Defender of the Fatherland
20 May 2020

The de facto foreign minister of the self-declared "Republic of South Ossetia", Dimitri Medoev, turned sixty recently. On the occasion, Anatoli Bibilov the territory's president, on Monday awarded him the medal Defender of the Fatherland "for the courage and selflessness shown in upholding the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of South Ossetia."

Congratulating Dmitry Medoev on his recent birthday, Anatoly Bibilov noted that "60 years is the milestone when you want to work and create even more."

"You have come a long way, starting from the most difficult times for South Ossetia, defending your people with weapons in your hands, then engaged in state activities, represented the Republic in the Russian Federation. Today, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, you show the highest qualities both as a professional and as a person. I would really like for you to have even more successes in the foreign policy of our state and that more countries recognize our independence. You are a soldier for your people and the steps that you took at the very beginning of the struggle for the independence of the Republic of South Ossetia have shown your best qualities as an Ossetian warrior," he said.

Dmitry Medoev, for his part, thanked Bibilov for such a high award. "We are all soldiers of our Fatherland. There were times when it was necessary to defend the homeland with weapons in hand. Today, times are different. thanks to Russia, there has been no war for 12 years, and we are now engaged in building our statehood", local media quoted Medoev as saying.

Earlier, it was also announced that by order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Medoev was awarded the medal For interaction, "for his significant contribution to the development of relations between South Ossetia and the Russian Federation, as well as strengthening security and stability in the Transcaucasian region". Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also sent a message to Medoev congratulating him on his birthday.

South Ossetia seceded from Georgia in 1992 after a short conflict in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Its independence was recognised by Russia and a handful of other countries following the 2008 Georgia-Russia War. Most of the international community however still recognises South Ossetia as part of Georgia. The Georgian government says that South Ossetia is Russian occupied territory. political editor said that Dimitri Medoev has been a central figure in South Ossetia's story over the last three decades. In the early 1990s he was appointed the first foreign minister of the self-declared republic by the territory's leader Ludwig Cibirov. In that capacity he was involved in a number of track two intiatives supporting the peaceful resolution of the conflict with Georgia, and visited Georgia several times in that context. When Cibirov was replaced by Eduard Kokoiti, Medoev's star waned and he left for Moscow where he eventually became a junior diplomat in the Russian Foreign Service. In 2008, after Russia recognised South Ossetia's independence he became the first South Ossetian ambassador to Moscow, later becomning the territory's foreign minister.

South Ossetia's politics, despite the territory's small size, can be cruel and messy. Medoev survived because of his skills, personal charm, and ofcourse, because he gained the trust of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He is now one of the most long serving and experienced diplomats in the region. Ironically, whilst Dimitri Medoev is the foremost standard bearer of South Ossetian independence if ever there is going to be progress in resolving the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia Medoev will be a key person. That prospect for the moment is a distant dream. But in the South Caucasus, never say never. We wish Dimitri Medoev a happy birthday."

source: with RES news agency, Tskhinvali.

photo: The de facto foreign minister of South Ossetia was awarded the medal "Defender of the Fatherland" on the occasion of his 60th birthday, by the territory's de facto president Anatoli Bibilov (picture courtesy of