Sociocultural Running Estimate – War in Ukraine Peripheral Impacts: Abkhazia

Brief synopsis of this editions Running Estimates:

• Putin’s popularity peaked at 87% in March, coinciding with the presidential elections, before dropping two points to 85% in April. Support for the SMO remained generally steady at 75% in April, while support for a negotiated end to the war climbed back to 51% after a slight dip to 48% in March.

• Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, some Ukrainian officials have intermittently, and unsuccessfully, tried to influence Georgia to retake its lost territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. While this would in effect open a second front against Russia, most consider it to be a disastrous scenario for Tbilisi.

• The port at Ochamchira in Abkhazia is unlikely to be a significant base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet due to its geographic limitations for expansion. However, it could lead to the Russo-Ukraine war spreading if Ukraine was to attack Russian warships on “independent” or “Georgian” territory.

• Despite signals from Russia and pro-Russian elements within Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two “independent” states are not in lockstep with Russia. The vast majority of Abkhazians agree on independence from Georgia and would like to remain independent of Russia as well. However, there are some in Abkhazia who would like closer relations with Russia, including the possibility of joining the Russian Federation. The war in Ukraine further influences this desire.