South Ossetia: Veterans entering politics
In South Ossetia, veterans of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict have raised a complaint about their social vulnerability. They do not receive any help from the government, nor benefits and have to rely on veteran organizations.
“During the period of the pre-election campaigns, the support of authoritative veterans significantly helps raise the rating of candidates. However, not a single president of South Ossetia has enshrined our status in the legislation,” a veteran told JAMnews.
From Kokoity to Bibilov – under who was it better to live?
Some see a political story in this situation. One veteran of the Georgian-Ossetian war, Aslan, complained that during the presidency of Leonid Tibilov (2012-2017) veterans were consciously ignored.
“For some reason, they have a negative view of us. Maybe because many of us are dedicated to the former president Kokoity [ed. lead the republic from 2001-2011] who left during hard times and waited it out in North Ossetia or in Moscow. They returned after Russia acknowledged our independence, and after tentative peace had been established with Georgia – they took all the ‘good spots’. And here we sit without work, with nothing for medication and having to feed our families.”
He remembers that Eduard Kokoity awarded many veterans of the 2008 war with the highest state order of Uatsamonga [ed. friendship], which afforded some veterans the highest paying pension. “Employees of the law enforcement agencies loved us much better under Kokoity,” he says.
“That’s not to say that we were at the center of attention, but periodically they would send one of us for a vacation and some for treatment. And in the past six years, nothing.”
After the August war of 2008, Kokoity, the then-president, allocated hundreds of millions of roubles to help those involved in the defence of the republic. Some were able to open a business with that money, some of them simply spent it, some got married. Another 200 family couples were sent for medical treatment.
H owever, not all veterans feel the same way. The founder of the Aegdau Veterans’ Organization, Koba Gagloyev, told Ekho Kavkaza [Echo of the Caucasus] that ‘under Kokoity, in some weird way, regular soldiers were moved to the side and ended up on the street’.
Koba Gagloyev had hopes for the next president, General Leonid Tibilov. But all the veterans were left dissatisfied by his presidency as they did not receive any form of status, pension or social privileges.
Political rivalry of veteran organizations
There are several veterans’ organizations in South Ossetia.
Some of the prominent organizations are The Union of Defenders of Ossetia and the Fund for the Defence of the Injured in South Ossetia which is headed by the only woman and receiver of the order of Uatsamonga, Madina Pliyeva.
A few years ago the Union of Veterans of the Patriotic War of the Nation of South Ossetia 1989 – 1992, Aghdau [Honor] was founded. Its founders, participants of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict of 1989 – 1992, are now well-known writers Tamerlan Tadtayev and Koba Gagloyev. However, there is little known about the practical activities of this organization. Tamerlan Tadtayev himself received a concussion in August 2008 and his vision has worsened. He needed an operation but he didn’t receive help from the government.
The problem with these and with other organizations is that they exist in rivalry to one another since their leaders belong to different political camps.
For example, at the height of the presidential elections in 2012, a group of militiamen announced their formation in a group known as the Renaissance of Ossetia. The only thing for which they were later remembered was their criticism of the already former president Eduard Kokoity.
As a result of political bias, ‘favorites’ of the authorities can become outcasts at the blink of an eye. The founders of Aeghdau Koba Gagloyev and Tamerlan Tadtayev supported the candidacy of the current president Anatoly Bibilov and they became members of his team.
But recently, as a result of a political scandal in South Ossetia, another veterans’ organization appeared. It was created by the holder of The Order of Uatsmonga, Dmitri Tasoyev.
Tasoyev held the position of Vice-Speaker and Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Security and also headed the political council of the reigning party, United Ossetia. However, in the summer of 2017 he spoke out against the election of one of his party associates Petr Gassiyev to the post of speaker of the parliament and made a slew of public critical statements about his colleague. As a result, he was removed from all his positions.
[su_quote]“Spit in the face of the nation…a criminal conspiracy…the cruelest betrayal of the nation” – JAMnews wrote about the scandal surrounding the new speaker in South Ossetia[/su_quote]
Now, Dmitri Tasoyev has announced the creation of a new veterans’ organization under the name of Combatant Fraternity. And while he has not been noted in politics, many believe that his silence is a sign that he is preparing for the parliamentary elections of 2019.
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