Souvenirs from South Ossetia
South Ossetia is a disputed territory in South Caucasus, which offers many lovely landscapes for visitors to enjoy. Currently, this state, also known as the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, is only recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Tuvalu, Nauru and Venezuela, after declaring independence from Georgia in 1990. As of this writing, the United Nations and NATO acknowledge South Ossetia as part of Georgia, and Georgia itself believes that the region is unlawfully occupied by Russian forces. You can purchase souvenirs from South Ossetia, such as picture postcards, imprinted key chains, and refrigerator magnets of local landmarks, and find handicrafts produced in the region, such as traditional clothing, hand-woven rugs, and ceramics from Georgia and Russia. If you can find remnants from the Soviet Republic era, they are quite popular with collectors. Food products, such as candy, preserved fruits, oils and dried meats, are always fun South Ossetian souvenirs, as well as bottles of wine, beer and locally produced liquors.
The South Ossetia Situation
Political instability has been a hallmark of the South Ossetian region, since the first declaration of independence from Georgia was issued in 1990. There have been a series of wars to determine who would have control, starting with the 1991-1992 South Ossetia War, which ended with the secessionist government issuing its first independence referendum. This action was unrecognized by the world's governments, as there were concerns regarding its validity. The next major bout of fighting occurred in 2004, which ended with an internationally monitored referendum in 2006. A lack of Georgian turnout led to it being, once again, unrecognized. During this time, opposition to succession held elections for their own president of South Ossetia, leading to concerns over whom should be the leader of the region. In 2008, in the wake of another war between Georgia and South Ossetia, Russia officially recognized South Ossetia as a country. This action was condemned by the international community as leading to further destabilization of the region. Shortly thereafter, plans were announced for South Ossetia to join North Ossetia as a Russian state by certain members of South Ossetia's parliament, but were just as quickly condemned by other Ossetian factions.