South Ossetia Flag and Map of the Region
Hardly anyone with the slightest sense of justice would disagree with the view that Russia as the “disproportionately” powerful participant in the South Ossetian conflict must observe maximum restraint in its “peace-keeping” attacks on Georgia. Russian leaders must understand that their country is not only a regional “Big Brother” but a major superpower that counters aggressive American policies in every world conflict and especially in the United Nations’ Security Council. However, in the name of safeguarding Russian citizens, aren’t President Medvedev and PM Putin following President Bush’s domestically as well as globally much sneered upon adventures in the Muslim world?
The Caucausious mountainous region of Ossetia shows the troubled history of political experimentations at the humanitarian cost. Ossetia used to be a part of Russia until the region was divided into South and North Ossetia by the central Soviet government in 1922. South Ossetia was then designated as the autonomous region of Georgia, while North Ossetia later known as Alania became one of the republics within Russia. South Ossetia presently a Georgian territory comprises of 70 per cent of population from Russian ethnicity while 30 per cent belong to Georgian origin. Perhaps, the ethnic and linguistic mixture of the South Ossetia’s population is similar to the Terai or Madhes of Nepal in the sense that a large percentage of Nepal’s Terai population has close cultural links with the people of Northern India. Georgia, with around 100 ethnic groups making up its population, is a diverse and muti-ethnic country like Nepal.
The Soviet troops were dispatched in the region as a peace-keeping force when fresh conflicts began between the Ossetians and the Georgians during the late 80s.The South Ossetian legislature had even declared South Ossetia a sovereign state within the USSR in 1990. After the collapse of Soviet Union South Ossetians began a struggle to free themselves from Georgia and align with Alania as a Russian republic. The conflict seemed to subside during the late 90s with the Russian troops as the peace-keeping force in the region. After the Georgian independence with the collapse of the USSR, the country has been a close ally of the USA complicating the situation furthermore. Russia sympathizes with the Ossetians citing its cultural, ethnic and geographical proximity. The Ossetians argue, if Kosovo can declare independence from Serbia why can’t the South Ossetia? Sounds quite logical. What about Chechnya then?
Doesn’t the Ossetian Conflict shade some light upon the future of Nepal which is embarking on the path to federalism based on ethnicity?
This blogger feels that whatever the issue including secession must be dealt through negotiations instead of allowing them escalate into communal conflicts. Making a taboo of an issue, be it nationalism or sex, only promotes human suffering even further.