Earlier this week, Russia and the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia finalized an agreement strengthening ties between Moscow and Sukhumi. The agreement, signed in Sochi on November 24, deepens cooperation between Abkhazia and Russia, effectively integrating Abkhazia’s foreign policy with Russia’s and creating a joint military structure that places Abkhazia’s military forces under the command of Russian officers.

Under the terms of Monday’s accord, Putin said Russia would grant 5 billion rubles ($111.4 million) to Abkhazia, whose population of 240,000 comprises a mix of ethnic groups.

The agreement, posted on the Kremlin website, envisages a “joint defense and security space” and stipulates Russian “protection of the state border of the Republic of Abkhazia with Georgia.”

It obliges Russia to facilitate “in every possible way” growing Abkhazia’s international ties and promoting its global recognition.

Moscow would also ease requirements for Abkhazia residents to obtain Russian citizenship, but it has not voiced plans to annex the territory. (Reuters, November 24)

Denunciations of the agreement, typical in the wake of recent aggressive Russian interventionist action in Eastern Europe, began rolling in almost immediately. Statements reflecting and underlining the increasingly hostile nature of Russian foreign policy in regards to the country’s so-called “near abroad” were stark, conveying the apprehension of state governments in the post-Soviet space of Eastern Europe.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) immediately declared its opposition to the agreement and warned of the possibility of growing impediments to peace in the Caucasus. The European Union also issued a statement condemning the agreement, citing a violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity and warning of a growing instability in the region: