Date of vote on plan to rename South Ossetia set
A referendum on renaming the Republic of South Ossetia into a ‘Republic of South Ossetia – State of Alania’ will be held on April 9, president Leonid Tibilov has decreed, the same day as South Ossetians are due to vote to elect a new leader of the territory.
The question to be put up for referendum is: “Do you support amending [the wording of] part 1 of article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Ossetia to the following effect: ‘The Republic of South Ossetia – State of Alania is a sovereign democratic state created as a result of the people of the Republic of South Ossetia [having realized their right to] self-determination. The names Republic of South Ossetia and State of Alania are equal’”?
President Tibilov said “the country must bear the name of those who created it, and, in the wake of the revival of the Alanian statehood, the ancient name of Alania must be revived as well.”
Predictably, the referendum decree has annoyed Tbilisi. “A plebiscite, election or any other action involving a popular vote cannot be carried out on a territory that has been occupied by a foreign state, that has seen a majority of its indigenous population ousted, where an ethnic cleansing has taken place, and where the Russian Federation has effectively established its control,”
Georgia president Giorgi Margvelashvili said on Tuesday, February 7.
He called on Russia to respect its international commitments and urged the international community to stop what he said was another move to undermine Georgia’s sovereignty.
- Leonid Tibilov first came up with the idea to hold a renaming referendum in December of 2015.
- Alania was a medieval kingdom of the Iranian-speaking tribes of Alans and local Caucasus tribes that flourished from early middle ages until the 14th century. Apart from the Ossetians, some other peoples of the North Caucasus have also claimed the Alanian historical legacy as their own.
- Currently, the name Alania is part of the official name of only one republic – North Ossetia – Alania.
Find out more in a JAMnews report here