Attempts to "unite" two Ossetias
28/04/2010 13:18
Vasil Kvirikashvili
"The Club of exsperts"

It is notable that when South Ossetian autonomous district was being created artificially and Georgian villages were forcefully incorporated into it at that time Ossetia that is situated on the other, north side of the Great Caucasus Range and which is a real homeland of Ossetians did not have any autonomy. North Ossetian autonomous district was only created in the Russian SSR in 1924. In 1936 this autonomous district was granted a status of autonomous republic. But before that happened certain forces were trying to "unite" South Ossetia and North Ossetia.

On August 17th 1905 famous religious and public figure Petre Konchoshvili wrote Bishop Kirion from Kislovodsk: ""two Ossetian priest came from Vladikavkaz and delivered a petition to Archbishop (Anton) of the following content - South Ossetia to be added to North Ossetia and Ossetian bishop to be appointed in the eparchy. Each priest to get 1200 rubles a year and deacons to get 400 rubles; The Ardon seminary to be turned into gymnasium and transferred to Valdikavkaz where teachers should be Ossetians.

This people are trying what they can while Georgians are sleeping!"

This letter demonstrates well that plans to "unite" South Ossetia with north started back in 1905. And first this was done through the church. It is interesting that this petition could only be presented to Archbishop Anton confidentially and Petre Konchoshvili could only know this from the Archbishop himself.

In June 1918, after restoration of Georgian independence representatives of "both Ossetias" applied to consul of Germany Count Schulenburg for him to act as a intermediary with the Georgian government in order the latter to agree to incorporation of north and south Ossetias into Georgia on principles of federalism.

Meetings of intergovernmental commission that took place on July 13th 1919 was attended by a member of the National council of Ossetians Tibilov who declared that "under resolution of Tskhinvali Conference united Ossetian state should be created that would consist of South and North Ossetias and in the future it would join Russian Federal republic". According to Tibilov "Such project has already been submitted to the Paris International Conference but today creation of a new state is impossible. Therefore we will try to implement a resolution of the java Conference that provides granting autonomy to Ossetians within the borders of Georgia. Our ultimate goal will be political autonomy but so far we will demand minimum".

Not long after these events a new adventure against Georgia was started. Even more unacceptable was their rebellion in June 1920. All the above made it impossible for the authorities to find a compromise that would have been acceptable for Ossetians but at the same time would not have interfered with interests of the country. An issue of establishing the Java district as a separate administrative unit was left unresolved in the Georgian democratic republic not to mention legalization of autonomy for Ossetians.

After establishment of the Soviet authority the issue of unification of "two Ossetias" emerged again in January 1925 during the first session of North Ossetian councils. Ossetians demanded unification on the Georgian territory. Obviously it was not easy to really know their real intentions and desires. Who knows, this plan could have been transient stage on the way to annexation of indigenous Georgian lands. Anyway this, at the first glance, innocent (presumably even advantageous) initiative could have cost Georgian people dear during those hard times that usually followed change in the leadership of the country.

On July 15th 1925 during the session of the central Executive Committee (CEC) of Georgia Pilipe Makharadze presented Head of the Executive Committee of North Ossetian Autonomous district A. Takoev to the participants of the session and said that the guest would tell them about one important issue.

And A. Takoev told the session that he was sent there by CEC of the North Ossetian Autonomous District because of the issue of unification of North Ossetian and South Ossetian Autonomous districts. He said in his short speech that this was extremely "reasonable and wonderful deed" and that its support would have been "an indicator of correct and reasonable resolution of our painful national issue".

Discussion never took place. The session approved the resolution on unification of North Ossetia and South Ossetia. And this extremely important issue was decided so hurriedly and impromptu.

It does not need much talk that this problem was extremely important. And even Pilipe Makharadze himself noted this. But attention is grabbed by the fact that this issue was not on the agenda which was approved by the session (the agenda was approved by the session on the first day of the session – on July 14th). It is unimaginable that such important issue was introduced into the session for consideration so hurriedly, without preparation. But then what happened? We can think that this was done purposely, not accidentally in order to avoid fuss and turmoil and guarantee getting a desirable decision without much ado.

The issue of unification of South and North Ossetia was being thoroughly prepared. It was being discussed in relevant state and party bodies.

It involved supreme government bodies and party leaders. Due to received materials against this matter Stalin deemed it necessary to consult Orjonikidze and party secretary of regional committee of the North Caucasus of that time. We do not know what happened during this meeting but it is a fact that this plan was not executed. Although an idea of unification (more correctly appropriation of Georgian lands) was not dead.

In 1936 nationwide discussion on a draft of the new constitution of the USSR was taking place all over the Soviet Union and among others in Georgia. For this purpose individual conversations with workers and collective meetings were taking place as well as plenums, sessions, meetings and conferences of party, Soviet, trade union and other public organizations and unions.

At the meeting of the party activists of the South Ossetian district that happened in Tskhinvali state theatre and that was dedicated to discussion of that very draft of the constitution several of its participants raised an issue of unification of "two Ossetias". They stated necessity of further development of national culture i.e. Ossetian culture as a reason for this. The authors meant that population of South Ossetia was deprived of opportunity to get acquainted with north Ossetian culture and this was allegedly happening due to the fact that education there was in Russian language - the language that Kosta Khetagurov created his works in. Therefore in their opinion Russian language should have been established in South Ossetia as a main language instead of Georgian and uniting of these two regions would have been more acceptable.

Ossetian scientist Vasil Abaev compared the issue of so-called South Ossetia to the problem of Basques. According to the scientist there is a national district of Basques in the southeast of France. Basques there have cultural autonomy and they maintained their language, have their schools and they have active relations with their brothers in the Pyrenees. But if they wanted to join their territory to Spain France would have been strictly opposed to this. The situation is the same on the border of South and North Ossetians".

A demagogic comparison of Abaev naturally is far from the truth. As a result of historical cataclysms in XVI century northern regions of Basque territory became a part of France while southern regions joined united Spanish state on the brink of the XV-XVI centuries. Therefore due to circumstances Basque country was divided into two and each part became a part of different countries. The situation is completely different with Ossetians.

So according to Abaev "no Georgian government will agree to detach South Ossetia from Georgia. Because that would be collapse of territorial integrity of Georgia". We want to add here that that would not only be a violation of territorial integrity of Georgia but also annexation of historical territories of Georgia that is now being carried out by Russia, and which would not be tolerated by not only a Georgian government but no Georgian either.

The article is based on "South Ossetia" in Georgia!? by Avtandil Songulashvili

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