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Scottish Memorial Sparks War of Words Between Abkhazia and Georgia

A memorial to Abkhazian war dead in Kilmarnock, Scotland, which has recently been targeted by the Georgian government. (photo: Thomas Nugent, Creative Commons)

Most of the streets of Sukhumi, capital of the Georgian-claimed secessionist region of Abkhazia, are named after Soviet-era luminaries and notable figures from the conflict that gave the territory de facto independence. But stroll for long enough around the picturesque Black Sea city and an unusual road sign comes into view: Scotland Street.

Even before Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in 1992, Sukhumi has been a twin city of the small town of Kilmarnock, in the sometimes-secessionist Scotland. Abkhazians have long been advocates of Scottish independence, as they are of many other secessionist movements around the world.

That relationship has come under attack, however. The Kilmarnock town council has agreed to remove a small monument in a leafy park, inscribed: “In memory of those from our twin town of Sukhumi who died in the Abkhazian/Georgian conflict.”

The council did so after Georgia's ambassador to the United Kingdom became aware of the existence of the monument, which dates from the 1990s, and raised her objections with local authorities.

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Scottish Memorial Sparks War of Words Between Abkhazia and Georgia

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