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The War For Abkhazia: 25 Years Later
August 23, 2017
In August 1992, simmering ethnic tensions in Georgia's Abkhazia region exploded into a 13-month war which ended in a military victory for Abkhaz separatists but a political stalemate that continues today.
The Abkhaz war was one of most brutal and consequential conflicts sparked by the breakup of the U.S.S.R. For the separatists (pictured), it was a matter of restoring Abkhaz identity. For the Georgians, it was about stopping their country from being cut into pieces.
A resort in Abkhazia in 1973. The region's coastline was the favored holiday spot for the Soviet elite but, as the U.S.S.R. headed towards collapse, this jewel of the Georgian coast began to splinter along ethnic lines.
Elderly Abkhaz men with a visiting professor in the 1980s. Under Soviet rule, Abkhazia was initially a full-fledged republic, but in 1931 it was incorporated into Soviet Georgia by Josef Stalin. When this photo was taken, ethnic Abkhaz made up less than 18 percent of Abkhazia's population.
Soviet troops during a brutal crackdown on Georgian independence protesters in Tbilisi in 1989. As Georgian calls for independence from the U.S.S.R were growing louder, Abkhaz began to petition for their own republic inside the Soviet Union.
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