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Abkhazia: “Ukrainization of politics”

Parliamentary elections will be held in Abkhazia next spring. It is high time to start campaigning, but it appears that politicians do not hurry to fight for power through legitimate election procedures.

Abkhazia is a presidential republic, but the parliament is a historically strong political institution. The fight will be for 35 seats representing single-mandate constituencies. In the future, the election system will be mixed i.e. part of the seats will be distributed between political parties and the number of the seats will increase. At present various political parties and movements are de facto represented in the Abkhazian parliament.

Besides major political forces – pro-governmental parties, opposition, and “third forces” - many new, not large movements and parties have emerged recently.

It was evident that the old, new and “third” forces along with the youth political forces should prepare for elections and stiff competition.

However, nothing of the kind is happening so far. Furthermore, the politicians may campaign through rallies involving support groups. One of such opposition rallies on July 5 grew into a storm of the interior ministry building. A new scenario is developing now. Representatives of the opposition alliance intend to travel throughout the country, perhaps, to monitor the protest sentiments. Their first meeting was in Gudauta on October 25. The final decision of the opposition over people’s gathering scheduled for late November depends on the results of that monitoring. The major goal of the potential revolution is known: President Raul Khajimba (his term is ending in 2019) must leave.

In the meantime, the political forces that have emerged recently do not want to develop through legitimate election procedures either. The opposition is “running the show” now, and the voices of other politicians are not heard. The developments of the passing year showed that in case of an opportunity, young politicians too will prefer picketing the parliament building to campaigning.

Radicalized political field and discredited democratic procedures are among major problems of the Abkhazian politics.

It may seem that Abkhazia is returning to its traditions of grass-root democracy, but, in fact, what is happening now is an attempt to camouflage the “Maidan technologies.” Historically, public gatherings in Abkhazia helped settling pivotal issues at crucial points of the Abkhazian history, in present-day language - issues of international policy.

Another important moment is that the political field is actually refusing from political activity, from introducing programs, approaches, ideas, settling the country’s problems. For instance, no political force has suggested any solution to such disastrous problem as road accidents that claim more and more lives.

It appears that politicians forgot their direct responsibilities. The opposition suggests no solution to any problems. Politicians are driven by personal enmity and obsessive desire to revenge for the events of May 27 2014 when public unrest made Aleksandr Ankvab to leave. They do not even conceal that and their fight is based on these compulsive ideas.

Unlike “old” parties, the political forces that have entered the political field recently have at least some ideas and slogans. However, they cover some foreign policy issues and reflect the world vision of young politicians. At the same time, it is not right to call “politicians” the people whose electors are not known, since they have not participated in any elections yet.

The situation is quite dangerous, as “immature” politicians that neither have political experience nor enjoy sufficient public support seek to make their political career through large-scale protests.

Now, it is important to bring the political system in Abkhazia back to the major algorithms that ensure succession of power and make the life in the country relatively stable. It is necessary to preserve the elective principle in the Abkhazian politics. President and parliamentarians must be elected within the terms stipulated by the law and the political processes must be linked to the terms of election campaigns. Otherwise, “Ukrainization” of the Abkhazian politics will continue with all the consequences that come with it.

Anton Krivenyuk for EADaily

Permalink: eadaily.com/en/news/2016/10/26/abkhazia-ukrainization-of-politics
Published on October 26th, 2016 09:48 PM
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