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Unrest Continues in South Ossetia

By Ernest Petrosyan
Wednesday, October 5
Pre-election tension continues to grow in South Ossetia. Conflicts are occurring on the streets of Tskhinvali between opposition supporters and the police. The South Ossetian regime's head, Eduard Kokoity, ordered the introduction of a state of emergency in Tskhinvali on October 4. He also ordered the closure of the border for Russian citizens to prevent their entry to South Ossetia to somehow maintain control over the existing unrest.

According to Murat Jioev, de-facto Foreign Minister, the ban applies to all those who are not citizens of so-called South Ossetia except for those Russia citizens who were serving at the fourth military base in Tskhinvali.

“All restrictions to provide security are applied in accordance with current legislation and the visa-free agreement” he said. He also added that the Russian side had been informed via the so-called Russian Embassy in Tskhinvali about the temporary restrictions.

One of the opposition leaders, Dzhambulat Tedeev, whose registration as a presidential candidate was rejected by the Central Election Committee few days ago, remains at home protected by his supporters, who surround his house, while his supporters in turn are surrounded by the regime's militia or police force.

As Tedeev stated to, a Russian online newspaper, Tedeev is anticipating the storming of his home by law enforcement bodies. “Now, as during recent days, my house has been surrounded by my supporters who have filled both stories of the house. They are eating and sleeping here,” Tedeev said. “They want to take me to the prosecutor’s office, but I will not go anywhere until I understand what I am accused of. So far I only see that the authorities are trying to get rid of political rivals”, he added. About 90 of his supporters are still being detained. As news agencies report, there has been the active detention of residents with opposition views and that people are afraid to walk in the streets. Another presidential candidate Merab Kalekhsaev was also brutally beaten up.

The unrest was triggered off by the regime leader Kokoity, who amended the so-called constitution that now obliges a presidential candidate to have resided in South Ossetia during the past ten years. This excluded Tedeev who had been living in Russia training the national wrestling team of the Russian Federation.

According to the analyst Mamuka Areshidze, despite the radical statements, both sides are restrained enough, apparently waiting for Moscow’s reaction, which so far appears not to want to interfere. As Areshidze said, Tedeev is a very popular candidate, who is also popular in Russia’s political and sporting circles. “Obviously Kokoity closed the border to prevent the inflow of Tedeev’s many supporters from Russia”, said the analyst. Areshidze says that Kokoity is trying to get rid of strong rivals.

The unrest in Tskhinvali started on September 30 and will most likely continue in Tskhinvali until the elections, if indeed no directives are first addressed to the puppet regime leader from Moscow.