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20 Sep, 2009 14:50

South Ossetia celebrates birthday

Today on September 20, Tskhinval, the capital of South Ossetia, hosted celebrations for the republic’s 19th anniversary.

Units from the Ministry of Defense, the Border Service and South Ossetian commandos have taken part in a military parade on the streets of the city.

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity hailed the troops and talked about the times when the republic was born.

He said that September 20, 1990, the day when “the Republic of South Ossetia was proclaimed by the will of people” became a turning point in the history of the republic.

“South Ossetia launched into a new life, the start of which was marked by a chain of tragic and heroic events,” he said.

In the times of the Soviet Union, South Ossetia had the status of an autonomous republic within Georgia.

In the early 1990s, the first Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdiya attempted to annihilate the autonomy and this led to the armed resistance. In January 1992, South Ossetia held a referendum that spoke in favor of independence.

In the summer of 1992, after an armed conflict, Georgia lost control over South Ossetia. However, the country’s authorities kept insisting that South Ossetia should be considered part of its territory.

On August 8, 2008, Georgia attacked South Ossetia and destroyed part of its capital Tskhinval. Russia brought its troops to the republic to repel the invasion.

Later in the month, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent republics. In turn, Tbilisi broke its diplomatic relations with Russia and labeled both republics “occupied territories”.

Following Russia’s recognition, the republics were also acknowledged by Nicaragua and Venezuela.