Beyond the World news headlines
A year later and there is still no clear winner from the Georgia-Russia war
It’s true that Russia crushed Georgia’s army when it stepped in to help South Ossetian rebels but its forceful reaction to the Georgian attempt to retake rebel held areas scared its European partners and isolated the country. Only Nicaragua followed Moscow and recognised both South Ossetia and another breakaway region Abkhazia as independent states after the war.
And despite an overwhelming military victory, the war also showed up technological and organisational deficiencies in Russia’s army.
For Georgia, the unsuccessful war dented its reputation as a reliable and steady ally for the West in the notoriously unstable South Caucasus. It also slowed President Mikheil Saakashvili’s NATO ambitions and undermined his popularity at home.
Both countries present starkly different versions of the war and who started it. A commission headed by a Swiss diplomat hopes to provide some answers later this year.
In the meantime the peace remains fragile, an estimated 30,000 displaced Georgians still live in temporary accommodation and relatives of those killed — Georgians, South Ossetians and Russians — will mark the anniversary.