The Georgian–Abkhazian conflict refers to the ethnic conflict between Georgians and Abkhazians in Abkhazia, which is a de facto independent, partially recognized republic. In a broader sense, the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict can be considered as part of a geopolitical conflict in the Caucasus region, intensified at the end of the 20th century in conjunction with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The conflict, one of the bloodiest in the post-Soviet area, remains unresolved. The Georgian government offered substantial autonomy to Abkhazia several times. However, both the Abkhaz government and the opposition refuse any forms of union with Georgia. Abkhaz consider their independence to be a result of a war of liberation from Georgia, while Georgians believe that historically Abkhazia has always been part of Georgia. Georgians formed the single largest ethnic group in pre-war Abkhazia, with a 45.7% plurality as of 1989. Many accuse Eduard Shevardnadze’s government of the initiation of senseless hostilities, and then of ineffective conduct of the war and post-war diplomacy. During the war, the Abkhaz separatist side carried out a full scale ethnic cleansing campaign which resulted in the expulsion of up to 250,000 ethnic Georgians and more than 15,000 killed. The ethnic cleansing of Georgians has been recognized officially by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conventions of Lisbon, Budapest and Istanbul (also mentioned in UN General Assembly Resolution GA/10708). The UN Security Council passed a series of resolutions in which it appeals for a cease-fire.
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“Humankind has understood history as a series of battles because, to this day, it regards conflict as the central facet of life.”
—Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (18601904)