Anatoly Bibilov and Vladimir Putin in Sochi, May 2, Photo: the Kremlin
New South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 2, three weeks after the presidential polls granted him a decisive victory over his main opponent, incumbent Leonid Tibilov.
“I know that you are an ardent supporter of developing relations with Russia in various fields,” Vladimir Putin told Bibilov in his remarks before the meeting. “We are currently implementing the treaty (referring to the “alliance and integration” treaty), which you actively supported back then [when it was being signed]. I very much hope that under your leadership, the Republic [of South Ossetia] will do everything that we agreed on to implement this treaty.”
“We have important cooperation programs on security, economic development and coordination, social issues. Russia co-finances programs of social nature and we plan to continue doing that,” he also stated.
Vladimir Putin added that Moscow would develop the investment programs as well, including “the infrastructure restoration and the creation of conditions for economic growth.”
Bibilov thanked Putin for his personal, as well as Russia’s support to Tskhinvali and said that the recent election in the region “was tense and competitive.” “However, whatever views there might be on the solution of domestic political problems, in any case, the orientation remains unchanged - integration and cooperation with the Russian Federation - and the people fully support this.”
“I think that the whole range of issues that will be discussed at our meeting will undoubtedly be realized and the social and economic state of the Republic of South Ossetia will improve,” Bibilov told Putin. “And of course, issues of greater integration, greater cooperation and the alliance between the Republic of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation will find a new impetus in these processes.”
Speaking after the meeting, as reported by Anatoly Bibilov’s administration, the new South Ossetian leader noted that “the alliance [between Tskhinvali and Moscow], and strengthening integration ties with Russia bears utmost importance for ensuring security and socio-economic development of South Ossetia.”
Bibilov also pledged that Tskhinvali would “consistently follow the agreements with Russia.”
The new South Ossetian leader spoke on the meeting details as well. He specified that the two spoke on “the ways for simplifying the procedure” for obtaining Russian citizenship for the region’s residents and on “the establishment of a joint enterprise” with Rosneft, Russian government-owned oil company.
According to Bibilov’s administration, he also inquired into the possibility of Soviet era savings deposit reimbursements to South Ossetians, as well as “the abolition of VAT on goods produced in South Ossetia and imported into the Russian Federation.” He also proposed “to work out the issue of implementing the rights of Russian citizens in South Ossetia to maternity capital (social benefits for childcare).”