The knot is tied

Russia has made the final step in cementing ties with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The lower chamber of parliament has approved friendship pacts with the two republics.

Russia’s State Duma has ratified the treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Wednesday. The documents confirm the sides' intentions to strengthen friendship and reinforce political, economic and military cooperation.

“They envision mutual assistance in the event of outbreaks of armed activity on the part of Georgia and, as a consequence, the permanent deployment of Russian military contingents in the two republics,” said Leonid Slutsky, Deputy Chairman of the Duma's Foreign Policy Committee. “Also, a big package of ancillary agreements will be signed and they will range from a joint patrolling of the border to the mechanisms of granting dual citizenship to people living in these republics.”

Along with dual citizenship allowance, the documents will also make the Russian rouble a legitimate monetary unit in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

President Medvedev signed the documents in September and local legislators later ratified them.

Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia were incorporated into the Soviet republic of Georgia in the 1920s but after the fall of the USSR in the early 90s, both republics declared independence.

The move resulted into a series of military conflicts, involving Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The massive bloodshed was stopped with the intervention of the UN, OSCE and Russia's peacekeepers.

The situation, however, was not resolved completely. Tensions rose and resulted in a military conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia that started on August 8, 2008.
At the end of August Russia recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and signed friendship treaties with the two republics.

Konstantin Kosachev from the State International Committee said that the new treaties ensure that “Georgia will never again use military force and resort to aggression as it did in August.”

Most of the world still refers to South Ossetia and Abkhazia as 'Georgia's breakaway territories' and calls Russia’s intervention to the conflict disproportional.

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