by Valery Dzutsev
18 June 2009
South Ossetia elects a parliament amid scandals, frustration, and growing tensions.
The laptop of a journalist from El Pais, seized by police as a suspected bomb and blown up in a field, could symbolize South Ossetia’s recent legislative election. Instead of helping settle conflicts within the territory, the 31 May election sparked accusations from the opposition and international condemnation, and reportedly failed to arouse the voters’ enthusiasm.
South Ossetia and its Russian backers won last August’s five-day war against Georgia. But as the tiny region held its first parliamentary elections since Moscow recognized it as an independent state, conflicts among local factions and a thinly-disguised power struggle between the South Ossetian government and Moscow heightened the internal tensions in a region badly in need of help to recover from the war’s high human and material costs.