Meeting of Raul Khadjimba (left) and Vladislav Surkov, July 3, 2019. Photo: press service of the President of Abkhazia, http://presidentofabkhazia.org/region/photogallery/289/

05 August 2019, 19:24

Surkov's visit outlines Kremlin's interests in presidential election in Abkhazia

It is not so important for the Kremlin who wins the presidential election in Abkhazia, while the stability in the region is of more importance for Moscow. This opinion was voiced by Alexander Krylov, a researcher from the Russian Academy of Science (RAS), when he commented on the meeting between Vladislav Surkov and Raul Khadjimba. The visit of the President Putin's aide to Abkhazia testifies to the support of the current president of the republic, objects Arthur Ataev, the associate professor at the Moscow State Institute of Culture (known as MGIK).

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 31, Vladislav Surkov, the Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide, who supervised the issues concerning Abkhazia in the Kremlin, met Raul Khadjimba, the president of the republic, to discuss the investment programme for 2020-2022.

Vladislav Surkov's visit to Abkhazia is connected with the Moscow's fears about possible complications at the presidential election in Abkhazia, believes Alexander Krylov, the head of the Centre for Post-Soviet Studies, the head of the Caucasus Sector of the Institute for World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"Meanwhile, there is no reason to believe that Moscow will support one of the candidates. I believe that Vladislav Surkov just voiced the desire of Moscow to hold the worthy election, as a result of which the population of Abkhazia will form the power it wants," Alexander Krylov noted.

The expert believes that Russia allocates money to Abkhazia to ensure stability in the region. "Moscow finances a significant part of the budget of Abkhazia, pays salaries to public sector employees, doctors, and so on, and people receive Russian pensions there. All of the above is very important for the population of Abkhazia and guarantees financial and economic security," the expert said.

The visit of Vladislav Surkov before the presidential election was not a signal for Raul Khadjimba that his chair could be "given" to another pro-government candidate, believes Caucasus expert Arthur Ataev, the assistant professor at the History Department of the MGIK.

"Vladislav Surkov clearly emphasized the prevailing economic component of his visit. It is clear this is a form of support for Raul Khadjimba," Arthur Ataev told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

According to the expert, it is Raul Khadjimba whom the Kremlin is considering as a partner. "However, the Russian foreign policy is becoming more flexible. I do not exclude the possibility that Moscow also arranged meetings with members of the opposition. Not at the level of Vladislav Surkov, but at a lower level," Arthur Ataev noted.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 5, 2019 at 01:21 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Gor Aleksanyan; Source: CK correspondent

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