The authorities of de facto South Ossetia plan to hold a referendum regarding whether to change the name of Georgia’s breakaway region. The referendum will be held on the 9th of April, at the same time as Presidential elections.
The question of the referendum will be: “Do you agree or not to rename the South Ossetian Republic to Alania?”
The initiative for the referendum was tabled by President Leonid Tibilov in December 2015. He has now released an order to hold the referendum.
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili responded that any attempt to change the name of the territory without the consent of the central Georgian government is an attempt to undermine Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that it is one more step towards annexation of the territory by Russia.
“A plebiscite, elections, or any such actions which involve the population’s freedom of expression cannot be held on a territory which is occupied by another country, and from which the majority of local people were banished,” he said. “We are calling upon the international community to oppose the encroachment on Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and any kind of attempt of legitimizing the results of these so-called elections or plebiscite.”
President Margvelashvili urged the Russian Federation to make actual steps towards de-occupying Georgian territories and fulfill its international responsibilities.