“I will assume office on February 10,” Dzhioyeva told reporters, adding that “I can’t tell you about the place of the inauguration so far. I will turn to the South Ossetia acting head with a request for a civilized transfer of power as befits a legitimately elected president.”
Dzhioyeva received almost 57% of the vote in November, but the poll was annulled by the South Ossetian Supreme Court on the grounds that Dzhioyeva’s had used illegal campaigning tactics. A re-run has been scheduled for March, although it still remains unclear whether Dzhioyeva would be allowed to participate.
Dzhioyeva’s decision to hold the inauguration independently marks an escalation of tensions in the former Georgian republic, and appears to put a negotiated settlement beyond reach.
In announcing her decision, Dzhioyeva told reporters that she felt she had been tricked into a previous agreement to pull her supporters from the streets of South Ossetia’s capital city and agree to a March re-run of the election:
“Mediators, who have arrived from Moscow, in particular Sergey Vinokurov, to put it bluntly, have bamboozled us. I am telling you with absolute sincerity, that I could have never imagined that such a senior level official, under whose mediation this agreement was signed, would have simply exploited our tiredness and would have made us sign an agreement which was disadvantageous for us.”
As well as Dzhioyeva’s announcement about the inauguration, there have been a couple of other interesting developments in the past few days.
Jambolat Tedeyev, the coach of Russia’s national wrestling team who was barred from participating in the November election, is apparently considering running in the March election. Co-incidentally, or perhaps not, Tedeyev was questioned by Russian police a few days later. Nothing seems to have come of it yet, but there is speculation that he may soon be charged with attempting to engineer a coup in South Ossetia.
And, in a demonstration of how important the issue of South Ossetia remains to both Russia and Georgia, both countries are both engaging in a diplomatic charm offensive – in Fiji of all places. Georgia, which clearly is awash with un-needed technology, has just donated 200 unwanted netbook computers to the Fijian Government. The donation was announced just days before the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to the Pacific country.