Inal Khashig
Journalist, editor of JAMnews. Abkhazia.

As we approach mid-summer, we have to admit that no end is in sight to the war in Ukraine. Although its millstones continue to grind up thousands of lives day by day, in terms of number of parties involved and other parameters the war has reached its limit. The stalemate on the battlefront, alas, has brought peace no closer. It has not compelled the warring sides to sit down at the negotiating table. On the contrary, they are raising the stakes in their game. Either Ukraine, with the full support of a united West, will bring Russia to its knees, or Russia will reduce Ukraine to a condition that satisfies the Kremlin.

Against the current background of politicians furiously competing to see who can pour yet more fuel onto the fire, Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili looks almost like a ‘white crow.’[1]

Of course, the idea of spiting Russia by ‘opening a second front’ and thereby solving the ‘Abkhaz’ and ‘South Ossetian’ problems once and for all, as the aroused masses wish, appears quite ‘timely’ but in reality is absolutely irresponsible.

Whatever labels may be attached to him,[2] Garibashvili’s rejection of this idea makes perfect sense. For the opening of such a ‘second front’ might cost Georgia not only a second ‘Mariupol’ – as the Georgian prime minister warns – but its very statehood.

Georgia, whatever forces might back and support it, will not survive a new military adventure. Third-party forces will return home, but Georgia may cease to exist as a sovereign state.

However, the same is true of Abkhazia.

In this contest between big players – Russia and the united West – it makes more sense for us little countries to keep our powder dry. Or, better yet, forget that we have any.

For the war between Georgia and Abkhazia that took place thirty years ago, despite the large number of casualties, was nonetheless a local conflict. And for this reason Georgians and Abkhaz were able to influence its course and outcome. But in a new war the decision-making centers will be not in Tbilisi and Sukhum but in Washington, Brussels, and Moscow. For a new Georgian-Abkhaz war will be a small fragment of a big war – that is, a small pawn in a big game. And in such games pawns are, as a rule, sacrificed without undue regret.  

In general, now it makes more sense to direct all our accumulated negative energy into a creative channel. Otherwise we shall not survive.

So in this difficult time for the world Georgia and Abkhazia – and not they alone, but the whole region of the Southern Caucasus – will survive not by ‘opening second fronts’ but by creating a regional oasis of peace and stable development.

It is clear that in neither the short nor the long term are Tbilisi, Sukhum, and Tskhinval going to find a common language regarding the status of territories, but in all other areas cooperation is quite possible.

In the current situation of global crisis, moreover, the unblocking of transportation corridors, the creation of new logistical centers, and the establishment of all sorts of economic and humanitarian interaction look quite promising as anti-crisis measures.  

From this point of view, the global crisis around Ukraine is not only a big knot of problems and challenges but also a small window of opportunity. At least for Georgia and Abkhazia there has emerged a chance to shift their frozen conflict onto another, more constructive plane.

And we must make use of this opportunity. Otherwise, when everything around us is on fire there will always be those who want to ‘open a second front.’


[1] Garibashvili has adopted a very cautious stance with regard to the war in Ukraine. While he has criticized the invasion of Ukraine, he has decided that Georgia will not join economic sanctions against Russia, he has prevented Georgian volunteers from flying to Ukraine to fight on the Ukrainian side, and he has rejected the proposal that Georgia ‘open a second front’ against Russia by attacking Abkhazia and South Ossetia (

[2] Domestic opponents have denounced Garibashvili as a ‘traitor.’