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Gali District, Abkhazia

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Title: Gali District, Abkhazia  
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Gali District, Abkhazia

Gali District
გალის რაიონი
Гал араион
Гальский район
Location of Gali district in Abkhazia
Location of Gali district in Abkhazia
Country Georgia
De Facto state  Abkhazia[1]
Capital Gali
 • Governor Temur Nadaraia Acting
Population (2003)
 • Total 29,287
Time zone MSK (UTC+3)
Area differs from the administrative division of Georgia[2]
Gali district is largely in the UN security zone

Gali district is a district of Tkvarcheli District, formed by de facto Abkhaz authorities in 1995.

Gali district was populated almost entirely by Georgian regional subdivision, in the pre-war Abkhazia. The majority of Georgians fled the district following the inter-ethnic clashes in 1993–1994 and again in 1998. From 40,000 to 60,000 refugees have returned to Gali district since 1998, including persons commuting daily across the ceasefire line and those migrating seasonally in accordance with agricultural cycles. Gali district is now the only district of Abkhazia with ethnic Georgians constituting clear majority.

The population of the district was 29,287 according to the 2003 census conducted in Abkhazia but that figure is questioned by many international observers;[3] it was estimated at 45 thousand in 2006 although Abkhazian authorities contested this number claiming that at least 65,000 refugees had returned.[4]

Together with the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.


Historically, the present-day Gali district constituted the borderland between the principalities of Imperial Russia established its protectorate over Mingrelia in 1804. In 1840, however, Russia outrightly annexed Samurzakano. In the 1860s–70s, the Abkhaz revolts and the systematic persecution of Muslim population at the hands of Russian authorities forced many Abkhaz to become Muhajirs to the Ottoman possessions. The Orthodox Christian population of Samurzakano remained relatively unaffected though. The decline in Abkhaz population left Mingrelian a dominant culture in the area. Furthermore, some Georgian peasants from the left bank of the Inguri River also emigrated to the right bank into Abkhazia where weaker practices of serfdom prevailed.

Samurzakan in 1899

The rate of intermarriages between the Georgians and Abkhaz was high that resulted in the mixed heritage of the district's population and the introduction of the special category "Samurzakanians" in the 1897 Imperial Russian census. This group was made up chiefly by the Mingrelians with a minority of Abkhaz. 38% and 35% of the district's population identified themselves as [3]

The subsequent history of Samurzakano/Gali basically follows that of modern Abkhazia, which became an autonomous entity within the Joseph Stalin, from 1944/5 to 1953, Abkhaz schools were closed and cultural institutions were suppressed which is sometimes seen as an attempt at the assimilation of Abkhaz into Georgians.

At the height of the [4]


According to 2003 census, the population of the district included:[3]

  • Georgians (98.7%)
  • Russians (0.5%)
  • Abkhaz (0.4%)
  • Armenians (0.1%)
  • Greeks (0.1%)

Human rights

In the Georgian-populated areas in Gali district, where local authorities are almost exclusively made up of ethnic Abkhaz, the human rights situation remains precarious. The United Nations and other international organizations have been fruitlessly urging the Abkhaz de facto authorities "to refrain from adopting measures incompatible with the right to return and with international human rights standards, such as discriminatory legislation… [and] to cooperate in the establishment of a permanent international human rights office in Gali and to admit United Nations civilian police without further delay."[5]

The security situation in the district improved since February, 2006 and was generally calm in 2006.[4][6] However, both Abkhaz and Georgian criminal networks continue to harass the locals. Georgia regularly criticizes the Abkhaz authorities and the Russian peacekeeping forces for failing to assure the local population's safety and prevent human rights abuses.[4] It proposed, on February 3, 2003, to create a joint Georgian-Abkhaz administration in Gali, but the Abkhaz side rejected the proposal.[7] The [4]

Georgia has also reported several cases of forcible recruitment of Georgian returnees into the [8]

After the passportization", forced conscription into the Abkhaz military forces and restrictions on their freedom of movement."[10]

On July 31, 2009, the breakaway region's Parliament passed amendment to the law making ethnic Georgians living in Gali district eligible for the Abkhaz citizenship. The move triggered wave of protest among opposition groups forcing the Parliament to revoke its decision on August 6.[11]


On 11 February 1991, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Georgia dismissed [12]

After the March 2004 Assembly elections, Yuri Kvekveskiri was appointed Administration Head, while Kishmaria became Chairman of the Assembly.[13] Kvekveskiri did not participate in the March 2007 elections, but remained acting Administration Head until Beslan Arshba was appointed as his successor on 23 May 2007.[14]

On 2 June 2014, following the 2014 Abkhazian political crisis, acting President Valeri Bganba dismissed Beslan Arshba, as had been demanded by protesters, and appointed his Deputy Vakhtang Maan as acting District Head.[15] After the election of Raul Khajimba as President, he on 11 November appointed Temur Nadaraia as Acting Head in Maan's stead.[16]

List of District Governors

# Name From Until President Comments
Chairmen of the District Soviet:
Rabo Shonia ? 11 February 1991 [12]
Edisher Janjulia 11 February 1991 [12] ?
Heads of the District Administration:
Vazha Zarandia December 1993 [17] April 1994 [17]
Ruslan Kishmaria May 1994 [18] 26 November 1994
26 November 1994 1997 [18] Vladislav Ardzinba
Valeri Lomia 1997 1998
Ruslan Kishmaria 1998 [18] March 2004
Yuri Kvekveskiri March 2004 [13] 2005
2005 23 May 2007 [14] Sergei Bagapsh
Beslan Arshba 23 May 2007 [14] 26 September 2011
26 September 2011 2 June 2014 [15] Alexander Ankvab
Vakhtang Maan 2 June 2014 [15] 11 November 2014 [16] Valeri Bganba Acting
Temur Nadaraia 11 November 2014 [16] Present Raul Khajimba Acting


External images
Gali district countryside[19]
Street in Gali district[20]

The Gali district is a rich agricultural area for tea, citrus, hazelnuts and vegetables. The Inguri hydroelectric station, a major supplier to Abkhazia and part of Georgia proper, is located on the Abkhaz-Georgian ceasefire line and is operated jointly.

Gali's residents are allowed to relatively freely cross into the neighboring Georgian districts, but must pay 50 [4]

The district's 2006 budget was 7.5 million Russian roubles ($300,000) but 30 per cent is tax revenue forwarded to Sukhumi. The remaining 70 per cent is spent on salaries, pensions and administration expenses. However, the district's budget does not include allocations from the central budget, which tend to be ad hoc, dependent on particular needs.[4] The infrastructure remains in the state of collapse and, in spite of the limited international humanitarian aid, the majority of returnees continue to live in damaged houses or temporary shelters.[21]


  1. ^ autonomous republic, whose government sits in exile in Tbilisi.
  2. ^ Gali district according to the administrative division of Georgia has an area of 1,003 km² and is somewhat bigger than the de facto Gali district
  3. ^ a b c 2003 Census results (Russian)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Abkhazia Today. The International Crisis Group Europe Report N°176, 15 September 2006, page 11. Retrieved on May 27, 2007. Free registration needed to view full report
  5. ^ Report of the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons – Mission to Georgia. United Nations: 2006.
  6. ^ Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, 26 June 2006
  7. ^ Timeline 2003, Civil Georgia. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  8. ^ International Crisis Group, GEORGIA AND RUSSIA: CLASHING OVER ABKHAZIA, 05.06.08
  9. ^ Abkhaz Incident Opens Up New Vista In Georgia Conflict. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. March 4, 2009
  10. ^ OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities deeply concerned by recent developments in Abkhazia. OSCE Press Release. 14 April 2009
  11. ^ Head of Abkhaz NSC Resigns. Civil Georgia. 18 August 2009
  13. ^ a b Kuchuberia, Anzhela (25 Maart 2004). "Назначен новый глава Гальского района Абхазии".  
  14. ^ a b c since 23.05.2007; Назначен новый глава Гальского района Абхазии, 23.05.2007
  15. ^ a b c "Тимур Гогуа и Беслан Аршба освобождены от должностей глав Администраций Ткуарчалского и Галского районов.". Apsnypress. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c "Надарая Темур Хухутович назначен исполняющим обязанности главы администрации Галского района". Apsnypress. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  17. ^ a b  
  18. ^ a b c "Кишмария Руслан Ражденович".  
  19. ^ Photos by Patrick Perrier, 26.10.2008
  20. ^ Geotimes 4.1.2009
  21. ^ Housing Assessment. Gali District (library). Danish Refuge Council/ECHO. February 1, 2006. Retrieved July 12, 2007.

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