Nobody much listened after separatists in Ukraine asked the world to recognize their newly declared People’s Republic of Luhansk. But the call was heard loud and clear in separatist South Ossetia.
Call it bonding between the self-proclaimed types. South Ossetia’s breakaway leadership announced on June 16 that they cannot stay indifferent to the will of the people of the so-called “People’s Republic.”
“Respecting the expression of the will of the people of the People’s Republic of Luhansk, the Republic of South Ossetia recognized the results of the [May 11] referendum [on secession from Ukraine] and is ready to make a constructive decision,” said Leonid Tibilov, the de-facto president of South Ossetia, the region’s Ossinfo agency reported.
Tibilov’s separatist counterpart in Luhansk, Valeriy Bolotov, promptly relayed the news to the Luhansk people. “Tomorrow, we will appoint an ambassador of the People’s Republic of Luhansk to the Republic of South Ossetia,” Bolotov proclaimed, reported Interfax.
But the so-called leader of the Luhansk people might want to hit the brakes here. South Ossetia’s de-facto foreign ministry told the Russian Dozhd’ (Rain) television channel that Tibilov’s statement does not mean official recognition.
South Ossetia, which relies on Russia for everything from arms to aid, is unlikely to make its decision final without consulting the big boss, Moscow.
For now, the Kremlin has not publicly expressed its thoughts to South Ossetia. Pro-Russian as Ukraine’s separatists may be, Moscow stopped short of recognizing Luhansk or its separatist twin, the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk. Even though, according to NATO, the US and Kyiv, it has been busy arming both places.
In any case, South Ossetia is unlikely to receive an ambassador from Luhansk without getting the green light from Moscow. South Ossetia itself secured recognition from the Kremlin over protests from Georgia and its Western allies, and now, “inspired” by the Crimean example, is hoping to join the Russian Federation.
But Moscow, so far, seems content to take things one separatist territory at a time.