Translated from the archives of kavkazplus
For those who carefully studied the resettlement maps of the Caucasian peoples, the characteristic detail could not help but be noticed: Ossetians lived and live in predominantly mountainous regions of eastern Georgia interspersed with the bulk of the Georgian population occupying plains and valleys. Similarly, Armenians lived in Nagorno-Karabakh among the bulk of the Azerbaijani population. "Just so" a similar pattern of settlement could not be developed, and it is due to historical reasons.
The fact is that the appearance of the Ossetians in Georgia and the Armenians in Karabakh came to pass at about the same time, plus or minus 50–100 years. True, the majority of Ossetians settled in Georgia before these lands fell under the power of Russia, and in Azerbaijan - after the annexation of the Azerbaijan khanates by the Russian empire, but this does not change the essence. Both people are newcomers in a foreign land, at first very welcome by the indigenous population.
Today Ossetian nationalists and pseudo-historians speak about the “antiquity” of South Ossetia . They like to tell that they lived in the Georgian region of Shida Kartli, they say "from time immemorial" and here was one of the "centers of the Ossetian civilization" (however, if it was such a "super-civilization - one wonders where is at least one architectural monument or at least one inscription in Ossetian?).
And then, according to Ossetian “historians,” the shift of the “center of Ossetian civilization” to the territory of present-day South Ossetia occurred in connection with the Mongol-Tatar invasion, which the Ossetians put up “heroic resistance”. At the same time, historical truth indicates that the conquests of the Mongols did not negatively affect the ancestors of the Ossetians. They were incorporated into the Mongolian empire and served in the composition of the Mongolian troops in distant China, conquering it for the Mongol khans.
And the more so, there was no “Ossetian statehood” on this side of the Caucasus Mountains in modern Georgia.
Of course, there were Georgia’s historical ties with the Ossetians , individual Ossetians played a certain role in Georgian history, but until the 17th and 18th centuries there was no permanent Ossetian on the territories of Georgia. In general, the Ossetians, like the other people of Iranian origin - the Kurds, did not have their own statehood and lived under the auspices of the Turkic peoples and states (the Ossetians - under the auspices of the Kipchaks and peoples who originate from the Kipchaks).
Mass resettlement of Ossetians to the lands of Georgia took place quite recently - in the 18th century. The reason for this resettlement is the expansion of the Kabardian princes on the land of Ossetia itself (the present territory of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania) and the Ingush. The resettlement took place not only because of the pressure of neighboring peoples, but also because of lack of land and systematic failures, leading to famine among Ossetians.
At the same time, under the influence of harsh living conditions and under the "pressure" of Kabardinians, the Ossetians moved out into the Russian Empire (in Mozdok), as well as on the lands of the Turkic peoples - Karachai and Balkarians, who sheltered newcomers who mingled with them and formed a subethnos of Digorians, who now live in eastern regions of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania and sharply different from the Ossetian-Iranians.
So, in the 18th century, the Ossetians massively migrated to Georgia on the lands of the Kartli and Kakhetian kingdoms. However, in the valleys and plains of the "free land" for the settlement of Ossetians on the territory of Georgia was not enough. With the exception of eastern Kakheti, the border with the resettlement zone of the Dagestan peoples, which was largely devastated due to such “border” status and constant wars and conflicts.
At the same time, nowhere did the Ossetians form a “solid array” of villages, since the resettled Ossetians professed the same Orthodoxy as the Georgians, there was no alienation between the nations. Mixed marriages were common. Ossetians, as a rule, had the status of “Hizan” - newcomers or immigrants, being under the protection of Georgian princes and nobles.
In the large plains of the village, the Ossetians quickly assimilated with the Georgians, already in the second or third generation, switching to Georgian. But in small mountain villages this process was inhibited. The thing is that in the small-scale mountainous regions the actual Georgian population was not numerous and here more often even the Georgians themselves assimilated with the Ossetians.
In addition, there was less influence of the Georgian Orthodox Church in the mountains, Ossetian pagan and semi-pagan prejudices lasted longer. In many small Ossetian villages there were not even churches with regular services (which were performed only in Georgian before the accession of Georgia to Russia) and literacy (there was no written language in Ossetian until the end of the 19th century). It also delayed the process of “Ossetian rooting” which went very far on the plain.
With the annexation of Georgia by Russia, the process of resettlement of the Ossetians to Georgia continued. At the same time, the process of the resettlement of Armenians in Karabakh, which also settled on Azerbaijani lands as newcomers-Ossetians in Georgia, became more intensive: since in the valleys almost all the “free” and usable lands were occupied by the indigenous population - the Azerbaijanis. As a result, the Armenians in Karabakh settled in the mountainous areas, where they assimilated and absorbed the remnants of the ancient indigenous Albanian (Udi) population.
At the same time, neither the Ossetians in Georgia nor the Armenians in Karabakh could exist without ties with lowland regions and the local population. Moreover, such contacts were the key to the existence of poor mountainous small-scale Ossetian and Armenian communities.
In general without economic relations with the plain mountain villages are doomed to degradation and depopulation regardless of the ethnic origin. It is an axiom for almost all mountainous areas.
In no country of the world land-poor mountainous areas do form for long time of the "self-sufficient" and economically developed communities without communication with surrounding valleys and flat territories, and it is much better – without making with them uniform political whole. Even in the classical highland – Switzerland, mountain cantons could not exist without economic relations with richer "valley" can
Serious experts spoke about the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh would not survive economically without flat Karabakh as early as the USSR, when Armenian nationalists raised the issue of its separation from Azerbaijan. But Karabakh Armenians did not listen to sensible people, as they were intoxicated by nationalism. They did not listen to the arguments about the unviability of South Ossetia without the rest of Georgia and in Tskhinvali on the eve of the collapse of the USSR.
The result today is obvious. Even in spite of the multi-billion Russian assistance, economically South Ostia is completely unviable. If this assistance stops (and this is happening now), then an economic collapse of the so-called South Ossetia is inevitable. Without close economic cooperation and ties with the flat areas of Shida Kartli, the survival of the Ossetian ethnos on this side of the Caucasus is unrealistic. But in order to realize this, the Ossetians need to overcome the nationalist complexes, which, unfortunately, have firmly entered their consciousness and are supported by the Armenian “brothers in mind”, or rather madness, who brought the same Thicket Karaibah with their insane nationalist ambitions to complete economic and demographic collapse.