Seeking Recognition: South Ossetia. Locked into a legacy of conflict

South Ossetia is a small, mountainous republic that declared independence from Georgia in 1992. Years later, and in the aftermath of a devastating war with its former rulers, a handful of countries finally recognised the breakaway region and the world at last learned of its existence.

South Ossetia after the 2008 war with Georgia
The world learned of South Ossetia in August 2008, when a brief war broke out between the breakaway region and Georgia. While it’s still associated with the conflict, locals say there is so much more to their country, including nature, architecture, and cordial people.

Life in little-recognised South Ossetia is slowly returning to normal, but there are still signs of the conflict that had festered since the early 20th century. Bullet-ridden buildings stand as constant reminders of heavy artillery fire around the capital, Tskhinvali. Residents remember all too clearly their fear and panic when Georgian tanks rolled into the region in August 2008. Even so, they still say there is so much more to their country than its painful past.

South Ossetia capital Tskhinval
Architect Karina Dzigoeva and choreographer Kosta Djioti draw graffiti on the bullet-ridden walls of the capital Tskhinval.

Join RTD for a trip to South Ossetia to meet the people who are working hard to revive their homeland. Meet a local journalist and guide who shows tourists a different Ossetia, rich in nature, history and hospitality. President Anatoly Bibilov shares his hopes that one day, they will reunite with North Ossetia as part of Russia while young locals turn the war-scarred streets into art.