Georgia’s latest weapon against separatists: Disco

Authorities in ex-Soviet Georgia have turned to a new weapon in their struggle against rebel separatists in the breakaway region of South Ossetia: disco.

Officials have announced that disco legends Boney M, known for such 1970s hits as Rasputin and Daddy Cool, will play a concert on Saturday in the tiny, Georgian-controlled village of Tamarasheni on the edge of the rebel capital, Tskhinvali.

The concert is part of a wider effort to convince South Ossetian rebels that they would lead more peaceful, prosperous — and possibly funky — lives under Georgian control.

“Our message is that we are against war, extremism and violence. We want to resolve all problems peacefully, and peaceful life resumes where people sing songs,” said Dmitry Sanakoyev, the head of a rival pro-Georgian administration in South Ossetia.

The concert will be held in a new concert hall erected in Tamarasheni this year as part of reconstruction efforts in Georgian-controlled areas of South Ossetia.

A patchwork of ethnic Georgian and Ossetian settlements spread out in the mountains of northern Georgia, South Ossetia broke away from central control amid heavy fighting after the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse.

Sanakoyev’s administration controls mostly ethnic Georgian villages that account for about a third of South Ossetia’s estimated 60 000 people.

Violence continues to plague the area and sniper fire is common after nightfall. This summer saw some of the heaviest fighting in the region in years, with both sides accusing each other of launching mortar and grenade attacks. — AFP

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