Abkhazia Tightens Citizenship Law Amid Georgian Reintegration Challenges

Abkhazia’s parliament has recently advanced legislation that significantly tightens citizenship rules, barring individuals who have militarily opposed the region, including during the 1992-93 Georgian-Abkhazian war, and their families.

Legislative Restrictions on Citizenship

These amendments, unanimously passed in their first reading, extend prohibitions to anyone who has supported the Georgian armed forces or assisted in the Georgian occupation. The legislation also imposes a heightened residency requirement for citizenship, extending the necessary period from 10 to 25 years, and introduces a quota limiting simplified citizenship grants to 30 individuals per year, based on special merits or valuable skills.

Kobakhidze’s ambitions for Georgian Unity

This move coincides with statements from Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, who asserted on Georgia’s Independence Day:

“By 2030, together with our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers and sisters, a united and strong Georgia should become a full member of the European family.”

Kobakhidze’s remarks align with traditional Georgian political rhetoric that emphasizes the restoration of territorial integrity as essential to national aspirations, particularly in the contexts of EU and NATO membership.

Reintegration challenges

However, the prospect of reintegrating Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains challenging. The Georgian options are few: a military action seems unachievable due to Georgia’s limited ressources and Russia’s protective stance toward Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and peaceful negotiations are constrained by the independantist goals of these entities.

The government’s room for maneuver thus appears quite limited, making unification by 2030 highly unlikely in the current context of further separation advocated by Abkhazia.

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