Deputy Prosecutor-General of Russia, Vladimir Kolesnikov held a briefing in Abkhaz capital Sokhumi, recommending new presidential elections to be held in January 2005.
Before these elections, the new electoral code should be passed, Kolesnikov said. Also, Deputy Prosecutor added, Abkhazia should "report" to Russia regarding the "removal of difficulties" that led to restriction of the transportation between Abkhazia and Russia. Such a report should be signed by the President, Chair of the Parliament, chair of the government, and the contesting presidential candidates.
Russia has severely restricted border passage with Abkhazia and halted agricultural imports from Abkhazia, following the statement of the Russian deputy prime-minister Gennadiy Bukaev, who quoted possible coming of Sergey Bagapsh's "criminal clan" to power as the main reason.
Kolesnikov is in Abkhazia on invitation of the outgoing president Vladislav Ardinba, who refuses to hand power to Bagapsh, whose presidency is endorsed by the Parliament, CEC and the Council of Elders of Abkhazia. When asked on whose behalf Kolesnikov made the statement, he said vaguely that he is speaking "as a son of his people".
Observers tend to view Kolesnikov's statement as an official Russian ultimatum to Bagapsh to cancel the inauguration scheduled for December 6.