homeThe capital of South
Ossetia is Tskhinvali.
(Econ, 8/21/04, p.41) 1395
Tamerlane, a Turkic conqueror, swept into
Southern Russia and Georgia driving locals into the hills.
(WSJ, 8/27/08, p.A12)
1801 South Ossetia was absorbed
into the Russian Empire along with Georgia.
(WSJ, 8/27/08, p.A12)
1918 South Ossetians made a bid
to break away from Georgia and thousands fled in the ensuing
violence. Menshevik Georgia waged a brutal war to absorb Abkhazia
and South Ossetia. In 1921 the Red Army regained control and
absorbed all three into the Soviet Union.
(WSJ, 8/27/08, p.A12)(Econ, 10/23/10, p.102)
1922 South Ossetia became an
autonomous region within the Soviet Republic of Georgia.
(WSJ, 8/27/08, p.A12)
1989-1992 South Ossetia defended itself from
Georgia with aid from Russia and about 1,000 people died in the
fighting. Some 25-40,000 people fled the area.
(SFC, 9/1/98, p.A10)
1990 Aug, South Ossetia, a
region of north central Georgia with a population of about 100,000,
declared itself sovereign. Ethnic Ossetians speak a language similar
to Persian. Georgia abolished South Ossetia’s autonomous status
following the attempted break. Georgian leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia
declared South Ossetia part of Georgia and marched on Tskhinvali,
the declared capital.
(SFC, 9/1/98, p.A10)(WSJ, 8/27/08, p.A12)
1992 Jul, Russia brokered a
cease fire between South Ossetia and Georgia.
(SFC, 9/1/98, p.A10)(WSJ, 8/27/08, p.A12)
2001 Dec 18, Eduard Kokoity
(b.1964), former champion of the Soviet Union national wrestling
team, assumed office as president of South Ossetia. He had won 45%
of the votes in the first round of elections on November 18 and 53%
in the 2nd round on December 6.
2002 Russia changed its
citizenship law to allow massive distribution of passports to people
in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia.
(Econ, 10/3/09, p.65)
2004 Aug 15, Sporadic gunfire
and shelling took place overnight in the disputed Georgian region of
South Ossetia in violation of a fragile ceasefire, wounding seven
2004 Aug 17, Georgian President
Mikhail Saakashvili appealed to world leaders to convene an
international conference on the conflict in breakaway South Ossetia,
where daily exchanges of gunfire threaten to spark a war. The
province operated as a conduit for smuggling between Georgia and
(AP, 8/17/04)(Econ, 8/21/04, p.40)
2004 Aug 18, In South Ossetia 3
Georgian peacekeepers were killed in overnight shooting.
2006 Sep 11, Leaders of the
breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia said they would hold a
referendum on independence in November, a move likely to infuriate
the government in Tbilisi and stoke already spiraling tensions.
2006 Nov 12, Voters in the
breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia declared overwhelming
backing for its independence drive in a referendum that underlined a
sharp split between Russia and the West and is likely to increase
tensions in the Caucasus region. A similar 1992 referendum
proclaiming the province's independence went unnoticed by the
international community, leaving it in limbo.
(AP, 11/12/06)(AP, 11/13/06)
2007 May 11, Authorities in
Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia launched a blockade of
all ethnic Georgian villages in the province and demanded that the
central government withdraw its police troops from the settlements.
2007 Jun 28, Hundreds of ethnic
Georgians confronted Russian peacekeeping forces in the breakaway
region of South Ossetia, throwing paint and gasoline on the troops
and forcing them to stop blocking a road project.
2008 Mar 5, South Ossetia
appealed for international recognition as an independent nation,
further adding to simmering tensions in Georgia and throughout the
strategic South Caucasus region.
2008 Apr 29, Russia announced
it was beefing up its peacekeeping force in Georgia's breakaway
Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, saying it had evidence Tbilisi
was readying its forces for an attack.
2008 Jul 29, Russian proxies in
South Ossetia started shelling pro-Georgian villages there.
(Econ, 1/23/10, p.78)
2008 Aug 2, Overnight fighting
that included sniper and mortar fire between Georgian forces and
separatists in the breakaway South Ossetia region left six people
dead and 13 wounded.
2008 Aug 3, The breakaway
republic of South Ossetia began sending hundreds of children across
the border to its Russian ally amid increasing violence between the
republic and Georgian government forces.
2008 Aug 7, Heavy shelling
overnight in the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia
wounded at least 21 people. Cyber attacks from Russia began to
target Georgian government Web sites. An organization known as the
Russian Business Network was the leading suspect in the attacks.
Georgia’s Pres. Saakashvili ordered the shelling of Tskhinvali, the
capital of South Ossetia.
(AP, 8/7/08)(WSJ, 8/12/08, p.A9)(Econ, 8/30/08,
2008 Aug 8, Georgian troops
launched a major military offensive to regain control of South
Ossetia, prompting a furious response from Russia, which sent tanks
into the region. The convoy was expected to reach the provincial
capital by evening. Georgia said it shot down two Russian combat
planes. Separatist officials in South Ossetia said 15 civilians had
been killed in fighting overnight. Georgia later acknowledged that
it used M85 cluster munition near the Roki tunnel that connects
South Ossetia with Russia, while Russia denied use of cluster bombs.
(AP, 8/8/08)(AP, 9/1/08)
2008 Aug 9, Georgia, the third
largest contributor to the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, said it's
pulling out its 2,000-strong contingent from Iraq to join the
fighting in the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
2008 Aug 9, Russia sent
hundreds of tanks and troops into the separatist province of South
Ossetia and bombed Georgian towns in a major escalation of the
conflict that has left scores of civilians dead and wounded. Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that some
1,500 people have been killed, with the death toll rising. The death
toll in South Ossetia was later put at fewer than 200. Russian
military aircraft bombed the Georgian town of Gori. Georgia's
President Mikhail Saakashvili proposed a cease-fire. As part of his
proposal, Georgian troops were pulled out of Tskhinvali and had been
ordered to stop responding to Russian shelling.
(AP, 8/9/08)(Econ, 8/30/08, p.49)
2008 Aug 10, Georgian troops
retreated from the breakaway province of South Ossetia and their
government pressed for a truce, overwhelmed by Russian firepower as
the conflict threatened to set off a wider war. Georgia said it has
shot down 10 Russian planes, including four brought down Aug 9. It
also claimed to have captured two Russian pilots, who were shown on
Georgian television. Ukraine warned Russia it could bar Russian navy
ships from returning to their base in the Crimea because of their
deployment to Georgia's coast.
2008 Aug 11, Swarms of Russian
jets launched new raids on Georgian territory and Georgia faced the
threat of a second front of fighting as Russia demanded that Georgia
disarm troops near the breakaway province of Abkhazia.
2008 Aug 12, Georgia's Pres.
Mikhail Saakashvili said his government will declare that its
breakaway regions are occupied territories and will designate
Russian peacekeepers as occupying forces. Russia ordered a halt to
military action in Georgia, after five days of air and land attacks
sent Georgia's army into headlong retreat and left towns and
military bases destroyed. A Dutch television journalist was killed
overnight when Russian warplanes bombed the central Georgian city of
Gori. Russia later counted 133 civilian deaths in South Ossetia.
Rights activists later said fewer than 100 civilians were killed in
South Ossetia. The war cost some 850 lives and left over 35,000
displaced civilians, mot of the Georgian.
(AP, 8/12/08)(Econ, 8/23/08, p.43)(WSJ, 9/12/08,
p.A1)(Econ, 10/3/09, p.65)
2008 Aug 13, Russian tanks
rolled into the crossroads city of Gori then thrust deep into
Georgian territory, violating the truce designed to end the six-day
war. Georgia said that 175 Georgians had died in five days of air
and ground attacks that left homes in smoldering ruins. EU foreign
ministers agreed in principle to send monitors to supervise a
French-brokered ceasefire between Russia and Georgia in the
breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia. Finance Minister Alexei
Kudrin said Russia will spend at least $400 million in 2008 on
restoring South Ossetia's battered capital Tskhinvali.
(AP, 8/13/08)(Reuters, 8/13/08)
2008 Aug 14, Georgian and
Russian troops faced off at a checkpoint outside the key city of
Gori, calling an already shaky cease-fire into question. An American
official said Russia appears to be sabotaging airfields and other
military infrastructure as its forces pull back. The Russian General
Prosecutor's office said it has formally opened a genocide probe
into Georgian treatment of South Ossetians. For its part, Georgia
this week filed a suit against Russia in the International Court of
Justice, alleging murder, rape and mass expulsions in both
2008 Aug 25, Russia's
parliament voted unanimously to urge the president to recognize the
independence of Georgia's two breakaway regions, a move likely to
stoke further tensions between Moscow and the small Caucasus
nation's Western allies. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned
ex-Soviet Moldova against repeating Georgia's mistake of trying to
use force to seize back control of Transdniestria, a pro-Moscow
(AP, 8/25/08)(Reuters, 8/25/08)
2008 Aug 26, Russia formally
recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the breakaway Georgian
territories at the heart of its war with Georgia, heightening
tensions with the West as the US dispatched a military ship bearing
aid to a port city still patrolled by Russian troops. In a direct
challenge to Russia, the US announced it intends to deliver
humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Georgian port city of Poti,
which Russian troops still control through checkpoints on the city's
2008 Aug 28, Russian forces
turned over 12 Georgian soldiers on the border of Abkhazia.
Georgia's foreign minister said ethnic Georgians were being cleared
from their homes in South Ossetia. A joint declaration from the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization denounced the use of force and
called for respect for every country's territorial integrity.
Mikhail Mindzayev, the interior minister of South Ossetia, said an
unmanned Georgian spy plane was shot down over South Ossetia by
2008 Aug 31, President Dmitry
Medvedev says Russia will follow the recognition of Georgia's
breakaway provinces with agreements on economic and military aid.
2008 Sep 8, French President
Nicolas Sarkozy pressed Moscow to honor its pledge to withdraw
troops from Georgia, while Russian soldiers prevented international
aid convoys from visiting Georgian villages in a tense zone around
the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Pres. Medvedev and Sarkozy
revised the EU-brokered deal to end the fighting between Russia and
Georgia. Medvedev said 200 EU monitors would deploy to regions
surrounding South Ossetia and Abkhazia by next month. After that,
Russian troops would pull out of those regions by Oct. 11 to a line
that preceded last month's fighting.
(AP, 9/8/08)(AP, 9/9/08)
2008 Sep 9, Russia said it will
station 7,600 troops in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, announcing an
imposing long-term presence less than a day after agreeing to pull
forces back from areas surrounding the provinces.
(AP, 9/9/08)(WSJ, 9/10/08, p.A1)
2008 Sep 10, A Georgian police
officer was killed by gunfire that came from the direction of a
Russian checkpoint near separatist South Ossetia.
2008 Sep 13, Hundreds of
Russian forces packed up and withdrew from positions in western
Georgia. A Georgian official said Russia had met a deadline for a
partial pullout a month after the war between the two former Soviet
republics. A Georgian policeman at a post near Abkhazia was killed
by gunfire that came from the direction of a position where
Abkhazian and Russian forces have been based. Some 1,200 Russian
servicemen still remained at 19 checkpoints and other positions, 12
outside South Ossetia and seven outside Abkhazia.
2008 Sep 16, Georgia’s
government said intercepted mobile phone calls show that Russian
tanks and troops invaded before Georgia unleashed its offensive
against South Ossetia, pressing its claim that Russia was the
aggressor in the war last month.
2008 Sep 17, Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev signed friendship treaties with Georgia's breakaway
regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and promised them the backing
of Russia's armed forces.
2008 Oct 3, A car exploded
outside the Russian military's headquarters in South Ossetia,
killing 7 people and wounding 3. The South Ossetian government said
a car, that had been confiscated in an ethnic Georgian village after
weapons were found in it, exploded near a building where leaders of
the Russian peacekeeping force were located.
2008 Oct 29, Russia's
parliament quickly ratified treaties cementing close economic and
military ties with Georgia's two breakaway provinces.
2008 Nov 10, An explosion
killed two Georgian police officers near the disputed region of
South Ossetia. EU monitors called the attack an unacceptable breach
of the cease-fire that ended the Georgia-Russia war.
2008 Nov 29, Georgia said it is
cutting diplomatic relations with Nicaragua after the Central
American nation recognized the breakaway regions of South Ossetia
2008 Dec 22, OSCE talks on the
Georgia collapsed, when Russia demanded the group join Moscow in
recognizing the statehood of the provinces of South Ossetia and
Abkhazia. The mission will expire on Dec 31.
2009 Feb 18, Georgia and Russia
agreed to let monitors visit anywhere they want in Georgia and its 2
(WSJ, 2/19/09, p.A1)
2009 Apr 30, Russia signed a
deal with Georgia's two breakaway regions giving Moscow the power to
guard the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a move sharply
criticized in Tbilisi.
2009 May 31, South Ossetia held
elections condemned as "illegitimate" by the EU. Eduard Kokoity
tightened his grip on the Georgian region after Yedinstvo (Unity), a
party loyal to him, won the elections.
2009 Aug 1, Authorities in the
separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia said two mortar shells
were fired into the territory from Georgia proper. Georgia denied
the claim and suggested it was a provocation ahead of the
anniversary of last year's war with Russia.
2009 Aug 8, Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev hailed the Russian victory in a war with Georgia a
year ago, saying the war had redrawn the map of the Caucasus for
2009 Sep 10, In Russia
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez recognized the pro-Russian rebel
regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, a rare
boost to the Kremlin's campaign for their international acceptance.
2009 Sep 30, An EU-commissioned
report said Georgia's attack on its breakaway South Ossetia region
marked the start of last year's war with Russia, which retaliated
with excessive force.
2010 Thomas de Waal authored
“The Caucasus: An Introduction."
(Econ, 10/23/10, p.102)
2011 Nov 13, Voters in
Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia chose a new president
for the first time since Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over
control of the territory in 2008. South Ossetia has been led since
2001 by Eduard Kokoiti, who has served two terms as president and is
now stepping down. Among those favored to succeed him is Anatoly
Bibilov, who heads South Ossetia's emergencies services and has the
support of Russia's dominant pro-Kremlin party. Anatoly Bibilov and
former education minister Alla Dzhioyeva each won about 25 percent
of the vote forcing a runoff in two weeks.
(AP, 11/13/11)(AP, 11/14/11)
2011 Nov 27, South Ossetia held
runoff elections. Opposition candidate and former Education Minister
Alla Dzhioyeva won, defeating Emergencies Minister Anatoly Bibilov,
the Kremlin's chosen candidate.
2011 Nov 29, South Ossetia’s
Supreme Court invalidated the results of the election due to alleged
violations and barred Alla Dzhioyeva from a new election set for
2011 Nov 30, In South Ossetia
Alla Dzhioyeva, a former school principal and anti-corruption
crusader, declared herself president after she led with about 57% of
the Nov 27 run-off vote with ballots from 74 of the 85 precincts
counted. Troops fired warning shots into the air as thousands
rallied to support Dzhioyeva. Former defense minister Anatoly
Barankevich told the crowd that he obtained the final election
results, which confirmed her victory.
2012 Apr 8, South Ossetia held
a runoff presidential vote. Leonid Tibilov (60), who led the
region's KGB before falling out with the former local president, won
over 40% of the vote in the first round last month. Tibilov won with
54.1% of the vote. Rival David Sanakoyev trailed with 42.6% and
conceded the race.
(AP, 4/8/12)(AP, 4/9/12)
2012 Apr, The population of
South Ossetia was about 50,000.