Abkhazian Armed Forces
Армия Аҧсны Аҳәынҭқарра
Вооружённые силы Республики Абхазия
MottoFor Our Fatherland
Хапсадгып Азы
За Наше Отечество
Founded12 October 1992; 28 years ago (1992-10-12)[1]
Service branches
Abkhazian Army
Abkhazian Navy
Abkhazian Air Force
Leadership
Commander-in-chiefAslan Bzhania
Prime MinisterAlexander Ankvab
Minister of DefenceColonel General Vladimir Anua
Chief of StaffVasily Lunev
Manpower
Active personnel3,000 - 5,000
Industry
Foreign suppliers Russia
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of Abkhazia
Abkhazian War
Six-Day War of Abkhazia
Kodori Crisis
Russo-Georgian War
RanksMilitary ranks of Abkhazia

The Abkhazian Armed Forces (Russian: Вооружённые силы Абхазии) are the military forces of Abkhazia.[notes 1] The forces were officially created on 12 October 1992, after the outbreak of the 1992-1993 war with Georgia.[2] The basis of the armed forces was formed by the ethnic Abkhaz National Guard. The Abkhaz military is primarily a ground force but includes small sea and air units. According to the authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Abkhazian Land Forces are organised along the Swiss model - in time of peace they have personnel of 3,000 to 5,000 and in case of war further 40-50,000[3] reservists are called out. Georgia regards the Abkhaz armed forces as "unlawful military formations" and accuses Russia of supplying and training the Abkhaz troops.

History

The Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Abkhazian armed forces were officially created on 12 October 1992, after the outbreak of the 1992-1993 war with Georgia.[2] The basis of the armed forces was formed by the ethnic Abkhaz National Guard created early in 1992 prior to the outbreak of the war. It also takes its roots from the Separate Regiment of Internal Troops, which was disbanded in 1991.[4] During the war, the Abkhazian forces - with the critical support from the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, Cossack volunteers and Russian regular military units[5][6] stationed in or near Abkhazia - succeeded in defeating the Georgian troops; Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, Russians and Abkhaz were killed.[7] Roughly 200,000 to 250,000 Georgian civilians became Internally displaced persons (IDPs).[8][9][10][11] Most of the military's weapons come from the Russian airborne division base in Gudauta,[12][13] while others were captured from Georgian forces.

On 24 November 2014, the governments of Abkhazia and Russia signed a treaty of cooperation that creates a joint force of troops from the two countries.[14] In September 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a proposal to finance the modernization of the Abkhazian Armed Forces.[15]

Current situation

Georgia regards the Abkhaz armed forces as "unlawful military formations" and accuses Russia of supplying and training the Abkhaz troops, partly in exchange for Abkhaz land or hotels. The Abkhaz deny this, saying they bought what they have on the free market except for five sea cutters received from Russia and speedboats from the Abkhaz diaspora in Greece.[16] In March 2005, then Abkhazian defence minister Sultan Sosnaliev admitted that the senior and middle-ranking officers in the Abkhaz army are regularly sent to Russia for 2–3 month training courses within the framework of the Russia's "Vystrel" (Shot) program.[17]

Sosnaliev himself is a Russian officer from the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (Russian Federation) and held the same post during the Abkhazian war, when Chechen field commander and militant Shamil Basayev was his deputy. Similarly, former chief of staff, Major General Anatoly Zaitsev had previously served as deputy commander of the Transbaikal Military District (now part of the Siberian Military District) in Russia. Another top official, Deputy Defence Minister Aleksandr Pavlushko is a Russian colonel and the former chief of staff of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia.[18] Georgia also regularly accuses Abkhazia of forcibly recruiting Georgian returnees from the Gali district into the armed forces.[16]

The Abkhaz military is primarily a ground force but includes small sea and air units. In 2006, an "anti-terrorist centre" of some 200 personnel was created under the de facto ministry of interior. The de facto minister of finance estimated, in 2006, that 35 per cent of Abkhazia's budget was spent on the military and police.[16]

On 8 May 2007, Minister of Defence and Vice Premier Sultan Sosnaliyev resigned.[19] He was succeeded as Defence Minister (but not as Vice Premier) by First Deputy Defence Minister Mirab Kishmaria, in an acting fashion from 10 May and permanently from 26 July onwards.[20]

On 14 April 2010, five Deputy Ministers of Defence were retired, including Chief of the Armed Forces Anatoli Zaitsev.[21] Aslan Ankvab was appointed acting First Deputy Minister of Defence and Chief of Staff. On 21 May 2010, Beslan Tsvishba was also appointed First Deputy Minister of Defence.[22] On 29 March 2011, Vladimir Vasilchenko succeeded Aslan Ankvab to become the new, permanent, Chief of Staff and First Deputy Minister of Defence.[23]

On 18 May 2015, retired Russian army general Anatoly Khrulyov was appointed Chief of the General Staff by President Raul Khajimba.[24]

Organisation

Military leadership

From # President # Minister for Defence # Chief of the General Staff
1992 Parliamentary republic 1 Vladimir Arshba 1 Sultan Sosnaliyev
1993
2 Sultan Sosnaliyev 2 Sergei Dbar
1994
1 Vladislav Ardzinba
1995
1996
3 Vladimir Mikanba 3 Vladimir Arshba
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
4 Raul Khajimba
2003
5 Viacheslav Eshba
2004
2005
2 Sergei Bagapsh 6 Sultan Sosnaliyev 4 Anatoli Zaitsev
2006
2007
7 Mirab Kishmaria
2008
2009
2010
Aslan Ankvab
2011
3 Alexander Ankvab 5 Vladimir Vasilchenko
2012
2013
2014
Valeri Bganba
4 Raul Khajimba
2015
6 Anatoly Khrulyov
Structure of the Abkhazian Armed Forces.
Structure of the Abkhazian Armed Forces.

Army

According to the authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Abkhazian Land Forces are organised along the Swiss model - in time of peace they have personnel of 3,000 to 5,000 and in case of war further 40-50,000[3] reservists are called out. They are authorised to keep registered weapons at home.

Army Formations

Military Districts

Navy

The Abkhazian Navy consists of three divisions that are based in Sukhumi, Ochamchire and Pitsunda. Four ships Project 1204 Shmel class PBR, 657 (ex-AK-599), 658 (ex-AK-582), and 328 (ex-AK-248) were transferred from the Russian Navy in the late 1990s.[citation needed] An additional ship ex-AK-527 was also transferred and cannibalized for spares.[citation needed] The three Abkhaz ships did not take part in the 2008 South Ossetia conflict, but their state was unclear. As of 2005 the first two of them had one PSKA Project 1400M Grif ("Zhuk") class PC speed-boats each. The navy also includes several civil vessels that were equipped with guns and unguided rocket artillery systems. NOVOSTI (Russian News & Information Agency) gives the following naval figures: over 20 motor boats armed with machine-guns and small-caliber cannons.

Air Force

Main article: Abkhazian Air Force

The Abkhazian Air Force uses Russian and Soviet-built aircraft. It is a small force, which numbers only 7 aircraft, 3-4 helicopters, and 250 personnel.

Education

Equipment

The exact numbers and types of equipment remain unverifiable as no thorough international monitoring has ever been carried out in Abkhazia. NOVOSTI (Russian News & Information Agency) gives the following army figures: 10,000-strong Abkhazian Self Defense Force wielding 59 tanks, including 9 T-72s, 92 artillery pieces and mortars, including several dozen with a 122-152-mm caliber and 36 armored vehicles of different types, also has numerous anti-tank weapons ranging from RPG-7 rocket launchers to Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).[26] Given the status of Abkhazia and recent armed conflict with Georgia a variety of equipment has been utilized by formations of the Abkhazian military, including inherited Soviet equipment, donated Russian weapons, impressed civilian gear, and items captured from the Georgians.

For aircraft, see Abkhazian Air Force

Tanks, IFVs and APCs

Model Image Origin Type Number Notes
Tanks
T-72
 Soviet Union
 Russia
Main battle tank 9
T-55
 Soviet Union Main battle tank 50
Infantry fighting vehicles
BMP-2
 Soviet Union Russia Infantry fighting vehicle 25
Armoured personnel carriers
BRDM-2
 Soviet Union Amphibious Armoured Scout Car 11
Air defence
9K37 Buk
 Soviet Union
 Russia
Surface-to-air missile system
ZSU-23-4
 Soviet Union
 Russia
Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon 5

[26]

Artillery

Model Image Origin Type Number Notes
Artillery
BM-21 "Grad"
 Soviet Union Multiple rocket launcher 14
122 mm 2A18
 Soviet Union Field artillery About 90 towed field artillery pieces are in service (2019)
85 mm D-44
 Soviet Union Field artillery
120 mm mortar
 Soviet Union Mortar About 42 mortars are in service; exact types are unspecified
82 mm mortar  Soviet Union Mortar
KSM-65 100 mm coastal defense gun
 Soviet Union Coastal artillery In 2008 some were reactivate from storage; exact types and number are unspecified;[27]

[26]

Small arms

Model Image Origin Type Number Notes
RPG-18
 Soviet Union Rocket launcher
RPG-7
 Soviet Union Rocket launcher
PK
 Soviet Union Machine gun
RPK
 Soviet Union Light machine gun
AS Val
 Soviet Union Suppressed Assault rifle
AK-74
 Soviet Union Assault rifle
AKM
 Soviet Union Assault rifle Reserves only
AK-47
 Soviet Union Assault rifle Reserves only
Dragunov
 Soviet Union Sniper rifle
Makarov
 Soviet Union Pistol
F1
 Soviet Union Hand grenade
RGD-5
 Soviet Union Hand grenade

Russian troops

Russia maintains a 3,500-strong force in Abkhazia with its headquarters in Gudauta, a former Soviet military base on the Black Sea coast north of the capital, Sukhumi, under a September 2009 agreement on military cooperation. The Gudauta base hosts Russia's 131st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, equipped with at least 41 T-90 main battle tanks and 130 BTR-80 APCs.[28]

Symbols

Notes

  1. ^ Abkhazia is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia. The Republic of Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence on 23 July 1992, but Georgia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory and designates it as a territory occupied by Russia. Abkhazia has received formal recognition as an independent state from 7 out of 193 United Nations member states, 1 of which has subsequently withdrawn its recognition.

References

  1. ^ "11 октября – день создания Вооружённых сил Республики Абхазия | Новости Приднестровья" (in Russian). Novostipmr.com. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  2. ^ a b В Абхазии отметили 17 годовщину образования Вооруженных Сил республики (in Russian). Администрация Президента Республики Абхазия. 2009-10-09. Archived from the original on 2013-01-12. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  3. ^ a b 45,000 according to the Problems of the unrecognised states in the former USSR: South Caucasus Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine by David Petrosyan; 40,000-50,000 according to the Caucasian-style militarism article of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta
  4. ^ 11.10.201911.10.2019. "Вооруженным силам Республики Абхазия – 27 лет – Министерство обороны ПМР". Mopmr.org. Retrieved 2021-02-10.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-10-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Rusiant-Georgian War 1992–93
  7. ^ Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow by S. A. Chervonnaia and Svetlana Mikhailovna Chervonnaia, pp 12–13
  8. ^ Abkhazia Today. Archived 2007-05-10 at the Wayback Machine The International Crisis Group. Europe Report N°176 – 15 September 2006, page 23. Free registration needed to view full report
  9. ^ "RECOMMENDATION 1305 (1996) on the humanitarian situation of the displaced persons in Georgia". Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Durable Solutions for the Long-Term Displaced". Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  11. ^ "European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – European Union promotes Justice Reform and support to Internally Displaced People in Georgia". Europa.eu. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  12. ^ Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia and the Russian Shadow. Gothic Image Publications, 1994
  13. ^ White Book of Abkhazia. 1992–1993 Documents, Materials, Evidences. Moscow, 1993.
  14. ^ [1]. The Guardian. 25 November 2014
  15. ^ Kolodyazhnyy, Anton; Antidze, Margarita; Balmforth, Tom (September 23, 2019). Osborn, Andrew; Osmond, Ed (eds.). "Russia to fund modernization of army in breakaway Georgian region: Putin". Reuters. Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a government proposal to bankroll the modernization of the armed forces in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, a government document published online showed on Monday.
  16. ^ a b c Abkhazia Today. Archived 2007-05-10 at the Wayback Machine The International Crisis Group Europe Report N°176, 15 September 2006. Retrieved on May 27, 2007. Free registration needed to view full report
  17. ^ Abkhaz Defense Minister: Our Officers are Trained in Russia. Civil Georgia, Tbilisi. March 25, 2005. Retrieved on May 27, 2007.
  18. ^ Vladimir Socor Russia doubling its troops in Georgia's Abkhazia region Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine, Eurasia Daily Monitor. Volume 5, Number 85. May 5, 2008.
  19. ^ Regnum.ru, Министр обороны Абхазии ушел в отставку, (Abkhazian minister of defence resigns), 08.05.2007
  20. ^ "Министр обороны". Кабинет Министров Республики Абхазия. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  21. ^ "Министр обороны: "Увольнение ряда заместителей министра обороны произведено в связи с достижением ими предельного возраста пребывания на военной службе и на основании положения о порядке прохождения военной службы"". Apsnypress. 29 April 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  22. ^ "Полковник Беслан Цвижба назначен первым заместителем министра обороны". Apsnypress. 21 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  23. ^ "Владимир Васильченко назначен первым заместителем министра обороны, начальником Генерального штаба Вооруженных сил Абхазии". Apsnypress. 29 March 2011. Archived from the original on 2 April 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  24. ^ "Russian Gen. Appointed as Chief of Army of Breakaway Abkhazia". Civil Georgia. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  25. ^ Интервью министра обороны Республики Абхазия генерал-полковника Мираба Кишмария[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ a b c Степанов, Александр (2019-10-07). "Сухумский фронт. Финансирование армии Абхазии ляжет на российский бюджет". Версия (in Russian). Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-11-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Russian Troops in Abkhazia to Get Air-Conditioned APCs". RIA Novosti. 19 April 2013. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  29. ^ "11 октября – День рождения Абхазской армии". Нужная газета (in Russian). 2019-10-11. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-07-15. Retrieved 2020-07-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Город Герой — Ткуарчал + 4 водопада — экскурсия на "Тонкостях туризма"". Tonkosti.ru. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  32. ^ "Абхазские города Гудаута и Ткуарчал удостоены почетного звания". Vesti.ru. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-07-12. Retrieved 2020-07-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Bibliography