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South ossetia

The meaning of «south ossetia»

South Ossetia (/ɒˈsɛtjə/, less commonly /ɒˈsiːʃə/),[5] officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania,[6][7] or the Tskhinvali Region, is a de facto state in the South Caucasus recognised by most countries as part of Georgia. It has a population of 53,000 people who live in an area of 3,900 km2, south of the Russian Caucasus, with 30,000 living in Tskhinvali. The separatist polity, Republic of South Ossetia (or the State of Alania), is recognized as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria.[8][9][10][11][12] While Georgia lacks control over South Ossetia, the Georgian government and most members of the United Nations consider the territory part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as "the former autonomous district of South Ossetia", in reference to the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast disbanded in 1990.[13]

Georgia does not recognize the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity, and therefore its territory does not correspond to any Georgian administrative area (although Provisional Administration of South Ossetia was created by the Georgian authorities as a transitional measure leading to the settlement of South Ossetia's status), with most of the territory included into Shida Kartli region. The area is often informally referred to as the legally undefined Tskhinvali Region[nb 1] in both Georgia and international organisations when neutrality is deemed necessary.

The South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, created in 1922, declared independence from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force.[14] The crisis escalation led to the 1991–92 South Ossetia War.[15] Georgians fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008.[16] The latter conflict led to the Russo–Georgian War, during which Ossetian and Russian forces gained full de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. In the wake of the 2008 war, Georgia and a significant part of the international community consider South Ossetia to be occupied by the Russian military.

South Ossetia relies heavily on military, political and financial aid from Russia.[17][18]

South Ossetia, Transnistria, Artsakh, and Abkhazia are sometimes referred to as post-Soviet "frozen conflict" zones.[19][20]

The territory of contemporary South Ossetia was part of the ancient Georgian Kingdom of Iberia, the latter was unified under the single Georgian monarchy in 11th-century, extending its possessions up to Dvaleti.

The Ossetians are believed to originate from the Alans, an nomadic Iranian tribe.[21] In the 8th century a consolidated Alan kingdom, referred to in sources of the period as Alania, emerged in the northern Caucasus Mountains. Around 1239–1277 Alania fell to the Mongol and later to the Timur's armies, that massacred much of the Alanian population. The survivors among the Alans retreated into the mountains of the central Caucasus and gradually started migration to the south.

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