I highly regard BBC’s professionalism in general. But we all make mistakes and BBC is not an exception apparently in this regard.
Country profiles that BBC provides are very helpful sometimes, especially when one searches for a very condensed information on a remote, unfamiliar place. I regret that BBC’s profile of South Ossetia has some obvious flaws, that perhaps derive from political predilections of the corporation.
The profile is here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/3797729.stm
In just two small paragraphs several mistakes were made:
“As the Russian empire expanded into the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Ossetians did not join other peoples of the North Caucasus in putting up fierce resistance. Some fought alongside the Russians against neighbours who had long been rivals, while others made the difficult journey south across the mountains to escape.
By tradition, the Ossetians have had good relations with Russians and were regarded as loyal citizens, first of the Russian empire and later of the Soviet Union. They sided with the Kremlin when Bolshevik forces occupied Georgia in the early 1920s and, as part of the carve-up which followed, the South Ossetian Autonomous Region was created in Georgia and North Ossetia was formed in Russia.”
Ossetians did not join Chechens, Dagestani peoples, Circassians, but also the Ingush, Balkar and Karachais did not join the previously mentioned North Caucasians to fight Russians. In addition, Ossetians did fight Russians by themselves in both South and North Ossetia in 1829-1830. My own family village in the mountains was destroyed by the Russians at the time and that is still remembered. On the other hand, it was the Georgians, who instigated Russians’ assault in South Ossetia to bring the Ossetians under their control. So saying, that Ossetians were particularly pro-Russian, especially in comparison to the neighboring Georgians is a manifest lie. Up until the demise of the USSR there were no better integrated into Russian elites people in the Caucasus than the Georgians.
Obviously Ossetians did not appear in South Ossetia with Russians’ advances. They appeared in South Ossetia and Georgia long ago. All ancient history of Georgia witnesses constant interaction of the two peoples. It is simply improbable that in the Medieval times, when there were no formal borders, Ossetians and Georgians were strictly divided by the Caucasus mountains, while constantly engaging in fighting, political and economic interaction.
And finally it was not the Ossetians that sided with the Bolsheviks (that were led, by the way, by ethnic Georgian Sergo Ordzhonikidze). Rather it was the Bolsheviks who sided with the Ossetians for their own purposes of course.
To conclude: very shallow work, BBC