Monday, August 29, 2016

Caucasus Report

Has South Ossetian Leader Outfoxed Moscow?

Disqualified presidential candidate Alla Dzhioyeva speaks to the media outside the Central Election Commision building in Tskhinvali on November 30.
Disqualified presidential candidate Alla Dzhioyeva speaks to the media outside the Central Election Commision building in Tskhinvali on November 30.
Tensions are rising in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia following a clumsy attempt by de facto President Eduard Kokoity to thwart Moscow's attempt to install its preferred candidate to succeed him and simultaneously prolong his term in office by having the republic's Supreme Court annul the outcome of the November 27 presidential election runoff.

But the apparent winner of that runoff vote, opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva, refuses to accept the Supreme Court ruling. She has set about forming a government, and met earlier on November 30 with Kokoity to try to  persuade him to acknowledge her as president and cede power. When he refused, she released an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to intervene to restore "constitutional order and stability."  

In the first round of voting on November 13, the three candidates backed by Kokoity each polled less than 10 percent of the vote. South Ossetian Emergency Situations Minister Anatoly Bibilov, who is backed by Moscow, and former Education Minister Dzhioyeva finished neck and neck with between 24-25 percent of the vote.

Incomplete results made public the morning after the runoff from 74 of the total 85 polling stations gave Dzhioyeva 56.74 percent of the vote compared with 40 percent for Bibilov. Bibilov responded by publicly alleging that Dzhioyeva's supporters engaged in intimidating and bribing voters to cast their ballots for her.

Acting on those allegations, the Unity party that backed Bibilov's candidacy appealed to the Supreme Court to annul the outcome of the vote, which it duly did.

The Supreme Court also ruled that because the final election results were invalid, they should not be made public, and that in light of the purported "violations" by her supporters Dzhioyeva is not eligible to participate in the repeat ballot. It did not specify which article of the election law that latter ruling was based on. Meeting in emergency session later on November 29, the South Ossetian parliament, in which only four pro-Kokoity parties are represented, scheduled that vote for March 25, 2012.

Who Would Run Again?

Bibilov's allegations of malpractice by Dzhioyeva's campaign staff lack credibility, however. As Dzhioyeva pointed out, they were made only after the Central Election Commission released the preliminary results on November 28 showing that she had a clear lead. She stressed that none of Bibilov's campaign staff reported anything untoward or illegal while the vote was in process or after polling stations closed late on November 27. Moreover, election observers, including those deployed by the Russian State Duma, unanimously declared that the vote was free, fair, and transparent, with no violations.

Security forces watch over Dzhioyeva supporters outside the Central Election Commision building in Tskhinvali on November 30.
Security forces watch over Dzhioyeva supporters outside the Central Election Commision building in Tskhinvali on November 30.

Hundreds of Dzhioyeva supporters congregated outside the government building in Tskhinvali on November 30 to await the outcome of her talks with Kokoity. Expressing widespread distrust and rancor toward the current authorities, one woman told the website that "if this criminal ruling remains in force, we shall storm the building where the tyrant is holed up with his gang." The crowd has apparently ignored Dzhioyeva's appeal to disperse. 

Meanwhile, South Ossetian Deputy Prosecutor-General Eldar Kokoyev has construed Dzhioyeva's formation of a cabinet as an attempted "colored revolution" that, he warned, was impermissible.

Kokoity, who affirmed the day after the first round that it was unthinkable that a woman should be elected to head a Caucasus republic, appears ready to resort to violence against Dzhioyeva's supporters. reported that security forces have opened fire at least once over the heads of the crowds gathered outside the government building. Whether the police would side with Kokoity or Dzhioyeva remains unclear: Interior Minister Valery Valiyev met with her on November 29 and they both pledged to ensure the situation did not spiral out of control

Bibilov, meanwhile, is maintaining a low profile, and it is not clear whether he will participate in the repeat vote in March. The Russian daily "Izvestia" quoted him as saying he hadn't yet decided whether to participate in the repeat vote and would not make that decision on his own. Translated into plain English, that means he is waiting to be informed whether Moscow now considers him irrevocably damaged goods. On the other hand, it is not clear who else the Kremlin might back in the repeat vote.

Barring massive, blatant falsification, which could trigger mass protests, the chances of one of Kokoity's preferred successors getting elected is close to zero. By contrast, the protest electorate who voted for Dzhioyeva in the second round would almost certainly vote next time around for whichever independent candidate she chooses to support. She would, however, have to keep that decision a secret until the last minute to avoid compromising that candidate's chances of registering for the vote.

Tags: South Ossetia

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ivo
December 01, 2011 08:32
I honestly don't get it. You and WSJ keep producing articles that tell us how Kokoyti annulled elections in which Russia's preferred candidate is the loser (OK second), yet this is "outfoxing Moscow"? HOW??
In Response

by: sephia karta from: @sephiakarta
December 01, 2011 11:52
I agree, it is not made clear in the article exactly how Kokoity is outfoxing Moscow. Perhaps the suggestion is that with Dzhioyeva barred from participating in the repeat vote, and Bibilov perhaps not participating either, the new run-off would feature the 3rd (and possibly 4th) placed candidates of the first round, who are more to Kokoity's liking.
In Response

by: Nina Ivanovna
December 01, 2011 14:17
Or if they keep postponing elections, Kokoity could just stay on indefinitely. That's where I thought Liz was going with this, anyway.
In Response

by: sephia karta from: @sephiakarta
December 01, 2011 17:27
Ah, thank you, yes. But I really doubt Kokoity would be able to pull that off.
In Response

by: Brian
December 02, 2011 00:06
I had the same reaction when first reading this article. However, an article over on Caucasian Knot theorized that Kokoity's intention is to demonstrate to Moscow that his wishes must be taken into accord in choosing a successor.

I've been following the presidential campaign since it heated up, but I couldn't tell who Kokoity's chosen successor was. Anyone care to inform me?
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
December 01, 2011 22:59
Caucasians, including Georgians, at large are modest in offering unnecessary information
about relatives and friends to strangers.
On another hand, barbarians and World Powers
make it main business to collect information
on everyone - USA main supercomputers have billions of personal files (even just small) in its memory banks - they pay for such information money.

Russia doesn't pay for such information - she squize it out of people.

That would explain the rediculous name of
the article.

I am for 31 years in USA, where Russian and American agencies torturing me as partners in crime, trying to steal and to plagiarize.

Also, as a routine, they try to squise out of me files on relatives and pears, if any, going by names slphabeticly - several times for 31 years.

Now they trying me on names Ivan and Alik...
I deny them and their telepaths - they threatening me:
"You trying to outsmart us! We'll kill you! You cannot avade us! We will kill you!"

Hopefully, I was never interested in other people and their names, since they all betrayed me at age of 4 and sentenced to death in 1947 - for refusing be plagiarized...
In Response

by: Alex from: LA
December 02, 2011 10:02
31 years in USA and you didn't learn English properly, for god sake auto correct at least.
This kind of tells how smart you are, buddy, hmmm...
In Response

by: Ivo
December 02, 2011 10:07
In Response

by: Mike from: NY
December 05, 2011 17:45
Drivel from RFERL and drivel from the paid Georgian lackey "Konstantin"
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
December 05, 2011 20:58
Not "god sake" - "God sake" or at least "good sake", Russian "gramotey" Alex.
Your sentences and punctuations smell
Russian, not English.

I am not English and I care less about
"proper English" than truth and Justice that armies of Russians pervert, even on Internet.
Also I made sick by Russian and USA spies, telepaths and NLW generators and I didn't
saw on this forum any "auto correct" yet.

Call one "smart" is an insult, unless the one is a smarty - I am not "smart", just inelligent and educated enough to see your kind for what you are.

Ivo, is your "WHAT?" reply to my remark about collecting unnecessary information on
all people in the World, or impudence of the "Alex" insults, reflecting your unpleasent surprize?

Mike, the one that fluctuates between being lakey of Russian KGB or lakey of USA CIA, or lakey of both, you definately going after my Intellectuial property in my life, not unlike Boris Posdner gang once in Kishinev - when you'll stop huliganize on this Forum and lie?
By the way, Georgians would get me out of USA too, so I wouldn't try save the World from Russian expansion...

by: Richard
December 02, 2011 11:55
Mr. Bibilov was the candidate officially endorsed by Moscow ahead of presidential elections, but now Dzhidzhoeva is suddenly "Moscow's preferred candidate according to rferl?? How come rferl???
In Response

by: RFE/RL editors
December 02, 2011 13:25
Please see previous issues of this blog, such as this one:
In Response

by: Richard
December 03, 2011 08:15
There is nowhere written in that article that Dzhioeva was Moscow's preferred candidate (rather it clearly states that Bibilov was). The two articles you wrote are contradictory. Why should we take your coverage seriously?
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
December 06, 2011 09:08
No contradiction - Russia would settle for her too, making amends as she goes - as long as Russia expands and breeds-out through Georgia and CIS...
In Response

by: chokha from: germany
December 06, 2011 12:54
Kremlin can accept Dzhioeva, too, as long as she doesn't attac russian rule.
But the russians backes Bibilov quite openly, so they cannot simply let him down without "loosing face".

(I apologize for my bad English, Alex. But as Konstantin said: people might have something to say even if they are not perfect in grammar or spelling)

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.