Ossetian ‘nationals’ in Georgia
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 17The Russian-imposed Georgian-Ossetian conflict has had a number of consequences. One is that some ethnic Ossetians who have deeply integrated into Georgian society have changed their names to Georgian ones. Some others however have migrated to the Tskhinvali region or Russia, and despite the fact that no cases of the oppression of Ossetian nationals have been reported this process continues.
By 1989 it was estimated that there were 165,000 ethnic Ossetians, of whom 60,000 lived in Tskhinvali. About 34,000 were in Tbilisi. According to the 2002 census there were 38,000 Ossetian nationals left in Georgia, with 15,000 in Tbilisi. Since the 2008 war the number of Ossetians in Georgia has further decreased, and Chair of the NGO Iber-Eeron, Maia Tsaboshvili- Chigoeva, states that today there are only 25,000 Ossetians in Georgia, apart from those in the Tskhinvali region, who have not changed their names into Georgian ones.
Chigoeva expresses her regret that this tendency could negatively influence relations between two brotherly nations. She says that the Georgian leadership should take measures which would provide psychological comfort for ethnic Ossetians who would like to stay in Georgia and co-exist with the local population.