Republic of Abkhazia

Аԥсны Аҳәынҭқарра

Stamps History | 2021 Stamp Programme

Stamps have been produced purporting to be from the Republic of Abkhazia, an area in western Georgia that is not recognized as a sovereign state by all but few countries. Most stamps of Abkhazia are believed to be bogus, produced in foreign countries solely for sale to collectors, but more recently Abkhazia has produced stamps that may have legitimate use locally within the borders of the disputed area. They are not recognized by the Universal Postal Union.

  • Capital City:  Sukhumi
  • Official Languages:  Abkhaz, Russian
  • Demonym(s):  Abkhaz, Abkhazian
  • Total Area:  8,665 km² (3,346 sq mi)
  • Population:  245,246 (estimated 2018)
  • Currency:  Abkhazian apsar, Russian ruble
  • First Stamp(s) Issued:  25 June 1993

Abkhazia is a partially recognized state in the South Caucasus, recognized by most countries as part of Georgia, which views the region as an autonomous republic. It lies on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, south of the Greater Caucasus mountains in northwestern Georgia. It covers 8,665 square kilometres (3,346 square miles) and has a population of around 245,000. Its capital is Sukhumi.

The status of Abkhazia is a central issue of the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict and Georgia–Russia relations. The polity is recognized as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria. While Georgia lacks control over Abkhazia, the Georgian government and most United Nations member states consider Abkhazia legally part of Georgia, with Georgia maintaining an official government-in-exile.

The region had autonomy within Soviet Georgia at the time when the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s. Simmering ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz — the region’s titular ethnicity — and Georgians — the largest single ethnic group at that time — culminated in the 1992–1993 War in Abkhazia, which resulted in Georgia’s loss of control over most of Abkhazia and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians from Abkhazia.

Despite a 1994 ceasefire agreement and years of negotiations, the dispute remains unresolved. The long-term presence of a United Nations Observer Mission and a Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force failed to prevent the flare-up of violence on several occasions. In August 2008, Abkhaz and Russian forces fought a war against Georgian forces, which led to the formal recognition of Abkhazia by Russia, the annulment of the 1994 ceasefire agreement and the termination of the UN mission. On 28 August 2008, the Parliament of Georgia declared Abkhazia a Russian-occupied territory, a position reflected by most United Nations member states.

The Abkhazians call their homeland Аԥсны (Apsny, Aṗsny), popularly etymologized as “a land/country of the soul”, yet literally meaning “a country of mortals (mortal beings)”. It possibly first appeared in the seventh century in an Armenian text as Psin(oun), perhaps referring to the ancient Apsilians. Although the term “Abkhazeti” first appeared in the Georgian annals, giving rise to the name Abkhazia, it was used to denote Abasgia proper and entire Western Georgia within the Kingdom of Georgia. In early Muslim sources, the term “Abkhazia” was generally used in the meaning of Georgia. The Russian Абхазия (Abkhaziya) is adapted from the Georgian აფხაზეთი (Apkhazeti). Abkhazia’s name in most languages are derived directly from the Russian.

The state is formally designated as the “Republic of Abkhazia” or “Apsny”.

For more on the history of Abkhazia, please read the Wikipedia page.

Stamps History

Abkhazia released its first set of stamps, four locally-produced definitives, on 25 June 1993.

The German-language Michel catalogue lists Abkazia stamps but the U.S.-based Scott catalogue does not. They are listed on both StampWorld.com (974 stamps from 1993-2010) and Colnect (1993-2010, 2018-2019, and 2021). 

For more about the history of Abkhazia stamps, please read “Abkhaz Stamps No Longer A Laughing Matter“, published on ThePhilately.com on 3 January 2009. You can purchase stamps on either delcampe.net or eBay. There doesn’t seem to be an official postal administration source for online sales.

2021 Stamp Programme

28

February 2021

National Bank of Abkhazia 30th Anniversary


1 self-adhesive souvenir sheet in folder