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Tskhinvali separatists issuing passports

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, March 14
Tskhinvali's puppet regime resumed the issue of so-called South Ossetian passports in Georgia’s breakaway region, which is heavily backed by Russia.

The release of this documents was suspended by the de-facto authorities in 2015. At that time, the number of passport holder citizens in the occupied village of Akhalgori was 970. However, this number grew by 25 a few days ago.

The majority of Georgian ethnicity locals disapprove of the current regime in South Ossetia; however, the vast majority is eager to have Ossetian passports in order to easily cross the occupation line.

Moreover, the holders of the passports will be able to take part in the planned April 9 presidential elections and a referendum.

It is believed that the resumed process of issuing passports is directly connected to the elections in the occupied Tskhinvali region.

Akhalgori Municipality Governor Edisher Tinikashvili says that the puppet regime will oblige all passport holders to take part in the elections and vote for the self-proclaimed president, Leonid Tibilov.

Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, says that neither the elections nor the planned referendum are legal.

“It does not matter how many people take part in the so-called elections and the referendum. Whatever the results, they will be illegal,” the minister said.

Earlier last month the de-facto president of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov announced a referendum to rename South Ossetia into South Ossetia-Alania, after a similarly-named province of the Russian Federation, North Ossetia-Alania.

Tibilov said the referendum will be held on April 9 2017, together with the so-called presidential elections.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) permanent council, the US and Japanese embassies to Georgia and Georgian authorities have condemned this step of de-facto regime. The international community reiterated their support towards sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally-recognized borders.