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Adzharia Threatens Georgian Stability

Soldiers check the sights on their Kalashnikovs, military cadets dig trenches and a crane moves concrete barriers into position at the entrance to Georgia’s autonomous Black Sea region of Adzharia — where any euphoria over this country’s “rose revolution” comes to a swift end. As thousands of demonstrators were partying in the streets of the capital Tbilisi over the bloodless overthrow of President Eduard Shevardnadze last month, the strongman leader here declared a state of emergency and labeled the revolution a coup. Now, Adzharia says it won’t participate in the Jan. 4 vote to replace Shevardnadze and is refusing to recognize the country’s interim leadership or parliament. That raises the question of whether the region — whose leaders claim they want to remain part of Georgia — will become another separatist headache for this former Soviet republic in the Caucasus. Interim president Nino Burdzhanadze travels to Adzharia on Wednesday to meet Aslan Abashidze, the 65-year-old former Soviet bureaucrat who has ruled here since Georgia’s 1991 independence, and press for the region to take part in next month’s election.Full Story

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