South Ossetia – history of the conflict

Soviet Union established the autonomy in the Tskhinvali region after occupying Georgia in the 1920ies. As of 1986, the region had about 90 thousand inhabitants, of which about 60 thousands were ethnic Ossetians and 30 thousand Georgians.
For decades Ossetian minority has been living side by side with Georgians, all around Georgia, without any notable complications.

After the crush of the Soviet Union, separatists supported by Russian military established control over a big part of the territory. At the same time, a big part of Ossetian ethnic minority remained on the Georgian side, in various places, including Georgian capital and the region itself, and lived peacefully.

Separatist and Russian forces constantly kept attacking Georgian controlled and Georgian populated villages in the region.

As the Olympiad approached, the attacks on the Georgian controlled villages became more intensive. Georgian forces responded and forced the Russian-backed separatists out of their positions. Later Georgian side proposed a cease-fire, however, new military attacks from Russia followed. Georgian military responded again.

On that stage Russia started open military aggression.

South Ossetia, as a source of instability in the region, has been used by Russia as a tool of pressure on Georgia (along with Abkhazia) since the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

It’s evident that separatist forces have been controlled by Russia. Not only the separatist leaders have been visiting Moscow frequently, but their government also included some former Russian generals.

At the current stage of the Russian military invasion the separatists don’t play any significant role in the conflict. As already shown, the whole population on the territory controlled by the separatists was less than Russian 58th army.


2 Responses to “South Ossetia – history of the conflict”

  1. August 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Total population of South Ossetia Autonomous Republic is about 30’000 inhabitants including 1/3 ethnic Georgians.

    Autonomous Republic territory NEVER was under 100% separatist’s control. It was split de-facto in two parts – one with the center in Ckhinvali – was controlled by Russian-backed separatist Eduard Kokoyti “government” (most of Ministers of this s.c. Cabinet are put by Russia, are Russian citizens and high-ranked officers of russian FSB (KGB) – Baranov – separatist’s minister of Securiti – was Chief of Mordovia (Russian autonomous republic) FSB Chief. Minister of Interior Mindzaev – from Russia’s North Ossetian Autonomous Republic – where he was Chief of Cabinet of Minister of Interior. Min of Defense Lunev – was a Russian Ministry of Defense “Commissar” in Russian city Perm. Barankevich – Chief of Security Counsel – vice-commissar of Russian Ministry of Defense in Russian city Stavropol. PM Morozov – also Russian FSB officer.

    Another part of SO Autonomous Republic is run by non-separatist local Ossetian-Georgian joint administration, with a center in South Ossetian Autonomous Republic city Kurta. This administration is headed by Dmitry Sanakoev.

    On June 26, 2007 at the EU-Georgian Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in Brussels Dmitry Sanakoyev delivered a speech, in his native Ossetian – his first appeal to the international community. He emphasized that “a direct dialog between the Georgian and Ossetian peoples and demilitarization of the region are of crucial importance… European-type of autonomy, like Alto Adige/Südtirol, can serve as a model… in unified Georgia…. where liberal democracy is being built”.

    On July 3, 2008, Sanakoyev survived an attack on his convoy which hit a remote controlled mine and Both Sanakoyev’s administration and Georgian police officials blamed the forces loyal to the Kokoity government for organizing the incident.

  2. January 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm

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    I like all the points you have made.

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