South Ossetia Plans Referendum on Joining Russia
by Stephen Lendman
After Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, Georgia’s South Ossetia province declared independence, calling itself the Republic of South Ossetia. Self-determination is a universal right under international law.
Five UN member states alone recognize its sovereignty, including Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
In March 2015, S. Ossetia and Moscow signed an alliance and integration treaty. Provisions include incorporating its military into Russia’s armed forces, along with customs and near full integration. Putin granted Russian citizenship to most S. Ossetians. Many were already Russian nationals.
In December 2015, President Leonid Tibilov proposed renaming the nation, “emphasizing (it) as part of Russia,” hoping a future referendum would advance the prospect.
Throughout the 1990s into early new millennium years, intermittent conflict with Georgia erupted – notably in August 2008 when its troops invaded the breakaway republic, ordered by US installed puppet Mikhail Saakashvili, acting in cahoots with Washington.
Invasion was strategically timed. Then President Dmitry Medvedev was on vacation. Then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was in Beijing during its summer olympic games, the event dominating world news.
After 1,700 of its nationals were killed, including 12 of its peacekeepers, Russia intervened responsibly, routing invading Georgian forces in five days. Washington and its Western allies wrongfully accused it of aggression.
S. Ossetian President Tibilov announced plans to hold a referendum sometime before August on becoming part of Russia.
A constitutional change is needed, he said, under Article 10, “enabl(ing) the president to ask, with (parliament’s) approval (and) top leadership of Russia to consider” incorporating its territory into its Federation.
Article 10 authorizes the republic to ally with other states, Tibilov saying:
“We plan to hold a referendum on supplementing that article with paragraphs stating that the Republic of South Ossetia is entitled to hand part of its powers to the Russian Federation.”
“And then what I have already outlined – to give the president the opportunity to ask the Russian leadership to incorporate our republic…as a new constituent member of Russia.”
If Moscow lawmakers and Putin agree, S. Ossetia may become Russia’s newest republic – perhaps later this year.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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