Sergei Bagapsh was sworn in on Friday for his second term as president of Abkhazia, thanking Russia in his inaugural address for helping the republic achieve independence from Georgia.
"With a great power, Russia, which has assumed colossal responsibility before the international community, we have arrived at the recognition of our independence," Bagapsh said.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by some 130 state and government officials form other countries, including Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov.
Bagapsh was re-elected as Abkhazia's president on December 12, 2009, winning with over 60% of the vote in the republic's first presidential election since Russia recognized its independence in August 2008 after a brief war with Georgia..
Bagapsh, 60, has been president of the former Georgian republic since January 2005.
The U.S. Department of State said the elections were illegitimate, while Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili condemned the vote as an illegal Kremlin-backed gesture in an "occupied territory."
Russia is the guarantor of Abkhazia's security with several thousand troops in the region under bilateral security and cooperation agreements signed since August 2008.
Abkhazia's independence has been recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.
SUKHUMI, February 12 (RIA Novosti)