South Ossetia

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Хуссар Ирыстон

Южная Осетия
სამხრეთი ოსეთი
South Ossetia

Flag of South Ossetia
Coat of arms of South Ossetia
flag coat of arms
De facto regime , area
is part of under international law
Official language Ossetian , Russian , Georgian (regional)
Capital Tskhinvali
Form of government republic
head President Anatoly Bibilov
Head of government Prime Minister Erik Puchayev
surface 3885 km²
population 53,532 (2015)
Population density 14 inhabitants per km²
currency Russian ruble
founding 20th September 1990
National anthem Uarson Iryston!
Time zone UTC + 3
ISO 3166 not assigned
sometimes alternatively: SOS
Phone code +7
Abchasien Südossetien Georgien Aserbaidschan Armenien Usbekistan Turkmenistan Zypern Griechenland Republik Moldau Syrien Irak Iran Türkei Bulgarien Rumänien Ukraine Russland Kasachstan]]
About this picture
Abchasien Südossetien Türkei Armenien Aserbaidschan Russland Abchasien Mingrelien und Oberswanetien Gurien Adscharien Imeretien Ratscha-Letschchumi und Niederswanetien Innerkartlien Mzcheta-Mtianeti Samzche-Dschawachetien Niederkartlien Tiflis Kachetien]]
About this picture

South Ossetia ( Ossetian Хуссар Ирыстон / Chussar Iryston ; Russian Южная Осетия / Juschnaja Ossetija ; Georgian სამხრეთი ოსეთი / Samchreti Osseti ) is a mountainous region immediately south of the ridge of the Greater Caucasus .

It is part of Georgia under international law , but is de facto independent and not subject to the central power in Tbilisi . The sovereignty of South Ossetia is recognized internationally by five states ( Russia , Nicaragua , Venezuela , Nauru and Syria ). The also controversial regions of Artsakh , Transnistria and Abkhazia form the community of non-recognized states with South Ossetia and support each other in their efforts towards sovereignty. According to official information, the population is 51,547, the area covers 3885 km².

was standing

Shortly after the First World War and before it belonged to the Soviet Union, the then Democratic Republic of Georgia claimed what is now South Ossetia for itself. After the local population resisted, a war that lasted until 1920 broke out , in which tens of thousands of South Ossetians were killed and driven out and South Ossetia was finally incorporated into Georgia. Shortly thereafter, Soviet Russia occupied all of Georgia and established an autonomous oblast on the territory of South Ossetia , which, however, was still included in the Georgian Soviet Republic.

This autonomy lasted until 1990. Even before the dissolution of the USSR , the autonomous region in 1990, declared as Republic of South Ossetia (Ossetian Республикӕ Хуссар Ирыстон / Respublika Chussar Iryston ; Russian Республика Южная Осетия / Respublika Juschnaja Ossetija ) for regardless of the Georgian SSR . This was preceded by an increasingly anti-minority policy by the Georgian SSR, which worked towards an early break away from the Soviet Union, while the majority in South Ossetia favored remaining with the USSR.

Georgia continues to claim South Ossetia as part of its national territory and is supported in this by most states and international organizations. After the Caucasus War in 2008 , Russia and then Nicaragua recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as sovereign states. Venezuela followed in September 2009, Nauru in December 2009 and Syria in spring 2018 . Together with Abkhazia, Transnistria and Artsakh , South Ossetia forms the community of unrecognized states . Georgia has lost all sovereignty over the area since 2008, individual parts of the country were previously under Georgian control.

South Ossetia is now seen as a de facto regime . After Russia recognized the country's independence, some critics emphasized that, in their view, this only exists at all through the Russian military presence and financial aid and that it is not yet sufficiently consolidated.

Since 2010, the country has become increasingly isolated due to the construction of border fences with Georgia by the Russian services.


The capital is Tskhinvali . The area borders in the north on the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, which is part of Russia, and is predominantly in the Georgian region of Inner Kartlien (Schida Kartli) . It covers an area of ​​3885 square kilometers. The mountainous country south of the main Caucasus ridge lies at an altitude of 1,000 to 4,000 meters above sea level. In 1989 there were 99,000 inhabitants in the region, in 2008 there were around 75,000.

Gorge in South Ossetia


Palm Sunday procession in Tskhinval
South Ossetian Lesginka , Ossetian: silgä kaft / tymbyl kaft
Language map of the Tbilisi Governorate in 1886 - The Ossetian language is shown here as salmon-colored


South Ossetia is an extremely sparsely populated region. At the 1989 census, around two thirds of the population of South Ossetia were ethnic Ossetians , 29% were Georgians , the remaining 5% were made up of other minorities, especially Russians and Armenians . The community of South Ossetian Jews (mostly Georgian Jews , rarely Ashkenazim ) had shrunk to fewer than 700 before 1989.

Since South Ossetia was annexed to the Georgian SSR in 1922 , the population had changed slightly in favor of the Georgians, the proportion of Ossetians fell from over 70% in 1922 to 66.1% in 1989. Between 1918 and 1921, thousands of Ossetians passed through Troops of the Democratic Republic of Georgia killed or driven out, which is why the proportion of Ossetians before 1918 could have been significantly higher again.

95 percent of the residents have now also acquired Russian citizenship and are therefore excluded from Russia's visa regulations, which apply to Georgian citizens, for example. In connection with the conflict over South Ossetia and the associated economic decline, the number of inhabitants decreased steadily after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The exact population is not known today. An estimate from 2010 assumed that only around 30,000 people were left in South Ossetia, around 2,500 of whom were Georgians. The South Ossetian government, on the other hand, puts the population at around 72,000, and the RIA Novosti news agency estimated the population at around 80,000.

The majority of the population is Christian Orthodox , but there are also some Muslim Ossetians.

Source: Russian State Archives for Economy
1926 census 1939 census 1959 census 1970 census 1979 census 1989 census 2007 census 2012 census 2015 census
Ossetians 60,351 (69.1%) 72,266 (68.1%) 63,698 (65.8%) 66,073 (66.5%) 65,077 (66.4%) 65,223 (66.2%) 47,000 (67.1%) 45,950 (89.1%) 48,146 (89.9%)
Georgians 23,538 (26.9%) 27.525 (25.9%) 26,584 (27.5%) 28,125 (28.3%) 28,187 (28.8%) 28,544 (29.0%) 17,500 (25.0%) 4,590 (8.9%) 3,966 (7.4%)
Russians 157 (0.2%) 2,111 (2.0%) 2,380 (2.5%) 1,574 (1.6%) 2,046 (2.1%) 2,128 (2.2%) 2,100 (3.0%) 515 (1.0%) 610 (1.1%)
Armenians 1,374 (1.6%) 1,537 (1.4%) 1,555 (1.6%) 1,254 (1.3%) 953 (1.0%) 984 (1.0%) 900 (1.3%)
Jews 1,739 (2.0%) 1,979 (1.9%) 1,723 (1.8%) 1,485 (1.5%) 654 (0.7%) 396 (0.4%) 650 (0.9%)
Other 216 (0.2%) 700 (0.7%) 867 (0.9%) 910 (0.9%) 1,071 (1.1%) 1,243 (1.3%) 1,850 (2.6%) 515 (1.0%) 810 (1.5%)
total 87,375 106.118 96,807 99,421 97,988 98,527 70,000 51,572 53,532


Bilingual street sign (Ossetian, Russian) in Kwaissa

The official languages ​​of South Ossetia are Ossetian and Russian . In a referendum in 2011, around 83.5% of the population voted to make Russian the second state language alongside Ossetian. Russian was an official language before, but this step made it legally equivalent to Ossetian. The Georgian will also be granted an official status in some regions. The local variant of Ossetian is the ironic . The most widespread is the Kudarian dialect , furthermore the Ksanisch and Urstualisch dialects . The ironic dialects of South Ossetia show - in contrast to the ironic North Ossetia - numerous borrowings from Georgian. In addition, almost the entire population speaks Russian, which has a special role in public life and in the economy. The Georgian language is mainly spoken among the population of Georgian origin and is mostly not mastered by Ossetians.


Ruin in Sgubiri

The Iranian- speaking Ossetians , probably direct descendants of the Alans , immigrated to the Caucasus in ancient times from areas south of the Don . In the Middle Ages, the area south of the main Caucasus ridge, now populated by Ossetians, was called Samatschablo and was owned by the Georgian princes Matschabeli. Samachablo first belonged to the Kingdom of Georgia , later to the Georgian Kingdom of Kakheti , then to the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti. After the annexation of Kartlien-Kakhetien by Russia, it became part of the Russian governorate of Tbilisi in 1801 ( Russian: Tiflisskaja Gubernija ). In 1842 the Russian administrative unit Okrug Ossetien ( Ossetia District) was founded, in which around 60,000 Ossetians lived at that time.

Georgian-South Ossetian conflict 1918–1920

Landscape in South Ossetia

After the Russian Empire collapsed, the Democratic Republic of Georgia came into being and its government claimed territories that were predominantly inhabited by Georgians for centuries before the Russian annexation, including today's South Ossetia, at that time part of Kartliens and other Georgian principalities. In the late 18th century, the South Ossetians were expelled from the North Caucasus and emigrated to Georgia. Over time, they became the majority in the region. In 1918 Bolshevik uprisings broke out against the Georgian administration. The self-government of the region from Russian times was then lifted, which is why there were major uprisings and finally the so-called Georgian-South Ossetian conflict of 1918–1920 .

The clashes between Ossetians and Georgia escalated; by 1920 thousands of people, including about 5000 Ossetians, were killed. Most of them died from starvation and disease. Subsequently, many Georgians settled in deserted places in the region. The event was declared a genocide perpetrated by Georgians in 2006 by the government of Abkhazia , another disputed region in Georgia . The assertions of the separatist governments and Russia are rejected by Georgia as a distorted and exaggerated representation of a conflict that was also incited and instigated by the Bolsheviks. However, their gravity is recognized by the Georgian side.

Belonging to the Soviet Union

The Democratic Republic of Georgia was annexed by the Soviet Union as early as 1921 . The area of ​​today's South Ossetia became a part of the Georgian SSR within the Soviet Union as the South Ossetian Autonomous Region on April 20, 1922 . Far-reaching special cultural rights were provided for the Ossetian population in the autonomous region.

Particularly during the time of Stalinism , there was severe repression against Ossetians in South Ossetia, where the Ossetian language was compulsorily written in the Georgian alphabet until 1954 , while the Cyrillic alphabet continued to be used in North Ossetia . In the course of the thaw , many autonomy rights for South Ossetia were reintroduced.

Georgian-South Ossetian War

Mountain village of Edisa

In August 1989, a "Program for the Georgian Language" was decided in the Georgian Soviet Republic, which aimed not only at the promotion of the Georgian language, but also at the resettlement of ethnic Georgians in areas inhabited by minorities and the establishment of military units in the exclusively Georgians were allowed to be included.

The country's ethnic minorities felt threatened by these nationalist policies, and initial unrest broke out in parts of Georgia, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

On November 10, 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Region of South Ossetia decided to found a South Ossetian Autonomous Soviet Republic , which would have resulted in significantly expanded autonomy rights. The decision was declared ineffective on November 16 by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian SSR. The first conflict in South Ossetia broke out and lasted until January 1990. Georgian nationalists besieged Tskhinvali. Troops from the Soviet Interior Ministry tried to separate the warring sides.

On September 20, 1990, South Ossetia declared itself independent again as a Soviet Democratic Republic . Georgian militias invaded the area. Georgians set fire to houses in Tskhinvali. Russia sent troops to intervene on the South Ossetian side. The fighting left around 2,000 dead on both sides. Around 100,000 Ossetians fled Georgia and South Ossetia to Russia, 20,000 Georgians fled to Georgia, mostly to Tbilisi . In December 1990 a state of emergency was imposed on South Ossetia. On September 1, 1991 the area was renamed the Republic of South Ossetia . On September 6, 1991 Georgia broke official relations with the Soviet Union under President Zviad Gamsakhurdia . On November 25, 1991, the Georgian Supreme Soviet lifted the state of emergency over South Ossetia and three days later South Ossetia declared itself independent again. Snaur Gassiev was elected by the South Ossetian Supreme Soviet as parliament and prime minister. Head of government was Oleg Teseev. South Ossetia had around 125,000 inhabitants in 1991, 66 percent of whom were Ossetians and 29 percent Georgians. In a referendum on the Autonomous Region of South Ossetia on January 19, 1992, over 90 percent of the participants voted for independence from Georgia and joining North Ossetia, which is part of Russia . On April 25, 1992, the former special forces of the Soviet Interior Ministry were withdrawn, which led to fierce fighting between South Ossetian and Georgian units .

Deployment of a peacekeeping force in 1992

Memorial to the victims of the Georgian-Ossetian War in Tskhinvali in 1992

On June 24, 1992, the Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze signed a ceasefire agreement in Dagomys and the establishment of a 1500-strong peacekeeping force consisting of Russians, Ossetians and Georgians. It is overseen by a Joint Control Commission in which Georgia, Russia, and South and North Ossetia are represented. Georgia then withdrew its troops from South Ossetia.

On May 15, 1993, the Russian Defense signed Grachev and his Georgian counterpart Karkaraschwili an agreement on the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia by the end of 1995. However, assured Russian troops at the request of the Georgian government under Shevardnadze important rail and port facilities against supporters of the former President Gamsakhurdia in western Georgia and received in an agreement of February 3, 1994 the permission to set up three military bases in Georgia with around 20,000 soldiers, who could remain stationed even after the expiry of the agreement.

On August 27, 1996, Georgian President Shevardnadze and the President of the Parliament and later President of South Ossetia Ludwig Tschibirow signed a declaration after a meeting in Vladikavkaz , according to which both sides would find a solution to the conflict in accordance with the "principles of territorial integrity and the right of peoples to self-determination" will be sought.

Saakashvili's three-step plan 2004

Areas controlled by secessionists and government forces in 2004

According to official information, the government in Tbilisi intended to reintegrate South Ossetia into Georgia using the model of a change of power in Adjara. On September 22, 2004, President Mikheil Saakashvili presented a three-stage plan to the UN General Assembly to resolve the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and to return the areas under Georgian rule. The governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia rejected the Georgian plan.

In May 2004, the Georgian government set up a police checkpoint ten kilometers from Tskhinvali on the Transcaucasian highway coming from Russia and transferred special forces and Interior Ministry troops to the checkpoint in order to isolate the area. South Ossetia's government responded by arresting 50 Georgian soldiers, who were later released. There were repeated exchanges of fire between Georgian and South Ossetian associations.

Armistice breaches

Georgian soldiers (2004)

On July 11, 2004, Georgia and South Ossetia agreed on a ceasefire and four days later signed a protocol in Moscow that provided for the demilitarization of South Ossetia. Georgia should withdraw all units except 500 peacekeepers, and South Ossetia should expel Abkhazian and Russian troops from the country. On November 5, 2004, demilitarization was contractually agreed.

But the violent clashes did not end. On September 20, 2005, the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, was shot at by the Georgian army with mortars . Georgia's parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze also threatened to terminate the Dagomys ceasefire agreement signed in June 1992 . It made this conditional on the end of support for Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia after June 15, 2006. The United States asked Russia to stop supporting the South Ossetian government. On the other hand, they made it clear to the Georgian government that they would not support an escalation of violence.

Referendum in November 2006

On November 12, 2006, presidential elections and a referendum on independence from Georgia were held in South Ossetia. According to the Central Election Commission, 52,000 South Ossetians took part in the referendum. The result was 99 percent approval for independence and 96 percent approval for the re-election of President Kokoity. Ethnic Georgians were not allowed to vote.

The EU , the Council of Europe , the OSCE , the USA and NATO condemned the referendum because it increases rather than easing tensions in the region. Only Abkhazia and the Russian republics of North Ossetia-Alania and Karachay-Cherkessia unreservedly supported the referendum. Russia described the referendum as an “expression of free will” that had to be “taken into account”. Although Russian politicians emphasized that South Ossetia would not be recognized or accepted even after the vote, it was also said that the Russian position in this regard would depend on the development of the situation in Kosovo . If the world community ever accepts the full independence of Kosovo, the same standards must also be applied to the Georgian regions striving for independence. The United States, on the other hand, supported "the territorial integrity of Georgia and the peaceful settlement of the separatist conflict in South Ossetia".

In response to the referendum, an alternative referendum and presidential elections were held simultaneously in the Georgia-controlled parts of South Ossetia . The question was whether South Ossetia should be reunited with Georgia in a federation . According to the election commission there, 42,000 South Ossetians took part in the elections. Over 94% of the residents living there voted for reunification with Georgia, also over 94% for the former South Ossetian Prime Minister Dmitri Sanakoyev as president.

Provisional administration by Georgia

As a consequence of the alternative referendum, an Alternative Government of South Ossetia was formed for the parts of South Ossetia under Georgian control , which initially had no official status. On April 13, 2007, the Georgian Parliament decided to set up the Provisional Administration of South Ossetia with its seat in Kurta . On May 10, 2007, Dmitri Sanakoyev was appointed head of the Provisional Administration of South Ossetia.

Another escalation in 2008

South Ossetia with identification of the areas controlled by Georgia before August 2008 according to Georgian information
South Ossetia with identification of the areas controlled by Georgia before August 2008 according to Russian information

Georgia had already put its armed forces in increased combat readiness in May 2008 when Russia sent rail troops to the breakaway region of Abkhazia . On July 3, 2008, a South Ossetian militia leader was killed in an explosion, and on the same day there was an attack on Dimitri Sanakoyev , head of the “counter-government” in South Ossetia loyal to Georgia. Thereupon the South Ossetian government under Yuri Morozov announced the general mobilization .

On the night of July 5, Georgia's Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia announced that the Georgian armed forces would be moved from increased combat readiness to increased combat readiness with mobilization of the reserve and the national guard following the threat of South Ossetia . By August 7, 2008, Georgia had 12,000 soldiers and 75 tanks on the border with South Ossetia. At that time, around 1,000 Russian peacekeepers and around 500 South Ossetian militias were stationed in South Ossetia.

From August 3rd, Tskhinvali was evacuated; instead of a population, volunteers who wanted to fend off the "Georgian aggression" were present there. The villages of Dmenis and Khetagurovo, allegedly attacked by Georgia on July 7, were untouched, but the Georgian Zuli next door was indeed on fire. The Georgian president tried to defuse the war that was obviously beginning by means of a unilateral ceasefire. Depending on the source, the shelling of the later completely destroyed Tamarasheni, located in a Georgian enclave on the road to Tskhinvali, began.

On August 8, Georgian troops began an advance towards the military occupation of South Ossetia. Georgia ordered general mobilization and reported on the same day that it had already brought large parts of South Ossetia under its control. Heavy fighting broke out in Tskhinvali between the Georgian army on the one hand and Ossetian militias and Russian peacekeepers on the other.

Russian ground and airborne and ground troops of the Russian army advanced with heavy equipment in South Ossetia and stopped the Georgian offensive. The Georgian troops then withdrew from the partially occupied capital and were driven out of South Ossetia a little later.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened retaliation after the Russian media reported the deaths of numerous Russian peacekeepers on August 8. Soon after, the Russian Air Force bombed the military positions in the nearby Georgian cities of Poti and Gori , but also hit civilian targets. A military airfield and an aircraft factory near the Georgian capital Tbilisi were also destroyed. Russia also sent naval units and other troops to Abkhazia , on whose border with the Georgian core area fighting also broke out . Despite the ongoing Russian deployment, Georgia declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew its troops completely from Tskhinvali by August 10.

In response, the Russian President announced that the fighting would soon end. Nevertheless, Russian troops also advanced into Georgian territory outside of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and destroyed other military equipment there. On August 12, Medvedev announced the completion of military operations in Georgia.

South Ossetian civilians celebrate the end of the Caucasus War in 2008

From August 22, 2008, UNOSAT used high-resolution satellite images to document the situation around the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali after the ceasefire on August 10, 2008. Human Rights Watch interpreted the burning buildings seen in the images in several villages previously inhabited by Georgians as ethnic cleansing . The degree of destruction between Tskhinvali and Kechwi was between 40% and 50% in five localities. In a judgment of October 15, 2008, the International Court of Justice in The Hague urged all sides to exercise moderation in the context of ethnic displacement.

Russian troops are stationed in South Ossetia and de facto control the area.

Recognition of independence

Embassy of South Ossetia in Moscow

On August 26, 2008, Russian President Medvedev declared in a televised address that he recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, following a decision by the Russian parliament . Russia was thus the first member state of the United Nations to officially establish diplomatic relations with the two areas. Medvedev described his decision as a direct result of the previous military conflict, which made it impossible for South Ossetians and Abkhazians to continue to live in one state with the Georgians. At the same time he called on other states to follow this example. In addition to Russia, the republics of Abkhazia, Transnistria and Artsakh, which are also not internationally recognized, had previously recognized the independence of South Ossetia. On August 29, 2008, the President of the South Ossetian Parliament, Snaur Gassiev, and other leading politicians in South Ossetia announced that an agreement had been reached with Moscow to admit their territory to the Russian Federation, which should take place in a few years. Russia denied the existence of such an agreement. The South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity made contradicting statements on September 11, 2008 about the intended annexation of his country to the Russian Federation.

Nicaragua became the second country after Russia to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by a presidential decree on September 5, 2008, after President Daniel Ortega announced the recognition at an official event before his country's army leadership on September 2. Venezuela and Nauru followed a year later . Tuvalu first established diplomatic relations with South Ossetia in 2011, but signed an agreement with Georgia on March 31, 2014, in which it recognized its territorial integrity. At the end of May 2018, with Syria, the number of recognizing states increased to five. There has been no further international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia so far (as of July 2018).

Russia wants to admit South Ossetia to the Eurasian Union . This would require Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia to recognize the independence of these areas as well, which would bring them into open confrontation with Georgia. "That is why Moscow has now hatched a plan to 'integrate' the two areas more closely," says Dawit Ussupashvili in October 2014, and for Georgia "another step towards definitive annexation". In 2014, the parliament in Tskhinvali announced its intention to allow the South Ossetian people to vote on the accession of the Russian Federation. However, the plan had to be postponed for the time being.

A friendship agreement was signed on February 18, 2015 and an alliance and integration agreement on March 18, 2015, which provides for a "coherent foreign policy" and the protection of borders by Russia for 25 years, as this is "important for the country's economic development ". The alliance and integration agreement was passed by the Russian Duma on May 19 and approved by the Federation Council on May 24.

In June 2017, Anatoly Bibilov , President of the de facto state, said in an interview with Ria Novosti that work on the integration project with Russian officials would continue and that the popular vote that had long been envisaged would take place sooner or later.


Constitution and government structures

There are two competing administrative and government structures for South Ossetia, that of the Republic of South Ossetia and that of the South Ossetian Provisional Administrative Entity, which is loyal to Georgia . However, since August 2008, the Russian-backed Republic of South Ossetia has controlled the entire region and exercises sovereignty over the country, previously smaller parts of the area were under the control of Georgia.

The Republic of South Ossetia has its own constitution, the South Ossetian constitution , its own administrative structures and its own military.

The political classification of South Ossetia varies between a semi-presidential republic and a presidential republic . There are several larger parties, including the right-wing conservative Unity Party , the Communist Party of South Ossetia and the left-wing liberal People's Party of South Ossetia . The latter three parties are also represented in the 34-seat South Ossetian Parliament .

The head of state of the republic was the history professor Ludwig Tschibirow from 1993 to 2001 (until 1996 parliament president, then president). In 2002 and 2006 Eduard Kokoity was elected President. He strove for the unification of South and North Ossetia within Russia. In August 2003 he signed a friendship and cooperation agreement with the Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria . On November 24, 2003, Kokoity designated South Ossetia as "Russian territory".

From 2008 to 2009, the former president of the Russian federal tax authority in North Ossetia, Aslanbek Bulazew , was prime minister of the republic after Kokoity dismissed the entire cabinet under his predecessor Yuri Morozov in August 2008.

On May 31, 2009 the parliamentary elections for the fifth parliament took place. They were the first after Russia and some other states recognized independence.

The 2011 presidential elections took place on November 13, 2011, and the independent candidate Alla Dschiojewa surprisingly won through. After the elections were declared invalid by the Supreme Court of South Ossetia, there were new elections in April 2012. In a final runoff election, the also independent candidate Leonid Tibilow was elected as the new President of South Ossetia, and Rostislaw Chugajew became Prime Minister.

In the presidential elections on April 9, 2017, Anatoly Bibilov, who had already been designated as President of South Ossetia by Russia in the 2011 presidential elections, but surprisingly failed because of Alla Jiojewa, was elected president to succeed Leonid Tibilov. The previous president Leonid Tibilow reached second place, the KGB man Alan Gaglojew third. Former President Eduard Kokojty was not allowed to vote because he had provided incomplete information about his permanent residence over the past 5 years. It is assumed that Kokojty's candidacy was prevented by Russia because he sharply criticized Vladislav Surkov , who curates South Ossetian politics for the Kremlin, among other things for the stationing of Russian border guards in the South Ossetian villages and the associated restriction of freedom of movement .

At the same time as the 2017 presidential elections, a vote was taken on the renaming of South Ossetia to Alania (Alania); this proposal was accepted with 80% of the votes and took effect immediately. The president of the breakaway region Leonid Tibilow had been instrumental in advocating the name change and described it as an important step for the "reunification with North Ossetia within the Russian Federation". The unilateral referendum became a further burden for the already tense relationship between Russia and Georgia. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili lamented: “Any attempt to change the name of the occupied region without the consent of the Georgian central government constitutes another act against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, which is aimed at the further annexation of Georgia's occupied territories. "

Administrative units

The Republic of South Ossetia is divided into four Rajons (districts):

Surname Bev. 1989 Bev. 2002
Leningor district 12,100 7,700
Tskhinval district 23,500 18,700
Dzau district 10,400 7,000
Snaur Raion 10,200 8,000

Foreign policy

South Ossetia claims to maintain diplomatic relations with Russia , Nicaragua , Venezuela , Nauru , Tuvalu, as well as with Abkhazia and Transnistria . The country operates embassies in Russia and Abkhazia, and there is also a diplomatic mission in Transnistria.

Consent to independence

Independent studies by the University of Colorado Boulder have shown that a majority of over 80% of the residents of South Ossetia want to join the Russian Federation and see the current independence only as an intermediate step. Less than 20% want their country to be independent over the long term. According to the study, less than one percent supported reunification with Georgia, but only ethnic Ossetians were surveyed. Three quarters of the population support the permanent retention of Russian troops in the country.


Road network

The South Ossetian road network reflects the longstanding close ties with Georgia. In many areas of the country (for example in the Ksanital ) the road connections to the Georgian heartland are better than those to the capital Tskhinvali or other parts of South Ossetia. Some places can only be reached on larger roads via the Georgian core area (e.g. the places in the Kwirilital in western South Ossetia). Only since the opening of the Roki Tunnel in 1984 has there been a direct traffic connection to Russia. As a transit country in north-south traffic, South Ossetia was and still is of little or no importance (not least because of the ongoing conflict situation).


South Ossetia does not have its own rail network. A railway line from Gori , Georgia , ends in the capital Tskhinvali , on which no traffic has taken place for years. However, there are plans to connect Tskhinvali to the network of the Russian railways . For this purpose, a 149 km long, completely new route from Tskhinvali to Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia with four tunnels would have to be built.

Gas supply

After the war in August 2008, gas transport from the Georgian heartland to South Ossetia was stopped. Russia criticized Georgia's actions by pointing out that Russia maintained its gas supplies to Georgia even during the war. The Russian state-owned company Gazprom then made efforts to build a new gas pipeline from the Russian Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia to South Ossetia in order to be able to supply this region with gas independently of the Georgian heartland. The new 162.3-kilometer line, which cost 15 billion rubles ($ 476 million) to build, opened in 2009. It is operated by the Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Transgaz Stavropol.


South Ossetia's most important economic factors are the cultivation of grain, fruit and wine as well as the transport of goods to Russia. The currency is the Russian ruble . The events since the 1990s have weakened the region economically, so that the region still has a high unemployment rate and the production level of local industry is far below the level of 1989. The economic situation has improved somewhat in recent years, also thanks to Russian financial aid. According to the Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta , "over 70 percent of the workforce" is employed in the republic's public service. The remaining "30 percent are taxi drivers and small business owners who trade in products from Russia and Georgia."


South Ossetia has become an important marketplace for the transit trade of goods from Georgia to Russia. At the Roki tunnel , which forms the border with Russia, only 3% tariffs are levied, while otherwise it is 25% at the Georgian-Russian border.

Financial aid from abroad

The European Union funded between 1998 and 2008 various projects for the reconstruction and improvement of infrastructure in South Ossetia. After the 2008 war, which resulted in extensive destruction, Russia began transferring large sums of money for the purpose of reconstruction. According to the Russian government, more than 26 billion rubles (around 700 million euros) of Russian financial aid flowed to South Ossetia from August 2008 to May 2010.


Tourism in South Ossetia has not yet developed, in particular there are hardly any foreign guests. However, a state company has been set up to promote tourism in South Ossetia, which has 15 employees and offers individual tourist excursions. According to the head of the state enterprise, Eleonora Bedojewa, the development of the tourism industry is one of the "strategic goals of economic development" of the republic.

Entry into South Ossetia from Georgia is not possible beyond the local border traffic. Entry into South Ossetia from the Russian Federation is possible without any problems - provided you have a Russian multiple visa - but Georgia regards it as an illegal border crossing and punishes you with a fine or imprisonment for up to 5 years. Although there is in fact no visa requirement for South Ossetia and there is no South Ossetian stamp when crossing the border, the stay in South Ossetia can be proven by the stamp of the border guards of the Russian Federation upon entry and exit.


After the Caucasus War of 2008, the Mariinsky Theater from St. Petersburg played a special performance in the South Ossetian capital. With the help of Russian authorities, cultural life in South Ossetia is being restored.


  • Silke Kleinhanß: The foreign policy of Georgia . LIT, Münster 2008, ISBN 978-3-8258-0817-4 .
  • Mariam Lortkipanidze: Georgia and its autonomies. Brief outline of the history of Abkhazia, Achara and South Ossetia . In: Georgica . tape 15 . Shaker, 1992, ISSN  0232-4490 , p. 34-37 .
  • LA Karbelasvili: Yugo-Osetija . Tbilisi 1962.
  • Tamaz Diasamidze: Regional Conflicts in Georgia - the Autonomous Oblast of South Ossetia, the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia (1989-2002). The Collection of Political-Legal Acts . Regionalism Research Center, Tbilisi 2003.
  • Helsinki Watch (Ed.): Bloodshed in the Caucasus: violations of humanitarian law and human rights in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict . Human Rights Watch, New York 1992, ISBN 1-56432-058-8 .
  • Avtandil M. Mentesasvili: Trouble in the Caucasus . Nova Science Publ., New York 1995, ISBN 1-56072-177-4 .
  • Dennis Sammut, Nikola Cvetkovski: The Georgia-South Ossetia conflict . Verification Technology Information Center, London 1996, ISBN 1-899548-06-8 .
  • Tim Potier: Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a legal appraisal . Kluwer Law International, The Hague 2001, ISBN 90-411-1477-7 .
  • Alexandre Kukhianidze, Alexandre Kupatadze, Roman Gotsiridze: Smuggling Through Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region of Georgia . Transnational Crime and Corruption Center Georgia Office, Tbilisi 2004.

Web links

Commons : South Ossetia  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: South Ossetia  - geographical and historical maps

Individual evidence

  1. Alexander Smoltczyk: The ABC Republic . In: Der Spiegel . No. 35 , 2009, p. 50-54 ( Online - Aug. 24, 2009 ).
  2. russland.RU of September 11, 2009: Venezuela recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia ( Memento of July 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  3. net-tribune.DE of December 15, 2009: Pacific state Nauru recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia ( Memento of March 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  4. and South Ossetia want to get closer to Moscow on , August 26, 2018
  5. ^ Spiegel Online : "Russia was allowed to rush to help South Ossetia" , interview with Daniel-Erasmus Khan , August 13, 2008
  6. Urs Saxer : “ Becoming independent is not easy ” in Neue Zürcher Zeitung, NZZ online , September 2, 2008
  7. ^ The daily newspaper : "Georgia is acting lawfully" ( Memento of February 10, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), interview with Andreas Zimmermann , August 11, 2008
  8. Security policy without consideration - Russian secret service cuts the last connections ( Memento from March 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), ARD, March 3, 2014
  9. ^ The Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use . Georgia: a toponymic note concerning South Ossetia ( Memento of March 20, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 254 kB)
  10. ^ A b Georgia: Avoiding War in South Ossetia. (PDF; 850 kB) International Crisis Group , November 26, 2004, accessed on August 13, 2008 (ICG Europe Report 159).
  11. : Доклад о положении в Южной Осетии: Россия выделила на каждого жителя 28 тысяч долларов
  12. Russia to provide $ 200 mio in urgent aid for S. Ossetia
  13. Russian State Economic Archives Website / «РГАЭ: Российский государственный архив экономики» Сайт Этнокавказ
  14. South Ossetia makes Russian a second state language
  15. Tim Potier: Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia: A Legal Appraisal . Kluwer Law International, The Hague 2001, p. 139
  16. ^ Cornell, Svante E, Autonomy and Conflict: Ethnoterritoriality and Separatism in the South Caucasus - Case in Georgia. Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Report No. 61, 258 pp. Uppsala. ISBN 91-506-1600-5 .
  17. [1]
  18. История письменности - Осетинский алфавит на грузинской основе
  20. ^ Chronicle of the events of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict 1988–1994 . RIA Novosti, August 11, 2008 (Russian)
  21. The Fischer World Almanac 1993 . ISBN 3-596-19093-2 , pp. 64-66 .
  22. Explanation of the results of the meeting <…> on August 27, 1996. In: Website of the South Ossetian part of the Mixed Control Commission. August 27, 1996, archived from the original on July 17, 2010 ; Retrieved September 16, 2008 (Russian): "‹… ›принципов территориальной целостности государств и права народов на самоопределе…"
  23. a b - Daily News Online, November 13, 2006 CoE Secretary General condemns South Ossetia polls
  24. North Ossetian Leader Hails S. Ossetia Polls. In: Civil.Ge. November 13, 2006, accessed August 11, 2008 .
  25. Russian MFA: S. Ossetia Polls Expression of Free Will. In: Civil.Ge. November 14, 2006, accessed August 11, 2008 .
  26. Russian Press Skeptical about S. Ossetia Polls. In: Civil.Ge. November 14, 2006, accessed August 11, 2008 .
  27. ^ Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs: The United States and the South Ossetian Conflict. In: US Department of State. March 31, 2008, archived from the original on August 13, 2008 ; Retrieved on August 11, 2008 (English): "The United States supports the territorial integrity of Georgia and a peaceful resolution of the separatist conflict in South Ossetia."
  28. Simultaneous Polls in S.Ossetia. In: Civil.Ge. November 12, 2006, accessed August 11, 2008 .
  29. S. Ossetia Quiet After Rival Polls. In: Civil.Ge. November 12, 2006, accessed August 11, 2008 .
  30. ^ MPs Pass Draft Law on S. Ossetia with Final Hearing. In: Civil Georgia. Daily News Online, April 13, 2007, accessed October 17, 2012 .
  31. Sanakoev Appointed as Head of S.Ossetia Administration. In: Civil Georgia. Daily News Online, May 10, 2007, accessed October 17, 2012 .
  32. ^ Three Injured in Attack on Georgian Convoy in S. Ossetia . Civil Georgia . July 3, 2008
  33. ^ South Ossetia orders mobilization after Georgia's attack. In: . July 4, 2008, archived from the original on August 4, 2008 ; Retrieved January 1, 2009 .
  34. Russia's rapid reaction International Institute for Strategic Studies ( Memento from August 9, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  35. Uwe Klussman on Spiegel Online : Georgia's Murky Motives: Saakashvili under Pressure from EU Probe
  36. a b Julija Latynina : How to Defeat Georgia , Novaya Gazeta, August 7, 2018
  37. ^ The Ossetians opened a huge fire on the village of Tamarasheni - Georgia Online August 7, 2008 11:02 pm
  38. Georgia brings South Ossetia under control ( Memento of August 8, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), Süddeutsche Zeitung of August 8, 2008
  39. ^ Russia invades South Ossetia , Spiegel-Online, August 8, 2008
  40. Georgia declares a unilateral armistice , FAZ, August 9, 2008
  41. South Ossetia: Georgian Army backs away , FOCUS, August 10, 2008
  42. Satellite images
  43. ^ Satellite Images Show Destruction, Ethnic Attacks. Human Rights Watch, accessed March 19, 2015 .
  44. Destruction in Tskhinvali (pdf)
  45. Press release of October 15, 2008 ( Memento of December 26, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 93 kB), IGH
  46. Conference failed ( memento of October 19, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), SZ accessed on October 15, 2008
  47. ^ The Kremlin is tightening its grip on Abkhazia , NZZ, November 26, 2014
  48. Dimitry Kochenov, Elena Basheska: Good Neighbourliness in the European Legal Context , BRILL, 2015, ISBN 9789004299788 ; Russian troops are stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and de facto control their terretories.
  49. Медведев признал независимость Южной Осетии и Абхазии (August 26, 2008)
  50. Спикер парламента ЮО раскрыл соглашение Медведева и Кокойты: РФ присоединит олЮО "в теченит ол в в теченит олО" в течение August 29, 2008
  51. Скандал в Сочи: Южная Осетия не может определиться, входить ли в состав РФ, Абхазед боселься (September 11, 2008) босеел.
  52. ^ The Earth Times, September 3, 2008, Nicaragua recognizes South Ossetia, Abkhazia September 3, 2008
  53. Interpressnews: Tuvalu takes back recognition of independence of Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia ( Memento of September 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (March 31, 2014)
  54. Syria has established diplomatic relations with South Ossetia , Novaya Gazeta, July 22, 2018
  55. Turn away from Russia , Basler Zeitung, October 18, 2014
  56. Референдум о вхождении Южной Осетии в Россию пройдет в 2017 году . ( [accessed January 24, 2018]).
  57. ^ SRF daily news , February 18, 2015
  58. Putin ratifies the integration of South Ossetia ,, June 30, 2015
  59. Russia and South Ossetia sign an alliance and integration agreement ( Memento from July 1, 2015 in the web archive ), RBTH, March 18, 2015
  60. The document published by the Russian government on the "Alliance and Integration Agreement"
  61. Риа Новости: Анатолий Бибилов: референдум о присоединении к России рано или поздно будет. June 2, 2017, Retrieved January 24, 2018 (Russian).
  62. [2]
  68. STANDARD Verlagsgesellschaft mbH: Georgia: Referendum in South Ossetia raises conflict with Russia . In: . ( [accessed on November 22, 2017]).
  69. РЕСПУБЛИКА ЮЖНАЯ ОСЕТИЯ (Russian) ( Memento from April 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  70. a b Eastern Europe , Volume 58, Issues 11–12, 2008, p. 104 Online
  71. Voice of Russia : Leonid Tibilov: "Russia saved the people of South Ossetia from death"
  72. ^ A b How people in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria feel about annexation by Russia. The Washington Post, accessed March 19, 2015 .
  73. Vedomosti : Грузия грозит РФ судом за строительство железной дороги Владикавказ-Цхинвали
  74. Russia News Lavrov: Georgia should supply South Ossetia with gas again
  75. ^ Gazprom: Georgia prevents gas delivery to South Ossetia
  76. New gas pipeline for S.Ossetia costs $ 476 mln - Gazprom
  77. Delyagin, Mikhail (2009-03). A Testing Ground for Modernization and a Showcase of Success . Russia in Global Affairsy
  78. Ирина Гордиенко: Гибридная свобода - Как Южная Осетия уже 8 лет живет под крылом России , June 8, 2016. German (abridged) Translation: Irina Gordijenko: In limbo - South Ossetia , June 14, 2016 (translator: Ruth Altenhofer).
  79. Delgeo - Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, List of EU projects (English / Georgian)
  80. : Путин потребовал от президента Южной Осетии прекратить попытки убрать из республики присланного Москвой премьера
  81. South Ossetia Tourism Agency ( Memento of May 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  82. Interview with Eleonora Bedojewa ( Memento from November 7, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  83. - ( Memento from December 13, 2016 in the Internet Archive )

Coordinates: 42 ° 21 '  N , 44 ° 6'  E