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    (October 12, 1999- )
    Capital city: Sukhumi
    Area: 3,256 sq. mi.
    Population: circa 180,000 (2007)
    Currency: Russian Ruble
    Languages: Abkhaz, Russian (both official), Georgian
    Broke away from Georgia (1993)
    Recognized by Russia (August 26, 2008), Nicaragua (September 5, 2008), Venezuela (September 10, 2009), and Nauru (December 15, 2009)
    Abkhaz separatists and their North Caucasian allies led by Shamil Basayev launched a campaign of ethnic cleansing against ethnic Georgians (October 1, 1992-September 27, 1993).
    The entire Western world is completely opposed to its independence.
    Its economy is so highly integrated with Russia that it risks becoming part of it.
    Ethnic Georgians have to endure discrimination, as they don’t own the local passport and can’t vote in elections.
    The Georgian government labeled it, along with South Ossetia, as ‘Russian-occupied territories’ right after Russia has recognized them both.
    Ironically, Georgia itself maintained an economic embargo on Abkhazia.
    Its proximity to Sochi has caused uncertainty on the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics.
    It is the home of the deepest known cave in the world, the Krubera (Voronya) Cave.
    Its people are some of the most hospitable in the world.
    Its people are well-known for their longevity, as some of its members even lived up to 100.
    It was a famous tourist attraction under the Soviet era.
    Under Stalin, the local culture was suppressed in favor of Georgian as many Georgians moved in there.
    To further aggravate the traumas of the local population, Georgian troops burned down the Abkhazian Research Institute of History, Language and Literature, which became a last straw that caused the war (August 14, 1992).
    Unlike South Ossetia, it sincerely wants full independence rather than annexation by Russia.
    If it has many similarities with Kosovo, then how come the United States doesn’t recognize Abkhazia and Russia doesn’t recognize Kosovo?

Credit: Big Lenny

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