South Ossetia Citizens Known As Ossetes (& Ossetians)
I’ve been incorrectly saying “Ossetians” so I’ll use the correct verbiage from here on out. (Looks like both can be used, according to Mikhail Gorbachev)
This little factoid comes from the Times Online, which provides a very good timeline of what has gone down in the past, and sums it up as such…
Russiaâ€™s policy is driven by a mixture of emotion and calculation. The Russian security establishment likes the Ossetes, who have been Russian allies for more than 250 years. They loathe the Georgians for their antiRussian nationalism and alliance with the US. For a long time they hoped to use South Ossetia initially to keep Georgia within the Soviet Union and later in a Russian sphere of influence.
That Russian ambition has been abandoned largely in the face of the Georgiansâ€™ determination to escape from this influence.
What remains is an absolute determination not to be defeated by Georgia and not to suffer the humiliation of having to abandon Russiaâ€™s South Ossete client state, with everything that this would mean for Russian prestige in other areas. Vladimir Putinâ€™s Kremlin made it clear again and again that if Georgia attacked South Ossetia, Russia would fight. Georgian advocates in the West claimed that Moscow was only bluffing. It wasnâ€™t.
And so it goes…