Cultural Learnings Of… South Ossetia

So for some background, Georgians are their own independant race of people, taking influences from all those around them, Russia, Europe and the Middle East but being distinctive and different also. At the top of the land known as Georgia there are a few provinces where the people are not Georgian, however when the Soviets rolled in, Stalin gave these lands to the Georgians as a nice gift. Oh and then he gave Georgia to himself but now everyone is free again, these provinces arnt so happy that Georgia wants to keep them under their control.

South Ossetia is one of them, its in the north of Georgia and they have been fighting an armed conflict with the Georgians since about 1991, not long after they all declared indepedance from Russia, trying to claim the land as their own. The international community recongises the land as Georgian… except one… Russia. Inside of the CIS is where North Ossetia lies and its no secret they want the southern part back too. Im sure they also want all of Georgia back but one step at a time comrade, one step at a time. Fighting was quite bad until Russia stepped up in 1992 and promised to push its full force down south if Georgia didnt accept a cease-fire and Russian peace keepers in the area to which they had to comply. Things wernt too bad until 2004 when Georgia started to push back more and more, claiming the Russian peace keepers are not as impartial as they make everyone believe. Heaven forbid, Russia paying silly buggers with everyone? I never heard of such a thing!

So Ossetia is a bad place to go, its locked down hard and if you dont get taken down by Georgian snipers or mortars being lobbed into the area any foreigners are allegdly kidnapped and held for randsom / quality youtube time.

Here below is a hastily drawn map showing the breakdown of one of the main border points between Georgia and South Ossetia. So as you roll along the road you find Russians, then Georgians, then South Ossetians… then some more Russians… Please note this map is (quite obviously) very rough. The Google Earth resoultion of the region is low and its hard to make out landmarks. Ive based this off the red border line which comes from a GE overlay. I have a feeling its off slightly but you get the idea of whats happening…

Click the image to see the full size version

If you need some "credible" news on the subject, here a Russia Today report which breaks it down nicely in 3 minutes.

So why am I telling you all this? Because it sets the scene for the bestest eurotrip adventure story ever below!

By Louis Zezeran

Louis Zezeran is an Australian Stand Up comedian and comedy promoter based in Tallinn, Estonia. He was the co-founder of Comedy Estonia, Comedy Finland and Comedy Latvia. Louis writes, does gigs and performs at private events through the Baltics and Finland

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