Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov, who is in charge of overseeing Moscow’s relations with breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, will arrive in Sokhumi amid political standoff between Abkhaz leader Alexander Ankvab and opposition, breakaway region’s secretary of security council Nugzar Ashuba told Apsnipress news agency on Wednesday.
Surkov, who was visiting Sokhumi last week, will be accompanied by deputy secretary of Russia’s security council Rashid Nurgaliyev, according to Ashuba.
Opposition leaders remain in control of the presidential administration, which the protesters, who want Abkhaz leader Alexander Ankvab’s resignation, took over late last night.
Ankvab, who had to leave presidential headquarter, after protesters broke into the premises, told Interfax news agency on Wednesday that he is “ready for a dialogue” with the opposition. He said that he remains in Abkhazia, but his exact location is not reported.
Opposition leaders, who mobilized several thousand protesters in Sokhumi center on May 27, are accusing Ankvab of “authoritarian” rule, inappropriate spending of Russian aid funds, and are blaming the Abkhaz leader for social problems in the breakaway region. Along with president’s resignation, they are also calling for constitutional reforms to give more powers to the legislative body.
Breakaway region’s Parliament is holding an extraordinary session on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing political standoff, according to the Abkhaz official news agency Apsnipress.
Meanwhile, pro-Ankvab political party, Amtsakhara, has called for an outdoor rally in Sokhumi at 4pm local time on Wednesday.
Echoing Ankvab’s remarks, Amtsakhara said that opposition’s actions, including takeover of the governmental building, was “a coup attempt.”
“Goal of the opposition leaders is to destabilize situation in order to achieve their political aims, first and foremost coming into power at any cost,” Amtsakhara said in a statement on May 28.
Leaders of opposition Coordinating Council, an umbrella group uniting four political parties and seven public movements, who were gathered in the presidential headquarters after it was taken over, holding a meeting there, were adamant about their calls for Ankvab’s resignation.
One of the key opposition figures, Raul Khajimba, a former KGB officer, who served as breakaway region’s vice-president in 2005-2009, said the Coordinating Council is “assuming responsibility” to secure functioning of state institutions.
“Those who were called leaders of this country have no moral right to again enter into this building,” Khajimba said.
“The President has fled… We will be accountable before those people who are standing outside this building,” said Beslan Butba, a businessman and chairman of the opposition Party of the Economic Development of Abkhazia.