Fostering tourism is one of the most promising areas for relations between Moscow and Abkhazia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with his Abkhazian counterpart Aslan Bzhania. Experts told Izvestia that they believe that developing hotels on the Black Sea coast can boost new transportation and agricultural infrastructure. In general, the economy of Abkhazia largely depends on Russia. According to Putin, over 70% of the republic's total turnover falls on Russia. Nevertheless, the economic aspect is not the only thing that is important to the ties between the two countries. Should the security situation in the Transcaucasian region deteriorate, including due to NATO expansion, Abkhazia could play an important role in terms of geopolitics.
Based on the Russian investment program for Abkhazia, the construction of 48 facilities will be completed in 2020, including transportation and power grid infrastructures, water supply, and waste management facilities. "Without its own funds for the development of a proper resort and tourist infrastructure, the republic may be of interest to Russian business. Opportunities for economic cooperation in this direction are quite abundant," expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Azhdar Kurtov told Izvestia. Nevertheless, Moscow has a competitor here - Turkey. According to the expert, Turkish companies are very active in the post-Soviet space.
"Of course, allied relations are important against the backdrop of political turbulence in Georgia. Tbilisi may try to get revenge for August 2008. The size of Abkhazia’s army is extremely limited," Head of Eurasian integration and development of the SCO Department at the Institute of CIS Countries Vladimir Evseev told Izvestia. Despite its small military, Abkhazia’s territory has geopolitical value for Russia, the paper writes. Georgia's possible full-fledged NATO membership in the future can lead to the creation of a powerful military infrastructure in the country. Moscow can respond by strengthening its presence. According to the expert, Russia, if necessary, will be able to very quickly build up its troops in Abkhazia.