Russia Aims to Lure South Ossetian, Abkhazian Patients Away from Georgia
A new agreement will encourage residents of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia to go to Russia for medical treatment, in a bid to limit one of Tbilisi’s main levers of influence in the territory.
The agreement, signed by Russia’s ministry of health and its Tskhinvali counterpart, will allow South Ossetians with Russian citizenship to use the same medical services available to Russians. Many residents now travel to neighboring Georgia for health care, giving Tbilisi a means of exerting soft power over the breakaway territory.
“Before the agreement, our citizens could hardly get state-of-the-art medical care in Russia” said Alan Kozonov, chairman of Tskhinvali’s de-facto parliamentary committee. “Now, Russia’s medical services will be available to residents of [South Ossetia] with Russian citizenship.”
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