Posts Tagged ‘russia’

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The Georgian-Russian Conflict

2008 August 14

One of the big news items in this last week has been the conflict between Russia and Georgia. But what is the background to the conflict?

The fighting erupted over the status of two Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both regions have majority populations favourable to independence. In the war of 1992-3, more than 250,000 ethnic Georgians were “ethnically cleansed” from Abkhazia. The Abkhaz separatists were aided by North Caucasian volunteers, including Chechens. More than 25,000 Georgians were expelled from Tskhinvali in South Ossetia. At the same time many Ossetian families were expelled from Borjomi to Russia. In effect, both South Ossetia and Abkhazia are independent of Georgia. Though their independence has no international recognition.

Since the Russian operations against Georgia, hundreds of civilians are reported to have been killed and tens of thousands displaced. It is still unclear who broke the ceasefire between Georgia and South Ossetian separatists on the 8th August that began the crisis. Leaders have criticised Russia for over-reacting in its attack, as well as Georgia of being foolish in their shelling of Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia.

I have researched the conflict and the history behind it. I include this below. Just click on the “continue reading” link. I include a list of sources at the end.

Whether Russia’s claimed intentions of protecting South Ossetian and Abkhazi civilians is genuine or not is debatable. Even if true, Russia does appear to have left itself open to accusations. These accusations are that its aims are to bully Georgia and the Ukraine into withdrawing NATO membership applications. Whatever their aims, they have risked relations with the West.

Avaaz has organised a petition for a Georgian ceasefire: http://www.avaaz.org/en/georgia_ceasefire_now

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