South Ossetia profile
President: Leonid Tibilov
Leonid Tibilov, a former South Ossetian KGB head, was inaugurated in April 2012 after winning a re-run leadership election. The electoral commission said he won 54% of the vote.
The results of the original election - in November 2011 - were annulled after the Kremlin-backed candidate Anatoly Bibilov complained of alleged poll violations. His opposition rival, Alla Dzhioyeva, had been ahead in the vote count.
Ms Dzhioyeva was barred from the re-run, and her supporters held 10 days of protests.
After his election win, Mr Tibilov promised to build a "new and successful legitimate state" and vowed to try to heal old wounds in the region.
At his swearing-in, he promised to be faithful to South Ossetia's Russian backers and to tackle the alleged misuse of Moscow's aid money.
Tensions over the disbursement of Russian aid dogged Mr Tibilov's predecessor, Eduard Kokoity. Former members of his government accused him of corruption and sought early presidential elections.
As Mr Tibilov took office, local and Russian commentators predicted that he would face a major challenge in overcoming Mr Kokoity's legacy, with success depending on his ability to remove the former leader's associates from key posts.