South Ossetia is a rebel provice of the Republic of Georgia recognized and supported by Russia as an independent state since 2008 but recognized by most countries in the world as part of the Republic of Georgia.
I heard that in the case of South Ossetia you cannot visit from Russia (North Ossetia) unless you are a citizen of a CIS country, and that you cannot visit from Georgia at all.
Is this still the case in November 2011? Can I visit as foreign tourist either from Georgia or Russia and if so what visas/permits/paperwork will I need? If I can visit from Russia but not from Georgia will I have trouble subsequently visiting Georgia with a South Ossetia passport stamp?
I'm not asking about whether any western country issues travel advisories asking me not to visit. I'm aware it's unstable to some degree or other. If there are documented killings or kidnappings of western tourists in the last year that may be relevant however.