Narcotrafficing in Abkhazia

By Ramaz Mitaishvili, MD
The post Soviet era appears to be an era of unprecedented change. Nations are disintegrating in some places while in others they are forming supranational powers such as the European Union. Transnational threats such as narcotrafficing, crime and terrorism along with ecological problems, uncontrolled territories and large- scale population migration create new challenges for the legitimacy of governments. The Psou River gap between Georgia and Russia is ruled by drug lord bandit groups. Yet local separatist government claims sovereignty, not by the presence of police and villages and central plazas, but simply by lines on a paper map, that are meaningless to rural farmers on the ground, when a raping, torturing, kidnapping murdering bunch of Apsua bandits  come calling at all farms. Today Abkhazia (break away province of Georgia) is ungoverned area and violence and bandits rein supreme.
I think that the problem is a lot worse than people think. Apsua and Russian politicians have lined their pockets with dirty money from narcotrafficing. They get paid well, and then turn a blind eye to the whole situation, so the problem festers and violence is the residual effect. That's partially it, but it is also the ineffectiveness of the police force there that has let this get worse too; now the Georgian Army is the only one that can match the cartels with firepower.
People that live in Russian-Georgian border on River Psou make it a point to cross the border and sale drugs in Russia and then come back to Abkhazia. Drug cartels are the only ones with weight in Abkhazia and continue to throw grenades and arm themselves with that they use in normal neighborhoods.
It would be great for the Russia to be able to look at this and decry it as barbarism, but it only exists because of the Russian drug demand.
The drug violence and corruption going on and Bagapsh (self- proclaimed president of Apsny) hasn't really impacted situation to a large degree. Few rival drug cartels have been fighting for control of the Apsny and for a period there was at least one mangled body a day turning up.
Recently this Russian peacekeeper who had just returned from Chechnya was shot and killed down there when he and his friends got into an altercation with another group of men outside a coffee shop in Sukhumi. When it comes to politics and bandit armies in Abkhazia (break away province of Georgia), the Kremlins are never seeking to find ways to stop narcotrafficing from Abkhazia. One of the new phrases is "ungoverned space"… What is going on now in Abkhazia. Predominately Russian peacekeepers from the C.I.S. patrol the frontier that separate the provinces from the rest of Georgia, along with few United Nations military observers. All of Georgia citizens (Georgians, Armenians, Russians, Abkhazians and others among them) see the Russian peacekeepers as biased in favor of Russia, and wish to see them replaced by neutral international peacekeepers. Virtually Russian peacekeepers are preserving this “frozen conflict” to get funded from cartels. To proof opposite Russian government has to allow Georgian Border Guard in dealing with problems of border control on Psou River.

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