On 8 August 2008, what started as a provoked assault by Georgia against the separatist regime of South Ossetia quickly developed into a short armed conflict between Russia and Georgia. The Georgians had miscalculated when they attacked South Ossetia`s capital, Tskhinvali, while Russia took the conflict to another level by bombing and invading Georgia proper. The five-day military conflict challenged the geopolitical setting of the Caucasus region. The complex and multifaceted nature of this conflict has important implications for regional and international power politics.
The decisive military move by Russia was the first of its kind, beyond Russian borders, since the Afghan war of the 1970`s and 1980`s. The war apparently served to restore Moscow`s control over the geopolitically crucial region of the South Caucasus, which is enormously important for Europe since it enables the transportation of Caspian oil to the West. However, it also raised critical questions over the tension between Russian identity and other ethnic groups living in the Caucasus region; nationalistic rhetoric within the domestic politics of Russia and Georgia; the role of the United States in the region where important allies are expecting NATO membership; and finally, the image of Russia as a resurgent Great Power.
This book discusses what motivated Russia and Georgia to believe that a war was necessary to meet their national interests and how critical was the influence of domestic politics in making those decisions? It also covers the history and geography of Georgia and analyses the military aspects, including cyber warfare, of the short war in great detail. (jacket)