South Ossetian passports issued to 25 local Georgians
25 Georgian nationals residing in Leningori district of South Ossetia [Akhalgori district, in Georgia’s terminology] have been issued South Ossetian passports. Last time such thing happened in 2014.
According to the Ekho Kavkaza (Echo of the Caucasus) media outlet, what those two cases have in common is that the decision to issue South Ossetian passports was made ahead of presidential elections in the republic, that are scheduled for April 9.
In 2014, South Ossetian citizenship was granted to 100 ethnic Georgian residents of the district.
“District residents are happy about it…Over the past 1-1,5 years, people have lost any hope of ever getting South Ossetian passport,” the local civil activist, Tamara Mearakishvili, told Ekho Kavkaza.
In her words, South Ossetian President, Leonid Tibilov, was requested to grant citizenship to the aforesaid individuals at the recent meeting. President Tibilov promised to address that problem.
At the same time, Mearakishvili denies any link between the issuance of passports and the presidential election campaign in South Ossetia, since, as she put it, ‘many of those, who were issued passports, are open proponents of Tibilov’s rivals.’
In Mearakishvili’s words, the locals are hopeful that conferment of South Ossetian citizenship to them has been ‘finally de-blocked’, since the republic’s President publicly admitted that it was wrong to refuse naturalization to the indigenous residents of Leningori district.