The issue of allowing Russian citizens to buy property, in particular apartments and houses, in Abkhazia is not yet solved, Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh said on February 23.
“The issue requires serious consideration. There are lots of proposals on the matter. We will discuss them in the National Security Council, as well as within the government and with the opposition too,” Bagapsh told the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress.
During his visit to Moscow last week, Bagapsh firmly stated that Sokhumi would amend law and allow Russian citizens to acquire property in the breakaway region. He said that the law would apply only to houses and not to plot of lands; he also said fears that Russians would buy up Abkhazia were groundless.
On February 23 Bagapsh said it was the issue, which required “a thorough consideration.”
Early in February the Russian newspaper Moskovskij Komsomolets reported that property rights of Russian citizens were violated in Abkhazia with dozens, if not hundreds, of cases when houses were seized from Russians. Andrei Nesterenko, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, confirmed that there were such cases.
Although law in the breakaway region does not allows foreigners to buy property in Abkhazia, there are cases when Russians buy houses through various schemes bypassing the law. According the report by Moskovskij Komsomolets houses bought by Russians mainly belong to those Georgians who were forced out from the region in early 90s.
Bagapsh said that even though the law prohibited non-Abkhaz citizens to buy property in the region, “it’s not a secret that mainly Russians obtain Abkhaz citizenship, bypassing law, to buy houses.” He indicated that such a situation required legislative regulations.