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Tskhinvali Leader Plans ‘Legal Steps’ for Joining Russia

Kremlin-backed leader of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov has said his regime will take “appropriate legal steps in the near future” to ensure “unification” with Russia.

Bibilov, who seeks reelection in two weeks, claimed in a video address today that the occupied Tskhinvali region “will be part of its historic homeland – Russia.”

“The main historical and strategic goal of the Ossetian people, a people divided, is unification within the framework of one state. That state is the Russian Federation,” he noted.

Praising “the Russian world” over Moscow’s bloody invasion of Ukraine, the Tskhinvali leader said “the first revival of the Russian world in recent history” happened right in occupied S. Ossetia in 2008, when the Kremlin recognized its independence.

But he said the recognition was not a sufficient step, as it fell short of annexation.

“We had the opportunity to make our age-old dream come true in 2014 when Crimea returned to its native harbor. We missed our chance then, but we can’t let that happen again!” Bibilov noted.

The Tskhinvali leader has repeatedly called for Russia’s annexation of the region. But this time, his remarks were preceded by Leonid Pasechik, leader of the Kremlin-controlled Luhansk area of Ukraine, floating the idea to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region on August 26, 2008, two weeks after the Russo-Georgian war. Syria, Venezuela, Nauru, and Nicaragua are the only other nations that recognize the two regions’ independence from Georgia.

Tbilisi and most of the international community regard the two regions as part of Georgia.


The area now known as Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia was not an administrative district in any form until 1922.

Prior to the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, the area of modern-day Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia was part of the (East Georgian) Kartli-Kakheti Kingdom. After the Russian takeover of East Georgia in 1801, the Tskhinvali area was part of subsequently the Georgian Governate, the short-lived Georgia-Imeretia Governate (1840), and then the Tiflis Governate from 1846 until 1918 when the independent Democratic Republic of Georgia was established.

In May 1920, Soviet Russia recognized the independence of Georgia, including Abkhazia and what is now Tskhinvali Region/S. Ossetia as its territories. Only after the Soviet annexation of Democratic Georgia in 1921, the S. Ossetian Autonomous Oblast was created within the Georgian SSR in 1922.

During the seven decades of the Soviet Occupation of Georgia, the S. Ossetian Autonomous Oblast was part of the Georgian SSR.

As things stand, some 30 thousand ethnic Georgians remain uprooted from Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia following the armed conflict in 1991-92 and the Russo-Georgian War of 2008.

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