Civil war in Abkhazia

The civil war in Abkhazia was both fascinating and entirely tragic. If you've got 4 hours, go to your library and read every NY Times article.


1989: April 8

July 17, 18

Major protest/work slow-down in Tbilisi as Georgians protest Soviet presence.

On November 10th East Germany opens frontier to the West. East Germans no longer shot as they try to leave their country. (The Wall "Comes Down")


1991: On March 31, the Georgian parliament declared independence and a man named Zvia Gamsakhurdia was elected president. Accused of trying to organize a dictatorship, he was ousted in 1992 by Eduard Shevardnadze, though he would later return to lead opposition troops in the country's civil war. The Soviet Union officially disintegrated in December.

1992: August 15, 16, 19, 20, 25, 27, 30

September 3, 4, 22

October 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 22

Georgians become 1st former Soviet State to hold multi-party elections.

Shevardnadze, former Foreign Minister to Gorbachev, comes home to his native Georgia and becomes President. Abkhazia, a region in Northwestern Georgia (with 20% of the population ethnic Muslim Abkhazian) declares independence. Abkhazians take Georgians prisoner, then kill them. Georgian troops move in, occupy major government buildings in Sukhumi. Major Abkhaz. sniper action ensues, followed by series of weak cease-fires. Georgian troops routed in Gagra. Georgians shoot down Russian MIG with Russian pilot � accuse Russia of assisting Abkhazia in effort to stifle Georgian independence.

1993: March 17, 18, 20: Heavy fighting in Sukhumi.

June 20: 1000 dead so far, 45,000 refugees.

July 6, 7, 28: Cease fire signed.

August 26, 30: UN troops move in (very slowly). Banditry reigns in Georgia.

September 19-30 (no 25th): Abkhazians, aided by other Caucasian Muslim peoples and the Russians, break treaty and launch major offensive. Georgians, unprepared, outmanned, and unable to bring in significant reinforcements, lose Sukhumi in bloody 10 day battle. Shevardnadze leads troops until the evacuation.

October 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 22, 24: Refugees flee through mountainous Svanetti. Civil war in the remainder of Georgia � rebels control town of Poti. In Moscow, rebels gain control of parliament, then are routed by Yeltsin lead forces.

November 19: Abkhazia says no Georgians may return.

1994: February 10

June 8, 27

Abkhazia accused of wide-scale ethnic cleansing.

1995: January 12

February 5

April 28

Abkhazia described as "dictatorship." Only 300 refugees allowed to return in 1st year. They face rape, terror, and murder. To date, no country has recognized Abkhazian independence. UN and Russian troops maintain cease-fire along the Inguri River.