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De-facto states' relations with Russia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, August 6
Leader of de facto South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity blamed Georgian forces living in Russia for the destruction of building process in South Ossetia, on August 5. He mentioned those forces have adopted a new plan on how to put strain on the Russia-Ossetia's friendly relations.

“Georgian forces acting in Russia have adopted a new strategy on how to jeopardise our friendly relation with Russia. They are sending “specialists” here, who are initiating corruption schemes on our territory. Our law enforcers will investigate the issues and start cases against those people,” Kokoity said.

However locals in the de facto region blame Kokoity's so-called Government together with the Russian authorities. They have stated Russia does not control the funds allocated for South Ossetia nor does it have the desire to control them. People there still have to live with relatives or in tents. It appears they are not waiting for Kokoity or Medvedev-Putin to solve the problem and they have already appealed to the West for assistance.

Meanwhile Kokoity is trying to strengthen relations with Russia and intends to declare Russian as the “state language” of South Ossetia. “It is necessary for Russian and Ossetian to be the state languages of South Ossetia. We should strengthen our intention not to let opponents get involved in our interior issues or in our international affairs. We are allied nations and it has been many times confirmed in history, most recently in the August war of 2008,” Kokoity said.

Russian states that it considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia as important, however it is not prepared to give the considerable funding that South Ossetia needs. During his visit to South Ossetia Russian Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov called the restored homes “Golden houses” thus underlining that the sums have been artificially exaggerated by the tenants. Shuvalov also pointed out that the Russian elections are not far way and as such no-one wants to see spending of state money outside of the budget.

Despite this, Russian officials insist Russia is prepared to always help South Ossetia and that this process is irreversible especially when threats from Georgia still exists, “The Georgian side is carrying out defensive preparations in west and east Georgia. They are continually undertaking military trainings. We know, that nothing positive is expected from Georgia, at least with the present authorities. It is very important that Russian-Ossetian relations continue to develop and no one can hinder this process,” former deputy head of Russian military forces main staff, Anatoly Nogovitsin said on August 5, during his visit to South Ossetia.

Analyst, Nika Chitadze told The Messenger, “The situation inside so-called South Ossetia among Russians and de facto regime is strained. Russians are unsatisfied with spending of funds allocated by them and the locals express their complaints openly. Despite this, for now, in my opinion there is little expectation of some kind of serious tension there, as Russia, as well as Kokoity will not allow it. However, if the process continues, and there are no significant improvements for the people, the tension will increase.” He added, “If there is a confrontation between the Russians and Ossetians, there will a chance that the Ossetians might change their pro-Russian stance and look to Georgia. If, as a result of the pressure from international organisations, the Russian forces actually leave Georgia, positive and significant moves in Georgian-Ossetian relations are possible. However this is the long-term view.