTok Buava condemns the allegations against him as ‘lies and provocations’.
‘My work is directed solely towards peace and dialogue between our peoples’, he says.
In recent years, it is not only calls for Abkhazia to join Georgia that have elicited outrage among Abkhazians, as statements for absorption into the Russian Federation by Russian politicians have also sparked wide-spread condemnation.
While those Abkhazian citizens who have also received Georgian citizenship have long been under suspicion from the authorities — as of late, there has been a particularly harsh focus on any cooperation with organisations and governments outside of Abkhazia (with Russia, a crucial exclusion).
In late April, Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister, Inal Ardzinba, warned about ‘provocations’ aimed at Abkhazia from Georgia and Ukraine, in a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
Earlier that month Abkhazia banned all initiatives that that included meetings between Abkhazians and Georgians on neutral territory as they worked ‘in the interest of Georgia’.
The primary geographic terms used in this article are those of the author’s. For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.