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Frozen Conflicts in Post-Soviet Countries

South Ossetia
South Ossetia or Tskhinvali Region is a partially recognized state in the South Caucasus, located
in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (administrative units created for a
number of smaller nations, which were given autonomy within the former Georgian SSR).
South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1990, calling itself the Republic of South
Ossetia. The Georgian government tried to take control over the region by force. The crisis
escalation led to the 1991–92 South Ossetia War. Georgian fighting against those controlling
South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008.
The latter conflict led to the Russia–Georgia war, during which Ossetian and Russian forces
gained full de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast.
Both during and after the war, South Ossetian authorities and irregular militia conducted a
campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians in South Ossetia Russia recognized Abkhazia
and South Ossetia on 26 August. In response, the Georgian government cut diplomatic relations
with Russia. Since the war, Georgia has maintained that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are under
Russian occupation and remain, legally, part of Georgia.
The South Ossetian and Russian presidents signed an "alliance and integration" treaty on 18
March 2015. The Georgian Foreign Ministry described the signing of the treaty as "actual
annexation" of the disputed region by Russia, and the United States and European Union said
they would not recognize it.
Georgia does not recognize the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity. Georgia and a
significant part of the international community consider South Ossetia to be occupied by the
Russian military. The European Union, Council of Europe, NATO and most UN member
countries do not recognize South Ossetia as an independent state. South Ossetia relies heavily on
military, political and financial aid from Russia. Russia does not allow European Union
Monitoring Mission monitors to enter South Ossetia.
The government of South Ossetia is a Semi-presidential republic with Leonid Tibilov (elected
2012) as president and Domenty Kulumbegov as prime minister.

Transnistria

- Transnistria is a partially recognized state located mostly on land between the river Dniester
and the eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine. Since its declaration of independence in 1990,
and especially after the War of Transnistria in 1992, it has been governed as the Pridnestrovian
Moldavian Republic (PMR, also known as Pridnestrovie).
- Transnistria are unrecognized by any United Nations member state.
- Transnistria is designated by the Republic of Moldova as the Transnistria autonomous
territorial unit with special legal status . After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between the
newly created Moldova and the de facto sovereign state of Pridnestrovie (which unlike the rest of
Moldova did not wish to separate from the Soviet Union) escalated into a military conflict that
started in March 1992 and was concluded in July 1992.
- In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of "perestroika and glasnost" in the Soviet Union
allowed political liberalization at a regional level. This led to the creation of various informal
movements all over the country, and to a rise of nationalism within most Soviet republics.
- The War of Transnistria followed armed clashes on a limited scale which broke out between
Transnistrian separatists and Moldova on November 1990 at Dubasari.
- Transnistria is an unrecognized but independent presidential republic with its own government,
parliament, military, police, postal system, and currency. Its authorities have adopted a
constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms.
- After a 2005 agreement between Moldova and Ukraine was signed and all Transnistrian
companies that seek to export goods through the Ukrainian border must be registered with the
Moldovan authorities.
- Transnistria is subdivided into five districts (raions) and one municipality, the City of Tiraspol.
Camenca district, Ribnita district, Dubasari district, Grigoriopol district, Slobozia district and
City of Tiraspol and City of Bender. The City of Bender, situated on the western bank of the
Dniester, in Bessarabia, and geographically outside Transnistria, is not part of the territorial unit
of Transnistria as defined by the Moldovan central authorities, but it is controlled by the PMR
authorities, which consider it part of PMR's administrative organization.
- All UN member states consider Transnistria a legal part of the Republic of Moldova. Only the
partially recognized states of South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Abkhazia recognize it as a
sovereign entity after it declared independence from Moldova in 1990 with Tiraspol as its capital
city.
- PMR (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) has a multi-party system and a unicameral
parliament named the Supreme Council. Its legislature has 43 members elected by single-
member district plurality. The president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote.
-Igor Smirnov was the President of Transnistria since the declaration of independence in 1990
for four consecutive terms. He ran for president in 2011 also, but was defeated in the first round.
Yevgeni Shevchuk, won the 2011 presidential elections.
-According to the 2006 referendum, carried out by the PMR government, 97.2% of the
population voted in favor of "independence from Moldova and free association with Russia." EU
and several other countries refused to recognize the referendum results.
Abkhazia

Abkhazia is a territory between Georgia and Russia, on Black Sea coast. It is officially, by
international law, part of Georgia, but they consider themselves as an independent state with
government and parliament. It is recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and by
partially recognized state of South Osseita and unrecognized states of Transnistria and Nagorno-
Karabakh.

After dissolution of SSSR, Abkhazia become conflict area, because they become part of Georgia,
but they never supported Georgian government. They refused to pay taxes (especially tangerines’
and hazelnuts’ producers). Abkhazia is also really important Black sea tourist area.

Abkhazians are ethnic group, totally different than Georgians, with its own language and
alphabet. They mostly live in Abkhazia, but they have large diaspora in Turkey and Russia.
Forming Georgia as a independent country with Georgian as an official language, conflict
started.

As they didn’t respect the government of Georgia, they kidnapped Georgian Minister of Interior
Affairs while he was visiting Abkhazia, as a Georgian region. The Georgian government sent
3000 soldiers to Abkhazia and war started. Abkhazians were relatively unarmed at this time, they
had to retreat. With Russian help, Abkhaz forces quickly overran the rest of Abkhazia (only
small region of eastern Abkhazia remainder under Georgian control, until 2008).

During the war, gross human rights were threatened on both sides.

Since 1993, Abkhazia didn’t have formal elections and it was leaded by local riches and gangs
with big Russian impact. In 2004 they have first presidential elections. All the Abkhazia was
covered by posters of candidate Khadjimba, shaking hand with Vladimir Putin. However, he won
only 10% of votes. That was moment when they refused to be Russian ‘colony’. After, Russians
came to Abkhazia to pressure Election Commission of Abkhazia and the Supreme Court, until
they cancelled elections result and had to organize new elections, where Khadjimba and rivals
run jointly. They received more than 90% of votes in new elections (as they didn’t really have
another choice).

Russia continued showing its importance there. Abkhazia take Russian ruble as a currency and
Russia gave passports to Abkhazians. As Georgians were controlling small part of Abkhazia,
Abkhazians sent 1000 soldiers to that region. By August 12, 2008, the Georgian forces and
civilians had evacuated the last part of Abkhazia under Georgian government control.

Russia organized the independence of Abkhazia on August 26. Some world countries did the
same in period after.

• In the 2014, opposition organized big demonstrations called “Abkhazian spring” with more than
10 000 supporters. Government changed and new government was relatively anti-Russian
oriented. As they didn’t have enough money to run the country successfully it didn’t last a long
time. In November, 2014 Putin formalized that the Abkhazian military is a part of Russian armed
forces (as they finance them since 1992). Georgian government called it “a step towards
annexation).

Nagorno Karabakh

The conflict has roots dating back over a century into competition between Christian Armenian
and Muslim Turkic and Persian influences. Populated for centuries by Christian Armenian and
Turkic Azeris, Karabakh became part of the Russian empire in the 19th century and later on a
part of the Soviet Union. Nagorno Karabakh was the first ethnic rivalry in Gorbachev's Soviet
Union that included two Soviet Republics. It was in the administrative boarders of Azerbaijan
but it was mainly populated by ethnic Armenians. In 1989 around 80% of the population of
Nagorno Karabakh was Armenian. It was an autonomous region from the very beginning of the
Soviet Union, but Karabakh Armenians were unsatisfied with the cultural discrimination and
underdevelopment that this region was facing in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. In 1988 the
Karabakh leaders wanted to transfer the region to Armenian jurisdiction which caused attacks on
ethnic Armenians in different parts of Azerbaijan. The Armenian perspective of the situation
was that Azeris wanted to repeat the war crimes on Armenians which happened during the rule
of the Ottoman Empire. From the Azeri perspective this was an attempt to destroy the republic’s
integrity. In 1989 the Armenian Supreme Council and the Karabakh local council declared the
unification of Armenia and Karabakh. Soon after that Armenia started supplying Karabakh
paramilitary forces with military supplies. The Azeris evacuated the villages along the Armenia –
Karabakh borders. They were also imposing a rail and road blockade, first on Karabakh and
eventually on Armenia as well. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenians in Karabakh
organized a referendum of independence and they declared the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.
In 1993, a major offensive created an Armenian-controlled buffer zone around Karabakh. During
the fighting, in which between 20,000 and 30,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives
and one million who fled their homes, the ethnic Azeri population - about 20% of the total before
the war - fled Karabakh and Armenia while ethnic Armenians fled from the rest of Azerbaijan.
Neither population group has been able to return home since the end of the war. There were
several mediation attempts in the early 1990s, but all of them were unsuccessful. In 1994 the
Russian Federation managed to secure a cease-fire. Negotiations have so far failed to produce a
permanent peace agreement, and the dispute remains one of post-Soviet’s "frozen
conflicts."Nagorno Karabakh and the occupied territories around it are about 20% of
Azerbaijan’s full territory during Soviet time. The Russian Federation played a big role in this
conflict and in the cease-fire mediation but it also had its interest in the separatist region.