South Ossetia mourns dead but doesn’t regret price
On August 8 last year Georgia launched a massive shelling of the South Ossetian capital, killing civilians and devastating infrastructure.
One year after the Georgian aggression, South Ossetia is still trying to recover.
Dzerasa Dzhogaeva from the capital Tskhinval showed RT around her house. She says Georgian soldiers set it on fire. Thanks to humanitarian aid from Russia, it is now being rebuilt. Like many locals, she is making sure the basement is the strongest part of the new house.
“As long as there's no border no one can feel protected,” Dzerasa says.
She remembers every minute of the day when Georgian troops launched a massive attack on the sleeping Tskhinval. A couple of hours before it her cousin, living in the Georgian town of Gori called her, alarmed at what she saw heading her direction.
Dzerasa didn’t believe it at first:
“She warned that twenty multiple rocket launchers had just passed and urged me to take the children away and leave the city altogether. I joked back saying, every time you make such calls nothing actually happens."
Her joyful mood, however, changed very quickly.
“With the first explosion at twenty minutes to midnight we realized then it was coming. And we went down to the basement.”
Having been used to continuous violence and constant shooting from Georgian side, Dzerasa didn’t take the warning seriously. She stayed in her apartment when the bombardment started.
Following last year’s Georgian attack, Russia recognized South Ossetia’s independence. According to the bilateral agreements, a Russian military base has been set up in the republic and Russian border guards are protecting the frontier. Tbilisi, though, still considers the republic a part of its own territory and demands international observers be let in.
In response, South Ossetia reiterates that its independence should be taken into account.
“We are not turning down cooperation with international organizations and the international community as a whole. We only want to be treated as equals, taking into account the fact our state has been recognized,” South Ossetian Foreign Minister Murad Dzhioev said recently.
The minister notes that the dialogue has been established, with Georgia being a mediator. But Murad Dzhioev says, given what happened last summer, there was no point – without a Georgian presence in the republic it was at last a year of relative stability and calm.
Dzerasa’s father and cousin were killed last August. Since then her old mother has been suffering from heart attacks. Now she is still in hospital in Moscow.
Nevertheless, Dzerasa in convinced the price paid for the republic’s independence is worth it.
“It's worth it, looking into the future, because at least my children will live in an independent state, they will know no fear or hatred. It's all about being independent and knowing no one will trouble you.”