What Makes Dialogue and Diplomacy Work or Not? Russia –Georgia and Russia – Ukraine
This chapter investigates the role of diplomatic efforts at conflict prevention and solution in the context of two gravest conflicts in the recent history of Europe – the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008, and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in 2014. The outbreak of open hostilities on the night of 7/8 August 2008 resulted in a full-scale military conflict between Georgia and Russia. In the case of the spring 2014 Ukrainian-Russian conflict, the most tense phase began on 1 March 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin won parliamentary approval to send Russian troops to Ukraine, and thousands of heavily armed ‘green men’ without insignia emerged in various locations in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. However, unlike the situation in Georgia, the outbreak of open hostilities and full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine was prevented in this case. That was due in part to the reluctance of Ukrainian decision makers to respond to the Russian invasion of the Crimea peninsula with military resistance, and partly to diplomatic pressure exerted on Russia by certain Western powers that saw Russia’s intervention as a grave violation of international law and the direct threat to the post-Cold War order in Europe.