North Ossetia-Alania

[wpspoiler name=”Music from North Ossetia (some good stuff at 3:00)” open=”true” style=”aatw-video”][/wpspoiler]

North Ossetia-Alania: The republic of North Ossetia-Alania is a Russian Republic in the Caucasus Mountains just across the border from Georgia, which used to be part of the Soviet Union. The area has been in a state of ethnic flux ever since the mid ’40s when Stalin deported the historically and linguistically related Chechen and Ingush people who lived there to Central Asia, accusing them of German collaboration. The mainly Sufi Muslim Ingush were allowed to return in 1957, but when they did they found their land had become part of primarily Christian North Ossetia. They found this quite unpleasant. The substantial ethnic and political reshuffling after the fall of the USSR brought this Ossetian/Ingush conflict to a head. In 1992 there was a brief but brutal war in the formerly Ingush land of East Prigorodny, complete with accusations of Ossetian ethnic cleansing of the Ingush. Tensions rose again after the 1994 , in which over 300 Ossetians died in the Beslan hostage crisis (this summary in the UK’s Guardian is best viewed and/or explained by grown-ups, if such a thing can be explained at all). Amid accusations that some of the Chechen hostage-takers were Ingush, historic Ingush-Ossetian conflicts flared up again. To add to the complexity of the relationship between the Ossetians and Ingush, since the fall of the USSR in 1992 Georgia and Russia have contested the formerly Georgian land of South Ossetia. In 2008, after a Georgian/Russian conflict over the region known as the South Ossetia War, South Ossetia came under Russian control. The question of South Ossetian self-determination is still open, and still the uncertainty threatens to spill over the border into North Ossetia.

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