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Military of Abkhazia
File:4849 89859177507 759067507 1855476 4707054 n.jpg
Founded 12 October 1992
Service branches Abkhazian Air Force
Abkhazian Army
Abkhazian Navy
Commander-in-Chief Sergei Bagapsh
Minister of Defence Mirab Kishmaria
Chief of Staff Anatoly Zaitsev
Foreign suppliers Russia Russia
Related articles
History Military history of Abkhazia
Ranks Military ranks of Abkhazia
File:4849 89862427507 759067507 1855517 2322154 n.jpg
Abkhazian guards in national dress cherkesska

The Abkhazian Armed Forces is the military of Abkhazia, a breakaway republic of Georgia, whose independence is recognized only by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.

The Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Abkhazian armed forced were officially created on 12 October 1992, after the outbreak of the 1992-1993 war with Georgia.[1] The basis of the armed forces was formed by the ethnic Abkhaz National Guard created early in 1992 prior to the outbreak of the war. During the war, the Abkhazian forces with the critical[citation needed] support from the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, Cossack volunteers and the Russian regular military units[citation needed] stationed in or near Abkhazia, succeeded in defeating the Georgian troops. After the war, about 80% of the ethnic Georgian population left the territory controlled by Abkhazian authorities[citation needed]. Most of the weapons come from the Russian airborne division base in Gudauta[citation needed], others were captured from Georgian forces.


Current situation

Georgia regards the Abkhaz armed forces as "unlawful military formations" and accuses Russia of supplying and training the Abkhaz troops, partly in exchange for Abkhaz land or hotels. The Abkhaz deny this, saying they bought what they have on the free market except for five sea cutters received from Russia and speedboats from the Abkhaz diaspora in Greece.[2] In March 2005, Abkhaz defense minister Sultan Sosnaliev admitted that the senior and middle-ranking officers in the Abkhaz army are regularly sent to Russia for 2-3 month training courses within the framework of the Russia's "Vystrel" (Shot) program.[3]

The (May 8, 2007) resigned de facto defence minister and a major contributor to the formation of Abkhazia's military,[4] Sultan Sosnaliev, is a Russian officer from the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (Russian Federation) and held the same post during the Abkhazian war, with the Chechen field commander and terrorist Shamil Basayev acting as his deputy. Similarly, the chief of staff, Major General Anatoly Zaitsev, is the former deputy commander of the Transbaikal Military District (now part of the Siberian Military District) in Russia. Another top official, Defense Minister Aleksandr Pavlushko is a Russian colonel and the former chief of staff of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia.[5] Georgia also regularly accuses Abkhazia of forcibly recruiting Georgian returnees from the Gali district into the armed forces.[2]

The Abkhaz military is primarily a ground force but includes small sea and air units. In 2006, an "anti-terrorist centre" of some 200 personnel was created under the de facto ministry of interior. The de facto minister of finance estimated, in 2006, that 35 per cent of Abkhazia’s budget was spent on the military and police.[2]


Structure of the Abkhazian Armed Forces.

According to the authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Abkhazian Land Forces are organised along the Swiss model - in time of peace they have personnel of 3,000 to 5,000 and in case of war further 40-50,000[6] reservists are called out. They are authorised to keep registered weapons at home. NOVOSTI (Russian News & Information Agency) gives the following army figures: 10,000-strong Abkhazian Self Defense Force wielding 60 tanks, including 40 T-72s, 85 artillery pieces and mortars, including several dozen with a 122-152-mm caliber and 116 armored vehicles of different types, also has numerous anti-tank weapons ranging from RPG-7 rocket launchers to Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).

The exact number and equipment remain unverifiable as no thorough international monitoring has ever been carried out in Abkhazia.




The Abkhazian Navy consists of three divisions that are based in Sukhumi, Ochamchira and Pitsunda. As of 2005 the first two of them had one PSKA "Grif" speed-boats each. The navy also includes several civil vessels that were equipped with guns and unguided rocket artillery systems. NOVOSTI (Russian News & Information Agency) gives the following naval figures: over 20 motor boats armed with machine-guns and small-caliber cannons.

Air force

The Abkhaz air force uses Russian and Soviet-built aircraft. It is a small force, which numbers only 7 aircraft, 3-4 helicopters, and 250 personnel.


  1. ^ "В Абхазии отметили 17 годовщину образования Вооруженных Сил республики" (in Russian). Администрация Президента Республики Абхазия. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b c Abkhazia Today. The International Crisis Group Europe Report N°176, 15 September 2006. Retrieved on May 27, 2007. Free registration needed to view full report
  3. ^ Abkhaz Defense Minister: Our Officers are Trained in Russia. Civil Georgia, Tbilisi. March 25, 2005. Retrieved on May 27, 2007.
  4. ^ News. The President of Abkhazia website. Retrieved on May 27, 2007.
  5. ^ Vladimir Socor Russia doubling its troops in Georgia's Abkhazia region, Eurasia Daily Monitor. Volume 5, Number 85. May 5, 2008.
  6. ^ 45,000 according to the Problems of the unrecognised states in the former USSR: South Caucasus by David Petrosyan; 40,000-50,000 according to the Caucasian-style militarism article of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta



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