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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 25
Russian Duma Ratifies Tskhinvali Military Agreement

On January 24, the State Duma – the lower chamber of the Russian legislature – ratified the agreement with the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali authorities “on the procedure of inclusion of separate units of the armed forces of the republic of South Ossetia into the armed forces of the Russian Federation.”

The agreement, presented for ratification in the Duma by Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Nikolai Pankov, was signed on March 31, 2017, in Moscow. Tskhinvali “parliament” ratified it on July 21, 2017. The purpose of the agreement is to regulate service of the residents of the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia in the Russian military, in particular Moscow’s military base stationed in the region.

The document was ratified unilaterally, with 411 Russian MPs voting for it.

According to Duma’s January 18 information, it was clarified during the hearing on the agreement in Duma’s CIS, Eurasian Integration and Ties with Compatriots Committee that “implementation of the agreement will allow formation of the common defense space of the two states [Russia and South Ossetia], and inclusion of South Ossetian units into the system of training and application of forces of the Southern Military District.”

The agreement presently ratified by the Duma is part of the treaty on “alliance and integration,” signed between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Russian-backed Tskhinvali leader Leonid Tibilov on March 18, 2015. (

Gov’t of Georgia demands investigation of man’s death in occupied Tskhinvali

The 84th meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) has been held in Ergneti, in a village in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region.

Central government representatives demanded a transparent investigation into Georgian citizen David Basharuli’s case at the meeting, who in 2014 went missing in occupied Akhalgori and later was found dead.

The representatives of the central government of Georgia with other participants discussed the key incidents, registered from December 19 to January 24, along the occupation line, in neighbouring areas and in the region.

The central government also raised the issue of the illegal erection of border signs by occupants and other security issues.

The next IPRM meeting will be held on February 27, 2018. (

Abkhaz Opposition to Seek Khajimba’s Resignation

“Our purpose is to create the situation when the head of state voluntarily steps down,” members of “the union of political parties and public organizations of Abkhazia” said during the new entity’s first press conference on January 23.

The union was established earlier in January following protest rallies in response to Russian-backed Sokhumi leader Raul Khajimba’s decision to release prisoner Giorgi Lukava, whom Sokhumi accuses of murder and kidnapping. The union includes Amtsakhara and United Abkhazia opposition parties, as well as several non-government organizations.

“We realize the full seriousness of this demand. We understand what kind of events all this may mean. But such are the circumstances,” said during the press conference a representative of the union - the head of APRA foundation and a member of “Abkhazia parliament” Aslan Bzhania. He added that the opposition would seek to achieve Khajimba’s resignation “only through legal means.”

United Abkhazia party leader, Sergey Shamba said at the press conference that “the president demands adherence to the law, but breaks it himself. At the same time, the representatives of the authorities move around the country and justify president’s actions. They cling to power with all their strength.”

Opposition members accuse Khajimba of breaking the law by his order to release Lukava. The “parliamentary commission” created to review the legitimacy of Lukava’s release deferred the final decision to the “constitutional court,” although the latter has not started to function yet.

Raul Khajimba has visited several districts of Abkhazia since January 16, meeting with local supporters and reiterating his position that he had the right to order Lukava’s release. (