South Ossetia celebrates 2 years of independence

RIA Novosti / Konstantin Basov
South Ossetia marked its independence day on Thursday, gratefully acknowledging Russia’s role in the attainment of political sovereignty.

Speaking at a special assembly gathered to commemorate the day when Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity thanked Russia for its decision.

“South Ossetia will always remember to whom it owes its rescue and the recognition of its right for freedom and independence,” Kokoity said.

“However hard Tbilisi and some other capitals may be wishing for it, Russia is not changing its decision to recognize South Ossetia. This has recently been confirmed by the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev,” he added.

Kokoity reminded the gathering that the road to freedom had been long and winding, and stressed the ethnic discrimination that the Ossetians had suffered from Georgia while Ossetia was a part of Georgia.

The creation of an independent South Ossetian state, he said, had been dictated by the “necessity to defend the right of our people to freedom, human dignity and life, [which were] constantly threatened by Georgia.”

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia two years ago, on 26 August, 2008, after a brief war with Georgia, which started when Georgian troops entered South Ossetia in a bid to bring it back under Tiblisi’s control. Russia moved in its troops after Georgia bombed South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinval, and in five days the war was over. Georgia subsequently broke all diplomatic ties with Russia.

Apart from Russia, the independence of South Ossetia has so far been recognized by Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.

The republic is celebrating the day with festivities in all of its regions and a huge music concert in Tskhinval.

Meanwhile, Abkhazia is also marking its independence, celebrating with a concert and fireworks in the capital, Sukhum.