|A choice between death and death?|
|May 11, 2011|
A lot have passed since the 1992-1993 conflict in Abkhazia. The Georgian side has attempted numerous times to find ways to hearts of Abkhazians and has been trying to get closer on various levels, whether political or people diplomacy, various meetings mediated by NGOs or international organizations, business or everyday issues.
At various times there have been advancements in these attempts but the never got to the full success. A reason for this was a savage fight on the part of Russia against any rapprochement and their attempts to use every possible means to frustrate these processes.
Probably many remember that children from Abkhazia holidayed on Georgian resorts. Neither can we forget what obstructions were arranged at the instigation of Russian colleagues by law enforcement agencies of the puppet regime towards those children and their parents, how they were summoned to the Sukhumi KGB and were questioned there. Many might not even know that contacts between Georgian and Abkhazian businessmen were quite strong. Mainly Russia-based businessmen were engaged in this and they used to achieve certain results that in future could have become a guarantee for political resolution of the conflict. Though this is exactly successes victim of which businessmen Levan Ardzinba fell. And Russian "military expert" Alexay Vashchenko, who was raised in Abkhazia and even participated in the war actions against the Georgian statehood, does not even hide that Russian security services twice foiled attempts of return of the Georgian refugees to the occupied territory.
Recently the Georgian government devised a state strategy on the occupied territories. This document that was approved by the entire international community specifies all those points that official Tbilisi is offering people living in the occupied territories. Despite the fact that content of the above strategy directly responds to interests of ordinary Abkhazians and Ossetians its implementation is made difficult by a pose of the puppet regimes and position of their masters in Moscow. But the only issue of successful relations which is also specified in the document today is medical sphere.
Everybody is aware of the poverty in which the Abkhazian population lives today. Besides the fact that they have neither income of any kind nor the level of development of the region that would enable them receive quality service. Best of all this is clear from the healthcare. After Georgians have been expelled from Abkhazia after the ethnic cleansing, well-known medics among others (and this has already been mentioned by the Club of Experts), a severe shortage of professionals of this sphere was created. Today there is not even one facility where local residents can receive high-quality medical assistance. They have no relevant equipment, no appropriate healthcare facilities. And most of all – they do not have relevant personnel. Given this, they have to get treatment for serious and acute diseases abroad. Those who have finances and contacts in Russia go to Sochi or Moscow and often pay large amounts for their treatment. But not many in Abkhazia can afford such luxury. Therefore majority of those living in poverty in Abkhazia chooses the other way – treatment in clinics of Georgia which is fully supported by the official Tbilisi. Many in Georgia are very little aware of this fact as the Georgian side never uses this humane action to get publicity.
It seems that relations in this very humane sphere have become seriously stuck across the throat like a bone for Russian imperialists and lately they have started actively to interfere into these relations. Having realized that this cannot be done in one go as this will put the population of Abkhazia in a very difficult situation and cause emergence of anti-Russian sentiments and even aggravate those that have already emerged, Russians are very careful in their actions and are not taking direct actions. First who informed us about the start of such processes was head of the puppet regime Sergey Bagapsh who held a meeting with local administration of the Gali district before his visit to Turkey. Bagapsh instead of acknowledging role of Georgian doctors in the matter of treatment of the local population openly expresses his concern that residents of Abkhazia were going to Georgian clinics. To confirm his concern he said that allegedly the Georgian side is using this as publicity. As we will see below the above statement is a complete bluff.
The statement of Bagapsh was a first harbinger in a serious political campaign orientated towards cutting the only thread of connection of the Georgian-Abkhazian relations. The second one was a visit of representatives of the Israeli military company to Sukhumi. As it became clear meeting between Abkhazians and Israelis regarding development of the healthcare (with mediation and direct involvement of the government bodies of Israel) started last summer when the Abkhazian delegation visited Israel at the invitation of the Israeli side. One can see Bagapsh's lie here as it was a year ago that the above-mentioned process started. Information about the visit of the Israelis and analysis of their visit was already presented by the Club of Experts therefore we will not repeat ourselves.
As we know that under the guise of the humanitarian actions the Israeli side intends to provide Sukhumi with modern medical equipment. More, in the near future of three months the Israeli side is to devise strategy and plan of development of healthcare sphere in Abkhazia. Discussions about these issues have already been started in Sukhumi and "round table" that took place on April 21st with participation of representatives of the regime and medics was dedicated to it. The main subject of the discussion was the healthcare regulation law.
During the process of the discussions one interesting fact emerged with regards to today's situation in the healthcare sphere. As oncologist Nana Gamgia said there was "acute personnel shortage" in the occupied territory. According to her, there are not enough resuscitation specialists, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, and pulmonologists in hospitals. But dentists and gynaecologists (the most profitable professions) are more than enough. She also noted that students whose study at the institutions of the higher education of Russia is funded by the Abkhazian budget either do not return to Abkhazia or change their qualification. Head of the parliamentary committee of defence and national security Garik Samanba voiced information as though old personnel are not giving youth chance to work. Gamgia replied to this by saying that "they are not returning because doctors in Russia have different work conditions and high pay".
Other opinions have also been voiced with regards to the situation in healthcare at the meeting. It was said that only 2 doctors work in the Sukhumi infectious diseases hospital where 11 places are allocated to doctors. While emergency service of Gagra counts just 1 doctor instead of 16 doctors that is a number of places allocated to doctors there. Medics of older generation have not received any training for the last 10 years and they are losing their skills.
This was the meeting where head of the puppet government Sergey Shamba made a statement that the Israeli side is devising strategy of the development of the healthcare sphere for Sukhumi. According to Shamba, Sukhumi will attract business to create diagnostic centres with latest technologies in Abkhazia. And presumably those technologies will be Israeli-made. We indeed are not against population of Abkhazia to have quality medical care but if it will be business that will start to develop this sphere it will be only death that will be free. And even this not for everyone. And what is offered by Shamba against this to those tens of thousands of people who do not have money to buy medicines?
Participants of the meeting of course could not sidestep a campaign started by Bagapsh to blame Georgia in all their misfortunes. Against the background of deplorable situation in healthcare that we have already mentioned above these persons have nothing to say other than to thank Georgian doctors who treated Abkhazian population for free, in the framework of program of the Georgian government. But none of them ever mentioned as to how many people were treated in Georgian clinics. More, absurd and illogical statements were made. For example, Samanba believes that this is Abkhazian concern. "If at the time they were stuffing us with drugs and infected practically the entire Abkhazia, today our sick are going over there for a treatment. It time to cry for help" – says Samanba. It's strange though that a person whose duty it is to fight against drug addiction has absolutely inadequate attitude towards the situation as this evil given its scale has really became a "national security" issue. It is not a secret for anyone that drugs are going into Abkhazia through Russia. Neither is a secret that the territory of Abkhazia is used as drug traffic route to bring them into European countries. But what is Georgia's fault here? And what was Georgia's fault then when we all lived in "great Soviet Union"? But then why should Samanba care as he really has money to treat members of his family in Russian clinics.
Even more inadequate was chief sanitary doctor of Sukhumi Ala Belyaeva. According to her, the biggest problem is that diagnoses of those patients that have been treated in Georgian hospitals are written in Georgian and they cannot read them (!): "Patients who have been treated in Georgia have all their diagnoses in the Georgian language. And we cannot understand what is written there and what diagnoses were issued for patients". And this is happening in Abkhazia where more than half of the population knows Georgian perfectly well and where several thousands of Georgians still live. We do not think that any Abkhazian would even think such nonsense. But Belyaeva with her Russian imperialist thinking did think it. Maybe madam Belyaeva lacks professionalism to understand what is written there? Have you not confessed yourselves that your doctors do not get to attend training courses and have no idea about new developments in this sphere? And what language Belyaeva suggests Georgians to write on? Probably in Russian. As even Abkhazians do not know Abkhazian language. And at that Abkhazian is an "official language". What would Belyaeva say when she would be unable to read in Abkhazian either as learning of languages of others is not in the imperialist genetics but only imposing of theirs on others is in it?
Against the background of this inadequacy we should once again note that it has never been a goal of ours or that of the Georgian side to advertise this humane attitude in any form. More, these relations have been going on for many years and we are not going to delve into details now and talk on and on how great we are. We just want to call on Abkhazian officials to be careful and not become a part of a campaign aimed at cutting all connecting threads – a campaign that is being pursued at the instigation of some genetically imperialist persons and against the background of the backstage politics. All the more that in the near future Georgian healthcare has no alternative for them against the backdrop of the poverty-stricken life of the Abkhazian population. Do not put the Abkhazian people before a choice between death and death.
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