New Year celebrated in South Ossetia

After a tough 12 months, people in South Ossetia greeted 2009 amid the ruins left after the war with Georgia. Instead of welcoming a new year, South Ossetians mourned those lost in the conflict.

One of the most difficult years in South Ossetian history has come to an end.

It will take years to rebuild these people's lives but they hope that this chapter of their history is finally over and they try to look positively to the future.

Now the ruins and the blood on the ground have been covered with white snow, and the South Ossetians are healing their wounds and hope a new start is just around the corner. The festive spirit and New Year songs echoed through destroyed buildings.

Four and a half months after the war on central square in Tskhinval, surrounded by ruins, stands a fir tree that symbolises a new beginning.

Nonetheless, one thing remains constant – every year the republic's president Eduard Kokoyty comes here to celebrate New Year with his people.

«2008 was not an easy year for us. Georgian aggression has caused us much grief and pain. Yet at the same time, the fact that our state has been recognized gives us hope, optimism and confidence for the future. We say good-bye to the outgoing year and greet the New Year full of hope for peaceful development,» Kokoyty said.