Recall that talk about the likely entry of South Ossetia into the Russian state has been going on for a long time. The fact that the head of the republic Leonid Tibilov is going to initiate a referendum on the issue of integration with Russia became known in the fall of 2015. At a meeting with Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov, Leonid Tibilov emphasized that modern political reality suggests for South Ossetia historical the choice is "to reunite with fraternal Russia and for many centuries to ensure the security and prosperity of our republic, our people." Then Tibilov said that he had discussed the possible entry of South Ossetia into Russia with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. The presidents concluded that joining Russia is a purely internal political issue of South Ossetia, since South Ossetia is an independent state recognized by the Russian Federation.
In order to become part of the Russian Federation, in South Ossetia it is necessary to make appropriate changes to the text of the Constitution of the RSO. This question will be raised in a referendum. At the same time, the leadership of South Ossetia understands that in the case of direct entry of the republic into the Russian Federation, Russia will face numerous foreign policy risks, quite likely with new sanctions from the West, deterioration of relations with Georgia, possible deterioration of relations with other post-Soviet republics. After all, the entry of the Crimea, and then South Ossetia, into the Russian state creates a dangerous precedent for “gathering lands”, since it is possible that in the future the fate of Georgia and Ukraine may befall some other post-Soviet countries. Therefore, the South Ossetian leadership sees the optimal way to create a single union body that can protect Russia from possible attacks by the West and Georgia in the case of a direct entry of the republic into the Russian Federation.
The desire of South Ossetia for self-determination and disconnection from Georgia has its roots in the ethno-political confrontation in Georgia at the end of the 1980-s. Then, at the sunset of the Soviet era of Russian history, in South Ossetia the national movement intensified, which advocated greater autonomy of the region. On November 10, November 1989, the Council of People's Deputies of the South Ossetian Autonomous Region of the Georgian SSR decided to transform it into an autonomous republic of South Ossetia. The Supreme Council of the Georgian SSR declared this decision unlawful. At the same time, the first clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian units occurred, as a result of which 27 people received gunshot wounds. After that, the national movement in South Ossetia intensified.
September 20 The Council of People’s Deputies of the South Ossetian Autonomous Region declared the South Ossetian Soviet Democratic Republic as part of the USSR. It was assumed that South Ossetia should sign the Union Treaty and become a full-fledged republic of the USSR. However, of course, the Soviet leadership headed by Mikhail Gorbachev would never have taken such a step as the recognition of South Ossetia as a Union Republic in the same rights as other “old” Union Republics. Nevertheless, the process of sovereignty continued in South Ossetia. 1990 November 28 of the year The South Ossetian Soviet Democratic Republic was renamed the South Ossetian Soviet Republic, and on December 1990, elections were held to the Supreme Soviet of the South Ossetian Soviet Republic, which, however, were boycotted by South Ossetians of Georgian nationality. 9 December 1990, the Georgian authorities decided to abolish the South Ossetian autonomy.
In January, 1991, with the entry of Georgian militias and militias into the territory of South Ossetia, began an open conflict between South Ossetia and Georgia. Armed clashes became regular and continued throughout the 1991 year. In September, the 1991 Session of the Council of People’s Deputies of South Ossetia proclaimed the Republic of South Ossetia as part of the RSFSR, and on December 21 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of South Ossetia adopted the Declaration of Independence of the Republic. Georgia, the political situation in which it was strongly destabilized at that time, was unable to suppress the national movement in South Ossetia and to cope with the resistance of the South Ossetian militia. January 19 1992 of the year in South Ossetia held a national referendum on two fundamental issues - do you agree that the Republic of South Ossetia is independent? Do you agree with the decision of the Supreme Council of the independent Republic of South Ossetia of September 20 on reunification with Russia on 1991? More than 98% of the residents of the republic who took part in the referendum answered in the affirmative to both questions. However, it should be borne in mind here that the referendum was not attended by residents of a republic of Georgian nationality, who in 1989 made up about a third of the total population of South Ossetia. After the outbreak of hostilities, most Georgians were forced to leave South Ossetia, and the rest boycotted the referendum or did not participate in it for other reasons.
After the referendum, Georgia made another attempt to regain control over South Ossetia by armed means. In February, 1992 began artillery shelling of the capital of the unrecognized republic of the city of Tskhinval. However, despite armed clashes, on May 29 of 1992, the Supreme Council of the Republic of South Ossetia adopted the Act on the Independence of the Republic of South Ossetia. By intervening in the conflict, the Russian Federation was able to organize a cease-fire and the creation of a body to resolve the conflict - the Joint Control Commission (JCC). The commission included representatives of Georgia, South Ossetia, Russia and, separately, North Ossetia. July 14 The South Ossetia 1992 introduced peacekeeping forces as part of three battalions - Russian, Georgian and Ossetian.
For sixteen years after the cease-fire in South Ossetia, the republic remained virtually unrecognized by the state, closely associated with the Russian Federation and in difficult, hostile relations with Georgia. The Georgian side did not even use the phrase “South Ossetia” in its everyday vocabulary, calling it exclusively the Tskhinvali region. For almost the entire period of the existence of South Ossetia, the republican authorities did not leave hope for the possibility of joining the Russian Federation. In joining Russia, the authorities of South Ossetia saw the single most reliable mechanism to ensure the security of the republic from the constant threat from Georgia. It is clear that the weakening of Georgia after the civil war could not last forever, so the South Ossetian politicians understood perfectly that as soon as Georgia recovers from the consequences of political chaos and economic disaster, she immediately repeats an attempt to establish control over South Ossetia. Considering that the Georgian authorities even denied the republic the right to such a name, it was not difficult to predict that an attempt to annex South Ossetia to Georgia would de facto mean the expulsion or destruction of the Ossetian population in the Tskhinvali region, as Georgian official sources called . In March 2006, the President of the Republic of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, filed an application with the Russian Constitutional Court for accession to the Russian Federation. However, it was not satisfied. 15 August 2006, South Ossetia began issuing their own passports, in addition, residents of the republic in large numbers received Russian citizenship. Subsequently, it was the presence of a large number of Russian citizens in the territory of South Ossetia that became one of the most important arguments of the Russian Federation for the start of a military operation against Georgia.
During the reign of Mikhail Saakashvili, Georgia’s economic and military-political potential gradually increased due to cash inflows from the United States of America. Under the leadership of the United States and NATO countries, Georgia retrained and re-armed its army. It was obvious that sooner or later Tbilisi would try to take revenge both in Abkhazia and in South Ossetia. In South Ossetia, this scenario was even more expected, given the remoteness of the republic from the sea and the small number of its population. On the night of 7 on 8 in August of 2008, Georgia attempted to establish control over the territory of South Ossetia by armed means. Russia came to the aid of South Ossetia. Russian troops were brought into the territory of South Ossetia. As a result of the hostilities, the Russian army managed to throw Georgian units out of the territory of South Ossetia and pursue them on the territory of Georgia. 26 August 2008 Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 9 September 2008 between the states were established diplomatic relations. Before the armed conflict of August 2008, the independence of South Ossetia was recognized only by other unrecognized republics in the post-Soviet space - Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and Transnistria. The first country to officially recognize the independence of South Ossetia was the Russian Federation. Also, the independence of South Ossetia was recognized by Gagauzia, the Republika Srpska Krajina, from recognized states - Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Tuvalu. Later, after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the independence of South Ossetia was recognized by the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, in turn, the Republic of South Ossetia officially recognized the DPR and LPR, and volunteer units staffed by fighters from South Ossetia fought in Novorossia.
However, the formal state sovereignty of South Ossetia did not mean giving up the long-held dream of reunification with Russia. First, the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania is part of Russia. Thus, the Ossetians are one of the divided peoples and reunification with Russia can also become the basis for the reunification of the Ossetian people, which, according to the will of politicians, turned out to be divided after the creation of the USSR by two union republics - the RSFSR and the Georgian SSR. Secondly, South Ossetia already exists thanks to economic assistance and military-political intercession of the Russian Federation. Therefore, its entry into the Russian Federation will not fundamentally change the current situation and the balance of power. Thirdly, reunification with the Russian Federation is a guaranteed defense against a possible attack from Georgia. Georgia will not dare to attack Russia, given the absolute incompatibility of the military and economic potential of the two countries and the sad experience of the 2008 war of the year. The military potential of South Ossetia is small and, despite the dedication and heroism of the Ossetian people, in the event of an attack from such a major adversary as Georgia, the country's armed forces will not be able to defend for a long time. They are simply "suppressed" by numerical superiority and superiority in armaments. According to open sources, at present, the South Ossetia Army consists of two rifle battalions, one motorized rifle battalion, reconnaissance company, mountain special forces company, sniper company, guard company, guard of honor, engineering company, communications company, logistics company . In Tskhinvali, its own military school has been operating since 2010, in which command cadres are trained for the South Ossetian army. In addition, Cossack structures are active in the republic — the Alan Cossack army, which closely cooperates with the Russian Cossacks. But the main hope of the South Ossetian authorities even now is the Russian military base in South Ossetia. Finally, the majority of citizens of South Ossetia at the same time have Russian passports and enjoy all the rights of citizens of the Russian Federation. South Ossetian pensioners receive Russian pensions, young people receive higher and secondary vocational education in Russian educational institutions. Therefore, in 2014, the parliament of South Ossetia again raised the question of asking the Russian Federation to include the republic in its composition. In 2015, President Leonid Tibilov again spoke about the prospects for inclusion in Russia.
It is quite possible that if the bypass form proposed by the South Ossetian authorities for entering Russia through a single union body turns out to be effective, in the near future we can expect the creation of another supranational project like the Union of Russia and Belarus, only if the union of the Russian Federation and South Ossetia is created, there will be a much higher level of integration, up to and including the complete merger of state structures. At the military level, this merger, it can be said, has actually happened - the Russian and South Ossetian military interact very closely, perhaps even more closely than political leaders.