The messenger logo

De-facto South Ossetian leader demands ceasefire agreement

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 28
The leader of Georgia’s de-facto region of South Ossetia has stated that his “republic” will cut all ties with Georgia if the latter fails to sign a cease-fire agreement.

Leonid Tibilov, the de-facto leader of South Ossetia, which was recognized as an independent state by Russia following the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, says that his “country” requires peace guarantees.

“Tskhinvali will not attempt to restore relations with Georgia if Tbilisi does not sign a ceasefire agreement,” Tibilov said during his interview with “Komsomolskaya Pravda” radio.

According to him, Tskhinvali does not see any changes in Georgia’s rhetoric.

“The atmosphere in Tbilisi is not different from what existed before and during 2008.

“I think Georgia must repent for its actions and give guarantees to South Ossetia that the events of August 2008 will never be repeated. This should be done through signing a ceasefire agreement,” Tibilov said.

According to him, Tskhinvali will reject any talks unless the document is signed.

“Georgia must face reality and recognize our independence,” said the de-facto President.

The same is being demanded by Russia, the aggressor that occupies 20% of Georgia's land.

Russia demands the signing of the agreement between Georgia and the two de-facto independent regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Meanwhile, the Georgian government stresses that such a document should be signed between Georgia and Russia, as the Russian Federation is a permanent threat to Georgian security.

Herewith, if Georgia signs such a memorandum with its own occupied regions it will constitute a recognition of the breakaway territories as independent states.

Until up to the second half of the 19th century the majority of ethnic Ossetians lived primarily in the North Caucasus (present-day North Ossetia-Alania, one of the sovereign republics of the Russian Federation). Only smaller groups of Ossetians lived on Georgian territory.

Today’s South Ossetia was previously known as Samachablo, or the fiefdom of the princely house of Machabeli, since the 15th century.

In 1861 Russia abolished serfdom. However, the elite levels of society benefited from the process. North Ossetian former serfs fell into hard economic conditions and started seeking new areas and moved to the Samachablo territory.

They were ready to work for minimal compensation and were not afraid to set up homes on the locals’ lands; this irritated locals. However, local landlords refrained from supporting their people as they benefited from the cheap workforce.

The Samachablo Georgians were left with two choices – either move away from Samachablo, or stay and live in turbulent conditions. Finally they decided to leave and moved to central Georgia, especially the area around Gori.

On February 21, 1921, the first democratic republic of Georgia adopted its first constitution, which was only valid for four days, as on February 25, 1921 Russia annexed Georgia.

It was not until 1922 that the Bolshevik leadership adopted a resolution on the “creation of the autonomous unit of South Ossetia”. Between 1925 and 1927 there were talks of uniting the North and the South Ossetias but no serious attempts were made to do so.

Later, in 1991, after Georgia declared independence from the USSR, an ethnic conflict broke out first in Tskhinvali (capital of South Ossetia) and later in Abkhazia (in Western Georgia, bordering the Black Sea).

At this point, Georgia was considered a failing state without functional governing institutions. As a result, the country was overrun by mob-style militia.

This contributed to the escalation of both civil wars without any reasonable solution. Moreover, the first President of independent Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was ousted in March 1992 and the country was left without a president until November of that year.

The State Council of Georgia, headed by Eduard Shevardnadze, asked Russia to step in. The Russian government had been backing the separatists in both Tskhinvali and Abkhazia, and easily brokered a ceasefire deal, permanently moving its peacekeeping forces to the regions that would later be described as “frozen conflict zones”. South Ossetia and Abkhazia subsequently became de facto republics.