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South Ossetia is faced with risk of ‘color revolution’

November 30, 2011, 16:00 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, November 30 (Itar-Tass) —— There has been a dramatic worsening of the situation in the tiny Caucasus republic of South Ossetia, not recognized by the international community, and which Georgia still regards as its territory, while Russia treats it as an independent state. The Supreme Court of South Ossetia on Tuesday overturned the results of the presidential election, which, according to the CEC, resulted in the victory of opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva over Kremlin-backed Anatoly Bibilov. The consequences of the court’s decision can be very unpredictable, experts believe. Dzhioyeva said she would not accept the decision of the court and bring supporters onto the streets. Some say there is a threat of civil war.
At last Sunday's presidential election, according to the CEC, the opposition’s candidate ex-Minister of Education Alla Dzhioyeva was significantly ahead of the Emergency Situations Minister Anatoly Bibilov. But the Supreme Court responded to a protest from Bibilov’s party, called Unity, over the bribery of voters and canceled the election results due to the detected violations and scheduled a new election for March 2012. Also, the court ruled Dzhioyeva would have no right to participate in the election.
Meanwhile, last Sunday night both Russian and all other observers spoke highly "of the transparency and democracy" of the election in South Ossetia.
In response, Alla Dzhioyeva declared herself president-elect and promised to bring supporters onto the streets. She declared the formation of a state council consisting of ten members of her election team. "A total of 16,000,466 voters cast their ballots for me. My opponent Anatoly Bibilov got 11,000,286 votes. The election was declared valid by the CEC of the republic and all international observers," Dzhioyeva said.
She suspects that the Supreme Court’s decision was influenced by the incumbent, Eduard Kokoity, "who is an embodiment of lawlessness in South Ossetia." At the same she feels offended by the Kremlin’s actions to openly support her opponent. "I keep wondering: ‘Russia, what is it you dislike me for? I'm a Russian citizen, Russian by passport and in spirit. And I do not understand the actions that I am a witness to," she said in an interview to the daily Kommersant.
Dzhioyeva vows that she intends to resist: "They want to steal our victory. But we will stand firm to the end! It is cold outdoors, but in front of my office there are thousands of supporters. I asked them to leave for home until the morning, but they do not obey. They say they will stay firm to the bitter end. I disclaim all responsibility. I have never ventured outside the legal space, but it is too late to try to stop the flywheel. There where there are now 7-8 thousand, tomorrow there will be 12 thousand, and then 17 thousand," she said.
Meanwhile, the South Ossetian Prosecutor’s Office has accused Dzhioyeva of preparations for a ‘color revolution’ and promised to take action. "Dzhioyeva is implementing a color revolution scenario. The reaction of the authorities will follow, action will be taken," Deputy Prosecutor-General Eldar Kokoyev said.
The decision to cancel the presidential election results put South Ossetia in front of the threat of civil war, says Kommersant. The level of dissatisfaction with the authorities in the country is high, and the people keep a large amount of weapons at home.
"The impact of the court’s decisions can be unpredictable,” the former defense minister of South Ossetia, Anatoly Barankevich, told the daily. “There may even be bloodshed."
General Barankevich does not believe that behind the decision of the Supreme Court there is the Russian leadership: according to him, the South Ossetian authorities "are merely using Moscow as a cover-up."
"These officials are acting on behalf of Russia, but they do not understand that they let Russia down," said Barankevich.
"The situation in Tskhinval after the court pronounced its ruling is very tense,” the chairman of the committee on law and law at the parliament of South Ossetia, Amiran Dyakonov, told the daily Izvestia. “I can say that this decision met with the incomprehension of society." Over the twenty years of independence of South Ossetia,” said Dyakonov, “the legality of the will expressed by the people has been called in question for the first time.”
The spokesman for South Ossetia’s security service, Alexander Smirnov, has warned against over-dramatizing the situation. "The situation in Tskhinval is completely calm,” he told the periodical. “No emergency measures, no police patrol reinforcements on the streets, because this is not necessary."
Small groups of supporters of both candidates have been gathering at the election headquarters, said Smirnov. They stay quiet, perhaps, on instructions from Bibilov and  Dzhioyeva. Both candidates appeared on national television on Tuesday to urge their supporters to remain calm and observe order.
Busfuls of opposition supporters have been arriving in Tskhinval from mountain villages, says Novaya Gazeta. "We will carry out a campaign of civil disobedience,” the newspaper quotes one of the leaders of the opposition’s election team, Soslan Dzhioyev, as saying. “We shall keep doing so until we prove that victory has been stolen away from us. We fear there may be an armed clash, but people are very angry. Predicting the development of the situation is impossible," he said.
Russia has reacted to events in South Ossetia with a statement by its Foreign Ministry. All social and political forces in South Ossetia must respect the decisions adopted by the supreme authorities in accordance the law, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"Moscow is closely watching the developments in a friendly neighboring country,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry. “We are interested to see the situation in that newly-founded country remain calm and stable, and political processes develop exclusively within the legal space."
“For this to happen all the social and political forces are to respect the decisions made by the highest bodies of power in compliance with the law," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.