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Short description: Ethnolinguistic region
Map showing North and South Ossetia when they were part of the Soviet Union

Ossetia (/ɒˈsɛtiə/ (About this soundlisten) o-SET-ee-ə, less common: /ɒˈsʃə/ (About this soundlisten) o-SEE-shə; Template:Lang-os or Ир, romanized: Iryston or Ir; Russian: Осетия, romanized: Osetiya; Georgian: ოსეთი, translit. Oseti) is an ethnolinguistic region located on both sides of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, largely inhabited by the Ossetians. The Ossetian language is part of the Eastern Iranian branch of the family of Indo-European languages.[1] Most countries recognize the Ossetian-speaking area south of the main Caucasus ridge as lying within the borders of Georgia, but it has come under the control of the de facto government of the Russian-backed Republic of South Ossetia.[2][3][4][5] The northern portion of the region consists of the republic of North Ossetia–Alania within the Russian Federation.

Recent history

The ethnolinguistic map of the modern Caucasus showing the Ossetian-inhabited territories in     
Ossetian tribes (according to Boris Kaloev)[6][7]
  • 1774 — North Ossetia becomes part of the Russian Empire.[8]
  • 1922 — Creation of the South Ossetian autonomous oblast.[9] North Ossetia remains a part of Russian SFSR, South Ossetia remains a part of Georgian SSR.
  • 20 September 1990 — South Ossetia declares independence. The republic remained unrecognized, yet it detached itself from Georgia de facto. In the last years of the Soviet Union, ethnic tensions between Ossetians and Georgians in Georgia's former Autonomous Oblast of South Ossetia (abolished in 1990) and between Ossetians and the Ingush in North Ossetia evolved into violent clashes that left several hundred dead and wounded and created a large tide of refugees on both sides.[10][11][12]

Although a Russian-mediated and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe-monitored ceasefire was implemented in South Ossetia in 1992, the Georgian-Ossetian conflict[13] still remains unresolved even though a recent peace plan proposed by the government of Georgia promised the South Ossetians larger autonomy and pledged expanded international involvement in the political settlement of the conflict. Meanwhile, the South Ossetian secessionist authorities demand independence or unification with North Ossetia, which itself is located in Russia , while the international community instead recognizes it and Abkhazia as a part of Georgia.[14]

On Sunday 12 November 2006, South Ossetians (mostly ethnic Ossetians) went to the polls to vote in a referendum[15] regarding the region's independence from Georgia.[16] The result was a "yes" to independence, with a turnout above 95% from those among the territory's 70,000 people who were eligible to vote at that time.[17] There was also a vote in favor of a new term for Eduard Kokoity, who was the de facto state's president at the time.

There have been proposals from South Ossetia for joining the Russian Federation and uniting with North Ossetia.[18][19]

See also

  • History of North Ossetia–Alania
  • Alania
  • Vladimir Gagloyev
  • Jászság
  • Alexander Kubalov
  • Samachablo
  • Circassia
  • Iazyges
  • Adygea


  1. Foltz, Richard (2022). The Ossetes: Modern-Day Scythians of the Caucasus.. London: Bloomsbury. p. 1. ISBN 9780755618453. 
  2. Group, International Crisis (2010). "APPENDIX B: MAP OF SOUTH OSSETIA". South Ossetia: Page 25–Page 25. 
  4. Manutscharjan, Aschot (2008). ABKHAZIA AND SOUTH OSSETIA – RUSSIA'S INTERVENTION IN GEORGIA (AUGUST 2008). Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. 
  5. Markedonov, Sergey (2015), Bebler, Anton, ed., "The South Ossetia conflict", “Frozen conflicts" in Europe (Verlag Barbara Budrich): pp. 111–118, ISBN 978-3-8474-0133-9,, retrieved 16 March 2022 
  6. "Archived copy". 
  8. Sokirianskaia, HU: CEU, .
  9. "South Ossetia profile" (in en-GB). BBC News. 21 April 2016. 
  10. Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - South Ossetia (unrecognized state)" (in en). 
  11. Ghebali (2003), Helsinki, 4, Switzerland, .
  12. Avrasya (2005), Ehatipoglu, TR: Obiv, .
  13. Souleimanov, Emil (2013). Understanding ethnopolitical conflict : Karabakh, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia wars reconsidered. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire. ISBN 978-1-137-28023-7. OCLC 855585455. 
  14. Human Rights Watch (2009). Up in flames : humanitarian law violations and civilian victims in the conflict over South Ossetia. Jane Buchanan. New York, NY: Human Rights Watch. ISBN 978-1-56432-427-6. OCLC 309296228. 
  15. "Results Due In South Ossetian Referendum" (in en). 
  16. "Ossetia votes on independence". Al Jazeera English. 12 November 2006. 
  17. "South Ossetia: Russian, Georgian... independent?". OpenDemocracy. 
  18. Kucera, Joshu (31 March 2022). "South Ossetia says it will seek to join Russia". Eurasianet. 
  19. Grobman, Ekaterina (31 March 2022). "Вопрос о присоединении Южной Осетии к России будет решаться после выборов в республике" (in ru). Vedomosti. 

External links