Published in 2003, the book “Abkhazia. Legal basis­ of statehood and sovereignty”, containing documentary confirmations of the centuries-old existence of the independent Abkhazian state, has generated serious interest and considerable response. It became necessary to prepare ­ this new revised edition, including  more precise details of  the Abkhazian ethnos  and covering the history of its mutual relations­ with other nationalities within this inhabited region. Historical statements offered by Abkhazian, Russian, Georgian and other historians of the XX century were influenced by the ideology and vicious national policy prevailing in the USSR. However, if in works of Abkhazian and Russian historians the valid ­ history of the peoples of Transcaucasia is distorted, Georgian historians ­ also usually ­ falsified facts regarding the Caucasus,­­­  especially concerning the period of XVII - XX centuries­. The main principle of   historical science was thus rudely broken, in that whilst covering the history of any country and any people, information should be  based ­ only on the facts, without any exception and without  division into useful and harmful. It is necessary to check the reliability of the facts, obtained from various and often tendentious sources, and to compare them with data from other documents, whilst defining and estimating the degree of reliability ­ of each of them. History as a science is obliged to be impartial and should not serve the political or other interests of any groups.

The documentation of Abkhazian history was born only in the XX century and was based upon Georgian historical works - Kartlis Tskhovreba (History of Kartli), Matiane Каrtlis (Annals of Kartli) and other pseudo-annals, mainly representing a story about the course of historical events, stated on the basis of oral legends and  chronicles which no longer exist. Retrospective "Annals" and "History" had been written in the XVIII century - but they are not annals in the original usage of this word, which means historical documents. The main objective of Georgian historians was to create a certain fiction, based upon unreliable material (fairy tales, myths, legends), which it was possible to present as the history of the country. In the absence of any alternative historical material, this was achieved. Russian historians, as a basis for a statement of the history of Transcaucasia, have also used Каrtlis Tskhovrebа and have presented to readers a description of the territory and evolution of historical processes from the same Kartlis ideological positions of the XVIII century.

Georgian historians confirm the real fact of the existence ­ of the Abkhazian people, and Abkhazian culture, but show it in the way in which it had been presented till 1990 - as one hundred thousand people comprising 18 percent of the population of Abkhazia by national structure, and not possessing ­ national sovereignty and the right to self-determination. In their opinion ­ if during this period Abkhazia did not possess independence, it never was sovereign and so should not be. If Abkhazia was included from ­ the  beginning of independence within the structure of Georgia, it has never been  outside these limits, and should not be, and will not be henceforth; and if Abkhazians in the country currently make only 18 percent of the population, in their past this could not have been more. These stereotypes ­ were and are the ideology of “Small empire”, as A.D.Saharov ­named Georgia, which prepared at the beginning of the XX century an Abkhazian destiny -  namely, ­ to be dissolved into the Georgian ethnocultural world.

The work published by us has not given answers to all these questions and ­ as the problem remains, along with documentary confirmation ­ of the sovereignty of Abkhazia we will try to highlight the ethnogenesis of the Abkhazian people. In the course of our work we will give a critical analysis of each thesis defining mutual relations between the Georgians and Abkhazians, and we will try ­ to reveal distinctions and similarities. The purpose is not to humiliate the Georgian people or state, but  to give a full reply to the distortion and frank falsification of the history of Transcaucasia and, in particular, ­ to present to readers our vision of the evolution of the people and the state of Abkhazia, obtaining facts and data from authentic sources.

In our opinion, one of the important questions, on which it is necessary to especially dwell, is a specification of definitions in stated historical works. Many authors, describing separate people, countries or regions, appropriate names which were not existing during that historical period to ­ which the considered episode or event corresponds. To the countries and ­people of  antiquity,­  modern names are appropriated which deform history, and in many cases lead to its falsification. The reasons for this phenomenon vary - from negligence in a statement of historical material to the deliberate distortion of  historical validity.

Similar practice is also applied by the historians writing about Transcaucasia. The name Georgia, appropriated by Russian officials and military men for a designation of the territories of Kartli and Каkhetia in ХVIII century, is transferred to ­western Transcaucasia at an earlier time. To write about Georgia in that period is the same as writing about France during the period of commander Julius Caesar. In the days of Caesar, ­ who had won the territory of present-day France, it was a Roman state and Gallia. Similarly, till 1810 there were kingdoms called Kartli, Каkhetia, Imeretia and others. Georgia as the uniform state appeared only in 1918, and the Georgian tsars  never existed, but there were  tsars of Kartli, Imeretia, etc.

Radical but objective sights, stated in the first edition ­ of our work, no doubt represented for readers interest not only in Abkhazia, but also outside its borders. Our book sold out instantly. This fact was a stimulus for work on a  new,  abridged and amended edition, and we hope that readers will favourably accept this work also.

Reductions were made at the expense of ­ material of minor ­ value, needless details and repetitions not necessary ­ to professionals or  interested readers. At the same time, especially in some chapters describing a situation in the

 XX-th century, we have added currently important topical material which deeply explores processes of mutual relations ­ between Georgia and Abkhazia. At the end of the book, an index of literature is given, data ­ from which were used during the preparation of this edition.