Kremlin-backed Tskhinvali leader Alan Gagloev signed a decree on 22 November to appoint Ibragim Gasseev, the former “defense minister” of the occupied region, as head of the “ministry of emergency situations,” according to Tskhinvali-based RES.
Gasseev was the defense chief under the former Tskhinvali leader Anatoly Bibilov before being dismissed from his post in February 2022 because Bibilov grew increasingly dissatisfied with Gasseev’s plans to participate as his challenger in the upcoming “presidential elections.”
Notably, Gasseev – who was seen as one of the main challengers to Bibilov at the time – was among 12 candidates who were barred from participating in the “elections” by the Tskhinvali election authorities. Gasseev tried to appeal the decision in court alongside five other “presidential” hopefuls but the court dismissed the lawsuits.
Following the Court’s decision, Gasseev and the other candidates who had filed similar lawsuits continued their efforts against Bibilov by demanding the release of documents to file a lawsuit against him, on the grounds that the former leader had failed an Ossetian language test.
“My main goal is not even a return to the election race, but to prevent Anatoly Bibilov from participating in it. As long as he remains a presidential candidate, he will simply not let us hold fair elections,” Gasseev was quoted as saying at the time.
Ultimately, Bibilov lost the “election” against Gagloev, who was the leader of the Nykhas party and former security officer, in a May 8 runoff.