Thursday, August 21, 2008

Russia Sponsors Concert In South Ossetian

The Principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra will lead a defiant performance from the shattered steps of the South Ossetian parliament tonight.

Valery Gergiev, an ethnic Ossetian who has been an outspoken critic of Georgia's action during the conflict, will conduct the Mariinsky Theatre of St Petersburg in a performance that is expected to feature Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, as guest of honour.

The concert in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvalii is expected to coincide with rallies demanding the recognition of South Ossetia as an independent state, a move confirmed today by the separatist leader Eduard Kokoity.

The performance would be "a requiem for those who died at the hands of the aggressors, for those who sacrificed their lives defending their homeland from a treacherous attack by Georgia", a South Ossetian spokesman said.

"The world should know what is happening. There were a thousand or more South Ossetians were killed at that time," he told the BBC last week. "The arrival of Russian troops saved maybe a thousand or more lives."

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