Vladislav Surkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide in charge of overseeing Moscow’s relations with breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, was in Sokhumi on February 16 where he said that despite of difficulties in Russia, Moscow will not cut pledged financial aid for Abkhazia.
After signing new treaty on “alliance and strategic partnership” with breakaway Abkhazia on November 24, 2014, Russia announced about intention to provide to Abkhazia at least 9.2 billion rubles (at the time over USD 205 million and now about USD 146.4 million) in financial aid in 2015.
“We reiterate Russia’s commitments – both the previous and the new one, undertaken as a result of signing of our new treaty,” Surkov told journalists in Sokhumi after meeting Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba.
“I want to remind you that over 4 billion rubles was envisaged for development projects in Abkhazia and after the signing of the agreement this amount was increased by 5 billion rubles – so it more than doubled,” Surkov said.
“There is not an easy situation in Russia today, we all know it; there are budgetary spending cuts, but the President [Vladimir Putin], upon the request of vice-premier [Alexander] Khloponin, decided not to cut spending related to supporting Abkhazia,” he said.
“What was planned – those more than 9 billion rubles – will be fully provided to the Abkhaz leadership and the government. Of course we have to see how to best invest this money – it is up to the Abkhaz side to decide, you know it better how to spend and for what purposes this [money],” Surkov said.
He also said that the investment agency, established in Russia for the purpose of “development of Abkhazia”, has about 3 billion rubles, which is on top of the Russian budgetary funds for Abkhazia.
“I think we have absolutely understandable and optimistic future,” Surkov added.
Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba said after the meeting that “everything that has been agreed in frames of the treaty signed [in November] will be implemented.”
“I want to disappoint everyone, who says that Abkhazia may not get all those opportunities that have been voiced by the Russian side. Everything will be implemented; it will be possible to increase pensions and salaries,” Khajimba said.
He also said that infrastructure projects, among them related to road and water supply systems, will also be implemented, as well as projects aimed at “development of economy.”