"From bizarre border policies and the wholesale deportation of ethnic groups to the mass importation of ethnic Russians to various regions, Stalin's policies created or aggravated conflicts that remain central to understanding Eurasia today."
Eighty-one-year-old Nikolai Khasig was born in Sukhumi in 1932. It was just one year after Soviet dictator Josef Stalin stripped Abkhazia of its short-lived status as a full-fledged republic of the U.S.S.R. and made it a region of Soviet Georgia.
At the end of 1936, Lavrenty Beria -- at that time the head of the Transcaucasia region and later the sadistic head of Stalin's secret police -- invited the popular Abkhaz leader Nestor Lakoba to dinner at his house in Tbilisi. Lakoba died suddenly -- officially, of a heart attack, but it was widely believed that the former revolutionary comrade of Stalin's had been poisoned.