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PEOPLE & POWER
Abkhazia: A forgotten country
Michael Andersen reports on a country caught between independence and isolation.
Last Modified: 13 May 2009 07:38 GMT

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Although Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, has been holding talks with opposition leaders this week, the sense of crisis surrounding him shows little sign of diminishing.

Protestors in Tbilisi, the capital, have been calling for his resignation, furious at Georgia's humiliation by Russia in South Ossetia last August.

But the defeat in South Ossetia is only part of the problem.

When Russian tanks crossed Georgia's borders, 10,000 Russian soldiers were also moving into Abkhazia, another breakaway republic.

A few weeks later Russia recognised both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Nationalists in Abkhazia have always underpinned claims for its independence, by citing a distinct history, culture and political identity.

The West refused to accept these claims for autonomy and has now severed almost all relations with the breakaway Georgian state, though this seems only to have pushed the state deeper into Moscow's embrace and increased tensions in the region.

What lies behind Abkhazia's bid for independence? And could it lead to another war and yet more pressure on Saakashvili?

Michael Anderson reports for People & Power.

This episode of People & Power aired from Wednesday, May 13, 2009, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 0600, 1230; Thursday: 0130, 1400, 1930; Friday: 0630, 1630; Saturday: 0330, 2030; Sunday: 0030, 0530; Monday: 0830.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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