Leonid Tibilov, Former head of the KGB in South Ossetia
Ex-KGB officer wins election in breakaway Georgia region of South Ossetia
April 9, 2012
A pro-Russian former KGB officer has won the presidency in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia and suggested he would push for the tiny territory to join Russia.
A mountainous region of about 30,000 people, South Ossetia has been at the heart of Georgia's bitter relations with Russia since breaking from Georgian control in a war in the 1990s.
Moscow recognized it as an independent nation after a brief war with Georgia in 2008. Internationally it is only recognized by Venezuela, Nicaragua and the Pacific nation of Nauru.
The victory of a Kremlin-backed candidate is certain to bolster Moscow's influence in the region as it seeks to complicate aspirations by U.S.-backed Georgia to join NATO.