Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Sunday celebrated the 10th anniversary of their recognition as independent states by Russia. The Russian diplomatic move came in August 2008 shortly after the four-day Georgia-Russia War. Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia as a result.
Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday (24 August) recieved in Moscow the leaders of the two protectorates that unilaterally seceded from Georgia in the 1990s, and have since been firmly entrenched within the Russian sphere. President Putin has reaffirmed Russia's committment to the two entitites despite the fact that only a handful of other countries have joined Russia in extending diplomatic recognition. The international community overwhelmingly still consider Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be part of Georgia. This was once more firmly stated on Friday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Georgia. Chancellor Merkel also made it a point to visit the demarcation line with South Ossetia, that the Russians and the Ossetians have been trying to turn into an international border.
In the meantime celebrations took place over the weekend in Abkhazia and South Ossetia where people consider the day of recognition of Russia as their day of independence.
photo: Russian president Putin meeting with the leaders of the self-declared republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Moscow on 24 August 2018 (picture courtesy of the press service of the president of Russia)
On 20 January 26,000 Soviet troops entered Baku and massacred large numbers of civilians who were calling for the restoration of Azerbaijan independence. In Azerbaijan the day is often referred to as Black January.