South Ossetia’s ongoing “integration” with Russia is a “preparatory stage” for joining the Russian Federation and the issue should be pushed for actively when “appropriate time” comes, leader of the breakaway region, Leonid Tibilov said in an interview with the Russian news site Lenta.ru published on June 2.
Asked about possibility for South Ossetia’s accession into Russia, Tibilov responded that integration process with the Russian Federation has intensified after Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia in 2008.
“This integration is a serious preparatory stage for South Ossetia in solving the issue of joining Russia. This idea is part of each of us. As I have already said previously, divided South Ossetian people should be united in the future” with North Ossetia in the Russian Federation, Tibilov said.
“This historic moment should come. We are on this path and the idea of becoming part of Russia has good prospects,” he said.
“Our task is to choose appropriate time when this issue of joining the Russian Federation should be actively raised,” he said, adding that it can’t be unilateral decision and should be consulted with Moscow, as well as with Russia’s North Ossetian Republic.
“A favorable moment has to come and we will not miss it; we will use it for solving this issue positively for our people,” Tibilov said.
Asked if the breakaway region’s new parliament, which will be elected in the June 8 elections, would appeal the Russian Federation with a request to join it, Tibilov responded: “I do not rule it out.”
“I think the new Parliament will be ready to come up with such a proposal,” he said.
“The issue of accession to Russia is touched upon during my meetings with representatives of the Russian Federation,” Tibilov added.
Calls for joining Russia were frequently heard from Tskhinvali before the August, 2008 war; the issue was emerging time after time since then; it was again raised by an opposition party, United Ossetia, when in January, 2014 it called on Tibilov to hold a referendum on joining the Russian Federation. One of the campaign leaflets of the party, which is among those nine parties running in the June 8 election, is called “Five Steps to Russia” in which the first step is identified as holding of the referendum.