Drawing heavily on Georgian sources, the author offers readers a unique opportunity to appreciate why the Abkhazians and South Ossetians have seen no alternative to resisting the threats emanating from Tbilisi by refusing to join an independent Georgia.
George Hewitt’s “Discordant Neighbours: A Reassessment of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian Conflicts” is the most authoritative account of the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, especially since the ‘Five-Day War’ in August 2008.
In this book Hewitt takes aim at many of the myths propagated by Georgia and its Western allies that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Russian ‘puppets’, that Russia and its so-called ‘puppets’ started the war in 2008, that Georgians were/are the victims of ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, etc. Indeed, Hewitt argues that the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are largely the creation of Georgia’s own chauvinistic policies against the country’s non-Kartvelian minorities, including Abkhaz, Ossetian, Armenian, Azeri, etc. Hewitt draws many parallels between the chauvinistic policies of post-Soviet Georgia and the current conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and those of Menshevik-controlled Georgia in the early 1920s.
What makes this book so impressive is Hewitt’s wealth of knowledge. As a specialist in Caucasian languages, with a Ph.D. in linguistics, Hewitt is fluent in Georgian, Abkhaz, and other Caucasian languages, making it possible for him to use sources otherwise unavailable to Western scholars. Moreover, Hewitt has lived in Abkhazia, is an honorary professor at Abkhazian State University, and has interviewed several important actors in Abkhazia, such as Vladislaw Ardzinba (first President of Abkhazia), as well as (I think) Sergei Bagapsh (second President of Abkhazia), and Stanislav Lakoba (former Secretary of the Security Council in Abkhazia, Professor of Archeology, Ethnology and History at the Abkhazian State University, and a distant relative of Nestor Lakoba). Hewitt’s knowledge and close relationship with Abkhazia has even earned him the wrath of Georgian leaders.
After reading this book, I think Stalin was well justified in highlighting the danger of local nationalism in the USSR, especially that of Georgia.
Bias! Untrustworthy sources. Poor history backup. Mostly Apsny (so-called Abkhazians) and Russian materials. Lets simplify something as complicated as Caucasian history of nations. Apsny were always minority (max 20%) in Abkhazian region. This territory has always been the land of Mingrelians (descendents of Colchis). It does not matter if you check the historical records from BC, 10th Century or newer maps, where cities of Abkhazia are named in association with Mingrelians, e.g. Porto Megrelo (name of Sokhumi on Italian maps from medieval times), maps from 5th century where you see that Abkhazia is under the rule of Dadiani (Mingrelian). Apsny (and Abazgy) are the tribe from Krasnodar region, they mostly migrated during Levan 2 Dadiani war with the Kingdom of Imereti and then Russian Empire cleansing (vast majority migrated to Turkey). Abkhazia has been their home, but so is for millions of Mingrelian and Svan people.
Another simple question you can ask is who are the famous Abkhazians? Kings? Writers? Philosophers? Nobel? They will mention King Leon, who was from Anchabadze dynasty (does the ending of the surname ring any bells?).
Abkhazia and whole west part of Georgia has been divided into small and large (?) kingdoms, sometimes all regions were separate, sometimes they were united under Imereti kingdom or Mingrelo-Lazi kingdoms of Colchis/Egrisi/Abkhazia/Lazika/Mingrelia (names depend which surname was ruling and who mentioned them in history books).