Anatoly Bibilov, former head of the region’s legislature, who was declared the winner of the April 9 presidential election in South Ossetia, was inaugurated in Tskhinvali on April 21.
Vladimir Putin’s advisor Vladislav Surkov attended and spoke at the ceremony held at a local footbal stadium, congratulating Bibilov on behalf of the Russian President. Reading Putin’s message, Surkov pledged Russia’s continued support and stressed the need to implement Moscow’s “alliance and integration treaty” with Tskhinvali, signed on March 18, 2015. He also said that Moscow expected “necessary control over effectiveness of spending of funds provided from the federal budget of the Russian Federation.”
Surkov had also met Bibilov shortly before the ceremony, praising him for his “firm position on the maximum possible integration with Russia”, and saying that he and Bibilov were of the same mind, since both pursued the objective “to establish a common economic, legal, cultural space that would unite our peoples.” In his remarks during the meeting, Bibilov confirmed that he was going to continue with the “course of integration into the Russian Federation.”
Other speakers at the ceremony, besides Bibilov himself, included: member of Russia’s Federation Council Alexander Totoonov, leader of the Russian Federal Region of North Ossetia Vyacheslav Bitarov; former Tskhinvali leader Leonid Tibilov; Abkhaz head of government Beslan Bartsits.
Luhansk “people’s republic” (LNR) leader Igor Plotnitsky also made a speech. He thanked South Ossetians for recognizing LNR independence and for sending “volunteers” to fight against Ukraine in the Donbass region. Plotnitsky praised them, saying they “fought honestly, risking their lives.” He added that the presence of volunteers from “all regions and republics of Russia” in Donbass confirmed the existence of the “strong and powerful Russia, the united Russian world.”
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, Russian Duma and Federation Council delegations, as well as the Donetsk “people’s republic” (DNR) parliamentary speaker Denis Pushilin and delegations from Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh regions.