chapter  2
The Paradox of Living in Paradise: Georgia’s Descent into Chaos
Pages 18

The sequence of events that led to the Russia-Georgia war is a matter of political contention and shifting blame, even though there is broad agreement on the narrative of the subsequent combat per se. The Russians and their separatist allies in Abkhazia and South Ossetia prepared and executed a war which the Georgians did not predict or expect. The Russian were forced to employ undisciplined Ossetian militias as auxiliary infantry as the Georgian regular forces concentrated to defend Tbilisi. According to Gogava, President Saakashvili speaking as Commander-in-Chief gave the military three orders. First, to prevent all military vehicles from entering Georgia from Russia through the Roki tunnel; second, to suppress all positions that were attacking Georgian peacekeepers and Interior Ministry posts, or Georgian villages; and third, to protect the interests and security of the civilian population while implementing the orders. After the war in August, the Russian military staged its largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War.