The South Ossetia: The Lessons of 2011

The Splendor and Misery of the South-Ossetian Democracy 

By Maria PLION
Independent expert

Something, that no impartial expert mighthave predicted, occurred in the Republic of South Ossetia late November 2011:an opposition candidate, whose opponent was openly supported by the Russian President Medvedev, won the election in the second round.

So the South Ossetia had a chance for a great leap forward to the international level by three reasons: 1. The South-Ossetian people voted for the female-President (it has been unprecedented in the Caucasus);2. The citizens mostly voted for the candidate from the opposition, despite the powerful administrative resource; 3. The Kremlin’s candidate suffered a defeat.

The last fact showed that the South Ossetia is not an occupied territory, as presented by Georgian politicians to the world community.

Then significant political frauds followed, when the Central Election Commission (CEC) was silent for two days, not announcing the results of the election, and such a behavior was called as “silence of the lambs.” Two days after the election, the Chairman of the Supreme Court AtsamazBichenov appeared on the political scene:he personally annulled the results of the elections without any ground and forbade the CEC to announce them.

The day when the court annulled the results of the elections, the people came to the central square of the South-Ossetian capital. Ten days (daily and nightly) people stood in the square despite the cold, because their choice was crushed.Many experts, covering the South-Ossetian issues, consider the occupation of the square to stand for their vote as the most unpredictable actions of civil disobedience. It is just by the example of the South-Ossetian people that Russian citizens protested against the results of the elections to the Russian State Duma by means of mass rallies in the Bolotnaya square and on the Sakharov avenue in Moscow.

The lessons have been learned by Georgian and Russian journalists and experts.  The Russian society has learned its lesson, and the Georgian media-community started to suspect, understandingthat Russia is not everything for the South-Ossetian people that wants independence. The rhetoric of Georgian experts softened, and the South-Ossetian society raised sympathy even among some marginal Georgian journalists.

“No question that the territorial integrity is vital, but a whole country should not be sacrificed to it by no means. This is the main Tskhinvali lesson for Georgia,”- wrote Georgian journalist Tengiz Ablotia during the civil unrest in the South-Ossetian Republic.

On December 2, the House of the South-Ossetian Government was surrounded by armored vehicles. According to my sources, it is the Russian military under the disguise of Ossetian law-enforcement forces that were in those vehicles, ready to shoot to preventthe people fromattempts to occupy theHouse of Government.

Early in December some members of the opposition candidate Alla Jioyeva’s headquarters were arrested in Vladikavkaz. Five young people, including the founder of the opposition site <> Soslan Kokoyev, were thrown into prison and criminal proceedings were instituted against them. The North-Ossetian authorities did their best, providing “fraternal assistance.”  The society of the Northern Ossetia has been unable to learn the lessons. None of the lessons!

Then arrests of journalists and civil activists followed in the North-Ossetian capital. 30 persons were detained in the town of Vladikavkaz after the peaceful march.

Mrs. Jioyeva and her headquarters planned the inauguration despite the defense of the House of Government and President’s cabinet on December 10, the Day of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the same day, an Agreement was reached as a result of ten day talks between the interim State Council (this is how Alla Jioyeva’s supporters were called), the President elect Alla Jioyeva and the South-Ossetian authorities, supported by the administration of the Russian President. The agreement stipulated Kokoyty to voluntarily resign; butbefore resignation he had to dismiss the General Procurator with his deputy, and the Chairman of the Supreme Court from their positions. In exchange, Alla Jioyeva agreed for new presidential election to be held on March 25.

By the opinion of the founding fathers of the RSO independence, Alla Jioyeva let herself signing an illegal agreement. “By this agreement Jioyeva alone, with her illegal signature, caused the situation while feats are needed to get back tolegitimacy! Alla has neither learned our Lesson of 1989-1993, nor accepted our advice.As for me I have learned from others’ mistakes, and all results are known to everybody, they can be found on our site: I have passed with them through international conferences!And this has not been used. Now the question is who will accomplish these feats, the necessity in which has been caused by Alla’s signature? She personally, no doubt about it! But other people also should be involved; otherwise, if she is alone, it would be a pure self-sacrifice…”- wrote Alan Chochiyev, one of the founders of the republic.

The year ended, but the elections in the South Ossetia continued. In the end of January Alla Jioyeva made a statement for mass media, saying that she calls back her signature from the above-mentioned agreement as far as most of its points have not been implemented by her opponents, i.e.  resignations of Kokoyty’s vital officials – the Procurator of the  Republic with his Deputy and the Chairman of the Supreme Council.

Jioyeva again announced the day for her inauguration in the situation when the “physical force” of her team had already left her: General Anatoly Barankevich (former head of the RSO Security Council and the hero of the 08.08.08 war), field commanders Sergey Zaseev, Vladimir Kelekhsaev, former opposition activist JemalJigkayev and Deputy Foreign Minister Alan Pliyev. This means that the Kremlin has just started new resources, not learning the lessons from the events that took place in November-December 2011.

At the same time mass media informed that Jambolat Tedeev is planning to run for the South-Ossetian President once again on March 25, 2012.  Mr. Tedeev, the coach of Russia’s freestyle wrestling team, earlier was not registered by the South-Ossetian Central Electoral Commission due to the lack of residential qualification. After that he supported Alla Jioyeva with his resources. Learning about his intention to run once again, the South-Ossetian authorities decided to make a new move. The South-Ossetian Public Prosecutor’s Office instituted proceedings for “forcible seizure of power,” having Mr. Tedeyev as the main suspect. By the request of the South-Ossetian Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Russian Federal Security Service has been engaged into the investigation: Mr. Tedeev’s house in Moscow was searched by its representatives.  It is a novelty in the Russian-South-Ossetian relations and in the legal practice of the South Ossetia.

At the same time the South-Ossetian Parliament adopted amendments to the Law “On the Election of the President of the South-Ossetian Republic,” prohibiting the people with convictions or under investigation to run for a president of the republic. There were no such points in the law before, which allowed Alla Jioyeva to run and become the “President elect.” Thus, the pro-Kokoyty and pro-Brovtsev Parliament killed two tigers with the same shot, not letting Mr. Tedeev and Mrs. Jioyeva to take part in the March election. The Parliament has learned the lessons, anti-national lessons. Well, there can be various lessons…

Early in February the preparations for Alla Jioyeva’s inauguration was in progress. On February 8 the South-Ossetian Government, headed by the acting President Vadim Brovtsev, organized  an event, named  a “unity rally” aimed at condemning Jioyeva’s inauguration and reiterating the demand to hold the election of the South-Ossetian President on March 25. Thanks to the administrative resource of the South-Ossetian Government, nearly three thousand people took part in that rally.

On February 9, the South-Ossetian special services stormed the headquarters of the President elect, as a result of which Alla Jioyeva was abducted by Special Forces and found herself in the hospital with an apoplectic stroke. A day later people knew from her relatives that the President elect was beaten. Field commanders and heroes of the wars kept silent and remained quiet. On February 19 Jambolat Tedeyev was dismissed from his position of the coach of Russia’s   free-style wrestling team. So it became clear that it is Kremlin that stood behind Alla Jioyeva’s beating.

Such events surprised even the political analysts in Moscow. Yana Amelina described it as the final loss of trust of the South-Ossetian people to the republican authorities (i.e. the Kremlin ones) and that anti-Russian sentiments would grow. Russian political analysts have learned the lessons once again.

Everybody, who followed these events, expected that the presidential contenders would withdraw themselves and announce that they would not take part in the elections under such conditions. And it also seemed that all who took part in capturing the Presidentelectshould have been expelled, including the Acting President Vadim Brovtsev. But the people of the Republic of South Ossetia kept silent. The lessons have been forgotten so much that even the desire to learn has been lost…


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