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Abkhazia

The meaning of «abkhazia»

Abkhazia[a] (/æbˈkɑːziə/ (listen)[10] or /æbˈkeɪziə/[11]) is a self-declared sovereign state that is recognized by most countries as an autonomous republic of Georgia.[12][13][14][15][16] It lies in the South Caucasus on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, south of the Greater Caucasus mountains in northwestern Georgia. It covers 8,660 square kilometres (3,340 sq mi) and has a population of around 240,000. Its capital is Sukhumi.

The status of Abkhazia is a central issue of the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict and Georgia–Russia relations. The polity is recognised as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria. While Georgia lacks control over Abkhazia, the Georgian government and most United Nations member states consider Abkhazia legally part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia.

The region had autonomy within Soviet Georgia at the time when the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s. Simmering ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz—the region's titular ethnicity—and Georgians—the largest single ethnic group at that time—culminated in the 1992–1993 War in Abkhazia, which resulted in Georgia's loss of control of most of Abkhazia, the de facto independence of Abkhazia and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians from Abkhazia.

Despite a 1994 ceasefire agreement and years of negotiations, the dispute remains unresolved. The long-term presence of a United Nations Observer Mission and a Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force failed to prevent the flare-up of violence on several occasions. In August 2008, Abkhaz and Russian forces fought a war against Georgian forces, which led to the formal recognition of Abkhazia by Russia, the annulment of the 1994 ceasefire agreement and the termination of the UN mission. On 28 August 2008, the Parliament of Georgia declared Abkhazia a Russian-occupied territory, with most United Nations member states agreeing.[17]

The Abkhazians call their homeland Аԥсны (Apsny, Aṗsny), popularly etymologised as "a land/country of the soul",[18] yet literally meaning "a country of mortals (mortal beings)".[19] It possibly first appeared in the seventh century in an Armenian text as Psin(oun), perhaps referring to the ancient Apsilians.[20] Although the term "Abkhazeti" first appeared in the Georgian annals, giving rise to the name Abkhazia. It was used to denote Abasgia proper and entire Western Georgia within the Kingdom of Georgia. In early Muslim sources, the term "Abkhazia" was generally used in the meaning of Georgia.[21][22] The Russian Абхазия (Abkhaziya) is adapted from the Georgian აფხაზეთი (Apkhazeti). Abkhazia's name in most languages are derived directly from the Russian.

The state is formally designated as the "Republic of Abkhazia" or "Apsny".[12]

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