Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Caucasus Report

Is South Ossetia Heading For New Political Crisis?

Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia's de facto president, Leonid Tibilov, speaks at a "Forever with Russia," a public meeting to mark the fourth anniversary of Russia's recognition of South Ossetia's independence, in Tskhinvali, in August 2012.
Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia's de facto president, Leonid Tibilov, speaks at a "Forever with Russia," a public meeting to mark the fourth anniversary of Russia's recognition of South Ossetia's independence, in Tskhinvali, in August 2012.
Leonid Tibilov, de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway Republic of South Ossetia, dismissed the region’s government on January 20 for its failure to galvanize the region’s economy and repair infrastructure damaged or destroyed during the August 2008 war with Georgia. Whether a new government will prove capable of bringing about a substantive improvement before the parliamentary elections due in May is questionable, however.

Meanwhile, Tibilov has named as acting Prime Minister Domenti Kulumbegov, who served as deputy prime minister from 2009-12 under Tibilov’s predecessor, Eduard Kokoity. Kulumbegov was appointed in June 2012 as an aide to Republic of North Ossetia-Alania President Taymuraz Mamsurov in the latter’s capacity as Russian presidential representative for South Ossetia. He was named South Ossetian first deputy prime minister in June 2013.

Following his inauguration as de facto president in late April 2012, Tibilov had named businessman Rostislav Khugayev to head a cabinet of national reconciliation that included rival presidential candidates Alla Dzhioyeva as deputy prime minister and Anatoly Bibilov as minister for emergency situations. Some of those ministers, Khugayev said, were experienced bureaucrats, while the younger ones compensated by their energy and openness to new ways of doing things for their lack of experience.

At that time, Tibilov said he wanted at absolute minimum for the population to see tangible progress within six months in implementing his election promises to expedite reconstruction, especially of housing.

But that goal proved unrealistic. The cabinet ministers proved unable or unwilling -- or both -- to work as a team. (Some, including Bibilov and Dzhioyeva, may have focused their energy primarily on setting up their own political parties.) And the Kremlin was reportedly so unimpressed by Khugayev himself that the possibility of replacing him was raised in early 2013, but no suitable alternative could be found. An attempt in October by the People’s Party, which holds nine seats in the 34-seat parliament, to force a no-confidence vote in the government failed to win the support of the other two parliament factions.

Commenting on Tibilov’s dismissal of the government, State Committee for Information and the Press Chairman Vyacheslav Gobozov noted that most of the criticisms of the cabinet contained in Tibilov’s April 2013 annual address to parliament remain valid.

Moscow’s new point man for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Vladislav Surkov, similarly warned the cabinet when visiting Tskhinvali two months ago that any talk of South Ossetia acceding to the CIS Customs Union (which Tbililov had designated a priority) was premature until the authorities got around to laying phone lines and asphalting the streets.

True, the problems facing the new cabinet in 2012 were Herculean, and compounded by the inefficiency of the previous leadership, which was found to have embezzled much of the money made available by Russia for postconflict reconstruction and used what was left to finance building work of such poor quality that it already requires re-doing. No fewer than 78 criminal cases have been opened in connection with the misappropriation of those funds.

With the official unemployment figure at 15 percent, and not a single functioning industrial enterprise, the predominantly agricultural region with a population of just 70,000 still has to import virtually all its food.

Most members of the intelligentsia and the younger generation have left for Russia. Those who remain are reportedly alienated and bitter but apathetic. In June, leaflets were circulated in Tskhinvali calling on the population to take to the streets to demand the resignation of the government, but no one responded to that appeal.

The constitution does not set a deadline for Tibilov to name a new cabinet. Gobozov, who is also chairman of the nonparliamentary Fydybasta party, said Tibilov will do so "within a reasonable time." Even so, the timing of Tibilov’s dismissal of the government may play into the hands of the dozen opposition parties qualified to participate in the upcoming parliamentary ballot in their competition to win the votes of an electorate totally disenchanted with the present leadership.

Tags: South Ossetia

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 28, 2014 10:46
Aha, sounds like another good occasion to restore the territorial integrity of Georgia with the US "help" :-)).
In Response

by: Jelger
January 29, 2014 09:51
That's nonsense.

It is the other way around, Russia is slowly creating this region in a (permanent) military outpost, and slowly closing (by impenetrable fencing) the border between South-Ossetia and Georgia. As the article illustrates, only depressed apathetic (lackluster) people remain in South-Ossetia, in other words, weak people who won't be able to make a fist, who don't care etc. Which is exactly what the Kremlin can use to go to the next step.

Other politicians in South-Ossetia have called for a referendum to formally join the Russian Federation (and "reunite" as they call it, with North-Ossetia - unite would be a better expression as it was never in history a united entity at whichever level, so there's nothing to "re"-unite with, a typical example of creating a historic bearing)
(see article on Caucasian Knot of 14 january - http://eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/26967/ )

At a recent security conference in Armenia Russian officials/experts were openly discussing their plans how to - in the near futue- "create" a direct border between Armenia and Russia (and South-Ossetia), a desire as Armenia wants to join the Russian common economic space (and Eurasian Union). These experts were openly discussing the option to expand South-Ossetian territory by claiming it should include (georgian) districts such as Gori, which itself borders Samtskhe-Javakheti (Armenian majority), which some Armenian groups claim should be part of Armenia. Furthermore, the experts were openly saying they plan to de facto cut Georgia in two parts to be able to create the direct border between Armenia and the RF (through South-Ossetia).
(see article on conjuncture.ru of 16 january http://conjuncture.ru/chernov-16-01-2014/ )

direct quote of the speech [translated to English], which is also on video: "Now, many questions arise in Yerevan, how will the economy of the CU and the EEC, the Eurasian Union without a common border. This topic will be removed in the near future. Direct border between Armenia and Russia, the Eurasian Union and Armenia will be installed in the next 2-4 years, Russia will have direct access to Armenia, and Armenia in Russia, unhindered access to the Black and Caspian Seas. "

Now I understand it is popular to find anchors to drag NATO and the USA in a topic in a negative manner, but so far it has been the Russians and Russians only recently planning and actions actively distributing land to their will. Whether you like it or not, Russia is de faco annexing South-Ossetia for their own good, just like it handles matters in Ukraine and Moldova. (defending) self-determination has never been the focal point in Moscow.

Territorial integrity is not even in their vocabulary.

In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 29, 2014 11:04
Dear RFE/RL, please do have a closer look at the comment by Jelger - here is an example of what one can refer to as JOURNALISM (as opposed to cheap propaganda): a few interesting facts that other sources never talk about (such as the surprising, but quite an interesting idea of expanding Armenia and Ossetia at the expense of Georgia in order to create an Armenian-Russian border; after all, why not?).
When are you, guys, finally going to start writing such articles as that of Jelger?
And, yes, JELGER, of course, I was just kidding when mentioning the US "help": I know that the US is a country of inept losers who can only talk and are unable to help anyone - just look at Syria: so much talk about how the US was going to "bomb" Bashar and so on, and at the end of the day? Correct: Obama taking a few pictures with the Danish PM at the funeral of Mandela, that's pretty much all any US official can possibly achieve :_))...
In Response

by: Rasto from: my comp
January 29, 2014 19:05
If that is correct information and Armenians will try to do any move towards annexation of Georgian territory to Armenia in order to support Russians claims for Kazbegi and other parts of Shida Kartli, they just will prove their stigma of constant traitors in the south Caucasus and they never again should look straight to eyes of any Georgians whose ancestors fought side by side with their Ancestors against Persians Arabs and other invaders to Christian South Caucasus. Current Russian government are nothing but incarnation of evil.
In Response

by: Jelger
January 29, 2014 13:54
in response to Eugenio (29-01-2014 11:04)

Eugenio, i hoped already that your comment was written with a wink. ;-) Nevertheless thanks for making the comment, it was the right anchor to make my point ;-)
I think too little people at the moment really realize what is going on in and around Russia from a geopolitical point of view. I think Putin is laughing his arse off looking at the west how they are distracted by Sochi and his sidekick "anti-gay propaganda".
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 30, 2014 11:23
Hi Jelger and Rasto, I think that the RFE/RL owes us an explanation: what is the role of Armenians in the current Caucasus conundrum? Are they the proverbial "constant traitors" of the Christian cause in the region are they just a bunch of stooges on the Krtemlin's pay :-)))?
Cheers from Vienna!
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
February 17, 2014 11:59
Eugenio and others, as usual, cementing impudence of Russia,
While holding back USA, promising shear of World to Prussia
And to British that wait, as gentlemen-Chistodel, for evil two
Get bloody, than British expand too, with "How Do You Do".
Now it's evil (negotiated in 1954-56 preliminary as "lazha").

In 1954 Bechtel gave Russians blueprints of Atomic Plants,
Produce a lot of concentrate for A-bombs, as a tactical tool,
To bomb resisting nations, Like Georgia and the rest of CIS,
As Russians threatened, maybe would bomb Georgia at will
In 2008, using strategic bombers, threatening World as gulls.

The Thermonuclear war is unavoidable, because your Russ
Believe we "conscious" not to resist their canning genocides.
To prevent it - they must return all and repay for their crimes,
Change their ways. It might be too late - so some of the best
Must change the balance of power in economy and defenses.

Even USA is staffed by Russians and their proxies - few of us
Can help, if USA repent to plagiarized like me and return lives
They destroyed, like mine and my murdered mother, with staff
That goes with it - priorities, royalties, damages and proceeds.
Than maybe few Einshteins and Kartvelis may save US bluffs.

As for Thermo-nuclear war, I decoded the 1977 Space signals.
{It is hit, burning hit, strength 4 in area 3;
It is gone, o destruction structures level 6, hit, o destruction;
It is gone, structures hit, strongly destroyed in territory;
It is gone, burning level 3, destruction;
Nature level 6, structures level 2, burning level 3, raging;
It is gone level 2, structures level 4, hit level 3, territory in flame, hit level 2 raging very;
Good structures hit level 6, flame level 2 in raging, o area;
It is gone level 3, structures hit, o burning level 7 strong;
It is gone, hit level 3 strong, territory 3, o my people went together area destroyed;
Nature level 5, burning strong;
It is gone, structures level 4 high, my people, o level 3, average level 2, under area;
Nature structures level 3 hit, flame burning;
Nature structure level 4, flame o burning, strong destruction;
Structure level 4 hit in remarkable turn from small large, destruction down;
Deed of people of 2 unions destruction;
Natural deed, burning raging destroying;
Done flame strong, destruction level 4.}

by: American Tolerasti
January 28, 2014 18:01
"premature until the authorities got around to laying phone lines and asphalting the streets"

So basically, it's already Russian.

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.