A campaign to nominate presidential candidates starts in Abkhazia on Monday and will last until July 17.
The former Georgian republic will go to the polls to elect a new president on August 26, following the death of President Sergei Bagapsh on May 29. Bagapsh, 62, who had led Abkhazia since 2005, died of cancer in Moscow following an operation on his right lung.
Abkhazia and another Georgian breakaway republic, South Ossetia, were recognized by Russia as independent states in 2008 following a five-day war, which started when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
Four other countries – Nicaragua, Venezuela and the tiny Pacific island nations of Nauru and Vanuatu – have followed Russia’s suit. Georgia considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory.