The referendum was called by former president Anatoly Bibilov. Even before taking office, Gagloev had voiced reservations about the referendum and, although he had spoken out for the union of South Ossetia and Russia, he also had stated that the mechanism and timetable leading to it should be coordinated. with Moscow. The reception of the referendum announcement had been lukewarm by the Kremlin.
Glagoyev’s decree now speaks of “holding consultations” with the Russian authorities “on the whole range of issues related to greater integration” —and now there is no longer talk of “union”— of the Republic of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation.
South Ossetia proclaimed independence from Georgia in 1991. Russia recognised it in 2008. Most of the Ossetian people live in North Ossetia, a republic of the Russian Federation.
The Georgian government considers the now-suspended referendum and the very existence of the South Ossetian republic illegal.