In their November 14 reports on the South Ossetian polls, the Russian press showed skepticism towards the possible consequences of the ‘independence referendum’ in this breakaway region.
“Eduard Kokoity was celebrating victory in the elections. His victory is being celebrated by the Russian televisions as well – yesterday Kokoity again became the most frequently mentioned person on national television stations… But beyond this scene, the mood [of the South Ossetian authorities] was not very optimistic. Both Russian and Ossetian politicians understand that alternative polls organized by the Georgian side foil the Russian side’s plans to recognize South Ossetia following Kosovo’s international recognition. It was said here [in Tskhinvali] that President Saakashvili has gained the upper-hand over President Putin… South Ossetia has actually been split into two parts.”
Rossiyskaya Gazeta (the state-run daily)
“As a result [of the polls in South Ossetia] the western community has once again demonstrated its support towards Georgia… Consequently, the forces in Russia that provide support to the regime in Tskhinvali have found themselves in a not very comfortable situation. Why increase the rift in deepening irritation between Russia and the West, and who needs this, especially on the eve of the EU-Russia summit?”
“It seems that the polls will bring no consequences. Deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Committee for Constitutional Law Andrey Savelev told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta that 'no recognition or annexation of South Ossetia by Russia is foreseen. The State Duma will not do that, as there is no proper signal from the Kremlin.' According to MP Savelev, Russian leadership needs the unrecognized republic to mount pressure on Saakashvili.”