The 2008 Russia-Georgia War

Authored by: Bertil Nygren

Routledge Handbook of Russian Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815396710
eBook ISBN: 9781351181242
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter tells the briefest possible story of the short Russia-Georgia War of August 2008, from an initial intrastate war between Georgian and South Ossetian armed forces and militias over the jurisdiction of South Ossetia (judicially within the state of Georgia) to a full-blown international war between Russian and Georgian regular armed forces. Historically, the Caucasus region with its complex mix of languages, ethnicities and religions has in recent centuries been a security problem to neighbouring regional powers, Russia, Persia/Iran and Turkey. Russia has been both a security provider and a conqueror, and Russia gradually annexed the Georgian territory in the nineteenth century. After a short period of independence in 1918, Georgia was invaded by the Red Army in 1921, and in 1922, Georgia joined Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Transcaucasian Republic of the USSR, and again, in 1936, Georgia was transformed into one of the Soviet Republics with its present legally recognised borders.

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