TSKHINVALI, Georgia — Ceremonies have been held in the capital of the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia recently to name streets after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL’s Georgian Service reports.
The two parallel streets named after the Kremlin’s current and former leaders are located in a newly renamed microregion outside of Tskhinvali known as Moskovski.
Russian analysts suggested the self-styled president of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, is reaffirming his loyalty to Moscow — the breakaway region’s biggest supporter — by naming the streets after Medvedev and Putin, who many South Ossetians see as responsible for saving the territory from Georgian forces during the brief 2008 Russian-Georgian war.
Davit Davitashvili, who was forced to leave the village of Tamarasheni when it was depopulated of ethnic Georgians following the hostilities nearly three years ago, said the microregion Moskovski was built on the site where his village had cultivated vineyards.
Davitashvili, who is now an internally displaced person in Georgia proper, said the Medvedev and Putin street signs will one day be displayed in Georgia’s “museum of occupation.”
Taia Gogidze, a displaced ethnic Georgian from Tskhinvali who works at the Matchabeli Theater in Tbilisi, said the streets were named after “occupiers.” She said it had been a long time since she was able to visit her home city in South Ossetia and tend to her father’s grave.
A Tskhinvali street was named after former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov a few years ago.
South Ossetia was recognized after the 2008 war as an independent state by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and the tiny island nation of Nauru.