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Lenin's Malibu

© Stefano Majno


Crossing the tiny coastal country of Abkhazia, a Caucasian time capsule protecting the architectural soviet heritage within its borders dissolved elsewhere by the sun of the disintegration of the communist empire.

Abkhazia historically has always been the soviet riviera with the highest concentration of sanatoriums and hotels in the Black sea area but after the expulsion of more than 250,000 Georgians most of the new nation is uninhabited and abandoned. More than two decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, the three-sided conflict involving breakaway Abkhazia, Georgia and Russia is far from a solution and the year 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhaz war in 1992-1993.

Abkhazia, autonomous republic in northwestern Georgia declared independence in 2008, nowadays only a few countries recognize the new nation among which Russia that maintains a military presence in the region.  In recent years, Abkhazia has drifted closer and closer to Russia and in 2009 Moscow signed a five-year agreement with Abkhazia to take formal control of its frontiers.

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