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Abandoned Buildings And Idle Hands In Abkhazia

The region of Abkhazia, in Georgia's northwest, has fought to assert its identity since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A bloody war in 1992-1993 claimed the lives of at least 35,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands of ethnic Georgians. Following the short Georgian-Russian War in August 2008, Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia, but that status has been recognized only by its chief sponsor, Russia, and a handful of other UN member states -- Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru. Since the 2008 conflict, Russia has donated at least $150 million to help support Abkhazia, but that has done little to improve the daily lives of some 240,000 residents who must endure the fallout of the so-called frozen conflict. (Text and photos by Anthony Georgieff)