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Railroad through Abkhazia

Railroad through Abkhazia

The Parliament of Abkhazia appealed to the State Duma of Russia with a statement on its readiness to participate on equal terms in the project to open a railway link between Russia and Armenia through Abkhazia. First of all, it is about establishing a full-fledged communication link.. Since any political and military-technical cooperation cannot but rely on a full-fledged economic basis.

The opening of the Abkhaz-Armenian section of the Transcaucasian railway is strategically important both for Armenia, so for Russia. Being the shortest and cheapest, this section will allow Armenian export goods to follow the most optimal path to Russia; in turn, Russia will receive a stable communication link with the states of the Caucasus and the Near and Middle East. Also, Armenia, despite the relatively modest size in a number of parameters, can become an important factor in promoting Eurasian integration initiatives.

Contrary to common cliches, restoration and resumption of the functioning of the Abkhaz railway is beneficial not only to Armenia. It is of undoubted interest for Georgia, whose transit potential (including towards Europe) is far from being fully implemented.

The opening of the Abkhaz railway, with proper elaboration of the issue, would be an important prerequisite not only for the normalization of Georgian-Abkhaz relations, but also additional revenues to the budget of the republic. The development of a special legal regime for the functioning of this highway is an important element of the new "agenda", which Moscow needs equally, and Tbilisi, and Sukhum, and Yerevan, and other parties, interested in the restoration of a full-fledged railway connection in the Caucasus region.

The protracted pause of several years in the discussion of the entire range of relevant issues seems understandable, if we take into account the "interest" in the project from Western non-governmental organizations. It is no coincidence that the USA (and after them, obviously, and they, who is in their "content") oppose the restoration of the through railway communication through Abkhazia. However, even according to estimates of deliberately engaged structures, total cost of road rehabilitation works along the Sukhum route – Tbilisi – Yerevan, taking into account the current state of its various sections and prices for restoration work, is estimated at less than $300 million. In any case, we are not talking about some astronomical amounts. – especially considering not only economic, but also the strategic importance of the project. The next stage after the restoration of the railway communication through Abkhazia may be the construction of a railway from Armenia to Iran, acquiring in this case not only political, but also a real economic component.

Establishing transport links within the North-South corridor, including the opening of the Abkhazian section of the railway, meets the interests of not only Armenia, but also members of the Customs Union. Besides, it can also benefit non-member states, contributing to the mitigation of the consequences of territorial conflicts. And this is not the only positive effect in a wide variety of areas., created by the stable operation of railways. Let us also designate others: reducing traffic congestion, promoting the development of not only capitals, but also regions, increase in employment, lower specific energy consumption, greater safety and environmental friendliness. In this way, the restoration of railway communication in the RA is crowned with a number of important economic and international-political consequences.

It is because of these considerations that the solution to the problem of restoring the through railway communication through Abkhazia seems extremely timely..

Damir Kacuba

A source