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Russia urges Tbilisi scrap validation plans for puppet govt.

MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has called on Georgia to abandon its plans to legitimize an "alternative" government in the breakaway province of South Ossetia, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Dmitry Sanakoyev, the winner of an "alternative" presidential election in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, was inaugurated in the conflict zone last December.

"The Russian Foreign Ministry is concerned by Tbilisi's current propaganda campaign around the so-called Dmitry Sanakoyev movement," the ministry said.

It said Russia has urged Georgia to "renounce these short-sighted plans and adopt a constructive position on the Georgia-Ossetia settlement."

South Ossetia held a presidential election, along with a referendum to reaffirm its independence, November 12. Georgia, which is seeking to regain control over the region, organized an alternative poll in local Georgian-populated villages on the same day.

Sanakoyev, a former prime minister of South Ossetia now regarded as a "defector" in the self-proclaimed republic, swore on South Ossetia's present Constitution, saying in two languages that he "would work to promote the interests of the Ossetian people and to ensure peace between Georgians and Ossetians."

The breakaway republic dismissed the "alternative" election as a "farce." The results of South Ossetia's election and plebiscite have not been recognized as legitimate, either by Georgia or by the West.

South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia following a bloody conflict that killed hundreds in 1991-1992. The pro-Western Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili has said it is determined to bring the breakaway region back under its control.

Although Tbilisi and Tskhinvali, the capitals of Georgia and South Ossetia, have maintained a truce, confrontations still occur in the region.

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