Disinformation on the Sovereignty Market: Russia Attempts to Spoil Armenian-Georgian Relations?

On May 20, Regnum News Agency released an article claiming that Armenian Russians planned to donate nearly a hundred million dollars towards the cause of Abkhazian state recognition:

The Union of Armenians of Russia (UAR) headed by businessman Ara Abramian intends to spend $ 90 million to ensure recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia by third world countries. REGNUM news agency reports with reference to a competent source close to the leadership of the union. They found it difficult to name the source of these funds, but noted that directions of the said activity, according to their information, had been agreed by the UAR with leaders of the Russian diplomacy. Results and geography of spending are not reported.

Given that, back in 2009, Nauru granted recognition of Abkhazia for a mere $50 million, a $90 million donation ought to be sufficient for Abkhazia to buy recognition from at least one more Pacific island nation — possibly even two.

However, Regnum News Agency, a Russian news dissemination service, appears to not be the most trustworthy agency around, and the Union of Armenians in Russia has denied the report:

We have to remind the Regnum’s administration that this is not the first time their agency is publicizing unverified and untrue report, referring to the Union of Armenians of Russia[.]

But even without the UAR’s denial, the story would not add up all the way. Although Armenians make up 20% of Abkhazia’s population, they are politically underrepresented in the region, and it is unlikely a Russian group would spend such a large sum to advance a rather questionable method of obtaining sovereignty. Armenia’s political interest in Abkhazia is also relatively minimal, as compared to, say, Nagorno Karabakh.

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