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Tskhinvali Plans Referendum on Constitutional Changes Related to Joining Russia ‘Before August’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Apr.'16 / 19:21

Leader of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, said referendum on a constitutional change that would allow him to request Moscow South Ossetia’s accession to Russia will be held “before August”.

Tibilov first voiced the proposal over such referendum to change the constitution in February and suggested that it would be a more flexible form of achieving South Ossetia’s “dream” of joining Russia than holding a referendum directly on whether to become or not part of Russia. The idea of referendum directly on joining Russia has been floated for many times in the breakaway region previously – the most recently in October, 2015, but the Kremlin said at the time that the issue of referendum whether to join Russia or not was not a topic of discussion with Tskhinvali. 

In an interview with Russia’s TASS news agency, published on April 11, Tibilov reiterated that “in view of the existing situation in the world, we would not like to create serious political risks to our strategic partner, Russia”. After the referendum, he said, Tskhinvali will wait for an appropriate time to ask Moscow to consider South Ossetia’s accession to the Russian Federation.

“I am absolutely sure that the people will say ‘yes’ [in the referendum],” Tibilov said. “We are already discussing a date [for the referendum]. I can’t yet name any specific date, but it will happen in the near future – we plan it before August.” 

Tibilov, who met Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on March 31, is again visiting Moscow this week, according to his press office.

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