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USA stands behind Kosovo, Russia is behind us: Interview of South Ossetian speaker Znaur Gassiyev to REGNUM

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REGNUM: Taking into account recent developments (decision of the Georgian parliament to replace peacekeeping corps in the conflict zone), how high is the possibility of coercive settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict?

An attempt to settle the conflict is probable in case “the war party” wins in Tbilisi. It means, if Georgian President Saakashvili lets aggressively incited politicians (Okruashvili Defense Minister, Merabishvili Interior Minister etc.) push himself around. It would be a gross mistake. Military way does not bring about a solution. Probably, someone might seem that Georgia and South Ossetias proportions and power are incommensurable, but no one should be mistaken. As for statements made by some Georgian politicians, who are about to declare a war against Russia, they do not correspond with a common sense at all. Everything is possible on Earth, but I personally think that Georgia will not resort to war.

REGNUM: What should be Russian response to the decision of the Georgian parliament on withdrawal of the peacekeepers from the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone?

Politics is a thing, which external manifestations can mislead. Often it consists of throwing dust in somebodys eyes. In this case, the authors of the resolution are trying to show their courage. The Adjarian variant and then the fact that they achieved withdrawal of the Russian military bases even before Russia planned it have turned their heads. Now they have acquired taste for it, they want South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and they claim for withdrawal of the peacekeepers. But Georgia plays the peacekeepers card very clumsy. Withdrawal “from dictation” is impossible. Russia keeps its mediators here lawfully, in accordance to all the procedures of the international law. In this case, Russia cannot ignore the opinion of the South Ossetian population, most of which are Russian citizens. Russians protect Russians under the request of the latter. I cannot answer for Russia, but even common moral norms would let Russia go away from here.

REGNUM: What parallels can be set between Kosovo and South Ossetia deriving from a possibility that Kosovo independence can be recognized?

Of course, analogies can be set between the Kosovo variant and our situation, if we put Georgia on the place of Serbia and South Ossetians instead of Albanians. Each conflict is backed by forces of more powerful states. Well, it is clear that the US stands behind Kosovo, and Russia stands behind us. But in our case it is more comprehendible and grounded, as we used to live in a single country. It is natural that Russia has its interests here, and Russians live here. If Western countries recognize Kosovo, they would do what they allegedly condemn. Putin has put it straight forward that such a decision grants opportunities for action to Russia.

REGNUM: Not long ago the South Ossetian parliament passed the Declaration on the Ossetian Genocide. How was this document elaborated and for who is it meant?

The document was passed in first reading. Now it is subjected to some revision. But the conclusions made grounding on numerous facts have become clear already. It is genocide in its vivid form. 1920s are significant in this sense, but 1990s showed even more vividly the belligerent nationalism of Georgia. The slogans like “Georgia for Georgians” and “Ossetians, go away from Georgia” and their implementation speak for the Genocide. There has been no aggression from our side. We raped no women, killed no kids and aged people. We have nothing to be ashamed of, in contrast to Georgian jingoistic forces. And what we were accused of separatism did not take place either. Separatism means that a state is being destroyed by unconstitutional methods. Georgia was not the state we were a member to. It was autonomy too, although of a higher level, and it seceded unlawfully from the Soviet Union. The Declaration on Genocide has no target. It is a historic document that can be used later. Of course, alternative version will follow; it depends on how the conflict is settled. As for us, we tried to cover all the facts as fully as possible.

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