The Republic of Abkhazia declared its independence during the course of the Russo-Georgian conflict of 2008, and by the end
of 2011 it was recognized as an independent country by only the Russian Federation, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and a handful of
other states. Lack of recognition did not deter Abkhazia from pursuing state-building activities, the most important of which
were the presidential elections held on August 26, 2011, following President Sergei Bagapsh's death in office in May of that
year. Three candidates, Aleksandr Ankvab, Raul Khajimba, and Sergei Shamba, competed for the post, which was won by Ankvab.