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The Kosovo precedent

The west's recognition of Kosovo's independence has given fresh impetus to other separatist movements. Consider Abkhazia

By Shaun Walker   April 2008

There are four “breakaway states” in the former Soviet space: entities that were autonomous within their parent Soviet republics, and that when the Union collapsed in the early 1990s demanded their independence.

Some of them—like tiny South Ossetia, which demands independence from Georgia—are inconceivable as “real countries.” But Abkhazia, a strip of beautiful subtropical coastline on the Black sea, which was also part of Georgia during Soviet times, would probably be viable as an independent state.

Abkhazia’s population is around 170,000. About 90,000 of these are ethnic Abkhaz, who speak a throaty language with 64 letters. There is also a…

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