Joshua Kucera: "Why Can't We Live Together?"

In a series of reports from former soviet republics, Joshua Kucera reported in May 2008 from South Ossetia, describing the atmosphere in the break-away region of Georgia:

"TSKHINVALI, South Ossetia—The first time I enter Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, the hotel staff immediately calls the police. They tell me that no one can process my journalist accreditation until Wednesday. It is a Sunday afternoon, and the following Tuesday is the May Day holiday, making it a four-day weekend. Can't I just stay until then and see the town as a tourist, I ask? Nope. So about 20 minutes after I arrive, the police drive me back to the border with Georgia proper and tell me to try again later. I come back on Wednesday and find that the accreditation process consists of writing my name in a book and filling out a small piece of paper that I am told to carry with me everywhere I go. It takes about a minute. I'm visiting South Ossetia as part of a tour across the southern edge of the former Soviet Union, looking at the wildly different directions the newly independent countries have taken since 1991. In the case of South Ossetia, a self-proclaimed independent country that is, in fact, neither independent nor a country, "nowhere" is probably the best way to describe where it's gone. It's perhaps the closest you can get today to experiencing the old Soviet Union, as well as a good place to get the flavor of a good old-fashioned, Cold-War-style proxy war between the United States and Russia..."

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