chapter  32
11 Pages

The 2008 Russia-Georgia War

WithBertil Nygren

Historically, the Caucasus region with its complex mix of languages, ethnicities and religions has been a security problem to neighbouring regional powers, Russia, Persia/Iran and Turkey. A brief chronology of the rising tension between Russia and Georgia from the ‘Rose Revolution’ in December 2003 and up to the war is appropriate and necessary to understand the context of the 2008 war. Since April 2008, the situation in Abkhazia had also deteriorated. In May, Russia added about a thousand peacekeeping forces to Abkhazia, with tanks, artillery and air defence weapons, and the Russian Black Sea Fleet held several exercises. The Russian army troops performed well, despite the fact that some conscripts were added to the contract soldiers. International law is fairly clear on the right to go to war and the reasons why defensive war is accepted, but aggression against another state is not. Russia also learned some military lessons from the war.