Tskhinval, South Ossetia. Editorial Credit: Sergei Bobylev \ TASS via Getty Images

South Ossetia*

Large parts of South Ossetia, a breakaway territory of Georgia, enjoyed de facto independence after a civil conflict ended in 1992. A 2008 war that drew in Russian forces resulted in the expulsion of the remaining Georgian government presence and of many ethnic Georgian civilians. Only Russia and a handful of other states have since recognized South Ossetia’s independence. The territory remains almost entirely dependent on Russia, and Moscow exerts a decisive influence over its politics and governance. Local media and civil society are largely controlled or monitored by the authorities, and the judiciary is subject to political influence and manipulation.

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Freedom in the World — South Ossetia Country Report

South Ossetia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

* Indicates a territory as opposed to an independent country.