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De-facto South Ossetian leader announces referendum to join Russia

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, October 21
De-facto South Ossetia’s so –called president Leonid Tibilov plans to hold a referendum about joining the Georgian region to the Russian Federation.

The statement was made by Tibilov's press office on October 19.

The de-facto President states that South Ossetia is under permanent security risks and needs to be within Russia.

"Due to today’s political realities, we should make a historic choice, to join our Russian brothers and guarantee the security and prosperity for our republic for centuries," reads the statement released by the press office.

The Chairman of Russia’s State Duma committee on CIS and Eurasian integration, Leonid Slutsky, said that Moscow should thoroughly consider thoroughly the notion before making a decision in favour of South Ossetia’s accession to the Russian Federation.

"We should understand that the reaction from the international community might be very fierce. Even though the desire of the Ossetian people is clear, we should take into account the geopolitical situation around us," stated Slutsky.

The Deputy Chairman of the Duma’s foreign affairs committee, MP Leonid Kalashnikov, said that Russia will not have any benefits after making South Ossetia a part of the Russian Federation.

"The pros of accession to the Russian Federation are quite obvious for South Ossetia, but there are not so many benefits for Russia; there are too many cons for Russia of a diplomatic and international nature.

“All these pros and cons will be considered thoroughly. Of course, South Ossetia can hold the referendum, however, it is too early to forecast how Russia will respond," stated Kalashnikov. Russian senator Vladimir Dzhabarov said that the leader of South Ossetia has the right to hold the referendum, since he is the leader of a sovereign county .

The Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality of Georgia, Paata Zakareishvili, considered the South Ossetian referendum as an illegal act. "If this referendum is held, it will have no legal power, just like in 1999 and 2006. Both of the referendums were estimated as illegal by international society," stated Zakareishvili.