More than two decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, the three-sided conflict involving breakaway Abkhazia, Georgia and Russia is far from a solution so all should concentrate on achievable goals, including intensified dialogue on basic security-related and humanitarian issues.
01 February 2016
International Criminal Court authorised investigation into alleged war crimes during 2008 Georgia-Russia war by Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian forces.
Whether the smooth transfer of power Georgia achieved after October’s bitter election sets a standard for democracy in its region depends on whether the new government can strengthen the independence and accountability of state institutions in what remains a fragile, even potentially explosive political climate.
On the third anniversary of their war over South Ossetia, talks between Georgia and Russia are needed to create positive momentum in a still unstable environment.
To ensure political stability and that there is no opportunity for Russia or others to manipulate local politics, Georgia needs to improve integration of its mostly Armenian-populated Javakheti region.
Georgia has maintained political and economic stability despite the shock of the 2008 war with Russia, but the government needs to use the two years before the next elections to create public trust in democratic institutions by engaging in meaningful dialogue with the opposition over further reforms.
All parties involved in the South Ossetia conflict should work to ensure freedom of movement and other basic cooperative mechanisms without status or other political preconditions, so as to reduce the risk of instability and meet basic local needs.
The historically coveted region of Abkhazia has become even more dependent on Moscow since Russia’s controversial recognition a year and a half ago.
Ten months after the “August war” between Georgia and Russia, violent incidents and the lack of an effective security regime in and around the conflict zones of South Ossetia and Abkhazia create a dangerous atmosphere in which extensive fighting could again erupt.
The situation in and around Georgia’s conflict areas remains unstable. Violent incidents are continuing. Shots were fired near a convoy carrying the Georgian and Polish presidents on 23 November. European Union (EU) monitors are being denied access to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Unambitious multi-party negotiations focusing on security and internally displaced person (IDP) return have gotten off to a slow start in Geneva. For the moment, however, domestic politics are the capital’s main preoccupation.
The Russia-Georgia conflict has transformed the contemporary geopolitical world, with large consequences for peace and security in Europe and beyond.
Georgia's Internally Displaced
12 April 2012: The 2008 war between Russia and Georgia drove thousands of ethnic Georgians from their homes in South Ossetia. Lawrence Sheets, South Caucasus Project Director for the International Crisis Group, and Medea Turashvili, Caucasus Analyst, analyze the challenges faced by Georgia's internally displaced and the prospects of a political reconciliation permitting their return.
War in Georgia
Crisis Group has produced a multimedia presentation on the August 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict, featuring an interview with Europe Program Director Sabine Freizer, a timeline of the crisis, and historical background.
Russia Must Withdraw Its Troops from Georgia
11 Aug 2008
The Need for an Immediate End to Hostilities in South Ossetia
8 Aug 2008
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