Russia offers easier citizenship procedures to people of occupied Tskhinvali, Georgia

  • Tskhinvali seen from the village of Ergneti, Georgia. Photo by Nino Alavidze/, 15 Nov 2017 - 14:40, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia) – a Georgian territory occupied by Russia – are preparing a deal to simplify the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for the people of the region.

This was announced after the de-facto leader of Tskhinvali region, Anatoly Bibilov, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

"There are several important agreements at our state ministries and departments getting ready to be signed. These include simplifying the process of acquiring Russian citizenship as well as ensuring the presence of our citizens on the territory of the Russian Federation without a time limit,” Bibilov said following the meeting.

Russian media reported that Bibilov and Putin discussed trade and economic issues too and Putin pledged to further increase financial support for the region.

Russia occupies two of Georgia’s regions – Tskhinvali and Abkhazia. Both of these areas are recognised internationally as integral part of Georgia, but Tbilisi has no control over them. Both have their own de-facto governments backed by Russia.

Tbilisi has long accused Russia of annexation attempts of the regions, including forcing citizens to get Russian passports and banning the Georgian language from local schools.