Pre-war Abkhazia, considered the Soviet Union’s ‘Red Riviera, accounted for most of the Black Sea's most desired coastline. Today, the waterfront of Sukhumi and Gagra is littered with sunken piers and crumbled rubble from buildings destroyed in the1992-93 war. Without defensives, such a lack of coastal defensive measures is leading to the enhanced destabilisation process of the coast. Recently, the extraction of inert materials such as rock and sand from the river-beds in Abkhazia was exported to the Russian Federation for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. Two million tonnes of gravel have reportedly been taken from Abkhazia to Sochi in the past few years, though specialists believe that ten times as much could have been supplied without a negative impact on the environment. Such industrial activities have put pressure on the future of marine and coastal ecosystems of the Black Sea.
Erosion of Abkhazia's Coastline
Dusty boxes of preservatives, tea and Russian-imported cigarettes can be found next to crumbling walls sprinkled with bullet holes. Under the brilliant sunshine above the Sukhumi market, women sell carrots, tomatoes and potatoes as they wipe the sweat off their foreheads. Merchants from Armenia, Syria, Russia, and Turkey, among others, all gather in the Sukhumi bazaar. However the ruble has depreciated by about 43 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months, the worst performance globally, according to Bloomberg data.