Notes on Terminology

I’m working on some posts dealing the wars Georgia has fought in post-Soviet times, and the terminology involved in these conflicts is hotly contested. So rather than repeatedly adding disclaimers and footnotes, I’ll lay out my terminology guidelines here. (Much of this post is based on George Hewitt‘s new book Discordant Neighbours.)

  • Abkhazia
Georgian: Apkhazeti (აფხაზეთი)
Abkhaz: Apsni (Аҧсны)
Mingrelian: Saapkhazo (სააფხაზო)
Russian: Abkhaziya (Абхазия).

Also: Afxazeti, the Georgian keyboard transcription of აფხაზეთი.

afxazeti graffiti

Graffiti in Tbilisi

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Sochi, Georgia, Abkhazia

Sochi, the city in which the 2014 Winter Olympics are being held, used to be part of Georgia and Abkhaziakinda. It belongs to a region which is occasionally called Lesser Abkhazia (Russian: Малая Абхазия), Jiketi (Georgian: ჯიქეთი), or Sadzen, after the Sadz Abkhazians who used to live there. They don’t live there anymore, because they, along with most of the Northwest Caucasian peoples, were exterminated or expelled to Turkey by the Russian Empire about 150 years ago. Indeed, Sochi was originally built as a fort during Russia’s initial incursion into then-independent Circassia (or Cherkessia).

circassia cherkessia

Note that Sochi is listed in parentheses as a guardpost

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