Two confiscated Georgian military banners were thrown down in the middle of the square, an apparent parallel to the 1945 Victory parade on Moscow's Red Square. The ceremony was followed by a parade of the region's military.
The event took place after the Georgian rebel republic was recognized as independent state by Russia on August 26 following a five-day war with Tbilisi, which attacked the region in a bid to bring it under central control on August 7.
"Today marks 18 years since the Republic of South Ossetia was proclaimed," South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity told a crowd on the square ahead of the parade. "For 18 years, the people of South Ossetia have been proving their right to an equal place among other nations."
Kokoity said the great day was overshadowed by sorrow for those who were killed in the recent Georgian offensive.
South Ossetia, then an autonomy within Soviet Georgia, proclaimed independence on September 20, 1990, when the Soviet Union was disintegrating. The region broke away from Georgia after a bloody armed conflict that followed.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.