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RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - The old frictions between the Georgians and the South Ossetians detonated in the winter of 1989-1990 as a result of the nationalist policy of the then Tbilisi leadership.

At the end of 1989, Georgian authorities sent Interior Ministry forces to Tskhinvali. The Ossetians then formed their National Guard, and military actions broke out. Uncontrolled militia groups also appeared.

When Zviad Gamsakhurdia was in power in Georgia between 1990-1991, Tbilisi toughened its "Georgia for Georgians" policy and intensified attempts to solve "the Ossetian problem" militarily using heavy armaments.

On December 9, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of Georgia abolished the South Ossetian Autonomous Region and declared a state of emergency.

The armed aggression, which began on January 6, 1991, by the Georgian Interior Ministry troops and what were termed as 'volunteers' sent to Tskhinvali, resulted in an escalation of the conflict, during which thousands of Ossetians and Georgians were killed or wounded. The majority of those killed were civilians. Tens of thousands of people, mostly Ossetians, fled to North Ossetia. Such a great number of refugees created social and economic problems for Vladikavkaz.

On January 20, 1991, the Georgian units, having encountered tough resistance, left the city.

On January 19, 1992, a referendum was held in South Ossetia, as a result of which, on May 22, 1992 the Supreme Soviet of South Ossetia adopted an Act of State Independence.

The conflict was practically frozen after the new Georgian leadership signed the Dagomys Accords on June 14, 1992. The installment of Russian, Georgian and Ossetian peacekeepers in the conflict zone in July 1992 calmed the situation and in many respects became a guarantee of peace. The Mixed Control Commission for settling the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, set up as a result of the Dagomys Accords, was also key.

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