Jamestown has published another article by Vladimir Socor, that is not only biased, but, in my point of view misinforms the public.
“North Ossetia showcases Moscow’s divide-and-rule ethnic politics in the Caucasus, which has often had brutal ramifications. Assisted by Moscow’s interior troops in the early 1990s, North Ossetian authorities ethnically cleansed the Ingush from a disputed territory that Moscow had incorporated into North Ossetia. The Russian government traditionally regards North Ossetians as the most loyal ethnic group in the Caucasus, for whom it seems exceptionally prepared to underwrite border revisions and population shifts on ethnic grounds. In further contrast to Lavrov’s depiction of ethnic relations there, Ossetians on the Russian side of the border are subjected to intense linguistic Russification, whereas Ossetian native-language use and schooling has traditionally fared better on the Georgian side of the border.”
The Russian government traditionally regarded Georgians and Armenians as “the most loyal ethnic groups in the Caucasus” and Vladimir Socor should know that. It was Georgia, that had privileged status within the USSR, not North or South Ossetia. It was Georgia that acquired with Russian blessing at some point parts of Karachai-Cherkessia, Chechen republic and … North Ossetia. Ossetians are certainly regarded as a somewhat more loyal to Russia people among North Caucasians, but Russia would not be able to rely in the Caucasus on the support of half a million of Ossetians, it’s simply impossible. Again it was the Georgians that utilized Russian military power to crush Ossetian resistance to Georgian rule in 1820s.
Russian policies of divide and rule are quite obvious in the Caucasus and one cannot really aprove of them. Of course, Ossetians are being used by Russia, but what choice do the Ossetians have? To lie down and die? Who is going to protect them? There is no one willing to do that, apart from Russia, so it is rational choice. Perhaps not the best possible one, but the only one currently on the market.
I was amused by the US foreign policymakers statements, when they called on Russia to return the situation to the state of the frozen conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia – the state that neither Georgians, nor the Abkhaz, nor Ossetians liked, only Russians wanted to keep the situation indefinetely suspended: neither war, nor peace in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. And the US wanted to go back to that state! At least that was what the statements said. Perhaps, it is just a trait for Russians though to try to reveal what they really want and to entice them into recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia and taking them aboard. After all Georgia without South Ossetia and Abkhazia is no much worse off than with them. Bot Georgia and Russia need to be got rid of their ethnic auxiliaries in order they stop being old-fashioned oppressive empires.