Georgian-Abkhaz war, 1992-1993
How it was, a view from Tbilisi and Sukhum/i
How the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, one of the bloodiest in the Caucasus, began and developed in the 1990s. For the chronology, twenty major events before the outbreak of war and during were selected.

The chronology was compiled by experts Paata Zakareishvili in Tbilisi and Inal Khashig in Abkhazia. The authors also offered brief explanations as to why these events can be considered turning points or especially important in the chain of those tragic events, and the causal relationship between them.

Two versions, two views from both sides of the conflict - what they have in common, where they differ: an attempt to create a whole picture; a JAMnews project from Tbilisi and Sukhum/i.
During the Soviet period, Abkhazia was an autonomous republic within Georgia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Abkhazia sought to become an independent country; Tbilisi insisted that Abkhazia remain an autonomous republic within independent Georgia.

August 14, 1992 is considered the beginning of the war, and September 27, 1993 is considered the end of the military phase of the conflict. The war ended with the defeat of the Georgian armed forces. According to various sources, more than 13,000 people died, about 300,000 became refugees. Most of them are ethnic Georgians, most still cannot return.

In 1994, the parties signed in Moscow the “Agreement on a Ceasefire and Disengagement of Forces”, mediated by the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General. Large-scale violations of this agreement have been recorded three times, in 1998, 2001, and 2008.

Until 2008, the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Forces, fully staffed by Russian military personnel, were stationed in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone. The UN observation mission in Georgia also worked in the conflict zone and on the territory of Abkhazia.

After the five-day war over South Ossetia in August 2008, Russia recognized Abkhazia as an independent country. Diplomatic relations between Moscow and Tbilisi were severed.

Abkhazia's status was recognized, apart from Russia, by several countries of the “third world”. Georgia considers Abkhazia its own region occupied by Russia. Most of the international community considers Abkhazia a breakaway region of Georgia.
Beach in Sukhum/i, 1988
The banner says "Democracy"
"This is a war that will define everything"

1989

The Lykhny protest rendered the alienation between Georgian and Abkhaz societies irreversible. It was also the main catalyst for the tragedy in Tbilisi on April 9, 1989, when 22 people died during the dispersal of a peaceful rally. The gathering in Lykhny also contributed to the development of a national movement in the South Ossetian Autonomous Region.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The appeal outlined the history of Georgian-Abkhaz relations during the Soviet period. Based on the described facts of infringement of the rights of the Abkhaz people, the authors of the letter insisted that the only way out of the situation was to increase the political status of the republic within the USSR. In fact, an all-Abkhazian plebiscite took place that day.
Lykhny gathering in Abkhazia
In the village of Lykhny, Gudauta region of Abkhazia, on the initiative of the Abkhazian Popular Front "Aidgylara", a gathering of tens of thousands of representatives of the Abkhazian people took place. The participants approved an appeal on raising the political status of Abkhazia from then autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR to the Abkhaz SSR. The document was signed by representatives of the Abkhazian intelligentsia and government officials, including the first secretary of the regional committee of the CPSU Boris Adleiba, as well as the rector of the Abkhazian University, Aleko Gvaramia. More than 36,000 Abkhazians signed the appeal.
March 18
Lykhny gathering in Abkhazia. March 18
In the village of Lykhny, Gudauta region of Abkhazia, on the initiative of the Abkhazian Popular Front "Aidgylara", a gathering of tens of thousands of representatives of the Abkhazian people took place. The participants approved an appeal on raising the political status of Abkhazia from then autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR to the Abkhaz SSR. The document was signed by representatives of the Abkhazian intelligentsia and government officials, including the first secretary of the regional committee of the CPSU Boris Adleiba, as well as the rector of the Abkhazian University, Aleko Gvaramia. More than 36,000 Abkhazians signed the appeal.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
The Lykhny protest rendered the alienation between Georgian and Abkhaz societies irreversible. It was also the main catalyst for the tragedy in Tbilisi on April 9, 1989, when 22 people died during the dispersal of a peaceful rally. The gathering in Lykhny also contributed to the development of a national movement in the South Ossetian Autonomous Region.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The appeal outlined the history of Georgian-Abkhaz relations during the Soviet period. Based on the described facts of infringement of the rights of the Abkhaz people, the authors of the letter insisted that the only way out of the situation was to increase the political status of the republic within the USSR. In fact, an all-Abkhazian plebiscite took place that day.
Lykhny gathering
Georgian students and teachers at Abkhaz State University were shocked by the signature of the rector of the university under the Lykhny appeal. On May 14, 1989 they went on permanent strike demanding the secession of the Georgian sector. This process culminated in the division of the university. By decision of the Council of Ministers of the Georgian SSR, a branch of the Tbilisi State University was established in Sukhumi.

With the division of the university, the division of various public organizations on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia began on a national basis. The football team, the Writers' Union, the theater and many others were thus divided.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The events of April 9 in Tbilisi were a reaction to the Abkhazians’ demand to restore the status of Abkhazia as a union republic (as it existed during the formation of the USSR, from March 1921 to February 1931). The return of that status would mean the separation of Abkhazia from Georgia.

Abkhazia continued to communicate its demands for a status change to Moscow. At the Congress of Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in June 1989, Vladislav Ardzinba, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Abkhazian USSR, spoke of the oppression that the Abkhaz people had experienced from Georgia during the Soviet period. A faction of representatives of several autonomous republics was created in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which began to fight for raising their status.
The tragedy of April 9 in Tbilisi, the separation of Abkhaz State University and other organizations
On April 9, 1989 the Soviet army, with the help of tanks and toxic gas, cracked down on a peaceful demonstration for the independence of Georgia in Tbilisi. Twenty-one people died, hundreds were poisoned and injured. In May, various institutions in Abkhazia split along ethnic lines.
april-may
The tragedy of April 9 in Tbilisi, the separation of Abkhaz State University and other organizations. April-May
On April 9, 1989 the Soviet army, with the help of tanks and toxic gas, cracked down on a peaceful demonstration for the independence of Georgia in Tbilisi. Twenty-one people died, hundreds were poisoned and injured. In May, various institutions in Abkhazia split along ethnic lines.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Georgian students and teachers at Abkhaz State University were shocked by the signature of the rector of the university under the Lykhny appeal. On May 14, 1989 they went on permanent strike demanding the secession of the Georgian sector. This process culminated in the division of the university. By decision of the Council of Ministers of the Georgian SSR, a branch of the Tbilisi State University was established in Sukhumi.

With the division of the university, the division of various public organizations on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia began on a national basis. The football team, the Writers' Union, the theater and many others were thus divided.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The events of April 9 in Tbilisi were a reaction to the Abkhazians’ demand to restore the status of Abkhazia as a union republic (as it existed during the formation of the USSR, from March 1921 to February 1931). The return of that status would mean the separation of Abkhazia from Georgia.

Abkhazia continued to communicate its demands for a status change to Moscow. At the Congress of Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in June 1989, Vladislav Ardzinba, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Abkhazian USSR, spoke of the oppression that the Abkhaz people had experienced from Georgia during the Soviet period. A faction of representatives of several autonomous republics was created in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which began to fight for raising their status.
April 9 rally in Tbilisi before dispersal
The first fighting between Georgians and Abkhazians which resulted in casualties. The threat of war, which Georgian and Abkhazian societies feared most of all, became real.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
What happened brought no advantages to either side, but sharply increased
polarization of society and revealed the balance of power in the future large-scale conflict.
Initial bloodshed. Fighting between Abkhazians and Georgians in Sukhumi
The dispute between ethnic Georgians and Abkhazians over the division of the university escalated into an armed conflict. Fighting also took place in other cities of Abkhazia. The confrontation was especially tense in the Gali region. Fourteen people died and 137 were injured.
july 15-16
Initial bloodshed. Fighting between Abkhazians and Georgians in Sukhumi. July 15-16
The dispute between ethnic Georgians and Abkhazians over the division of the university escalated into an armed conflict. Fighting also took place in other cities of Abkhazia. The confrontation was especially tense in the Gali region. Fourteen people died and 137 were injured.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
The first fighting between Georgians and Abkhazians which resulted in casualties. The threat of war, which Georgian and Abkhazian societies feared most of all, became real.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
What happened brought no advantages to either side, but sharply increased
polarization of society and revealed the balance of power in the future large-scale conflict.
Soviet statues of a collective farmer and a worker are being removed in Tbilisi. Archive photo
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
This organization provided significant support to Abkhazia during the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-93. Through this organization, more than a thousand volunteers from the republics of the North Caucasus came to assist the Abkhazians.
Establishment of the Assembly of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus
Representatives of the Caucasian national movements held the first congress of the peoples of the Caucasus in Sukhumi, where they created the Assembly of mountain peoples of the Caucasus. The congress expressed support for the Abkhazian people, considering their rights in relations with Georgia to have been infringed upon. Subsequently, the Assembly was transformed into the Congress of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus. Georgian historiography pays little attention to this event.
august 25-26
Establishment of the Assembly of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus. August 25-26
Representatives of the Caucasian national movements held the first congress of the peoples of the Caucasus in Sukhumi, where they created the Assembly of mountain peoples of the Caucasus. The congress expressed support for the Abkhazian people, considering their rights in relations with Georgia to have been infringed upon. Subsequently, the Assembly was transformed into the Congress of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus. Georgian historiography pays little attention to this event.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
This organization provided significant support to Abkhazia during the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-93. Through this organization, more than a thousand volunteers from the republics of the North Caucasus came to assist the Abkhazians.

1990

Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The declaration codified, for the time, the full state power of the Abkhaz SSR on its territory. It declared the creation of "a sovereign socialist state based on the exercise by the Abkhaz nation of its inalienable right to self-determination and the supremacy of the will of the people in determining their own destiny." The Abkhaz SSR had its own coat of arms, flag and anthem.
Declaration "On State Sovereignty of the Abkhaz ASSR"
Deputies of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia adopted a declaration "On the state sovereignty of the Abkhaz ASSR" and a resolution "On legal guarantees for the protection of statehood in Abkhazia." Georgian historiography pays little attention to this event.
august 25
Declaration "On State Sovereignty of the Abkhaz ASSR". August 25
Deputies of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia adopted a declaration "On the state sovereignty of the Abkhaz ASSR" and a resolution "On legal guarantees for the protection of statehood in Abkhazia." Georgian historiography pays little attention to this event.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The declaration codified, for the time, the full state power of the Abkhaz SSR on its territory. It declared the creation of "a sovereign socialist state based on the exercise by the Abkhaz nation of its inalienable right to self-determination and the supremacy of the will of the people in determining their own destiny." The Abkhaz SSR had its own coat of arms, flag and anthem.

1991

Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
For Abkhazians and other ethnic groups living in the republic, the idea of ​​preserving the Soviet Union was perceived as an opportunity to avoid war. In the event of the collapse of the USSR, there was an understanding that Georgia would not leave Abkhazia alone and would definitely try to solve the “Abkhazian” issue by force.
Referendum on the preservation of the USSR
The majority of the inhabitants of Abkhazia participating in the referendum voted for the preservation of the USSR. However, the Georgian population of Abkhazia boycotted the referendum, as the Georgian authorities refused to take part in it. Georgian historiography pays little attention to this event.
march 17
Referendum on the preservation of the USSR. March 17
The majority of the inhabitants of Abkhazia participating in the referendum voted for the preservation of the USSR. However, the Georgian population of Abkhazia boycotted the referendum, as the Georgian authorities refused to take part in it. Georgian historiography pays little attention to this event.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
For Abkhazians and other ethnic groups living in the republic, the idea of ​​preserving the Soviet Union was perceived as an opportunity to avoid war. In the event of the collapse of the USSR, there was an understanding that Georgia would not leave Abkhazia alone and would definitely try to solve the “Abkhazian” issue by force.
"Dear thieves! The store is empty. Sorry!"
This agreement was a rare exception where the Georgian and Abkhaz sides agreed to specific terms and adhered to them. But three years later, on March 10, 1994, the Georgian Parliament assessed this move as a restriction of human political rights on the basis of ethnicity. The law was deemed "provocative of discrimination, apartheid and racist legislative practice", and was repealed by majority vote.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
These were the first democratic elections that could create the prospect of cooperation between the sides. But immediately after the elections, the bloc of Georgian representatives repeatedly rejected the decisions of the parliament, and from June 1992 boycotted the Supreme Council.
The first democratic elections to the
Supreme Council of Abkhazia
The elections were held according to a new electoral system agreed on in advance by the Georgian and Abkhaz sides. The idea was a quota of ethnic representation. Sixty-five mandates of the Supreme Council were distributed thus: Abkhazians received 28 mandates, Georgians 26, representatives of other nationalities 11. That way, none of the parties could unilaterally undertake to resolve constitutional issues. It was also decided to distribute the highest political offices in Abkhazia according to nationality.
september 29
The first democratic elections to the Supreme Council of Abkhazia. September 29
The elections were held according to a new electoral system agreed on in advance by the Georgian and Abkhaz sides. The idea was a quota of ethnic representation. Sixty-five mandates of the Supreme Council were distributed thus: Abkhazians received 28 mandates, Georgians 26, representatives of other nationalities 11. That way, none of the parties could unilaterally undertake to resolve constitutional issues. It was also decided to distribute the highest political offices in Abkhazia according to nationality.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
This agreement was a rare exception where the Georgian and Abkhaz sides agreed to specific terms and adhered to them. But three years later, on March 10, 1994, the Georgian Parliament assessed this move as a restriction of human political rights on the basis of ethnicity. The law was deemed "provocative of discrimination, apartheid and racist legislative practice", and was repealed by majority vote.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
These were the first democratic elections that could create the prospect of cooperation between the sides. But immediately after the elections, the bloc of Georgian representatives repeatedly rejected the decisions of the parliament, and from June 1992 boycotted the Supreme Council.

1992

Although the transfer of armed forces caused discontent among the non-Georgian population of Abkhazia, this did not lead to an escalation of the conflict.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The Supreme Council of Abkhazia almost unanimously demanded that this detachment immediately leave the territory of the republic. Georgian deputies also signed this demand. It was one of the final moments of unity in the Supreme Council, despite its ethnic division.
March of Captain Karkarashvili to Abkhazia
In early February 1992, by decision of the illegitimate Military Council of Georgia, which came to power in a military coup, parts of the Georgian National Guard under the command of Giorgi Karkarashvili entered Abkhazia to protect the railway and the Sukhumi airport. The Georgian military marched through the entirety of Abkhazia, stopping at the Georgian-Russian border, near the Psou River, and then went back.
February
March of Captain Karkarashvili to Abkhazia. February
In early February 1992, by decision of the illegitimate Military Council of Georgia, which came to power in a military coup, parts of the Georgian National Guard under the command of Giorgi Karkarashvili entered Abkhazia to protect the railway and the Sukhumi airport. The Georgian military marched through the entirety of Abkhazia, stopping at the Georgian-Russian border, near the Psou River, and then went back.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Although the transfer of armed forces caused discontent among the non-Georgian population of Abkhazia, this did not lead to an escalation of the conflict.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The Supreme Council of Abkhazia almost unanimously demanded that this detachment immediately leave the territory of the republic. Georgian deputies also signed this demand. It was one of the final moments of unity in the Supreme Council, despite its ethnic division.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
These and other unilateral decisions made it impossible for the Supreme Soviet, divided by ethnic quota, to function. It thus split into Georgian and Abkhazian factions. The Georgian delegation left the meetings of the Supreme Council, moved to another building and began to function as a separate structure.
The expulsion of the acting head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, split in power along ethnic lines
Abkhaz activists broke into the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Sukhumi and forcibly expelled the acting Minister of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia, an ethnic Georgian, Givi Lominadze. The Abkhaz also took advantage of political and personal conflict within the Georgian delegation of the Supreme Council and chose a candidate acceptable to them for the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Abkhazia. These two events caused indignation among the Georgian community in Abkhazia, leading to civil disobedience and a general strike. Abkhazian historiography pays little attention to this event.
june 24
The expulsion of the acting head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, split in power along ethnic lines. June 24
Abkhaz activists broke into the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Sukhumi and forcibly expelled the acting Minister of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia, an ethnic Georgian, Givi Lominadze. The Abkhaz also took advantage of political and personal conflict within the Georgian delegation of the Supreme Council and chose a candidate acceptable to them for the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Abkhazia. These two events caused indignation among the Georgian community in Abkhazia, leading to civil disobedience and a general strike. Abkhazian historiography pays little attention to this event.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
These and other unilateral decisions made it impossible for the Supreme Soviet, divided by ethnic quota, to function. It thus split into Georgian and Abkhazian factions. The Georgian delegation left the meetings of the Supreme Council, moved to another building and began to function as a separate structure.
This decision caused great dissatisfaction among the Georgian delegation of the Supreme Council. It was regarded as an attempt to legitimize the authoritarian regime and national exclusivity.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The authorities of Abkhazia called the return to the Constitution of 1925 an emergency measure, since Georgia had earlier returned to the Constitution of 1918, in which the status of Abkhazia was not provided for in any way.
Cancellation of the Constitution of the Abkhaz ASSR of 1978 and restoration of the Constitution of 1925
The Abkhaz group of deputies of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia arbitrarily restored the Constitution of the Abkhaz SSR of 1925, thereby annulling the Constitution of the Abkhaz ASSR of 1978. The name The name was changed to Abkhazia and a law on new state symbols was adopted.
july 23
Cancellation of the Constitution of the Abkhaz ASSR of 1978 and restoration of the Constitution of 1925. July 23
The Abkhaz group of deputies of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia arbitrarily restored the Constitution of the Abkhaz SSR of 1925, thereby annulling the Constitution of the Abkhaz ASSR of 1978. The name was changed to Abkhazia and a law on new state symbols was adopted.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
This decision caused great dissatisfaction among the Georgian delegation of the Supreme Council. It was regarded as an attempt to legitimize the authoritarian regime and national exclusivity.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The authorities of Abkhazia called the return to the Constitution of 1925 an emergency measure, since Georgia had earlier returned to the Constitution of 1918, in which the status of Abkhazia was not provided for in any way.
Up to this point, the government of Abkhazia saw its strategy only as keeping itself within the USSR. The message of August 12 was the first attempt to define future relations directly in the format of bilateral relations outside the Soviet Union.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Abkhazia wanted both to streamline its relations with Georgia and avoid military confrontation with Georgia with a federal treaty. However, the draft treaty was rejected by Tbilisi.
A proposal from the Abkhaz side to create a federation
The Chairman of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia, Vladislav Ardzinba, addressed the State Council of the Republic of Georgia with a proposal to sign a federal treaty which would define the powers of each party and the competence of the general authorities.
august 12
A proposal from the Abkhaz side to create a federation August 12
The Chairman of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia, Vladislav Ardzinba, addressed the State Council of the Republic of Georgia with a proposal to sign a federal treaty which would define the powers of each party and the competence of the general authorities.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Up to this point, the government of Abkhazia saw its strategy only as keeping itself within the USSR. The message of August 12 was the first attempt to define future relations directly in the format of bilateral relations outside the Soviet Union.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Abkhazia wanted both to streamline its relations with Georgia and avoid military confrontation with Georgia with a federal treaty. However, the draft treaty was rejected by Tbilisi.
From that moment the armed phase of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict had begun, which lasted until October 1993. Abkhazia argued that the introduction of a state of emergency in railway transport had not been agreed upon. Mobilization was announced, and several armed clashes took place in Ochamchira and Gulripsh. Abkhazian units tried to half the advance of Georgian troops but were not successful. On August 15, Georgian amphibious assault troops entered Gagra and raised the Georgian flag on the Russian-Georgian border. On August 18, Georgian troops entered Sukhumi.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The pretext of Georgian troops protecting the railway looked shaky, and it was with the entrance of Georgian troops that the railway was stopped and remains so to this day. In addition, the Georgian National Guard and the Mkhedrioni paramilitary units, from the first day of entering Abkhazia, participated in mass robberies of the non-Georgian population. The Supreme Council of Abkhazia regarded the actions of the State Council of Georgia as a "prepared occupation of the territory of sovereign Abkhazia" and called for popular resistance.

Georgian troops enter Abkhazia and the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhazian war. August 14
By August 1992, because of actions by supporters of former President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, railway traffic in western Georgia and Abkhazia was completely paralyzed. To remedy this situation, Chairman of the State Council of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze decided to introduce a state of emergency on the railway from August 15 to September 15. On August 14, Georgian troops began to move into Abkhazia.
Georgian troops enter Abkhazia and the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhazian war. August 14,
By August 1992, because of actions by supporters of former President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, railway traffic in western Georgia and Abkhazia was completely paralyzed. To remedy this situation, Chairman of the State Council of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze decided to introduce a state of emergency on the railway from August 15 to September 15. On August 14, Georgian troops began to move into Abkhazia.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
From that moment the armed phase of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict had begun, which lasted until October 1993. Abkhazia argued that the introduction of a state of emergency in railway transport had not been agreed upon. Mobilization was announced, and several armed clashes took place in Ochamchira and Gulripsh. Abkhazian units tried to half the advance of Georgian troops but were not successful. On August 15, Georgian amphibious assault troops entered Gagra and raised the Georgian flag on the Russian-Georgian border. On August 18, Georgian troops entered Sukhumi.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The pretext of Georgian troops protecting the railway looked shaky, and it was with the entrance of Georgian troops that the railway was stopped and remains so to this day. In addition, the Georgian National Guard and the Mkhedrioni paramilitary units, from the first day of entering Abkhazia, participated in mass robberies of the non-Georgian population. The Supreme Council of Abkhazia regarded the actions of the State Council of Georgia as a "prepared occupation of the territory of sovereign Abkhazia" and called for popular resistance.
According to the agreement, a significant number of Georgian troops had to leave the territory of Abkhazia. Informal armed detachments from the North Caucasus were also supposed to leave Abkhazia in full. The agreement reaffirmed the universally recognized principles of Georgia's territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders. The text of the final document was recognized by the UN Security Council as the main official document.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The document provided for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops, the exchange of prisoners of war, the return of refugees, and the resumption of the Abkhaz authorities’ activity throughout the republic. However, not a single point of the agreement was fulfilled. Both Georgian troops and North Caucasian units continued to hold their positions.
Moscow agreement
The first large-scale meeting on a resolution of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict took place in Moscow. The final document was signed by Eduard Shevardnadze, Vladislav Ardzinba, Boris Yeltsin, and leaders of all North Caucasus republics.
september 3
Moscow agreement. September 3
The first large-scale meeting on a resolution of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict took place in Moscow. The final document was signed by Eduard Shevardnadze, Vladislav Ardzinba, Boris Yeltsin, and leaders of all North Caucasus republics.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
According to the agreement, a significant number of Georgian troops had to leave the territory of Abkhazia. Informal armed detachments from the North Caucasus were also supposed to leave Abkhazia in full. The agreement reaffirmed the universally recognized principles of Georgia's territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders. The text of the final document was recognized by the UN Security Council as the main official document.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The document provided for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops, the exchange of prisoners of war, the return of refugees, and the resumption of the Abkhaz authorities’ activity throughout the republic. However, not a single point of the agreement was fulfilled. Both Georgian troops and North Caucasian units continued to hold their positions.
After the capture of Gagra, the Georgian population began to leave Abkhazian towns en masse. For several days there was complete chaos. Hundreds of civilians and military personnel were killed and wounded. The first prisoners of war, hostages, missing persons refugees resulted.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Because the Moscow agreements were not fulfilled, the Supreme Council of Abkhazia was faced with the task of breaking out of the blockade in which the republic found itself. Within two days the Abkhaz militia, together with a detachment of North Caucasian volunteers (about 500 fighters), took Gagra. By October 6, the Abkhaz fighters reached the Psou River at the border with Russia. The liberation of Gagra was the first victory in the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia against the Georgian aggressors [this is what the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993 is officially called in Abkhazia - JAMnews].
Battle for Gagra
In spite of the September 3 agreement, the ceasefire was violated regularly. The sides accused each other of not fulfilling the agreement. On October 1, Abkhazian troops launched an offensive against Gagra. On October 5, they captured the city and the Gagra region and raised the Abkhazian flag on the Georgian-Russian state border.
october 1-6
Battle for Gagra. October 1-6
In spite of the September 3 agreement, the ceasefire was violated regularly. The sides accused each other of not fulfilling the agreement. On October 1, Abkhazian troops launched an offensive against Gagra. On October 5, they captured the city and the Gagra region and raised the Abkhazian flag on the Georgian-Russian state border.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
After the capture of Gagra, the Georgian population began to leave Abkhazian towns en masse. For several days there was complete chaos. Hundreds of civilians and military personnel were killed and wounded. The first prisoners of war, hostages, missing persons and IDPs resulted.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Because the Moscow agreements were not fulfilled, the Supreme Council of Abkhazia was faced with the task of breaking out of the blockade in which the republic found itself. Within two days the Abkhaz militia, together with a detachment of North Caucasian volunteers (about 500 fighters), took Gagra. By October 6, the Abkhaz fighters reached the Psou River at the border with Russia. The liberation of Gagra was the first victory in the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia against the Georgian aggressors [this is what the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993 is officially called in Abkhazia - JAMnews].
Abkhazia regards the burning of the archives as an act of vandalism committed by Georgia and an attempt to destroy the historical memory and cultural identity of the Abkhaz people. Georgia denies this and claims that the buildings burned down due to accidental shelling.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Abkhazia regards the burning of the archives as an act of vandalism committed by Georgia and an attempt to destroy the historical memory and cultural identity of the Abkhaz people.
Burning of the State Archives of Abkhazia
In Sukhum/i, the Institute of the Abkhaz Language and Literature building and the State Archives of Abkhazia building caught fire almost simultaneously. The destruction of two scientific and archival centers at once raised suspicions of arson by the Georgian military.
october 22
Burning of the State Archives of Abkhazia. October 22
In Sukhum/i, the Institute of the Abkhaz Language and Literature building and the State Archives of Abkhazia building caught fire almost simultaneously. The destruction of two scientific and archival centers at once raised suspicions of arson by the Georgian military.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Abkhazia regards the burning of the archives as an act of vandalism committed by Georgia and an attempt to destroy the historical memory and cultural identity of the Abkhaz people. Georgia denies this and claims that the buildings burned down due to accidental shelling.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Abkhazia regards the burning of the archives as an act of vandalism committed by Georgia and an attempt to destroy the historical memory and cultural identity of the Abkhaz people.
Employees of the Institute of the Abkhaz language in front of the ashes of the Institute archive materials
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
This information caused a great stir in the Georgian Parliament. To alleviate the situation, Parliament Speaker Eduard Shevardnadze denied the signing of this agreement. Thus, this agreement was also not enacted.
Georgian-Abkhazian negotiations with the participation of Russian generals
Negotiations were held in Gudauta. Representatives of Georgia and Abkhazia signed an agreement under which Georgia undertook to withdraw its armed forces from Abkhazia. Abkhazian historiography pays little attention to this event.
December
13
Georgian-Abkhazian negotiations with the participation of Russian generals. December 13
Negotiations were held in Gudauta. Representatives of Georgia and Abkhazia signed an agreement under which Georgia undertook to withdraw its armed forces from Abkhazia. Abkhazian historiography pays little attention to this event.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
This information caused a great stir in the Georgian Parliament. To alleviate the situation, Parliament Speaker Eduard Shevardnadze denied the signing of this agreement. Thus, this agreement was also not enacted.
The helicopter flew from the city of Tkvarcheli controlled by Abkhaz troops to Gudauta. Abkhazia and Russia blamed the attack on a Georgian helicopter. Georgia denied the allegations and blamed the tragedy on Russian military manipulation.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Two Russian Air Force Mi-8 helicopters with refugees on board, carrying out humanitarian flights, flew from the besieged Tkuarchal to Gudauta on December 14, 1992. At 17:30, twelve minutes after takeoff at an altitude of 1900 meters above sea level, the helicopter with tail number "03", which was walking as a wingman, was hit by a surface-to-air missile. The missile was fired from territory controlled by the troops of the State Council of Georgia. The helicopter crashed in the town of Lata, Gulripsha district.

The incident aggravated the humanitarian situation in the besieged mining town of Tkuarchal. Due to the risk of being shot down, the frequency of humanitarian flights with the delivery of food to the city and the removal of refugees decreased. For Abkhazians, December 14 is considered one of the most tragic dates of the war.
Helicopter with Abkhazian refugees shot down
A Russian military helicopter was shot down near the town of Lata in the Gulripsha district of Abkhazia. There were 87 people on board, including the crew, 35 children and 8 pregnant women, all of whom perished in the crash.
december12
Helicopter with Abkhazian refugees
shot down. December 12
A Russian military helicopter was shot down near the town of Lata in the Gulripsha district of Abkhazia. There were 87 people on board, including the crew, 35 children and 8 pregnant women, all of whom perished in the crash.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
The helicopter flew from the city of Tkvarcheli controlled by Abkhaz troops to Gudauta. Abkhazia and Russia blamed the attack on a Georgian helicopter. Georgia denied the allegations and blamed the tragedy on Russian military manipulation.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Two Russian Air Force Mi-8 helicopters with refugees on board, carrying out humanitarian flights, flew from the besieged Tkuarchal to Gudauta on December 14, 1992. At 17:30, twelve minutes after takeoff at an altitude of 1900 meters above sea level, the helicopter with tail number "03", which was walking as a wingman, was hit by a surface-to-air missile. The missile was fired from territory controlled by the troops of the State Council of Georgia. The helicopter crashed in the town of Lata, Gulripsha district.

The incident aggravated the humanitarian situation in the besieged mining town of Tkuarchal. Due to the risk of being shot down, the frequency of humanitarian flights with the delivery of food to the city and the removal of refugees decreased. For Abkhazians, December 14 is considered one of the most tragic dates of the war.

1993

It was the largest attack on Sukhumi at that time. The nature and scale of this operation demonstrated that it was planned not only by Abkhazia, but that the Russian armed forces played an important role as well. About 600 Abkhaz soldiers and more than 100 Georgian soldiers were killed in the attack.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
During the offensive, 222 soldiers were killed, 23 went missing. The March offensive was one of the bloodiest operations during the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia. In no other combat operation during the entire war did the Abkhazian army suffer similar losses.
Unsuccessful Abkhaz attack on Sukhum/i
The Abkhaz army launched a large-scale operation to liberate Sukhum/i. A massive blow was dealt by land, sea and air forces from the Gumista River. The armed forces of Georgia stopped the attack.

march 15-19
Unsuccessful Abkhaz attack on Sukhum/i. March 15-19
The Abkhaz army launched a large-scale operation to liberate Sukhum/i. A massive blow was dealt by land, sea and air forces from the Gumista River. The armed forces of Georgia stopped the attack.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
It was the largest attack on Sukhum/i at that time. The nature and scale of this operation demonstrated that it was planned not only by Abkhazia, but that the Russian armed forces played an important role as well. About 600 Abkhaz soldiers and more than 100 Georgian soldiers were killed in the attack.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
During the offensive, 222 soldiers were killed, 23 went missing. The March offensive was one of the bloodiest operations during the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia. In no other combat operation during the entire war did the Abkhazian army suffer similar losses.
Georgian military in Abkhazia, 1993
On July 10, Georgia managed to squeeze the Abkhaz units in the direction of Tkvarcheli and regain their lost positions by opening a railway and highway.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Abkhazian historians consider the July offensive of the Abkhazian army to be a turning point in the war. After a series of unsuccessful offensives, the Abkhaz troops again tried to liberate territories occupied by the Georgian army. While the initial task was to liberate Sukhum, the the task of this operation was to take the mountainous environs of the city. This made the positions of the Georgian troops very vulnerable. In fact, Sukhum and the Georgian troops stationed there ended up encircled as a result of the operation. Both fronts, Gumista and Eastern, were involved in the offensive.

Abkhazian army offensive and
turning point in the war
In early July, the Abkhaz military landed from the sea near the village of Tamysh. They broke through the positions of the Georgian side and occupied the railway and highway. These roads were of decisive importance for the transfer of Georgian military units to Sukhum/i, which was controlled by the Georgian side.
july
Abkhazian army offensive and turning point in the war. July
In early July, the Abkhaz military landed from the sea near the village of Tamysh. They broke through the positions of the Georgian side and occupied the railway and highway. These roads were of decisive importance for the transfer of Georgian military units to Sukhum/i, which was controlled by the Georgian side.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
On July 10, Georgia managed to squeeze the Abkhaz units in the direction of Tkvarcheli and regain their lost positions by opening a railway and highway.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
Abkhazian historians consider the July offensive of the Abkhazian army to be a turning point in the war. After a series of unsuccessful offensives, the Abkhaz troops again tried to liberate territories occupied by the Georgian army. While the initial task was to liberate Sukhum, the the task of this operation was to take the mountainous environs of the city. This made the positions of the Georgian troops very vulnerable. In fact, Sukhumi and the Georgian troops stationed there ended up encircled as a result of the operation. Both fronts, Gumista and Eastern, were involved in the offensive.
Georgia fully complied with the agreement. Only two observation posts remained on the Gumista River, battalions disbanded, heavy equipment was moved toward Poti.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The July agreement was the result of a successful offensive by Abkhazia: the Abkhaz military completely blocked Sukhum and troops of the State Council were completely surrounded. Russia forced the Abkhazians to agree to a truce. This agreement is the first international document wherein Abkhazia is recognized as an independent territory. Georgia was forced to agree with the withdrawal of its troops, since at that time it was not able to keep Sukhumi by military means. Otherwise, Georgia would not have agreed to it.
The signing of a truce in Sochi
On the suggestion of Russia, party representatives signed an agreement in Sochi "On a ceasefire between Abkhazia and Georgia and a mechanism for monitoring its observance."
july 27
The signing of a truce in Sochi. July 27
On the suggestion of Russia, party representatives signed an agreement in Sochi "On a ceasefire between Abkhazia and Georgia and a mechanism for monitoring its observance."
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Georgia fully complied with the agreement. Only two observation posts remained on the Gumista River, battalions disbanded, heavy equipment was moved toward Poti..
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
The July agreement was the result of a successful offensive by Abkhazia: the Abkhaz military completely blocked Sukhum and troops of the State Council were completely surrounded. Russia forced the Abkhazians to agree to a truce. This agreement is the first international document wherein Abkhazia is recognized as an independent territory. Georgia was forced to agree with the withdrawal of its troops, since at that time it was not able to keep Sukhum by military means. Otherwise, Georgia would not have agreed to it.
In early September 1993, former President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia flew to Samegrelo from Chechnya. He held rallies in the cities of Samegrelo and met with the military in Gali and Ochamchire. Abkhazia condemned the transfer of pro-Gamsakhurdia troops to the Gali region, considering their actions a violation of the July 27 agreement, and resumed strikes on already-disarmed Sukhumi. The arrival of Gamsakhurdia was the decisive reason for Abkhazia and Russia accusing Tbilisi of violating the July 27 agreement.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
For the Abkhaz side, this operation put everything at stake. At this time in Moscow, the confrontation between President Yeltsin and the Supreme Soviet reached a pitch. Just a week after the liberation of Sukhum, fighting would break out in Moscow and tanks would be fired at parliament. Another Zviadist uprising was going on in Georgia. Now or never, that was the choice before the leadership of Abkhazia.
The fall / liberation of Sukhum/i

The climax of the war. After fierce fighting, the Abkhaz units occupied the center of Sukhumi. The assault on the capital of Abkhazia lasted eleven days. Shevardnadze left the city. The Georgian army retreated towards the Kodori Gorge and on September 30 completely left the territory of Abkhazia.

september 27

The fall / liberation of Sukhum/i. September 27
The climax of the war. After fierce fighting, the Abkhaz units occupied the center of Sukhum/i. The assault on the capital of Abkhazia lasted eleven days. Shevardnadze left the city. The Georgian army retreated towards the Kodori Gorge and on September 30 completely left the territory of Abkhazia.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
In early September 1993, former President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia flew to Samegrelo from Chechnya. He held rallies in the cities of Samegrelo and met with the military in Gali and Ochamchire. Abkhazia condemned the transfer of pro-Gamsakhurdia troops to the Gali region, considering their actions a violation of the July 27 agreement, and resumed strikes on already-disarmed Sukhumi. The arrival of Gamsakhurdia was the decisive reason for Abkhazia and Russia accusing Tbilisi of violating the July 27 agreement.
Why it’s important in Abkhazian historiography
For the Abkhaz side, this operation put everything at stake. At this time in Moscow, the confrontation between President Yeltsin and the Supreme Soviet reached a pitch. Just a week after the liberation of Sukhum, fighting would break out in Moscow and tanks would be fired at parliament. Another Zviadist uprising was going on in Georgia. Now or never, that was the choice before the leadership of Abkhazia.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
The fact that the population walked along the Kodori Highway shows that the evacuation was spontaneous and chaotic. The highest political office of Georgia did not have any plan for the evacuation of the population. There was no organized intelligence service in the country, and there was no communication between the opposing sides.
Escape of Georgian IDPs through Svaneti
After the fall of Sukhumi, the population followed the army. Tens of thousands of people, without food or warm clothes, went on foot through the high mountain pass of Chuberi. Abkhazian historiography pays little attention to this event.
september
Escape of Georgian IDPs through Svaneti. September
After the fall of Sukhumi, the population followed the army. Tens of thousands of people, without food or warm clothes, went on foot through the high mountain pass of Chuberi. Abkhazian historiography pays little attention to this event.
Why it’s important in Georgian historiography
The fact that the population walked along the Kodori Highway shows that the evacuation was spontaneous and chaotic. The highest political office of Georgia did not have any plan for the evacuation of the population. There was no organized intelligence service in the country, and there was no communication between the opposing sides.
Georgian IDPs in Kodori
September 30 ⁠— the end of the Georgian-Abkhazian war
The active part of the war was over. Part of the territory of Abkhazia in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge remained under the control of Georgia. But peace was still far away.
In the following years, skirmishes and full-scale hostilities erupted in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone, such as the six-day war in the Gali region in 1998.

A civil war broke out in Georgia. In October 1993, military forces associated with Gamsakhurdia occupied several important cities and transport hubs in Samegrelo and Imereti, but failed to capture Kutaisi.

The Russian armed forces supported Shevardnadze's government and expelled Gamsakhurdia's supporters. The pro-Gamsakhurdia fighters switched to partisan methods of struggle. Then, on December 31, Zviad Gamsakhurdia died under unclear circumstances.

After the end of the armed phase of the conflict, UN activity picked up ⁠— several resolutions were adopted, an observation mission in the conflict zone (UNOMIG) was created, and discussions began on the creation of peacekeeping forces. In view of internal strife, in March 1994 the Georgian government decided to join the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In April 1994, the Georgian and Abkhaz sides appealed to the UN with a request to include a contingent of Russian troops in the peacekeeping forces. The parties agreed that Abkhazia will have its own constitution, legislation and relevant state apparatus.

On September 2, 1994, during Georgian-Abkhazian negotiations, the parties confirmed that, in accordance with the agreement of April 4, 1994, the Commonwealth of Independent States had deployed peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone.
Authors
Paata Zakareishvili, Tbilisi
Inal Khashig, Sukhum

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