During the 1990s

The economic situation in the republic after war was very hard and it was aggravated by the sanctions imposed in 1994 by the CIS. During the 1990s a lot of people of all ethnicities left Abkhazia mainly for Russia. Since 1997 Russia effectively dropped these sanctions which tremendously helped republic's economy.

The return of Georgians to Gali district of Abkhazia was halted by the fighting which broke out there in 1998. However approximately 40,000 have returned to Gali district since 1998, including persons commuting daily across the ceasefire line and those migrating seasonally in accordance with agricultural cycles. The rights of the Georgian returnees are, however, systematically violated by the Abkhaz separatist authorities who, among other serious infringements of international law, practice forced recruitment of young Georgians into the Abkhaz forces. Despite numerous requests from Georgia, the UN, and even Russia, Abkhazia’s separatist government resolutely opposes an opening of the UN human right office in Gali, the only city in Abkhazia with a Georgian plurality.    

After several peaceful years tourists again began to visit Abkhazia, however their number is very small comparing to the pre-war number and come chiefly from Russia.

In 2004 the so called presidential elections were held which caused much controversy when the candidate backed by outgoing president Vladislav Ardzinba and by Russia - Raul Khadjimba - was apparently defeated by Sergey Bagapsh. The tense situation in the republic led to the cancellation of the election results by the Supreme Court. After that the deal was struck between former rivals to run jointly — Bagapsh as a presidential candidate and Khajimba as a vice presidential candidate. They received more than 90% of the votes in the new election. Abkhazia’s politics and economics remain heavily dependent on Russia which, as many experts note, continues to support the secessionist movements in Georgia as an instrument of political pressure upon the country’s pro-Western government.