The previous leader originally voted to secure his re-election. Then he lost it. His successor considers the referendum to be premature.

The republic of South Ossetia in the Caucasus, which had broken away from Georgia, has canceled a planned referendum on accession to Russia for the time being.

In a decree published on Monday evening, the cancellation was justified with the “inadmissibility of a unilateral decision on a referendum on issues that also affect the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian Federation.” Moscow has repeatedly shown reluctance to join in recent weeks.

The referendum was called by the region’s previous leader, Anatoly Bibilov. He wanted to secure his re-election in South Ossetia. But in the internationally unrecognized presidential election at the beginning of May, his opponent Alan Gagloyev finally prevailed. The latter described the initiative as premature, although he fundamentally welcomed Russia’s accession.

In Moscow, too, the step was considered untimely in view of the international pressure associated with its own war of aggression in Ukraine. Russian politicians and diplomats were correspondingly skeptical.

Now Gagloyev wants to coordinate further steps towards integration into Russia with Moscow. Gagloyev plans to fly to Moscow for consultations shortly. Until then, the decree of his predecessor was stopped, it is said.

The region of South Ossetia, which has a population of just 50,000, broke away from Georgia in a bloody civil war in the early 1990s. In 2008, after a brief war with Georgia, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and the Black Sea region of Abkhazia. Both areas are heavily dependent on Russia politically, financially, economically and militarily. Abkhazia had stressed that it would not seek admission to the Russian Federation.