South Ossetia a Cautionary Tale for Crimea

South Ossetians starting to get sick of Moscow

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 19, 2014 3:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – The ethnic Russians who make up most of Crimea's population are pretty excited about the reunion with the motherland, but a look at other regions reveals that the love from Moscow may not last long, the New York Times finds. In South Ossetia, recognized as an independent state by Russia after its 2008 war with Georgia, the enclave was left isolated after recognition from other countries failed to follow; the local economy is now totally reliant on funds from Moscow.

While residents were ecstatic when they first gained recognition from Russia, they now complain that Moscow has been heavy-handed about maintaining political control and that billions of rubles in promised aid have mostly ended up in the pockets of the local elite. "It will be sad if Crimea turns out the same way," says an academic who complains that local government officials now live in much fancier houses—but a cup of tea costs $6. "This culture of Russian expansion, it means lots of money, but terribly distributed. It destroyed the good ways of a small people."

Workers remove old letters from the Crimea Parliament's building in Simferopol, Crimea.
Workers remove old letters from the Crimea Parliament's building in Simferopol, Crimea.   (AP Photo/Alexander Khitrov)
An elderly woman holds a calendar depicting Soviet leader Josef Stalin while watching a broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech on Crimea in Sevastopol, Crimea.
An elderly woman holds a calendar depicting Soviet leader Josef Stalin while watching a broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech on Crimea in Sevastopol, Crimea.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
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