On January 9-12, unrecognized Abkhazia was engulfed in mass protests that led to the resignation of the president of the republic Raul Khajimba. His resignation was the main demand of the rebel opposition because it considered Khajimba’s victory in the second round of the election of “the head of republic” illegal.
However, the reason for the “coup” is not so clear. Amid protests, media reported that representatives of Russia-controlled group of “Donetsk People’s Republic” had been spotted in Sukhumi, namely mercenaries from “Pyatnashka battalion” and “Donetsk People’s Republic” field commander Akhra Avidzba. We will tell you how and why militants from Donbas ended up in the center of Abkhaz protests. Let's start with the “Donetsk People’s Republic hero” - Avidzba.
Akhra Avidzba (aka Abkhaz) was born on January 27, 1986 in Sochi. In 2011, after graduating from a local university, he moved to Abkhazia.
In 2014, he arrived in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, gathering a squad of volunteers of 20 people. He soon created and headed the “Pyatnashka International Brigade,” about which we will tell in more detail.
In February 2015, he received the “highest state award” of the self-proclaimed republic – “Hero of the Donetsk People’s Republic.”
After the liquidation of a Motorola militant who was killed in his own home by a bomb in an elevator, Abkhaz disappeared for a while in 2016.
His disappearance was attributed to one version supposing that Avidzba people allegedly killed Motorola with Kremlin’s consent. The reason was that Motorola's wife allegedly insulted Abkhazians.
Note. In July 2016, Motorola’s wife Olena said on her page on VKontakte that there was “disorder and devastation” in Abkhazia, where she was on vacation with her family, and also said that “not all Abkhazia residents could be called people.” She later deleted the message, as Ukrainian News reports.
Avidzba returned to Donbas only at the end of November 2016 and later decided to try his luck in politics by going to Abkhazia to run in the “parliamentary elections,” but failed.
In recent years, he has been living in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. In the midst of the Sukhumi protests, together with Pyatnashka, he returned to Abkhazia.
The unit first surfaced in the fall of 2014. “There were only a few people. The backbone of this “Pyatnashka” was mostly people who came from Abkhazia. “People who went through the Abkhaz war,” as Radio Liberty cited professor at Ilia State University (Georgia) Oleg Panfilov.
According to him, the whole “internationalism” of the brigade was that “fifteen militants were mainly Abkhazians, as well as two ethnic Armenians from Abkhazia.”
Soon, several dozen more fighters joined “Pyatnashka.” In 2016, after the temporary disappearance of Abkhaz, who was possibly connected to the elimination of Motorola, Oleg Mamiyev seized the power in the brigade of militants.
He and ordinary Ossetian militants moved to “Pyatnashka” from militants’ battalion Vostok of Oleksandr Khodakovsky, when he fall from grace among the leaders of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.”
Epilogue. Murdering code-bound criminals
A shootout took place at the San Remo restaurant in downtown Sukhumi on November 22 , 2019, resulting in two code-bound criminals killed and an injured waitress serving their table, who died in the hospital.
One of those dead was the cousin of already known to us Akhra Avidzba, the first field commander of the “Pyatnashka battalion”, - Alhas Avidzba (Hasik).
"Shamba (Astamur Shamba, another murdered criminal authority, - ed.) And Avidzba were members of well-known and large families, and secondly, they were popular in the republic. Local people say they were fighting against "Kutaisi" clan and tried to leave the financial flows, that went to Georgia, in Abkhazia," Novaya Gazeta writes.
In fact, the November 22 shootout became a catalyst for protests in Abkhazia. Novaya Gazeta calls Ahru Avidzbu the "evil genius" of Hajimba.
"A well-known "DNR" field commander, the head of the international brigade" Pyatnashka" returned home to investigate. Together with his relatives, he managed to get the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General of Abkhazia and their deputies fired on December 2," reads the message.
Two weeks later, the first suspect in the murder of the criminal leaders was arrested - Demur Akhalai, brother of President Khajimba's security guard. On December 30, Dato Akhalai, a security officer, was also arrested.
"Resignation of the Interior Minister and Prosecutor General, the fact of involvement of the president's allies in the Sukhumi murder eventually weakened Hajimba. On January 9, the Supreme Court of Abkhazia began hearing the appeal of Kvitsinya (Alhas Kvitsinya - the Head of the Amtsahar opposition party, - ed.) on the legitimacy of the election (he filed it back in October). Avidzba became a leader of protests that day," Russian outlet writes.
Thus, the commander of "Pyatnashka" led the people, who gathered at the court, to the presidential administration, and in the afternoon they got inside, forceв through the special forces, who, by the way, did not resist.