Civil Conflict Danger in Tskhinvali
18 January, 2012

Compromise: opposition representative as an advisor of de facto president

To prevent another wave of protests, Tskhinvali (the Georgian land occupied by Russia) agreed to accept a compromise solution to the long-lasting standoff. Namely, the de facto president will appoint an opposition representative Jemal Jikaev as his advisor in Healthcare and Social Services. There are expectations that a number of other positions will also be filled by the opposition ranks.

Jikaev was one

of the candidates running for the position of de facto president but succeeded to get a meager tenth place. However, he was in the forefront of the protests ensued after the de facto supreme court cancelled the victory of opposition leader Ala Jioeva in the second round of elections. In the past, Jikaev used to be de factor healthcare minister of so called South Ossetia. Before Jikaev, the position of so called state advisor belonged to Nugzar Gabaraev who was dismissed by Vadim Brovtsev, acting de facto president.
Brovtsev also fired the representative of de facto president at the Parliament Tarzan Kokoiti, de facto president’s advisor Kosta Dzugaev, de facto minister of capital and road construction and architecture Chermen Khugaev and another state advisor Konstantin Kochiev. The latter used to oversee analysis and development forecasting activities.
The central election commission of de facto republic has resumed its operations after the new year celebrations by launching candidacy registration process in the light of forthcoming 2 March presidential re-elections in so called South Ossetia. The original elections included two rounds in November. In the first round, Kokoiti and the Kremlin favorite – de facto minister of emergency situations - Anatoli Bibilov took the lead but both failed to reach 50% barrier. This necessitated a second round. It was held on 27 November. This time the rivalry ended in the victory of the opposition leader Ala Jioeva proposed by Dzambolat Tedeev, Chief Trainer of Russian Team in free wrestling. The next thing what happened was the interference of the de facto supreme court which decreed that the election results were invalid. Immediately, protest demonstrations engulfed Tskhinvali. Protesters demanded recognition of Jioeva’s victory. Kremlin had to interfere at this moment. Its representative Sergei Vinokurov mediated a compromise between Kokoiti and Jioeva. The two conflicting sides agreed that Kokoiti and his team members would leave their posts while Jioeva would do with re-elections. The agreement was observed only partially. More protests were about to begin but the new year celebrations thwarted their plans. To avert more waves of mass protests after the first wave had hardly receded, de facto authorities did not wait till the end of the NY celebrations and fulfilled all the pending promises they made through the agreement. Most of the experts agree that appointment of an opposition representative in the de facto authorities should be a compromise from the latter.
Yet, for Zaal Kasrelishvili, Chair of the Confederation of the Caucasian Peoples, the compromise in reality originates from Russia, not the de facto government.
‘In Kremlin, they sized up the processes in Abkhazeti and so called South Ossetia with great practicality and objectivity. They understood that elections were democratic as the population in either place distanced themselves from pro-Russian candidacies. It was Kremlin that instructed the separatist Authorities to take note of popular opinions, be they favoring Authorities or opposition,” – explains Kasrelishvili.
The Chair of the Confederation says this step on the part of Russia is the right one because otherwise civil conflict would have deepened and would have cost Russia dearly.
Zaal Kasrelishvili: “It appears Russian special services received correct tips that opposition could gather huge masses of people on streets and that the standoff would have ended in disaster for the Kremlin, irrespective of the winner. Even though the Kremlin would have retained its positions in so called south Ossetia, it would have to conform to the free will of the population. The latter would have elected Tedeev and he could have been out of Kremlin’s control after the civil conflict.”