The Olympics in Sochi, Russia, took place about 30 kilometers from Russia’s border with the separatist region of Abkhazia in Georgia. As a security precaution, the Russian government has temporarily moved its border 11 kilometers into Abkhazia to create a “security zone,” at which travelers entering will have to show identification before proceeding to the actual border with Russia. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the status of Abkhazia within Georgia has been the subject of heated debate. Russia has a strong political and military influence in Abkhazia and has been erecting fences and wires along the administrative boundary line with Georgia proper, as well as the area controlled by Abkhaz authorities. The 2013 Caucasus Barometer (CB) asks Georgians several questions concerning the status of Abkhazia and what they see as the best and most realistic solution to resolving its status.
Among Georgian citizens, ethnic Georgians are more likely to approve of women of their ethnicity marrying Abkhazians. 38% of ethnic Georgians approve, compared to 26% of ethnic Armenians and 6% of ethnic Azeris living in Georgia. Similarly, 76% of ethnic Georgians approve of doing business with Abkhazians, compared to 57% of ethnic Armenians and 45% of ethnic Azeris living in Georgia.
Overall, Georgians significantly favor maintaining the territorial integrity of Georgia, with little or no autonomy for Abkhazia, but are not optimistic about a resolution taking effect in the next few years. Ethnic Georgians also strongly approve of doing business with Abkhazians, though less so of Georgian women marrying Abkhazians.