Regardless of the international response to the November 12 independence referendum in South Ossetia, the polls will be an “indicator of the South Ossetian people’s stance, which should be considered in the real politics,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an information note issued on November 10.
The U.S. and EU have already condemned the upcoming independence and presidential elections, which will be held in breakaway South Ossetia simultaneously on Sunday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has also warned that Tbilisi’s attempts to create and back an “alternative government” of South Ossetia may lead to military confrontation.
“Our position towards this issue [the upcoming polls organized by the secessionist authorities] is based on the following opinions. Presidential elections are held in accordance to the Constitution and constitutional decrees of the South Ossetian Republic. The decision to hold a referendum should be considered in the line of tensions in the region and increasing pressure on Tskhinvali [capital of breakaway South Ossetia]. The hard-line stance of Tbilisi, which tries to stir tensions in relations with South Ossetia by refusing to follow already-reached agreements, makes Tskhinvali undertake counter measures, including the holding of a referendum,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
But the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the so-called “alternative polls” organized by the Salvation Union of Ossetians, saying that it is an initiative with Tbilisi and “its foreign masters behind it.”
“The Salvation Union of Ossetians, which acts on the territory of Georgia under the support of the Georgian authorities and special services, represents a factor exacerbating the situation in South Ossetia on the eve of November 12,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“As far as the Salvation Union of Ossetians and forces behind it are acting beyond any legal framework, it can be concluded that the results of the 'elections' and 'referendum' will be brought from ‘a shelf’ in accordance to the Georgian authorities’ [instructions].”
“According to some information the creation of a 'state apparatus' with a staff of 2 000 persons is also planned. It is not difficult to guess that the lion’s share of this quota will be allocated for the creation of new ‘power structures’ [referring to law enforcement agencies and an army]. This will complicate conditions in which the Russian peacekeeping forces are operating to a critical level,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Moscow also said that there are all signs that Tbilisi will recognize “alternative state structures” in South Ossetia as the only legitimate bodies representing the interests of the South Ossetian people.
“Tensions in the conflict zone will increase in this case and the split of society based on their ethnicity may grow into political and military confrontation. The result of this development will be the collapse of the Georgian-Ossetian settlement process and the conflict will irreversibly become of a ‘hot’ nature. These predictions are dark but real,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
On November 10 the Georgia Public Broadcaster showed in its prime-time news program a televised addressed by Dimitri Sanakoev, a frontrunner presidential candidate in elections organized by the Salvation Union of Ossetians. He says that his agenda includes peace and prosperity and reunification with Georgia.