Georgian–Ossetian conflict

The Georgian–Ossetian conflict is an ethno-political conflict over Georgia's former autonomous region of South Ossetia, which evolved in 1989 and developed into a 1991–1992 South Ossetia War. Despite a declared ceasefire and numerous peace efforts, the conflict remained unresolved. In August 2008, military tensions and clashes between Georgia and South Ossetian separatists erupted into the Russo-Georgian War.

Georgian–Ossetian conflict
Georgia high detail map

Location of Tskhinvali Region(Former Autonomous District of South Ossetia) (purple) within Georgia.
Georgia, Tskhinvali Region (Former Autonomous District of South Ossetia)
Status Ongoing
Flag of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.svg Georgian SSR
Flag of Georgia.svg Georgia
(from 1990)
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union
Flag of South Ossetia.svg South Ossetia
Flag of Russia.svg Russia
(from 1990)
Commanders and leaders
Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic Givi Gumbaridze
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Eduard Shevardnadze
Georgia (country) Mikheil Saakashvili
Georgia (country) Giorgi Margvelashvili
Georgia (country) Salome Zourabichvili
Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev
Russia Boris Yeltsin
Russia Dmitry Medvedev
Russia Vladimir Putin
(2000–08, 2012–18, 2018–present)

Origins of the conflict

Early years of the Soviet Union

The conflict between Georgian and Ossetians dates back until at least 1918. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Georgia declared independence (26 May 1918) under Mensheviks, while the Bolsheviks took control of Russia. In June 1920, a Russian-sponsored Ossetian force attacked the Georgian Army and People's Guard. The Georgians responded vigorously and defeated the insurgents, with several Ossetian villages being burnt down and 20,000 Ossetians displaced in Soviet Russia.[1] Eight months later, the Red Army successfully invaded Georgia.[2]

The Soviet Georgian government, established after the Red Army invasion of Georgia in 1921, created an autonomous administrative unit for Transcaucasian Ossetians in April 1922 under pressure from Kavburo (the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party), called the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast.[3]

Late years of the Soviet Union

In the late 1980s, Ossetian nationalistic organization, Adamon Nikhas (Voice of the People) was created.[4] On 10 November 1989, the South Ossetian Supreme Soviet asked the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic for the status of the region to be upgraded to that of autonomous republic. However this application was rejected on 16 November and the Georgians besieged Tskhinvali on 23 November 1989.[5]

South Ossetia declared about its state sovereignty on 20 September 1990. In October 1990, the Georgian parliamentary elections were boycotted by South Ossetia, which held elections to its own parliament in December of the same year.[4] On 11 December 1990, the Georgian Parliament passed a bill that effectively abolished South Ossetia's autonomous status.[5] Russia intervened and a state of emergency was declared in South Ossetia.[6]

On 4 May 1991, the South Ossetian Parliament declared its intention to separate from Georgia and to unite with the North Ossetia, which was located within the borders of the Russian Federation.[5]

Post-Soviet timeline

1991–1992 South Ossetia War

Amidst rising ethnic tensions, war broke out when Georgian forces entered the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali.[7] More than 2,000 people are believed to have been killed in the war.[8] The separatists were helped by former Soviet military units, who by now had come under Russian command.[9] Approximately 100,000 Ossetians fled Georgia proper and South Ossetia, while 23,000 Georgians left South Ossetia.[10] A ceasefire agreement (the Sochi Agreement) was reached on 24 June 1992. While it ended the war, it did not deal with the status of South Ossetia. A Joint Control Commission for Georgian–Ossetian Conflict Resolution and peacekeeping force, composed of Russian, Georgian and Ossetian troops, was set up. The Ossetian de facto government controlled the region independently from Tbilisi.[11] The JPKF’s activities were mainly concentrated in the Conflict Zone, which included an area within a 15-km radius from Tskhinvali.[12]

The separatists retained control over the districts of Tskhinvali, Java, Znauri and parts of Akhalgori. The Tbilisi central government controlled the rest of Akhalgori and the Georgian villages in the Tskhinvali district.[13]


In 1996, the Ergneti market was opened and soon became the place where Georgians and South Ossetians traded. In 1996, Lyudvig Chibirov won the presidential elections. A memorandum on "Measures for providing security and confidence building" was signed in Moscow on 16 May 1996, which was regarded as the first step towards a rapprochement between Georgia and the separatists of South Ossetia. This was followed up by several meetings between President of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze, and de facto President of South Ossetia Chibirov. They met in Vladikavkaz in 1996, in Java in 1997, and in Borjomi in 1998. These resulted in some positive developments as the talks about IDP return, economic development, a political solution to the issues, and the protection of the population in the conflict zone.[14]

There was no military confrontation for twelve years. While the peace process was frozen, Ossetians and Georgians engaged in lively exchanges and uncontrolled trade.[13] The unresolved conflict encouraged development of such illegal activities as kidnapping, drug-trafficking and arms trading. Up to the end of 2003, a number of law enforcement officials from South Ossetia and Georgia proper allegedly were participating in criminal economic activities. Authorities on both sides reportedly co-operated to profit from illegal trade, as did Russian customs and peacekeeping troops.[15]

Timeline before 2008

The 2004 flare-up

SouthOssetia region detailed map
Detailed map of South Ossetia showing the secessionist and Georgian-controlled territories, November 2004.
040 South Ossetia war
Soldiers of the 13th "Shavnabada" Light Infantry Battalion of the Georgian Army charging up a hill where Ossetian rebels were entrenched.
Georgian sniper during South Ossetia war
A Georgian sniper takes aim at Ossetian rebels.

When Mikheil Saakashvili was elected President in 2004, he made his goal to return the breakaway regions of Georgia under central control.[16]

Following the success in Adjara, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s government turned their attention to South Ossetia.[17][18]

In June, the Georgians shut down the Ergneti market, which was a major trading point for contraband goods. This made the situation more tense.[19][20] Georgia's regional administration began to restore the alternative road to Didi Liakhvi.[20]

On 7 July, Georgian peacekeepers intercepted a Russian convoy.[21] The next day around 50 Georgian peacekeepers were disarmed and detained by the South Ossetian militias.[22] The Georgian peacekeepers captured were all released on 9 July, with three exceptions.[23] On 11 July 2004, Georgian president Saakashvili said the "crisis in South Ossetia is not a problem between Georgians and Ossetians. This is a problem between Georgia and Russia."[24]

On 5 August 2004, Russian State Duma issued an official statement concerning the aggravation of situation around South Ossetia and Abkhazia in connection "with political actions of Georgian authorities". The statement warned that Russia could get involved in the conflict and would take "appropriate actions in case the lives of Russian citizens were jeopardized".[25] Hundreds of Russian volunteers, mainly Cossacks, stated their readiness to protect the people of South Ossetia should the conflict escalate any further.[26]

The tensions increased on the night of 10–11 August, when Georgian and South Ossetian villages in the area north of Tskhinvali, came under fire and civilians were injured. Georgian and South Ossetian members of the JPFK are said to have been involved in the exchange of fire. On 13 August, Georgian Prime Minister Zhvania and de facto South Ossetian President Kokoev agreed on a ceasefire, which was breached multiple times by both sides. During the tensions in July and August, 17 Georgians and 5 Ossetians were killed. In emergency sessions of the JCC on 17 and 18 August in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali, the sides debated complex ceasefire proposals and demilitarization projects. At the same time, they expected fighting to resume and used the truce to improve their military positions and strengthen defences. A ceasefire agreement was reached on 19 August.[4]

On 24 August, in an interview broadcast by Imedi television, the chairman of the Georgian parliament's Defense and Security Committee, Givi Targamadze said that Russian military was prepared to launch a strike into Georgian territory, but the raid was preempted by Saakashvili's decision on 19 August to withdraw Georgian forces from strategic positions in South Ossetia. Targamadze said the Georgian government possessed secretly recorded video of Russian military preparations near the Georgian border.[27]

At a high level meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity on 5 November in Sochi, Russia, an agreement on demilitarization of the conflict zone was reached. Some exchange of fire continued in the zone of conflict after the ceasefire, apparently primarily initiated by the Ossetian side.[28][29]

New peace efforts

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili presented a new vision for resolving the South Ossetian conflict at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) session in Strasbourg, on 26 January 2005. His proposal included broader forms of autonomy, including a constitutional guarantee of free and directly elected local self-governance. Saakashvili stated that South Ossetia's parliament would have control over issues such as culture, education, social policy, economic policy, public order, organization of local self-governance and environmental protection. At the same time South Ossetia would have a voice in the national structures of government as well, with a constitutional guarantee of representation in the judicial and constitutional-judicial branches and in the Parliament. Georgia would commit to improving the economic and social conditions of South Ossetian inhabitants. Saakashvili proposed a transitional 3-year conflict resolution period, during which time mixed Georgian and Ossetian police forces, under the guidance and auspices of international organizations, would be established and Ossetian forces would gradually be integrated into a united Georgian Armed Force. Saakashvili also said that the international community should play a more significant and visible role in solving this conflict.[30][31]

Zurab Zhvania's premature death in February 2005 was a setback in the conflict resolution.[32]

2006 attack on a Georgian helicopter

On 3 September 2006, the South Ossetian forces opened fire at a Georgian MI-8 helicopter carrying Defense Minister of Georgia, Irakli Okruashvili, when it flew over the separatist-held territory. It landed safely in Georgian government-controlled territory. Although the South Ossetian authorities reported that the Georgian helicopter had entered their air space and fired shots at the ground, the Georgians denied the charge that shots had come from the helicopter. The South Ossetian officials confirmed their troops were responsible for the attack, but rejected the claim that the aircraft was targeted because of prior intelligence that Okruashvili was on board. "We are not interested in having either Okruashvili or [Georgian president Mikheil] Saakashvili killed, as they are helping us to achieve independence," declared South Ossetian interior minister Mikhail Mindzayev.[33]

2006 October incident

On 31 October 2006, the South Ossetian police reported a skirmish in the Java, Georgia district in which they killed a group of 4 men.[34][35] The weapons seized from the group included assault rifles, guns, grenade launchers, grenades and explosive devices. Other items found in the militants' possession included extremist Wahhabi literature, maps of Java district and sets of Russian peacekeeping uniforms. Those findings led the South Ossetian authorities to conclude that the militants were planning to carry out acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks. The South Ossetian authorities identified the men as Chechens from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge. South Ossetia accused Georgia of hiring the Chechen mercenaries to carry out terrorist attacks in the region.[34]

The Georgian side flatly denied its involvement in the incident. Shota Khizanishvili, a spokesperson for the Georgian Interior Ministry, supposed that the incident could be connected to "internal conflicts in South Ossetia".[34]

Rival elections of 2006

On 12 November 2006, presidential election and referendum were held in South Ossetia. The separatist-controlled part of the region re-elected Eduard Kokoity as de facto president and voted for independence from Georgia.[5] In the areas under Georgia's control, the Ossetian opposition organized rival polls electing Dmitry Sanakoyev, as an alternative president and voted for negotiations with Georgia on a future federal agreement.[36] The pro-Georgian government was never able to draw significant support away from the separatist authorities.[37]

Georgia's new initiative

On 29 March 2007, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned in a statement that Tbilisi’s plan to set up a temporary administrative unit in the part of breakaway South Ossetia would "shatter an already fragile situation".[38] On 10 May 2007, Dmitry Sanakoyev was appointed as head of the Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia by the President of Georgia. The next day, Sanakoyev addressed the Parliament of Georgia, outlining his vision of the conflict resolution plan.[39][40] In response the South Ossetian separatists enforced mass blockade of Georgian villages in the conflict zone and Eduard Kokoity demanded the withdrawal of Georgian special-task troops and South Ossetia’s interim government headed by "alternative president" Dmitri Sanakoev.[41]

On 24 July 2007, Tbilisi held its first state commission to define South Ossetia's status within the Georgian state. Chaired by Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli, the commission included Georgian parliamentarians, representatives of the Ossetian community in Georgia and representatives of several Georgian human rights organisations. The talks were held with Sanakoev's administration.[42]

Sanakoyev's supporters launched a campaign against Kokoity named "Kokoity Fandarast" ("Goodbye Kokoity" in Ossetian language).[43]

Tsitelubani missile incident 2007

On 6 August 2007, a missile landed, but did not explode, in the village of Tsitelubani, some 65 km (40 mi) from Tbilisi. Georgian officials said that Russian attack aircraft, an SU-24 Fencer, violated its airspace and fired Raduga Kh-58 anti-radar tactically guided missile.[44] Russia denied the allegations. The group of defense specialists from the United States, Sweden, Latvia, and Lithuania stated late on 15 August that the plane flew from Russian to Georgian airspace and back three times.[45]

Events in 2008

Pre-war clashes

Events prior to August 2008 are described in 2008 Russo-Georgian diplomatic crisis.

2008 War in South Ossetia

Tensions between Georgia and Russia began escalating in April 2008.[46][47][48] South Ossetian separatists committed the first act of violence when they blew up a Georgian military vehicle on 1 August 2008. The explosion wounded five Georgian peacekeepers. In response,[49] Georgian snipers assaulted the South Ossetian militiamen during the evening.[50] Ossetian separatists began shelling Georgian villages on 1 August, with a sporadic response from Georgian peacekeepers and other troops in the region.[46][50][51] Serious incidents happened in the following week after Ossetian attacks on Georgian villages and positions in South Ossetia.[52][53]

At around 19:00 on 7 August 2008, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral ceasefire and no-response order.[54] However, Ossetian separatists intensified their attacks on Georgian villages located in the South Ossetian conflict zone. Georgian troops returned fire and advanced towards the capital of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, during the night of 8 August.[55][56] According to Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, the Ossetians were intentionally provoking the Georgians, so Russia would use the Georgian response as a pretext for premeditated military invasion.[57] According to Georgian intelligence,[58] and several Russian media reports, parts of the regular (non-peacekeeping) Russian Army had already moved to South Ossetian territory through the Roki Tunnel before the Georgian military operation.[59]

The centre of Tskhinvali was reached by 1,500 men of the Georgian ground forces by 10:00 on 8 August.[60] One Georgian diplomat told Kommersant on the same day that by taking control of Tskhinvali they wanted to demonstrate that Georgia wouldn't tolerate killing of Georgian citizens.[61] Russia accused Georgia of aggression against South Ossetia,[62] and launched a large-scale invasion of Georgia under the guise of peacekeeping operation on 8 August.[52] Russian military captured Tskhinvali in five days and expelled Georgian forces. Russia also launched airstrikes against military infrastructure in Georgia.[63] Abkhaz forces opened a second front by attacking the Kodori Gorge, held by Georgia.[64] Russian forces occupied the Georgian cities of Zugdidi,[65] Senaki,[66] Poti,[67] and Gori (the last one after the ceasefire was negotiated).[68] Russian Black Sea Fleet blockaded the Georgian coast.[52]

Both during and after the war, South Ossetian forces and irregular militia conducted a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians in South Ossetia,[69] with Georgian villages around Tskhinvali being destroyed after the war had ended.[70] The war displaced 192,000 people,[71] and while many were able to return to their homes after the war, a year later around 30,000 ethnic Georgians remained displaced.[72] In an interview published in Kommersant, South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said he would not allow Georgians to return.[73][74]

President of France Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 August 2008.[75] On 17 August, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russian forces would begin to pull out of Georgia the following day.[76] Russian forces withdrew from the buffer zones adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia on 8 October and control over them was transferred to the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia.[77]

After the 2008 war

On 26 August 2008, Russia officially recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.[78]

On 4 August 2009, it was reported that tensions were rising before the war's first anniversary on 8 August. The European Union urged "all sides to refrain from any statement or action that may lead to increased tensions at this particularly sensitive time."[79]

In 2015, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested authorisation from the Court's Judges to begin an investigation into the alleged war crimes in relation to the conflict. This case includes alleged crimes committed as part of a campaign to expel ethnic Georgians from South Ossetia as well as attacks on peacekeepers by Georgian and South Ossetian forces.[80]

Russian and Ossetian troops expanded the border into Georgia, evicting ethnic Georgians from their homes.[81]

See also


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1991–1992 South Ossetia War

The 1991–1992 South Ossetian War (also known as the First South Ossetian War) was fought as part of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict between Georgian government forces and ethnic Georgian militia on one side and the forces of South Ossetia and North Ossetian volunteers who wanted South Ossetia to secede from Georgia and become an independent state on the other. The war ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire, signed on 24 June 1992, which established a joint peacekeeping force and left South Ossetia divided between the rival authorities.

Energy in Georgia (country)

Georgia had a total primary energy supply (TPES) of 4.793 Mtoe in 2016. Electricity consumption was 11.5 TWh in 2016. Electricity production was 11.6 TWh, of which 81% from hydroelectricity and 19% from natural gas. It is estimated that only 25% of Georgia's total energy is used.

Frozen conflict

In international relations, a frozen conflict is a situation in which active armed conflict has been brought to an end, but no peace treaty or other political framework resolves the conflict to the satisfaction of the combatants. Therefore, legally the conflict can start again at any moment, creating an environment of insecurity and instability.

The term has been commonly used for post-Soviet conflicts, but it has also often been applied to other perennial territorial disputes. The de facto situation that emerges may match the de jure position asserted by one party to the conflict; for example, Russia claims and effectively controls Crimea following the 2014 Crimean crisis despite Ukraine's continuing claim to the region. Alternatively, the de facto situation may not match either side's official claim. The division of Korea is an example of the latter situation: both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea officially assert claims to the entire peninsula; however, there exists a well-defined border between the two countries' areas of control.

Frozen conflicts sometimes result in partially recognized states. For example, the Republic of South Ossetia, a product of the frozen Georgian–Ossetian conflict, is recognized by eight other states, including five UN members; the other three of these entities are partially recognized states themselves.

Geneva International Discussions

The Geneva International Discussions (GID) are international talks, launched in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2008, to address the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia. Co-chaired by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN), the Geneva process brings together representatives of the participants of the conflict—Georgia, Russia, and Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia—as well as the United States.After the cessation of the UN and OSCE missions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, respectively, following the August 2008 Russo–Georgian war, the GID remain the only platform for all interested sides to discuss security-related issues and humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population.The commitment of non-use of force is one of the principal issues at point discussed at several GID rounds. Georgia had made a unilateral pledge of non-use of force on 23 November 2010 and has since insisted Russia should do the same. The Russian government refuses to follow the suit, alleging it is not a party to the conflict. Instead, it wants Georgia to sign treaties envisaging non-use of force directly with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Georgia refuses on account of the entities being part of its sovereign state. Russia has also expressed its concerns over the Georgians relations with NATO and military cooperation with the United States.Another major source of disagreement is the issue of return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, mostly ethnic Georgians, which the Abkhaz and South Ossetian representatives, with Russian backing, reject to discuss as long as Georgia is able to secure the yearly resolutions on IDPs at the UN General Assembly. Among topics touched upon the talks are those related to language of instruction in schools in predominantly ethnic Georgian areas of Abkhazia (such as the Gali district) as well as freedom of movement and mobility, missing persons, environmental and cultural heritage.In the summer of 2016, the Abkhaz Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kan Taniya, said in an interview with the German newspaper junge Welt that the discussions in the Geneva International Discussions are locked in a standstill.

Georgian Civil War

The Georgian Civil War comprised inter-ethnic and intranational conflicts in the regions of South Ossetia (1988–1992) and Abkhazia (1992–1993), as well as the violent military coup d'état of December 22, 1991 – December 31, 1993, against the first democratically elected President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his subsequent uprising in an attempt to regain power (1993).

While the Gamsakhurdia rebellion was eventually defeated, the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts resulted in the de facto secession of both regions from Georgia. As a result, both conflicts have lingered on, with occasional flare-ups.

Georgian–Ossetian conflict (1918–20)

The Georgian–Ossetian conflict of 1918–1920 comprised a series of uprisings, which took place in the Ossetian-inhabited areas of what is now South Ossetia, a breakaway republic in Georgia, against the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic and then the Menshevik-dominated Democratic Republic of Georgia which claimed several thousand lives and left painful memories among the Georgian and Ossetian communities of the region.

During its brief tenure, the Menshevik government of Georgia came across significant problems with ethnic Ossetians who largely sympathized with the Bolsheviks and Soviet Russia. The reasons behind the conflict were complicated. An overdue land reform and agrarian disturbances in the poor Ossetian-populated areas intermingled with an ethnic discord and the struggle for power in the Caucasus.

Ivane Machabeli

Prince Ivane Machabeli (Georgian: ივანე მაჩაბელი) (January 28, 1854 – c. 1898) was a Georgian writer, translator, publicist, public figure, active member of the National-Liberation Movement, and a founder of the new Georgian literary language. He is also well known for his resonant translations of Shakespeare and for writing the opera of "The Knight in the Panther's Skin."

He was born into an old Georgian aristocratic family Machabeli in the village of Tamarasheni near Tskhinvali. Machabeli studied in St. Petersburg, in Germany, and in Paris. Returning in Georgia, he was closely allied with Ilia Chavchavadze, a leader of Georgian intellectual life of that time, whom Machabeli offered his assistance in all initiatives aimed at reviving Georgian culture and opposition to the Imperial Russian rule. He served an editor in chief of the leading Georgian national magazines Iveria (1882-3) and Droeba (1883-5). Despite his preoccupation with charities, especially orphanages, and extensive journalism, Machabeli made Shakespeare his life's work. Although, he never visited England, he produced, from 1886 to 1898, the brilliant translations of Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus, which to this day serve as the standard versions for the repertoire of the Rustaveli Theatre. Machabeli left his apartment in Tbilisi on June 26, 1898, and was never seen again.The museum dedicated to Machabeli is located in his native Tamarasheni, which lies in the ongoing Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone. It was severely damaged, on July 23, 1997, in a blast allegedly organized by local Ossetian nationalists, and completely destroyed after the 2008 South Ossetia war.

Java (town)

Java (Georgian: ჯავა [dʒɑvɑ] (listen); Ossetian: Дзау, Dzaw; Russian: Джава Dzhava) is a town of approximately 1,500 people in Georgia (in South Ossetia). According to Georgia's current official administrative division, Java is a main town of Java district in the north of Shida Kartli region. According to the South Ossetian side Dzau is an administrative center of Dzau district. The town is situated on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, within the Greater Liakhvi Gorge, 1,040 m (3,412 ft) above sea level.

Java is the second largest urban settlement in South Ossetia, after Tskhinvali. It is located outside the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe-defined boundaries of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone – an area within a 15-km radius of Tskhinvali.The town played a major role in the 2008 South Ossetia war, with most of the South Ossetian military forces being located there at the time of the Georgian offensive. During the Battle of Tskhinvali, the government of South Ossetia relocated to Java.

Georgia had accused the Russian military of building a large military base in Java before the war. These concerns were brought by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to the attention of the UN General Assembly on September 26, 2007. After the war, Russia announced it was constructing military bases in Java and Tskhinvali, which would be ready in 2010.

Joint Control Commission for Georgian–Ossetian Conflict Resolution

Joint Control Commission for Georgian–Ossetian Conflict Resolution (JCC) is a peacekeeping organization, operating in South Ossetia and overseeing the joint peacekeeping forces in the region.

Created in 1992 after the South Ossetian War, the Commission consisted of four members with equal representation: Georgia, North Ossetia, Russia, and South Ossetia. Georgia declared wish to withdrew from the JCC in March 2008, demanding a new 2+2+2 formula, including the EU, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia on the place of North Ossetia. The command of the Georgian peacekeepers was transferred from the JCC to the Georgian Defense Ministry.The Commission was created by an agreement signed by the Head of Parliament of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze, and the President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin. Shevardnadze later succeeded Zviad Gamsakhurdia as the President of Georgia

The Joined Peacekeeping Force (JPKF) created by the agreement consisted of three members with equal representation: Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian contingents. By September, 2008, Georgia left the JKPF.

List of wars involving South Ossetia

This is a list of wars involving the Republic of South Ossetia.

Mamuka Kurashvili

Mamuka Kurashvili (Georgian: მამუკა ყურაშვილი) (born January 17, 1970) is a brigadier general of the Georgian army and was also Deputy Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces since May 7, 2009. Prior to that he served as a chief of staff of peacekeeping operations in Georgia's conflict zones in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.Kurashvili finished faculty of law of Tbilisi State University in 1996 and Moscow Malinovsky Military Academy in 1999.

After finishing service in the Soviet Army he began his military career in National Guard of Georgia in 1990. He served at various senior positions in Georgian army including Deputy Chief of the National Guard Security Group (1991–1993), Commandant of Tbilisi Military Garrison (2004–2005), Chief of Special Operation Brigade of Ministry of Defense (2005) and Commander of Georgian peacekeeping battalion in structure of the mixed peacekeeping forces in the Georgian–Ossetian conflict zone (2006–2007).On August 7, 2008, at the beginning of 2008 South Ossetia war Kurashvili told Rustavi 2 television that Georgian forces were moving to "establish constitutional order in the Ossetian region." He later described his comment as "not authorized by seniors" and "impulsive" and "not prepared". Kurashvili was reprimanded by Georgian Defense Ministry because of the statement. He was wounded during the war.

On October, 28, during the hearings by Georgian parliament special commission, studying the 2008 South Ossetia war, he claimed that Russian peacekeepers positions in South Ossetia were destroyed by Russian army, and not by Georgian artillery shelling.On May 6, 2009 according to the order of the Minister of Defense of Georgia Mamuka Kurashvili was moved from position of Deputy Head of the General Inspection of Ministry of Defense to Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff of GAF.On september 2009 to 2011 Army atashe in Ukraine

Kurashvili has been awarded with Vakhtang Gorgasali Order (3rd Rank), Medal for Military Courage and Medal of Military Honor.

Roki Tunnel

The Roki Tunnel (also called Roksky Tunnel, Georgian: როკის გვირაბი; Ossetic: Ручъы тъунел; Russian: Рокский туннель) is a mountain tunnel of the Transkam road through the Greater Caucasus Mountains, north of the village Upper Roka. It is the only road joining North Ossetia–Alania in the Russian Federation into South Ossetia, a breakaway republic of Georgia. The road is manned at the town of Nizhny Zaramag in North Ossetia and is sometimes referred to as the Roki-Nizhny Zaramag border crossing.

The tunnel, completed by the Soviet government in 1984, is one of only a handful of routes that cross the North Caucasus Range. It is at about 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) altitude and its length is 3,730 meters (12,240 ft), and near the Roki Pass at about 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) altitude, which can only be used in summer.

The other routes between Georgia and Russia include the Kazbegi–Verkhni Lars customs checkpoint on the Georgian Military Road, closed June 2006  and reopened 2010, and the Gantiadi–Adler crossing in Abkhazia which Georgia asserts functions illegally.

The tunnel has been important throughout the Georgian–Ossetian conflict. The South Ossetian authorities use tolls levied on tunnel traffic as one of their main sources of revenue. The Georgian government – backed by the United States – has long called for the South Ossetian side of the tunnel to be placed under the control of international monitors, rather than by the South Ossetian secessionists and their Russian allies.

When the Russian authorities blocked the Kazbegi-Verkhni Lars customs checkpoint between June 2006 and March 2010, the Roki Tunnel was the only available road route from Russia to South Ossetia. The tunnel was also used as a supply route for the Russian troops during the 2008 South Ossetia War.

The tunnel was reconstructed due to damage caused by 2008 South Ossetia War.

Reconstruction took two and half years and was finished in October 2015.

All costs of reconstruction were paid by the Russian side.

S10 highway (Georgia)

The Georgian route S10 (also known as Gori-Tskhinvali-Gupta-Java-Roki) was one of the major trunk road until Georgian–Ossetian conflict (1989). It runs from Gori through Tskhinvali before reaching the border with Russia (Roki Tunnel, Shida Kartli). The length is 92.5 kilometers (57.5 mi). The highway runs through Karaleti, Ergneti and Java. After crossing the border with Russia, the highway continues to Vladikavkaz. It is part of the Transcaucasian Highway.North of village Ergneti, the highway is not controlled by the Georgian government and it is located in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Crossing from Georgia to South Ossetia is impossible.

South Ossetia

South Ossetia (, less commonly ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, or the Tskhinvali Region, is a disputed territory in the South Caucasus, in the northern part of the internationally recognised Georgian territory. It has a population of 53,000 people who live in an area of 3,900 km2, south of the Russian Caucasus, with 30,000 living in Tskhinvali. The separatist polity, Republic of South Ossetia (or the State of Alania), is recognised as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria. While Georgia lacks control over South Ossetia, the Georgian government and most members of the United Nations consider the territory part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as "the former autonomous district of South Ossetia", in reference to the former Soviet autonomous oblast disbanded in 1990.Georgia does not recognise the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity, and therefore its territory does not correspond to any Georgian administrative area (although Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia was created by the Georgian authorities as a transitional measure leading to the settlement of South Ossetia's status), with most of the territory included into Shida Kartli region. The area is often informally referred to as the legally undefined Tskhinvali Region in Georgia and in international organisations when neutrality is deemed necessary.

South Ossetia declared independence from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force. The crisis escalation led to the 1991–92 South Ossetia War. Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008. The latter conflict led to the Russo–Georgian War, during which Ossetian and Russian forces gained full de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. In the wake of the 2008 war, Georgia and a significant part of the international community consider South Ossetia to be occupied by the Russian military.

South Ossetia relies heavily on military, political and financial aid from Russia.South Ossetia, Transnistria, Artsakh, and Abkhazia are sometimes referred to as post-Soviet "frozen conflict" zones.


Tamarasheni (Georgian: თამარაშენი) is a former village in Georgia, within the territory controlled by separatist South Ossetia, some 0.5 km north of Tskhinvali.

Per Georgian administrative division the village is in Shida Kartli region. During the 2008 South Ossetia War, the village was completely destroyed by the Ossetian forces and depopulated of its majority Georgian population. After the war, the South Ossetian regime included the former Tamarasheni territory in Tskhinvali as a "Moscow Microdistrict" inaugurated by the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov.The village is situated in the Great Liakhvi River valley. Tradition holds it that the modern-day village was founded by the medieval queen Tamar of Georgia (1284-1212) as a small town. Hence, the settlement’s name, literally meaning "built by Tamar". It was formerly part of the late medieval Georgian princedom of Samachablo (literally, "the estate of the Machabeli [family]") and then of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (abolished in 1990). Populated mostly by ethnic Georgians, the village lies within the ongoing Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone, and remained under the Government of Georgia’s control till the 2008 South Ossetia War.

Tamarasheni is a home to the Museum of the 19th-century Georgian writer and Shakespeare translator Ivane Machabeli who was born there in 1854. The museum was severely damaged, on July 23, 1997, in a blast allegedly organized by local Ossetian separatists.Most of the village's houses were destroyed during the 2008 South Ossetia War by Ossetian militias.

Visa policy of South Ossetia

Visitors to South Ossetia do not require a visa. However, visitors are required to hold a valid Russian visa that permits them to return to Russia unless they are Russian citizens or citizens of countries that are exempt from Russian visas and to notify authorities about their visit in advance. Meanwhile, citizens of 3 other Post-Soviet disputed states can travel visa free to South Ossetia. All members of the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations have agreed to abolish visa requirements for their citizens. This includes:

An agreement between South Ossetia and Nauru on mutual visa-free trips for 90 days within any 180 day period was signed on 3 February 2018 and is yet to be ratified.

War in South Ossetia

The term war in South Ossetia may refer to:

Georgian–Ossetian conflict (1918–1920)

1991–1992 South Ossetia War

2008 Russo-Georgian War

Women in South Ossetia

In 2010, the Caucasian Knot described the women of South Ossetia as females who can transmit change and reinstatement of "trust and peace" between the peoples of South Ossetia and Georgia. They have the capability and competence to defend and preserve their rights as women and to participate as activists and peacemakers. South Ossetian women experienced situations of armed conflict in their regions. The main organization that promotes and safeguards the status of South Ossetian women is the Association of South Ossetian Women for Democracy and Human Rights (sometimes referred to as Association of Women of South Ossetia for Democracy and Defence of Human Rights) and is currently headed by Lira Kozaeva-Tskhovrebova.

Georgian–Ossetian conflict

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