“Today marks 18 years since the Republic of South Ossetia was proclaimed,” said Eduard Kokoity as his breakaway region celebrated its independence with a military parade in Tskhinvali yesterday. ”For 18 years, the people of South Ossetia have been proving their right to an equal place among other nations.”Prime Minister Putin must have been studying the Ossetian leader’s words with confusion, because in the last two weeks Kokoity has alternatively advocated that his region unify with Russia and maintain its claimed status as an independent state. Now, Putin is undoubtedly alarmed as well: on Thursday the breakaway leader said that South Ossetia would retain its independence and seek to unify with North Ossetia. North Ossetia is within the Russian Federation.Putin apparently had no idea what he was letting loose.
Moscow, it appears, has backed itself into a corner. It has just fought a war for self-determination and recognized the independence of South Ossetia. What could the Kremlin possibly say when Kokoity asks for a statehood referendum of all Ossetians?
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