Situated in the Caucasus mountains, South Ossetia is a quasi independent state which has broken away from Georgia and is recognized by only Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Syria, Nauru, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria. The region has been plagued by ethnic violence for many years, during the collapse of the USSR it erupted into a civil war during attempts to break away from the impending independent Georgia. The war set the stage for the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia which sealed the republic off from the Georgian side, caused a refugee crisis and a critical security situation for many years.
Today, the republic remains tense but relatively stable in comparison to past years. The country boasts a mixture of hulking Soviet monuments including some to Stalin, war ravaged towns and jaw dropping mountain scenery with traditional South Caucasus tribal groups still inhabiting the valleys. Whilst untouched by tourism, the republic is trying to appeal to Russian tourists by opening ski and nature resorts.
Security situation in South Ossetia:
Due to international isolation and the aftermath of the civil war, the post war years saw South Ossetia operating as a failed state run by a mixture of dangerous militia groups until Russia stepped in to regain some form of order. Today, petty crime is rare but the biggest threat is corruption and harassment from rogue police and intelligence services who are fully aware that there is no diplomatic support for foreigners in the republic, this can be an issue to unaccompanied foreigners who don’t speak Russian. The most secure way to travel is with a translator and representative of the South Ossetian government who are keen on encouraging foreign investment and projects in the region.
Access for filmmakers and journalists in South Ossetia:
Entry to South Ossetia for foreign citizens is the most difficult of all the breakaway states within the former USSR. Entry requires a double entry Russian visa and being placed on a ‘’permitted travellers list’’ for South Ossetia which requires knowing a connected figure inside the republic. Pioneer Media have been operating in the republic for the past three years and through our mixture of on the ground contacts we can guarantee entry permits, journalist and film permits as well as access to local fixers. We will deal with all the bureaucracy. Similarly, we can arrange film logistics within the country at ease. Staff and translators can be found for very affordable rates.