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Russian State Agencies Buy Abkhaz Assets – Tbilisi Claims
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Jul.'07 / 17:50

Russian state agencies, a regional governor, a tycoon and a former prime minister are among those who have purchased assets in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, according to a document issued by the Georgian Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation.

The document lists 31 assets – mainly holiday villas, sanatoria and hotels – which have been sold recently by the Abkhaz secessionist authorities.

The Russian defense ministry, according to the document, owns three holiday villas in Gagra, Sokhumi and Gudauta and leases two sanatoria, both in Gagra.

Russian aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska is alleged to be the owner of Kholodnaia Rechka – Stalin's former holiday home.

Alexander Tkachev, Governor of Russia’s southern district of Krasnodar, on the Abkhaz border, is alleged to have bought 'Beria’s Dacha.’ Lavrenty Beria was the chief of Stalin’s secret police.

Sergei Kirienko, chief of Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), and Russia’s prime minister in the late 1990s, owns two wine factories in Abkhazia, according to the Georgian Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation.

The Russian ministries of Internal Affairs and Agriculture are also listed in the document as owners of some assets in Abkhazia. Other assets are owned by Abkhaz business people and one holiday villa in Gagra is owned by a Turkish firm, according to the Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation.

Authorities in Tbilisi have warned Russia against investing in the breakaway province.

“The sale of assets in Abkhazia is illegal, but unfortunately it still happens,” Gela Bezhuashvili, the Georgian foreign minister, said on July 9.

“Everyone should know," he said, "that the time will come when illegally purchased property will be returned to the legal owners.”

The National Bank of Georgia said recently it planned to ask foreign banks to freeze the accounts of Russian firms and individuals that had bought assets in Abkhazia.

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