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South Ossetia
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    (November 28, 1991- )
    Capital city: Tskhinvali
    Area: 1,506 sq. mi.
    Population: circa 70,000 (2007)
    Currency: Russian Ruble
    Languages: Ossetic, Russian, Georgian (all official)
    Broke away from Georgia (1991)
    Recognized by Russia (August 26, 2008), Nicaragua (September 5, 2008), Venezuela (September 10, 2009), and Nauru (December 15, 2009)
    The entire Western world is completely opposed to its independence.
    Its capital city is so close to the Georgian border that it was severely damaged during the 2008 South Ossetia war.
    Its authorities wanted the country to become part of Russia in the long run.
    Like Abkhazia, its economy is so integrated to Russia’s that it risks becoming a part of it.
    Georgia doesn’t consider it a political entity of its own, as most of the territory is part of the Shida Kartli province.
    Most of the land is mountainous, leaving less than 10% of the land available for cultivation, even though agriculture is the main part of the economy.
    One of its towns is named Java, which is also the name of one of Indonesia's islands.
    Many Georgian refugees from the area can't go back to their homes because of ethnic tensions that even resulted into war crimes.
    The country is struggling to build up its own economy.
    Its ethnic Ossetians were descended from migrants expelled from their original homeland south of the Don River.
    It nearly became a victim of Islamic extremism when the local police spotted maps, a Russian peacekeeping uniform, and extremist Islamic literature in the town of Java (October 31, 2006).

Credit: Big Lenny

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