New treaties bring Abkhazia, South Ossetia even closer to Russia

Abkhaz government approves new agreement to establish security and economic common spaces with the Russian Federation · More than 30,000 demonstrate in Georgia's capital Tbilisi against Abkhazia-Russia deal · South Ossetia prepares similar agreement on "integration" with Rusia, announces establishment of diplomatic relations with Donetsk, Luhansk

The Abkhaz government gave earlier this week its approval to a new treaty that will further strengthen the ties between this Caucasian republic and the Russian Federation. According to Abkhaz official news agency Apsny Press, the cabinet agreed on a deal on "alliance and strategic partnership," after an earlier, Russian-drafted version of the text has been amended to include several proposals by the Abkhaz side.

The draft version spoke of "integration" and foresaw a higer degree of Abkhazia's dependence on Russia than the version that has finally been backed by the government of Abkhazia. Regarding the initial draft version, Parliament of Abkhazia Speaker Valerii Bganba said last month that "in many respects, it is a loss of sovereignty."

Despite changes introduced in the second version, Abkhazia has accepted the creation of "common defense and security" and "common economic and social" spaces, alongside a "coordinated foreign policy." The treaty confirms that Abkhaz laws on custom issues should be "harmonized" with Eurasian Union norms. The Eurasian Union is a common market and customs union established by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan earlier this year.

The agreement should be signed by the President of Abkhazia before entering into force, which could happen before the end of 2014.

Abkhazia and another Caucasian republic, South Ossetia, broke away from Georgia at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2008, Russia recognized them as independent states, and put them under de facto military control.

The growing rapprochement of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Russia was one of the reasons why last Sunday more than 30,000 people marched in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Protesters called for firmer action by the Georgian government against perceived phased annexation of the two self-proclaimed republics by Russia.

New Russia-South Ossetia treaty

South Ossetia is also preparing a new treaty on "integration" with Russia, as announced earlier this week by the chief of staff of the South Ossetian presidency, Boris Chochiev. The agreement will allow inter-state relations to reach "a qualitatively new level," "first of all in the military sphere," Chochiev argued.

Moreover, the government of South Ossetia said it has launched preparations to establish diplomatic relations with the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic. Both republics broke away from Ukraine in April 2014. According to South Ossetian Minister of Foreign Affairs David Sanakoyev, "Donetsk and Luhansk need our support urgently."