MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) – The State Duma is expected to back a request to recognize the independence of Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia at a session of the country’s lower house of parliament on Monday. Georgia’s breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia sent official appeals Thursday to Russia’s president and parliament to recognize their independence. Konstantin Zatulin, who heads the Duma committee for CIS affairs, said the proposal “will certainly be approved.” The presidium of the ruling pro-presidential party United Russia is also in favor of independence for the two separatist republics, said Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the Duma’s international affairs committee. The parliamentarian said the Duma would also adopt an address to UN member countries and international organizations over Georgia’s August 8 attack on South Ossetia in which thousands were forced to flee and a large number of civilians were killed. MPs are expected to consider establishing a joint commission on human rights violations in South Ossetia. Senator Vladimir Kulakov said members of the commission would insist on setting up an international tribunal for crimes committed against civilians of the unrecognized republic. State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov described Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia as a “fascist attack” similar to Germany’s offensive against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Gryzlov also said he was confident that the State Duma would back the sovereignty requests by Abkhazia and South Ossetia. South Ossetia’s President Eduard Kokoity flew out to Moscow on Saturday to deliver his republic’s appeal, approved by parliament Friday. A Russian senator said Kokoity and his Abkhazian counterpart Sergei Bagapsh would attend an extraordinary meeting of the Federation Council (upper house) later on Monday.
MOSCOW, Aug 25 (AP) – Russian lawmakers on Monday asked the president to recognize the independence of Georgia’s two rebel provinces, a move likely to anger the small Caucasus nation’s Western allies. The vote by all the 130 members of the Kremlin-dominated Federation Council, was not legally binding and it was up to President Dmitry Medvedev to make the final call.