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Remembering the August War

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 6
Two years have passed since the tragic events of August 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia, radically changing the situation not only in Georgia, but also in global politics. Much has been already written about this war, however many questions are still not answered. There remain controversies over the reasons for the war, the outcome and the results.

Russia persistently wants to promote its version of the war – that it defended the Abkhazs and Ossetians from “Georgian Aggression” even though the version has lost credibility during the last two years. There were no traces of Ossetian genocide as Moscow claimed; on the contrary tens of thousands of Georgians were kicked out from their original homes. It was recognised internationally that there was ethnic cleansing of Georgians. The only true thing claimed by the Russians was the Georgians opening fire at Tskhinvali.

This attack on Tskhinvali is the most controversial act conducted by Georgians. Indeed, there was no need for it. Georgian forces moved toward Tskhinvali instead of moving towards the Rocki tunnel, thus blocking the Russian military advance to Georgia.

The Tagliavini Fact Finding Commission confirmed this fact though it did not state that the war was started by Georgians – that is just Russia's interpretation of the text. The war started long before, when the Russians illegally introduced their passports in the regions as well as arms, ammunition and mercenaries. However, the decision of the Georgian leadership to try to capture Tskhinvali seemed an erroneous political decision.

The Georgian leadership has still managed to survive, though it is not very happy about remembering the war and its results – the deaths and injuries of soldiers and civilians, IDPs, lost arms, destroyed infrastructure and finally two lost territories. The Georgian leadership took responsibility, though even now we still cannot comprehend what this means. The Minister of Defense was fired as well as the Ministers of Culture and Education. The Opposition and the population are still curious as to what responsibility means. What are the answers and who should answer?

Despite the Russians' hopes that the Georgian leadership would change, their plans failed and the ruling administration is still in place. Russian leaders refused to negotiate with Saakashvili and his team instead the Russians speak with opposition. This gives the Georgian ruling administration strong grounds to accuse the opposition of pro-Russian sentiments.

As a result of all this it has become clear that Saakashvili and his team will end their terms peacefully. Moreover it has become apparent that Saakashvili will likely become Prime Minister, at least it seems things are heading this way – the Constitution is being amended accordingly.

The Opposition thinks that since the Kremlin does not want to negotiate with Saakashvili he might lose Western support. However nothing is clear.

The results of August war still influence the situation in Georgia, both economically and politically. Many more questions still need to be answered.