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Tskhinvali plans to change Georgian names to Russian ones, media reports

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, February 12
The de facto South Ossetian authorities are planning to change the Georgian names of about 200 Georgian villages in the Tskhinvali region, Georgian media reported on Thursday.

According to the Vice Speaker of the de facto South Ossetian Parliament, Mira Tskhovrebova, two laws have been drafted which envisage changing the names of villages and the Georgian endings of 'South Ossetian citizens' surnames. The Georgian surname suffixes “dze” and “shvili” will be replaced with the Russian “ov” and “ev”, according to the de facto authorities. “These suffixes are more adapted to the Russian language and ear,” Tskhovrebova was quoted as saying.

Officials in Tbilisi say this plan to “de-Georgianise” the Tskhinvali region is being dictated by The Kremlin. Ruling National Movement MP Nugzar Tsiklauri said that the decision of the de facto South Ossetian administration is part of the “anti-Georgian hysteria, by which the puppet regime is trying to change Georgian history.” The MP said that the situation in South Ossetia will “significantly change” after the Georgian administration restores its control over the breakaway region.

“Many things will change in Samachablo. We will radically change the situation there. It is unacceptable that some puppets, who changed their own surnames a couple of years ago, are now trying to change historical names in Georgia,” MP Tsiklauri noted.

Meanwhile de facto South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity is visiting Moscow, information agency RES reported. Kokoity met representatives of the so-called South Ossetian Embassy in Moscow on February 9 and stressed the importance of preparing diplomatic staff for the “South Ossetian republic”. “This is very important, because I am sure that the circle of states which recognise the independence of the South Ossetian Republic will increase and we will need to send diplomats to those states,” Kokoity said at the 'Embassy'. So far Tskhinvali and Moscow have signed more than 25 “intergovernmental” and “interagency” agreements, Kokoity said, adding that 40 more agreements on mutual cooperation are planned to be signed.

Russian news agencies have released a statement made by President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with students in the town of Tomsk on Thursday. Answering a question from one of the students on why President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has not been taken to court for the “genocide” in South Ossetia, Medvedev said “everyone should answer for their own deeds.” “He will pay for his actions. If you do something like that, moreover while being President, the time to be held responsible will come sooner or later. Mr. Saakashvili should answer to his nation, which it pushed into a war which caused victims, and in the end caused the collapse of his state,” Medvedev said.

Lawmaker from the National Movement Party and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration Davit Darchaishvili downplayed the words of the Russian President, saying that “a person sitting next to Putin (Russian Prime Minister) has no moral right to make such statements.” “I do not think this is his personal point of view or that he really believes his own words,” Darchiashvili told The Messenger.