Abkhazia is a de facto independent country located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. It has been recognized as an independent state by four UN member states. All other states regard it as being part of Georgia.
A Kingdom of Abkhazia existed during the Middle Age. Subsequently it became united with the Kingdom of Georgia. In the 16th century Abhkazia fell to Ottoman domination, and in the 19th century it was conquered by Russia.
Abkhazia became a republic within the Soviet Union in 1921. At first, Abkhazia was subordinated to the Georgian SSR only in some areas. Since 1931, it was fully incorporated into Georgia as an autonomous republic.
In the 1980s, Abkhaz nationalism demanded that Abkhazia be upgraded to full soviet socialist republic status, not subordinated to Georgia.
After Georgia had declared independence from the USSR in 1991, Abkhazia followed suit in 1992. Abkhaz forces backed by Russia fought a war against the Georgian army in 1992-1993. The Abkhaz forces won, Abkhazia consolidated itself as a de facto independent country, and more than 200,000 ethnic Georgians fled Abkhazia or fled it.
Yet another war erupted in 2008 between Russian-backed Abkhaz forces and Georgia, after the latter tried to put an end to Abkhaz and South Ossetian de facto independence. The Abkhaz side again won the war in only 5 days. Russian recognition of Abkhaz and South Ossetian independence followed suit.
Ever since, the successive Abkhaz governments have tried to combine efforts to cement the independence of Abkhazia with the maintenance of political, economic and military protection from Russia.
President: Raul Khajimba
Prime Minister: Artur Mikvabia
Distribution of seats of the People's Assembly (Parliament). 35 members (2012 election):
United Abkhazia - 4
Forum for National Unity of Abkhazia - 3
Independents - 27