South Ossetia () or Tskhinvali Region, is a disputed territory in the South Caucasus, in the northern part of the internationally recognised Georgian territory. It has a population of 53,000 people who live in an area of 3,900 km2, south of the Russian Caucasus, with 30,000 living in Tskhinvali. The Russian-backed separatist polity, Republic of South Ossetia (or the State of Alania), is recognised as a state only by Russia and three other UN member states. While Georgia lacks control over South Ossetia, the Georgian government, the United Nations and the majority of the world's governments consider the territory part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as "the former autonomous district of South Ossetia", in reference to the former Soviet autonomous oblast disbanded in 1990. Georgia does not recognise the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity, and therefore its territory does not correspond to any Georgian administrative area (although Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia was created by the Georgian authorities as a transitional measure leading to the settlement of South Ossetia's status), with most of the territory included into Shida Kartli region. The area is often informally referred to as the legally undefined Tskhinvali Region in Georgia and in international organisations when neutrality is deemed necessary. South Ossetia declared independence from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force. The crisis escalation led to the 1991–92 South Ossetia War. Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008.
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