New Speaker of the Parliament of South Ossetia's criminal past
South Ossetia Speaker of the Parliament of Alan Alborov
In South Ossetia, following the ouster of the president, a new head of parliament has been installed – pro-presidential politician Alan Alborov. He is currently facing scrunity over his criminal history. This matter also concerns corruption in the government, inasmuch as the pro-presidential party, which is in the minority, has thus captured a major post.
Former speaker Alan Tadtaev, chairman of United Ossetia, the party of the parliamentary majority, was forced to resign early under pressure from deputies of the pro-presidential Nykhas party.
Opposition candidate Alan Gagloev won the May 2022 presidential election in South Ossetia over incumbent Anatoly Bibilov.
Immediately after the change of power in South Ossetia, it came out that Alan Alborov, a person from Gagloev’s entourage, former head of the Nykhas party and now a deputy of the party, is claiming to be the speaker of parliament and natural resources.
Alborov did not hide his claim to the post of speaker. Alan Tadtaev was given an ultimatum: “Either you leave voluntarily or we declare a vote of no confidence.” From May to September the blackmail and threats continued.
For his resignation, Tadtaev was expectedly supported by a part of the deputy corps, which was in opposition to Anatoly Bibilov. These are deputies from the Nykhas, People’s Party and Unity of the People parties, as well as majoritarians. In 2020 they united into an opposition bloc, and are now the backbone of the incumbent President Gagloev’s support in parliament.
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Immediately after the start of the autumn session, it was announced that Alan Tadtaev would, allegedly voluntarily, resign from his post.
Two candidates were nominated for the post of new speaker. As expected, these were Alan Alborov and the representative of United Ossetia, the head of the defense and security committee, Atsamaz Bibilov. Predictably, Alborov was elected chairman of the South Ossetian parliament by a majority of votes.
Alan Alborov, after being elected, vowed that everyone in society and government would “work together regardless of party affiliation and faction.”
Former speaker Alan Tadtaev expressed hope for further constructive work in parliament, recalling that it was Alborov and his opposition coalition who boycotted parliament for more than six months, paralyzing the activities of the legislative branch:
“Over the past years we have seen many examples of misunderstanding, confrontation, and boycott by individual deputies of their duties and very little done for the benefit of the people of South Ossetia. For several years I tried in every possible way to negotiate with deputies of all factions, made concessions so that the parliament would function normally, but all in vain.”
Who is Alan Alborov
A middle-class businessman, Alan Alborov from Tskhinvali, joined the ranks of South Ossetian officials in 2012, when Leonid Tibilov became president of South Ossetia. During a long absence from his homeland, Alborov was pretty much forgotten even in Tskhinvali itself, but Tibilov entrusted him with housing and communal services in the Leningor region bordering Georgia.
From there his career began to take off. Tibilov appointed him mayor of Tskhinvali, and in 2013 entrusted him with the hastily put together pro-presidential party Nykhas, which the presidential administration put up in the 2014 parliamentary elections as a counterweight to its main rival, United Ossetia party leader Anatoly Bibilov.
Alborov continued to combine the post of mayor of the South Ossetian capital and leader of the pro-presidential Nykhas party until 2017, when Bibilov won the presidential election. He also replaced the mayor of Tskhinvali.
Two years later, on the eve of the next parliamentary elections, Alborov lost the leadershipof the Nykhas party to Alan Gagloev. In 2019, in parliamentary elections, the Nykhasovites received four mandates, one of which went to Alborov. He also stepped down as head of the committee on industry, construction, transport, communications and natural resources.
All these facts are public in Alborov’s official biography, but what isn’t is his conviction for kidnapping a child.
Alan Alborov and his brother Oleg Alborov were convicted under Art. 330 part 2 of the Criminal Code of Russia (arbitrariness with causing significant harm, committed with the threat of violence) to three years in prison at a penal colony.
Alborov himself categorically refuses to comment on this. But this dramatic story is still remembered in North Ossetia, when the Alborov brothers, who were then engaged in the sale and purchase of vodka, kidnapped the son of a businessman who owed them money for goods. They were arrested and subsequently denied their guilt in court.
Has the Nykhas party usurped power?
The mechanism that the new authorities came up with to change the speaker of parliament sparked criticism even among Gagloev’s supporters.
First, contrary to the requirements of the law, Alan Gagloev, after being elected president, did not resign from the Nykhas party, and continues to be chairman of this organization. Second, the election of another party member as the speaker of parliament is also a violation, since two branches of power are thereby concentrated in one party.
The Nykhas deputies, and Gagloev himself, accused Bibilov of “usurpation of power.” The difference is that Bibilov and United Ossetia won the parliamentary elections twice in a row in 2014 and 2019, and the leaders of United Ossetia were legally elected as parliamentary speakers.
The opportunistic appointment of Alborov is a clear demonstration of the weakness of Gagloev and his team. Apparently, the current authorities are not confident in their abilities, and doubt that they will be able to win the upcoming elections in 2024.
In 2014, the United Ossetia party, whose leader was Bibilov at that time, won the parliamentary elections and received a constitutional majority, and Bibilov was accordingly elected speaker.
As for the Nykhas party, it was created in the interests of former president Leonid Tibilov. But tven with the use of administrative resources, Nykhas barely managed to overcome the 5% barrier and received four deputy mandates. Thus, President Tibilov had no influence on the parliament.
The confrontation between the two politicians continued in the presidential elections, which Bibilov won in 2017. He withdrew from United Ossetia, but United Ossetia retained most of the seats in parliament. In 2019 during regular parliamentary elections, United Ossetia was again able to take a majority of votes, and Alan Tadtaev headed the parliament.
What to expect
Political scientist and editor-in-chief of the Svobodny Vzglyad newspaper Badri Gazzati believes that the early replacement of the speaker of the parliament cannot be considered a democratic step:
“With all Bibilov’s minuses, he and his party won the parliamentary elections by a majority and the fact that the leader of United Ossetia was elected speaker twice in a row was legal and fair. Gagloev positioned himself as a supporter of democratic reforms, but immediately switched to the opposite stereotype of behavior. He actually usurped power and put his protege at the head of the legislature.”
Gazzati notes that this was done not through legitimate elections, but as a result of pressure, and that either this is due to “gaps in education” and the authorities do not understand what the democratic principle of the state structure is, or Gagloev deliberately usurped power and subjugated the parliament.
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“Here the situation suggests that the South Ossetian politicians are followed by a criminal trail. And why are we surprised? On the eve of the elections, everyone learned about the weak, vulnerable places of Alan Gagloev. This is a case of triple murder… [Referring to the murder of three Russian citizens in 2004, in which Alan Gagloev’s brother was suspected – JAMnews]. Crime is rushing to power, there’s nothing to be done. We need some other mechanism to clean the halls of government,” Gazzati says.
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