Would South Ossetia, By Any Other Name, Be So Contentious?

In 2015, the government of Russia’s Republic of Ingushetia erected a ceremonial arch (pictured here) over the road leading to its capital, Magas, calling the arch “Alania Gates.” A week later, South Ossetia’s de facto president Leonid Tibilov proposed renaming his self-declared republic after Alania, amid a conflict with several of the breakaway territory’s neighbors over who are the true heirs of the medieval Caucasian kingdom of Alania. (Photo: Official Website of the Republic of Ingushetia)

The authorities in South Ossetia want to change the name of their self-declared republic in response to a historical dispute with a rival Caucasus nation. A rebranding could also, some in South Ossetia hope, hasten its incorporation into the Russia Federation.
 

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Irina Kelekhsayeva is a freelance journalist based in Tskhinvali. Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at EurasiaNet, and author of The Bug Pit. He is based in Istanbul.

Would South Ossetia, By Any Other Name, Be So Contentious?

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