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Military of Abkhazia

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Title: Military of Abkhazia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Abkhazia, 2008 Achamkhara incident, War in Abkhazia (1992–93), 2006 Kodori crisis, Military of South Ossetia
Collection: Military of Abkhazia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Military of Abkhazia

Military of Abkhazia
Founded 12 October 1992
Service branches Abkhazian Air Force
Abkhazian Army
Abkhazian Navy
Commander-in-Chief Valeri Bganba
Minister of Defence Mirab Kishmaria
Chief of Staff Vladimir Vasilchenko
Foreign suppliers Russia
Related articles
History Military history of Abkhazia
Ranks Military ranks of Abkhazia

The Abkhazian Armed Forces is the military of Abkhazia.[notes 1]

The Russian airborne division base in Gudauta, others were captured from Georgian forces.

On 24 November 2014 the Russian Federation and government of Abkhazia signed a treaty of cooperation that assumes creation of united armed forces.[2]


  • Current situation 1
    • List of Chiefs of General Staff 1.1
  • Organization 2
    • Army 2.1
    • Navy 2.2
    • Air Force 2.3
  • Equipment 3
    • Combat vehicles 3.1
    • Artillery 3.2
    • Infantry weapons 3.3
    • Russian Troops 3.4
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6

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.[3] In March 2005, then Abkhazian defence 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.[4]

Sosnaliev himself is a Russian officer from the Gali district into the armed forces.[3]

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.[3]

On 8 May 2007, Minister of Defence and Vice Premier Sultan Sosnaliyev resigned.[6] He was succeeded as Defence Minister (but not as Vice Premier) by First Deputy Defence Minister Mirab Kishmaria, in an acting fashion from 10 May and permanently from 26 July onwards.[7]

On 14 April 2010, five Deputy Ministers of Defence were retired, including Chief of the Armed Forces Anatoli Zaitsev.[8] Aslan Ankvab was appointed acting First Deputy Minister of Defence and Chief of Staff. On 21 May 2010, Beslan Tsvishba was also appointed First Deputy Minister of Defence.[9] On 29 March 2011, Vladimir Vasilchenko succeeded Aslan Ankvab to become the new, permanent, Chief of Staff and First Deputy Minister of Defence.[10]

List of Chiefs of General Staff

# Name From Until President Comments
Sultan Sosnaliyev 11 October 1992 1993
Sergei Dbar 21 May 1993 [11] June 1996 [11]
Vladimir Arshba June 1997 2004 Vladislav Ardzinba
Mirab Kishmaria January 2007 [12] June 2007 [12] Sergei Bagapsh
Anatoli Zaitsev 14 April 2010 [8]
Aslan Ankvab 2010 29 March 2011
Vladimir Vasilchenko 29 March 2011 [10] 29 May 2011
29 May 2011 1 June 2014 Alexander Ankvab
1 June 2014 25 September 2014 Valeri Bganba
25 September 2014 Present Raul Khajimba


Structure of the Abkhazian Armed Forces.


According to the authorities of 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[13] reservists are called out. They are authorised to keep registered weapons at home.


The Abkhazian Navy consists of three divisions that are based in Sukhumi, Ochamchira and Pitsunda. Four ships Project 1204 Shmel class PBR, 657 (ex-AK-599), 658 (ex-AK-582), and 328 (ex-AK-248) were transferred from the Russian Navy in the late 1990s. An additional ship ex-AK-527 was also transferred and cannibalized for spares. The three Abkhaz ships did not take part in the 2008 South Ossetia conflict, but there state was unclear. As of 2005 the first two of them had one PSKA Project 1400M Grif ("Zhuk") class PC 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 Abkhazian Air Force uses Russian and Soviet-built aircraft. It is a small force, which numbers only 7 aircraft, 3-4 helicopters, and 250 personnel.


The exact numbers and types of equipment remain unverifiable as no thorough international monitoring has ever been carried out in Abkhazia. 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). Given the status of Abkhazia and recent armed conflict with Georgia a variety of equipment has been utilized by formations of the Abkhazian military, including inherited Soviet equipment, donated Russian weapons, impressed civilian gear, and items captured from the Georgians.

For aircraft, see Abkhazian Air Force

Combat vehicles

Vehicle Image Origin Quantity Role Notes
T-72 / 9 Main battle tank
T-55 / 53 Main battle tank
BMP-2 / Infantry fighting vehicle
BMP-1 / Infantry fighting vehicle Approximately 70-85 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers are in service
BTR-70 / Armored personnel carrier
BTR-60 / Armored personnel carrier
BM-21 "Grad" / 7 Multiple rocket launcher
9K37 Buk / Surface-to-air missile system
ZSU-23-4 / 6 Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon


Weapon Image Origin Quantity Role Notes
122 mm 2A18 / Field artillery About 80 towed field artillery pieces are in service
85 mm D-44 / Field artillery
120 mm mortar / Mortar About 42 mortars are in service; exact types are unspecified
82 mm mortar / Mortar
100 mm coastal defense gun KSM-65 Coastal artillery 2008 reactivate from storage; exact types and number are unspecified;[14]

Infantry weapons

Weapon Image Origin Quantity Role Notes
RPG-18 / Rocket launcher
RPG-7 / Rocket launcher
PK / Machine gun
RPK / Light machine gun
AS Val / Suppressed Assault rifle
AK-74 / Assault rifle
AK-47, AKM / Assault rifle Reserves only
Dragunov / Sniper rifle
Makarov / Pistol
F1 / Hand grenade
RGD-5 / Hand grenade

Russian Troops

Russia maintains a 3,500-strong force in Abkhazia with its headquarters in Gudauta, a former Soviet military base on the Black Sea coast north of the capital, Sukhumi, under a September 2009 agreement on military cooperation. The Gudauta base hosts Russia’s 131st separate motorized rifle brigade, equipped with at least 41 T-90 main battle tanks and 130 BTR-80 APCs.[15]


  1. ^ autonomous republic, whose government sits in exile in Tbilisi.


  1. ^ В Абхазии отметили 17 годовщину образования Вооруженных Сил республики (in Russian). Администрация Президента Республики Абхазия. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  2. ^ Russia and Abkhazia singed treaty of cooperation. BBC Russia. 24 November 2014
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Abkhaz Defense Minister: Our Officers are Trained in Russia. Civil Georgia, Tbilisi. March 25, 2005. Retrieved on May 27, 2007.
  5. ^, Министр обороны Абхазии ушел в отставку, (Abkhazian minister of defence resigns), 08.05.2007 ^
  6. ^ "Министр обороны". Кабинет Министров Республики Абхазия. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Министр обороны: "Увольнение ряда заместителей министра обороны произведено в связи с достижением ими предельного возраста пребывания на военной службе и на основании положения о порядке прохождения военной службы".".  
  8. ^ "Полковник Беслан Цвижба назначен первым заместителем министра обороны".  
  9. ^ a b "Владимир Васильченко назначен первым заместителем министра обороны, начальником Генерального штаба Вооруженных сил Абхазии".  
  10. ^ a b "Сегодня Сергею Дбару исполнилось бы 67 лет.".  
  11. ^ a b "Кишмария Мераб Борисович".  
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^
  14. ^


  • Давид Петросян (David Petrosyan). Проблемы непризнанных государств на постсоветском пространстве: Южный Кавказ (Problems of the unrecognised states in the former USSR: South Caucasus) (Russian)
  • Милитаризм по-кавказски (Caucasian-style militarism), Независимая Газета (Nezavisimaya Gazeta), 13.10.2001 (Russian)
  • Абхазский де-факто министр рассказывает о приоритетах, "Civil.Ge", Tbilisi 2005-01-04 (Russian)
  • Багапш приказал топить грузинские суда, Независимая Газета, 25.07.2005 (Russian)
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