Monday, February 20, 2012

Ossetian presidential election turmoil

There have been very few reports in the mass media about the latest turmoil in South Ossetia. Below is a small portion from an excellent report by Anna Nemtsova published in 'The Daily Beast'

"A few months ago, the republic [of South Ossetia]'s former minister of education, Alla Dzhioyeva, was joyfully celebrated as the first woman to win a presidential election in the long-suffering local conflict zones of the Caucasus.

During the election, Dzhioyeva—an independent candidate—and her team had opened up an acute discussion of the Kremlin's failed promises to reconstruct the republic, of massive bureaucratic corruption, and billions of rubles that disappeared on the way to South Ossetia.

Excited about the idea of the first free election after the August 2008 war, more people voted for Dzhioyeva than the Kremlin-backed candidate. She received a copy of the election commission report confirming that she had won by a 16 percent margin. Moscow had drastically miscalculated.

The drama that followed brought blood and violence to the enclave that Russia went to war to protect. Instead of letting the ruined republic enjoy their independent candidate, a local court annulled Dzhioyeva's victory.

[Note: Some reports say their Supreme court annulled the election result because of 'irregularites'... Dzhioyeva was then drawn into negotiations with acting president, the Russian Vadim Brovtsev - who was nominated by the Kremlin despite having no previous connection to South Ossetia. But Brovtsev failed to keep his side of their agreement...LEvko]

This pushed thousands of her supporters to the streets to protest. "An active civic position and the sense that their opinion was being ignored brought people out," said Varvara Pakhomenko, an analyst with International Crisis Group. "By now South Ossetians probably feel they have become hostages of recognition."

To stop the uprising, the Moscow-backed acting president ordered Dzhioyeva arrested. In early February, dozens of men in balaclavas allegedly broke into her house and beat Dzhioyeva's closest family, supporters, whoever tried to protect her. The last that her brother Konstantin remembered of that night's horror, he says, was his sister's unconscious body being thrown into a military truck...."

More at the link above.

Journalist Vataliy Portnikov describes the situation thus:

"For Georgia, South Ossetia is occupied territory. For residents of South Ossetia it is an independent republic. But in reality it is a colony of Russia; just a colony for use as a propaganda demonstration of their own greatness.

This is why the colony is managed by an emissary from Moscow. And no matter how the Ossetians vote, the only president there will be one that is approved by Moscow. This is why all the stolen money for restoring the broken roads and emergency facilities is stolen, and why there is so much poverty and hopelessness.

People live this way in a many regions of Russia intself. But at least there no one cheats them or says that they can decide something."

P.s. Nemstova's article was elsewhere entitled: 'Did Kremlin thugs attack Alla Dzhioyeva?'

All of the above has got me thinking about Yanukovych's latest appointments... and parliamentary elections later this year in Ukraine..

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