Abkhaz Leader’s Former Aide Discusses Tbilisi Visit Reasons

Benur Kviraia, the former aide to Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania, whose recent visit to Tbilisi sparked protest in Sokhumi, discussed today the reasons behind his controversial trip, noting that he visited the Georgian capital in his private capacity to attract investments for Abkhazia.

Kviraia stressed that in Tbilisi he did not act on behalf of the Abkhaz leader. On the contrary, he said, Bzhania disapproved of his travel plans unless he resigned from the post, which prompted him to file resignation on February 19.

“I visited Georgia [proper] and will go [there] again, this is my private visit. I went there to attract large investments for our motherland,” Kviraia went on, adding that “I want to build a port, big hotels, I want to bring a lot of money to Abkhazia so that my people … do not live like beggars, but live well.”

Kviraia then scolded the Abkhaz opposition, saying that “the people who politicized everything… to do not want anything good” for Abkhazia.

“Do you have some kind of program to improve our economy, there is some kind of social program that would help our women, children, increase teachers’ salaries, or shall we constantly be subsidized by Russia?” he asked the Abkhaz opposition.

“Why are they judging me? Am I the only one who travels to Georgia? All of our sick [people] are getting treatment in Georgia [proper],” Kviraia added.

Scores of Abkhaz opposition supporters rallied in downtown Sokhumi to protest Kviraia’s visit to Tbilisi on February 25. The Abkhaz People’s Movement, an opposition outfit, said Kviraia traveled on Bzhania’s instructions, in agreement with the Abkhaz security service. It claimed that by sending his aide to Tbilisi to “negotiate direct economic and trade relations,” Bzhania “crossed the red line.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)