MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti commentator Dmitry Babich) - Someone obviously tried to spoil a double holiday in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali by staging an explosion on Wednesday.
Apart from observing the anniversary of the republic's recognition by Russia, the residents of the capital were also going to celebrate the inauguration of the Dzuarikau-Tskhinval gas pipeline, one of the highest-altitude pipelines in the world, which is designed to supply gas to the entire republic. It will rid South Ossetia of its dependence on gas supplies from Georgia as well as create jobs for its residents.
Until recently, Georgia was supplying gas to Tskhinvali under very low pressure (0.6 atmospheres instead of the normal five). Georgia would be happy not to supply any gas at all, but Georgian villages near Tskhinvali receive gas through distribution networks in the South Ossetian capital, so Tbilisi had to deliver some gas.
This indirectly refuted Tbilisi's allegations that almost all Georgians had left South Ossetia. Russian border troops maintain that after the relative border stabilization, up to 6,000 Georgian refugees came back to South Ossetia. Nonetheless, the amount of gas supplied was inadequate either for the republic's industry, or even for the household needs of its population.
So, who wanted to spoil the holiday? One can imagine many scenarios. On the eve of the incident, South Ossetia's law enforcement bodies were confined to barracks in view of potential provocations and acts of subversion by Georgia. Heavy shelling, explosions, and subversion were a prelude to the Georgian invasion on August 8, 2008.
Some experts point to signs of domestic instability in the republic. At the parliamentary elections on May 31, the parties opposing President Eduard Kokoity showed a phenomenally low return. Having lost legal channels of expressing its discontent in parliament, could the opposition resort to direct protests in the streets?
Co-Chairman of the Russian Congress of Caucasian Nations Rauf Verdiyev, the author of the book "Specific Features of Modern Ossetia", gives a negative answer to this question. In his opinion: "The republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are young states, which are just now getting started. There is no need for opposition in this process, and therefore, it is taking place without any opposition."
However, during the May elections, serious political forces fought for representation in parliament. The Fydybasta (Fatherland) party, which lashed out at Kokoity for slow progress in restoring some 650 buildings destroyed by the Georgian troops, had a rather high rating in the republic. The People's Party, which split as a result of the interparty coup, and was barred from the elections, enjoyed support from Albert Dzhusoyev, today's hero, the head of Stroiprogress, the general contracting company for the Dzuarikau-Tskhinval gas pipeline.
He openly opposed the recent appointment of Vadim Brovtsev to the post of prime minister. Brovtsev is a former general director of the Chelyabinsk-based construction company Vermikulit. Dzhusoyev's opposition did not prejudice his loyalty to Russia - he believes that Moscow could not support Brovtsev's appointment.
These are normal contradictions between prestigious leaders, which fit in into the democratic process, although the war and the gradual spreading of Russian political culture on South Ossetian territory were bound to strengthen Kokoity's "party of power."
Neither Moscow, nor Tskhinvali can guarantee that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will not repeat his armed provocations, and will not blame Russia for them in the course of a massive PR campaign in the West. Nevertheless, Russian taxpayers have already supported South Ossetia with 10 billion roubles - 1.5 billion roubles last year, and 8.5 billion roubles this year. In exchange, Russia has the right to expect political stability from South Ossetia, which is required for the rational use of these funds. Democratic procedures offer the most reliable way of achieving this stability. Moscow cannot accept a situation whereby the team of one "strongman" totally ignores the commitments of its predecessor, fails to account for spent funds, and installs its own men everywhere.
The South Ossetian leaders should adhere to the project of national development, which Kokoity and Abkhazian leader Sergei Bagapsh set forth in the Guardian: "Over the past two decades, we have worked hard to prepare for our place in the community of nations; by promoting the development of a civil society, by encouraging a free press and by holding contested elections in which our citizens chose their leaders. The same cannot be said of Georgia, whose last two leaders have come to power through revolution."
It is not enough to take pride in these achievements. They should be further developed.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.