Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

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Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Аҧснытәи Автономтә Советтә Социалисттә Республика
აფხაზეთის ავტონომიური საბჭოთა სოციალისტური რესპუბლიკა
Абхазская Автономная Советская Социалистическая Республика
Autonomous republic of the Georgian SSR


Flag of Abkhaz ASSR


"Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!"
Capital Sukhumi
Government Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
 •  Established 19 February 1931
 •  Disestablished 23 July 1991
Area 8,600 km2 (3,320 sq mi)

The Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic or Abkhaz ASSR (Abkhaz: Аҧснытәи Автономтә Советтә Социалисттә Республика; Georgian: აფხაზეთის ავტონომიური საბჭოთა სოციალისტური რესპუბლიკა; Russian: Абхазская Автономная Советская Социалистическая Республика, also known as Soviet Abkazhia or Abkazia) was an autonomous republic of the Soviet Union within the Georgian SSR. It came into existence in February 1931, when the Socialist Soviet Republic of Abkhazia (SSR Abkhazia or SSRA), originally created in March 1921, was transformed to the status of Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Georgian SSR.

The Abkhaz ASSR adopted its own constitution on 2 August 1937, the supreme organ of legislative power was the Supreme Soviet elected every 4 years and its Presidium. The executive power was vested with the Council of Ministers appointed by the Supreme Soviet, the Abkhaz ASSR had 11 representatives in the Council of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.



The Socialist Soviet Republic of Abkhazia (SSR Abkhazia) had been established in 1921 after the Red Army invaded Georgia. The SSR Abkhazia, which was united with the Georgian SSR later that year as a "treaty republic," existed until 1931, during this time it was granted considerable amounts of autonomy, by virtue of its unique status in relation to Georgia. However this concerned the Soviet and Georgian authorities, and it was reduced to that of other autonomous republics.[1] So on 19 February, 1931 the SSR Abkhazia was reformed as the Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, wholly under the control of Georgia, which itself was a constituent republic of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (TSFSR).[2]

The downgrading of Abkhazia was not a popular one amongst the Abkhaz population, the SSR Abkhazia had a considerable degree of autonomy, including its own national symbols (a flag and coat-of-arms), and national army units, a right only given to full republics.[3] It also had its own constitution, another right only granted to full republics.[4] When it was reformed into the Abkhaz SSR protests broke out in the region, the first time large-scale protests against the Soviet authorities had occurred there.[5]



The Abkhaz language had seen multiple changes in script during the Soviet era. Under korenizatsiia the Abkhaz were not considered one of the "advanced" peoples in the USSR, and thus saw an increased focus on their national language and cultural development,[6] as part of these policies, Abkhaz was Latinized in 1928, along with many other regional languages in the USSR, moving from the original Cyrillic-based script in the process.[7] This policy was reversed in 1938, with Cyrillic replacing most of the Latin alphabets. Abkhaz was one of the few exceptions; along with Ossetian in the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (also of the Georgian SSR), it adopted a Georgian script, which lasted until 1953 when it reverted back to Cyrillic (Ossetian did the same).[8]


  1. ^ Saparov 2015, p. 60
  2. ^ Blauvelt 2007, p. 212
  3. ^ Saparov 2015, pp. 50–56
  4. ^ Saparov 2015, p. 62
  5. ^ Lakoba 1995, p. 99
  6. ^ Martin 2001, pp. 23–24
  7. ^ Jones 1988, p. 617
  8. ^ Broers 2009, pp. 109–110


  • Anchabadze, Yu. D.; Argun, Yu. G. (2012), Абхазы (Abkhazians) (in Russian), Moscow: Nauka 
  • Blauvelt, Timothy (May 2007), "Abkhazia: Patronage and Power in the Stalin Era", Nationalities Papers, 35 (2): 203–232 
  • Broers, Laurence (June 2009), "'David and Goliath' and 'Georgians in the Kremlin': a post-colonial perspective on conflict in post-Soviet Georgia", Central Asian Survey, 28 (2): 99–118 
  • Hewitt, George, ed. (1998), The Abkhazians: A Handbook, New York City: St. Martin's Press 
  • Lakoba, Stanislav (1995), "Abkhazia is Abkhazia", Central Asian Survey, 14 (1): 97–105 
  • Lakoba, Stanislav (1990), Очерки Политической Истории Абхазии (Essays on the Political History of Abkhazia) (in Russian), Sukhumi, Abkhazia: Alashara 
  • Lakoba, Stanislav (2001), "Я Коба а ты Лакоба (I am Koba and you are Lakoba", in Iskander, Fasil, Мое сердце в горах: очерки о современной Абхазии (My heart is in the mountains: Essays on modern Abkhazia) (in Russian), Yoshkar Ola: Izd-vo Mariskogo Poligrafkombinata 
  • Saparov, Arsène (2015), From Conflict to Autonomy in the Caucasus: The Soviet Union and the making of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh, New York City: Routledge 
  • Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation (Second ed.), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press 
  • Zürcher, Christoph (2007), The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict, and Nationhood in the Caucasus, New York City: New York University Press 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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Coordinates: 43°00′N 41°01′E / 43.000°N 41.017°E / 43.000; 41.017