Tibilov says reuniting with Russia is 'the dream of many generations of South Ossetian people'
Leonid Tibilov, president of Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region and a former KGB agent, has said that he had decided to hold a referendum on whether to join Russia.
Tibilov said that reuniting with Russia is "the dream of many generations of the South Ossetian people, who suffered during two centuries of struggle against Georgian chauvinism and fascism."
Tibilov said that it was time for South Ossetia's people to make a historic choice.
Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty with the South Ossetian leader to strengthen security, military and economic integration between Russia and the rebel region.
South Ossetia broke away from Georgia as the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s and has depended on heavy Russian support and subsidies to survive ever since.
Alongside Georgia's other breakaway region of Abkhazia, its independence is not recognised by the international community. Russia cemented its control over the territories after a five-day war with Georgia in 2008.