A year later and there is still no clear winner from the Georgia-Russia war

August 7, 2009

The debate still rages over which side came out of the August 7-12, 2008 war better.

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.

Click for more stories on the Georgia-Russia 2008 war from Reuters AlertNet.


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It isn’t really a mystery who won.

For many years, Russia had supported these two areas. It provided arms, soldiers and resources. The governments in these regions are Russian friendly, and many positions are actually held by Russians.

Georgia attempted to regain control of it’s territory. And Russia responded with military force. What has happened over several years has concluded with an annexation. Russia is using military force to interfere with Georgian territory.

The issue of the war itself is moot. Russia says Georgia started it. Georgia says Russia provoked it. But territorial integrity is the main issue here.

The Russian argument is as follows:
“Because Georgia attempted to take those regions from our control, it has hence lost it’s territorial claim to those regions”

Or to put Russia’s argument in simple words:
“Because you tried to take back something we took from you, you have lost the right to have it”.

And there is little the UN security council can do to stop it. Even though less then a handful of nations support Russia’s actions, even among it’s own allies.

The good news is that this is a sobering call for the Western world. Russia is a good neighbour, as long as it always gets what it wants. It is a trading partner, but no friend. In issues such as Europe, Iran and North Korea, Russia is proving that it is no ally of the West.

Of course, the only way to deal with this is economic. Europe needs to quickly find alternative sources of energy. Once Russia is no longer a supplier to the EU, it will lose it’s remaining clout very quickly.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

This article is interested to read,listen and watch for foreign experts on war and sudden conflict matters
yes,nobody had won this conflict.
As long as Russia is in rich energy producer,supplier to western nations and no alternative mass energy availability,Other nations can simply cry here and there for some public attentions to America,France and to England.
I thought that,once Soviet Union was separated by itself,Russia will be a laughing stock to Super power.
But that is not happening now.

Posted by krishnamurthi ramachandran | Report as abusive