Putin Appoints new ‘Ambassador’ to Occupied Tskhinvali

On May 23 Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree appointing Marat Kulakhmetov new “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of South Ossetia.”

Kulakhetov has replaced former envoy, Elbrus Kargiev, who was dismissed from the position.

In 2004-2008 Marat Minyurovich Kulakhmetov was a commander of the Russian Combined Peacekeeping Forces in breakaway South Ossetia.

He has also been an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation since 2011.

Georgia accuses him of supporting the South Ossetian separatists and has raised the question of substituting the Russian-led peacekeeping operation with an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe force.

Kulakhmetov was born in Penza to Tatar parents. He graduated from Frunze Military Academy in Moscow in 1991.

Officials in Tbilisi say Kulakhmetov’s appointment is not legitimate.

Moreover, Georgia’s State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, says Kulakhmetov was directly involved in the developments of August 2008 war.

She says the appointment of a new ambassador is absolutely unacceptable to Tbilisi, as this step once again violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Viktor Dolidze says Kulakhmetov is an ‘ordinary occupant.’

"His appointment can be seen as a cynical step, as he was sent back to South Ossetia,” Dolidze noted.

As for Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, he says no comment can be made on Kulakhmetov’s appointment. 

The minister added that the Georgian government is doing its best to end the occupation and the occupants’ presence in Georgia.

By Thea Morrison


24 May 2017 13:23