It is not the day like any other today: on August 7, 2008, the regular Russian troops have entered the fray in what has been a tense escalation in and around South Ossetia, thus starting the Russo-Georgian war. The Kremlin was readying for this war for a long time, as David Batashvili, Georgian analyst (formerly Civil.ge man), argues in this paper. Since then, Abkhazia and Tkhinvali region/South Ossetia were recognized by Russia, which took further measures to place occupation forces in an aggressive posture and to attach the two regions closer and closer to itself.
Even before the day broke, dispatches of support started pouring in from Georgia’s friends and allies, the European Union, the United States, Norway, Latvia expressed support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and called upon Russia to fulfil its commitments and pull the troops back. Such calls, their authors know, fall on deaf ears. But they are a welcome reminder that the Western allies do not intend the bygones be bygones. There is also a note of bitterness since Georgia – which some thought was a blip – was very soon followed by Ukraine – first Crimea, then Donbas, which proved that Russia’s muscular actions formed very much of a trend. Bloodbath in Syria sealed that conclusion.
The Georgian officials – the Foreign Ministry, the President and PM – also said usual words, commemorating the fallen soldiers, pledging never to forget, hoping to restore what is possible of cross-boundary communications. Yet, objectively it is hard to see the way forward.
As President Salome Zurabishvili argued, the war’s aims were not reached, as Georgia continued its trajectory towards the West. That is largely true. How true, we will know very soon, as the October elections will show, whether the Georgian democracy digested its shock and came out stronger.
That’s full lid for today from us. It is a day of memory, and of few words.
The Daily Dispatch will be taking one week break until Monday, August 17. In the meantime, you will be receiving the daily news recap from Civil.ge