Talk:South Ossetia

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Date of indepedence[edit]

Did South Ossetia declare independence on November 28, 1991, as the main Wikipedia article on the country claims, or on September 20, 1990, as is frequently cited in scholarly articles and in this Wikipedia article Georgian-Ossetian_conflict#Origins_of_the_Conflict? It is also worth noting that September 20 appears to be the day chosen by the South Ossetian state as its independence day.

Old citation needed tags[edit]

Should that Roki tunnel one at the end that says that South Ossetia gets a third of it's income from the Roki tunnel also come off?

Administrative divisions[edit]

There is no mention of how South Ossetia is broken down into administrative divisions, which would be normal for articles about both countries and regions on Wikipedia. There are, presumably, two systems. A hypothetical Georgian system (seeing as how Georgia does not exercise control over the area), and a de facto South Ossetian one. Presumably, municipalities still exist. Skinsmoke (talk) 14:14, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

There are multiple issues with the series of recent edits:

  • Changing numbers without providing a source, even though the old number is supported by a HRW report:

[1]

  • False references:

The source says a different thing:

So Yeltsin signed an agreement with Gamskhurdia in which the words "former YuOAO" were used. The source, a newspaper, speculates that this might have constituted Yeltsin's acceptance of the abolishment of South Ossetian AO (YuOA) and then provides an alternative explanation of the wording by Galina Starovoytova who accompanied Yeltsin during that trip (that South Ossetian AO was abolished when Republic of South Ossetia was proclaimed).

  • Non-neutral wording such as "puppet state". Alæxis¿question? 13:45, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
There are some improvements over the previous edit:
  • Puppet State
Puppet State isn't a non-neutral wording to refer to South Ossetia. If you will visit Wikipedia page Puppet state, you will see that South Ossetia is listed as one of the current puppet states. So I took my reference from there.
  • False reference to non-existent country:
The wording is incorrect. In 1801 South Ossetia didn't exist. Take a look at this historical map by Russian Author that was published in 1902. The map depicts the political entities and situation at the beginning of 19th century, when Russsia began the conquest of Caucasus. The name "Ossetia" on the map applies to the area of modern day North Ossetia, while there is no "South Ossetia" mentioned. Instead the corresponding area is labeled as "Kartalinia" which translates to "Kartli".
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_Caucasus_War_(1809-1817)_by_Anosov.jpg
  • There are some verified facts added
Georgia isn't the only country that has recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as territories occupied by the Russian army. Lithuania, US, EU, OSCE and NATO also consider them as occupied territories. Please read Russian-occupied territories for references. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zgagloev (talkcontribs)
Please do not edit post by other editors. Add your responses below theirs and use indentation for clarity. Please also sign your own posts with four tildes like this: ~~~~
Regarding the second point, the original wording is correct: "The territory that is now modern-day South Ossetia..., along with Georgia proper" - it regards this territory as part of Georgia at the time. It is also more informative than the "which included areas populated by Ossetians" bit you replaced it with - it's clear the old sentence deals with this particular region, whereas the new one is not. --illythr (talk) 14:08, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
The second point of previous editor was considered and taken into account. Now I have edited again to clear the subject. Hope the new wording is better understandable.
Zgagloev (talk) 14:29, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
I have no problems with stating that Georgia considers South Ossetia occupied by Russian Army, even if it's kind of obvious from the intro.
What I would suggest is that you make non-controvsersial changes to the article and raise more sensitive issues one by one at the talk to establish consensus and work out the wording. Alæxis¿question? 18:56, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
I have considered the previous editor's explanation about Boris Yeltsin and I agree with you the article suggested that Yeltsin recognised the fact of abolition of South Ossetian AO, not supported it. However the article doesn't say that Yeltsin supported the elevation of the status of AO to republic or the right to secede from Georgia. Instead the article said he proposed Ossetians to find common language with Georgia. It is also noteworthy that it was Yeltsin who recognised Georgia with its current borders in 1992 after the fall of Soviet Union. I think that the topic is closed and we now agree that the note about Boris Yeltsin because we don't have exact sources about his stance, shouldn't be added to the article anymore.
I removed the number of Ossetian refugees (100'000) because I thought it was blown-up number by Russian media. However after previous editor's note I checked the source and Human Rights Watch doesn't tend to be biased source. If you'd like to know why I think some numbers may be blown-up, you can see the example here — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zgagloev (talkcontribs) 07:16, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
That's why we try to use neutral sources like HRW wherever possible. Alæxis¿question? 20:05, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Vandalism / CENSORSHIP by Chipmunkdavis?[edit]

There are several issues with series of recent edits made by Chipmunkdavis. See comparison

  • First, you are trying to remove some facts and to influence the readers that Georgia out of nowhere attacked South Ossetia, thus giving WP:Undue weight to South Ossetian side of story. In fact If you check the report made by an independent international fact-finding mission, you will find that Georgian attack was response to Ossetian attacks. The quote from the report

"To the extent that the attacks on Georgian villages, police and peacekeepers were conducted by South Ossetian militia, self-defence in the form of on-the-spot reactions by Georgian troops was necessary and proportionate and thus justified under international law.

On the other hand, the offensive that started on 7 August, even if it were deemed necessary, was not proportionate to the only permissible aim, the defence against the on-going attacks from South Ossetia."

  • I have shortened the subsection about 2008 war as much possible as I could. Please don't try to jeopardize my edits again.
  • You are also trying to cover up the fact that by Six-point peace plan Russia was obliged to withdraw from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I have added new sources to verify this. Check the source.

    "Sarkozy, who drafted the truce agreement in his role as EU president, warned the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, that failure to pull out under a ceasefire deal would have "serious consequences" for Russia's ties with the EU."

  • I checked BBC article. Nowhere it says that there were 24,000 Ossetians displaced, so this claim needs verification. As for 15,000 displaced Georgians, I will give you the quote from BBC article "But 30,000 of the 138,000 ethnic Georgians who were displaced from South Ossetia are still homeless." I couldn't find 15,000 number that you are trying to promote. So I inserted citation tag to request the source for verification of the number for Ossetian victims. The second link you have inserted is dead and there is no way to verify it.
  • Unexplained removal of the whole subsection "Ethnic cleansing of Georgians". It contained very well sourced information. It's part of history. Removing this subsection from the article equals to removing subsection abut Holocaust from article about Nazi Germany.
  • Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia. As for citation marks, it isn't needed, because it's self-evident that the law says so.

It's evident you are trying to picture that Ossetians were the sole victims of war. That can either be classified as WP:Undue weight or much worse: CENSORING. --Zgagloev (talk) 08:07, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Again, these were not a part of a series of edits by me, but a reversion of a much larger sum. As for the above, Russia was not obliged to pull out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The quote you provide is from a source discussing Russian forces in Gori, not South Ossetia. See this letter from Sarkozy, explaining Point 5 [2], "Russian military forces should withdraw to positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities", "More precisely, these “measures” may only be implemented inside a zone of a depth of a few kilometers from the administrative limit between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia...These “additional security measures” will take the form of patrols undertaken solely by Russian peacekeeping forces at a level authorized by existing agreements". As for the citation marks, yes they are needed, as they show that this is what the law says, not what we are saying. If you find the use of quotation marks unreasonable, then perhaps you could find another way to make it clear this is the wording of the law that would suit you? CMD (talk) 15:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • You still failed to notice the source. The title clearly reads as Sarkozy warns Russia: withdraw from South Ossetia or face the consequences. Gori is also mentioned, but the article says that withdrawal from Gori was in process. Nobody can claim that The Guardian isn't a reliable source. Here is parts of the article

"The French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, today warned Russia of "serious consequences" if it failed to honour its pledge to begin withdrawing its troops from the separatist-held Georgian region of South Ossetia tomorrow."

"Sarkozy, who drafted the truce agreement in his role as EU president, warned the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, that failure to pull out under a ceasefire deal would have "serious consequences" for Russia's ties with the EU."

  • The source [3] that you provided also mentions this. "Russian military forces should withdraw to positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities". The start of war is dated by 7 August, while Russian military troops entered South Ossetia on 8 August. Logically, you should have concluded that Russian military was obliged to leave South Ossetia.
  • You are trying to justify Russian presence in south Ossetia providing this citation. "More precisely, these “measures” may only be implemented inside a zone of a depth of a few kilometers from the administrative limit between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia...These “additional security measures” will take the form of patrols undertaken solely by Russian peacekeeping forces at a level authorized by existing agreements". However this was proposal. No international measures was ever taken and Russia was called upon to withdraw from South Ossetia numerous times.
  • Russian peacekeepers were not allowed to stay in South Ossetia after the agreement was signed because their mandate was canceled. However, The source you provided clearly also mentions that Russian military troops were obliged to withdraw. Notice "other Russian forces".

"These “additional security measures” will take the form of patrols undertaken solely by Russian peacekeeping

forces at a level authorized by existing agreements, with other Russian forces withdrawing to their positions prior to 7 August in conformity with the agreed protocol;"

"Russian troops had largely been withdrawn from the “rest of Georgia” and the Russians had engaged in the Geneva talks. However, in the August ceasefire agreement Russia had undertaken to withdraw its forces to the positions they had held before August 2008. In particular areas this had not yet occurred, including in Akhalgori, South Ossetia;"

" Clearly, the Russians have not withdrawn their forces to the positions that they occupied before the war and have no intention of doing so. They are now stationing permanent forces, not peacekeepers, on what we recognise as Georgian territory in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and that is not going to change."

  • "Though it was widely claimed by Georgian authorities that the war was started by Russians..." This part isn't needed because prior to this, article already mentions this claim here: "Georgia's claim that it responded to a large-scale Russian invasion has received little support from Georgia's allies, the US and NATO.". If we leave this wording here, the readers may assume that Independent fact-finding mission's report was a direct response to Georgian claims, which in fact isn't.
  • Please do not try to delete any more of key information about the war that I have added. Wikipedia's goal is that anybody can add new information from verifiable sources to existing articles, not to delete anything they don't like. Wikipedia is not CENSORED.
  • As for citation marks for "military occupation", most major powers, that include English-speaking countries and where significant part of English Wikipedia readers are from, also call Russian military presence in South Ossetia as occupation. Would be it agreeable with you if I edited article about Israeli-occupied territories and wrote "occupation" everywhere instead of occupation? --Zgagloev (talk) 07:59, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
In response to that guardian newspaper article, I provided an actual statement from Sarkozy. I have more trust in the latter. As for the pre-war positions, Russian military forces were present in South Ossetia beforehand, under the peacekeeping agreement. Now that UK parliament source on the other hand, that's quite useful, as it's at least a few months after the war rather than when Russia was still moving forces through Gori. Russian troops actually remained in Georgia proper till at least 2010, as far as I'm aware, I'll try and find that. I wouldn't want to link it to the treaty without a source though.
The whole independent fact-finding mission is a summary of information above, the point of which is to show the summary. It deals with claims from both sides.
If those discussions on the Israeli-occupied territories are referencing specific laws, then yes, they should be quoted if using terms from those laws.
You are wrong about wikipedia's goal. Just because information is verifiable doesn't mean it gets included. CMD (talk) 13:10, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Your last edit is better than your previous ones, but it still lacks some key information.
  • The notice about Nicolas Sarkozy is too important to be omitted. I have added the clarification that statement comes from The Guardian. "However, according to The Guardian, French president Nicolas Sarkozy called upon Russia to pull out its military from South Ossetia too under a ceasefire deal." I hope you won't object to such wording anymore. I agree that personal statement is more important than newspaper announcement, but I want to emphasize that newspaper statement was made after several days after the personal statement, so it suggests that some developments had occurred between the statement and news announcement which may had influenced Sarkozy to make such announcement regarding Russia.
  • I split the paragraph about the aftermath of war into two. The first new grouping talks about Russian withdrawal, the second one about war crimes and human casualties. This will help with readability. Is this agreeable with you?
  • Independent fact finding-mission also talked about Ossetian and Russian fault in the war. This is key information and should be included also. Some key specific details should be included about Ossetian and Russian fault. "However, the report also noted that all parties played a role in the buildup of tensions in the months prior" is too generic. Why did Georgia attack South Ossetia? This is important to be included too. Did Georgia attack Russia? When did Russia attack Georgia and actively engaged in fighting? The report also mentions this and should be included. This also should be included. If these details aren't included, that would suggest that Wikipedia is biased and supports Russian side in the conflict, solely blaming Georgia for the conflict.
  • I propose to include the following information from the report. Why did Russia attack Georgia? Did have Russia right to intervene? The main reason Russia intervened was that it needed to defend own citizens in South Ossetia. The mission had a statement regarding this this was not a valid reason. --Zgagloev (talk) 08:19, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Sarkozy's opinion is not key information, especially not when passed via the guardian without an exclusive interview or anything like that. This is a summary page, and shouldn't go into that much detail. The 2008 section takes up almost 1/3 of current history, which is WP:Recentism and very out of proportion. The "all parties played a role" statement was generic because the alternative is digging more and more into the details even more than is done already. The entire section of the report dealing with the use of force are just a long series of "no justification", and I suppose we can add something short like "no parties use of force remained within justified boundaries", but it'd be a lot to go through each party. This includes the why Georgia, as the report gives three claimed reasons, 1) protecting civilians, 2) neutralising attacks, and 3) halting Russian movement into South Ossetia. Noting it was to stop attacks would be in sufficient, especially in light of the fact that Georgia had called a unilateral ceasefire shortly beforehand. Again it'd be a lot. Frankly, I think we should remove the bit about Erosi Kitsmarishvili as well. CMD (talk) 14:21, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I've gone with "disproportionate and unjustified", instead of the justified boundaries idea. CMD (talk) 14:27, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I second your motion to remove the bit about Erosi Kitsmarishvili, because it is not the key information of 2008 war. It would also be very selective, because then all other statements by other politicians should be included as well. --Zgagloev (talk) 09:03, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
  • There are other sources that claim that Russian military had to withdraw from South Ossetia. Here is the list.
  • There is similar report to support the article by The Guardian, though it does not specifically mention South Ossetia.
  • Here is a news article by Spiegel. The title is "Sarkozy Closes in on a Deal: Russia Agrees to Withdraw from South Ossetia".
  • Another published study by UK parliament also mentions that Russian withdrawal was not satisfactory.

Medvedev tells President Nicolas Sarkozy in a telephone conversation that Russian troops will begin to withdraw from Georgia on Monday 18th of August.

Russia has also consolidated its military forces in the breakaway territories, rather than withdraw to its pre-conflict positions.

Russia is failing to honour its ceasefire commitments under the agreements of 12 August and 8 September 2008. We recommend that the UK Government send a strong message to Russia that it needs to withdraw its military forces to its pre-conflict positions as previously agreed.

  • Another article about the position taken by Sarkozy regarding Russian presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from 2011. [4] Here's the actual excerpt from the article. "He said Russia had flouted the truce he brokered to end its five-day war with Georgia by building up forces in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia instead of withdrawing to pre-conflict positions."
  • Here is the saying by U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker. [5]

The agreement reached on August 12 says that the Russians need to withdraw to the positions before August 6. That means that they would have some troops in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, but they would not have combat forces and they would be at the level that was pertaining at that time. That is a common view of the EU, the United States, and NATO.

  • I couldn't find any source that approved the presence of Russian military in South Ossetia after the war ended. Though several sources mentioned that legal loophole in six-point peace plan allowed Russian military to remain in South Ossetia. but they didn't approve of that. That suggests it's only approved by Russian side. --Zgagloev (talk) 09:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I also propose to add this bit about the report from Russia-Georgia war to summarize the key points of the report. In my opinion, it's also important information therefore shouldn't be omitted. The current article only mentions the part where Georgia's claim that the war was started by Russia, is answered. This proposed description of the report responds to Russian claims why they attacked Georgia and started invasion. Russians had two reasons: to protect their citizens and to respond to an aggression against their peacekeepers. If you agree, you can add it.
The mission claimed that Russian citizenship, conferred to the vast part of Ossetians may not be considered legally binding under international law and as a result, the interests of these people shouldn't have been used as a reason by Russia for starting military actions, in defense of Russian citizens living abroad. However, the report noted if the Russian peacekeepers were attacked, then Russia had the right to defend its peacekeepers, using military means proportionate to the attack. The mission did not have facts to substantiate the claimed attack on the peacekeepers.[1]
--Zgagloev (talk) 10:05, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Aside from the hyperbolic early news stories, the other sources do not suggest Russia had to withdraw from South Ossetia. Instead, they say Russia should return its military to the status quo ante bellum. It is this that Russia has not done, rather than a complete withdrawal. I'll add that in using the Sarkozy source you provided. I don't have a source on hand, but I believe Russia claims that it subsequently signed separate deals with Abkhazia/South Ossetia allowing it to station troops there. I don't think this reasoning is significant enough to include in the 2008 war section though.
We already say that the use of force for all parties was unjustified. Why is it important that we display specific arguments about why Russia thinks its force was justified? CMD (talk) 13:49, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Here is the newest story. John Kerry again mentioned Russian troops. "And, he denounced Russia's continued military presence in the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of the cease-fire that ended the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict."
  • The bit about Eduard Kokoity is needed to explain why these people still remain displaced. South Ossetian authorities don't allow them to return. --Zgagloev (talk) 11:31, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
That newest story doesn't affect the situation at all. We already know that Russia has more military in the territories than it did pre-war. The text says this. As for Kokoity, I'm not sure it's necessary to include, as we've already noted the villages were destroyed, but that current wording is concise. I'd prefer a secondary source which notes the systematic exclusion from return, rather than one statement. CMD (talk) 14:33, 1 March 2014 (UTC)