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Paul Goble

Staunton, January 5 — A Georgian political analyst has warned that Vladimir Putin’s most likely Anschluss in the coming year would involve the unification of South Ossetia (which Moscow illegally seized from Georgia in 2008 but did not absorb at the time) with North Ossetia (which is already part of Russia) and the inclusion of that new entity in the Russian Federation.

In a comment to Azerbaijan’s Haqqin news agency which ran yesterday under the title “A Threat to Georgia: The Two Ossetias Unite and Become Part of Russia,” Vakhtang Maisaya says that “the powers that be in Tskhinvali have thought up an absolutely new and more sophisticated geopolitical provocation” (haqqin.az/news/89096).

The goal of renaming South Ossetia Alania, he continues, is to bring it into closer correspondence with North Ossetia which also uses that name and thus to make it easier to unite the two and then absorb the Georgian portion into the Russian Federation, “a classic case of irredentism” in this case directed at Georgia.

This process is likely to involve three steps: a referendum on giving the head of South Ossetia additional powers, a second one renaming that republic, and then a third about the unification of the two under a common name, the Republic of Alaniya. It is quite possible that the capital of the new entity will be in Tskhinvali, Maisaya says.

And he concludes by suggesting that this process will begin “already in this year” but only be completed in 2018.  Under current geopolitical circumstances, the Tbilisi scholar says, Georgia won’t be able to block any of the changes that Moscow has in mind.

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