Prior to the elections the presidential race leader of the self-proclaimed Southern Ossetia Alan Gagloev supported the idea of joining the Russian Federation. However, as soon as he learned about his victory in the elections, his opinion changed. The prospects of joining Russia might now seem less beneficial, and even worse than the status of a failed state. However, it might also signify that the Kreml doesn’t want additional tensions.
On March 30, during the presidential election campaign, the current Southern Ossetia president Anatoliy Bibilov claimed that he planned to hold the referendum for the republic to join Russia.
Moscow reacted to it as expected. The Kreml representative Dmitry Peskov confirmed the idea of referendum is the people’s will and Russian authorities respect it.
The Georgian reaction to this statement was also predictable. Minister of Foreign Affairs David Zalkaliani called discussion about holding the referendum on joining Southern Ossetia to the Russian Federation unacceptable.
Anatoliy Bibilov stated that the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic of Southern Ossetia have to file the appeal to the Supreme Court to start the referendum procedure on joining the Russian Federation.
He explained that some legal steps were to be taken. When the Supreme court responded, preparation would start and the referendum date would be determined, preliminarily after the presidential elections.
In early April, the first deputy of the chairman of the State Duma Committee on SIG affairs Viktor Vodolatskiy declared that Southern Ossetia might hold a referendum and vote for joining the Russian Federation in May or June 2022.
However, “Nikhas” opposition leader Alan Gagloev won the election. When the results of votes counting were already announced, Gagloev declared they would not be making any hasty decisions to hold the referendum on the republic becoming a member of the Russian Federation. On May 10, head of the State Duma Committee on SIG affairs, Eurasian integration and relations with countrymen Leonid Kalashnikov shared this news.
Earlier, Gagloev diplomatically declared that he supported the idea of the republic becoming a member of the Russian Federation, but emphasized that all steps were to be coordinated with Moscow not to create any tensions in a complicated geopolitical situation.
“Though he pointed out he was ready to hold a referendum, it primarily depends not on them, but on how Russia and Belarus are ready to expand their ally states”, Kalashnikov states.
One of two parties slows down the annexation process: either Southern Ossetia because it envisions new prospects or Russia because it didn’t take all consequences for Crimea annexation.
Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics also earlier expressed their willingness to become Russian member states. However, Russia decided to hold back on this.