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  • Author: Graeme P. Herd, Daniel A. Flesch
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: On 7 August 2008, Georgia attacked Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia, with heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and ground troops in an attempt to take control of the breakaway republic, which contained bases of both Russian and OSCE peacekeepers. Russia, claiming to be acting under the mandate of peace enforcement, pushed Georgia out of both South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian republic, Abkhazia, and deep into Georgian territory. This created the potential for regime change, as the Russian Army appeared to be moving on Tbilisi with the intent of overthrowing Georgia's democratically elected government. On 8 August 2008, Russian military forces crossed the Georgian border into South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a successful effort to repulse Georgian troops. The immediate casus belli for Russia was genocide, with claims that “over two thousand” South Ossetians had been killed by Georgian troops, along with the shooting of ten Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, which necessitated a humanitarian and peace enforcement operation. The Russian advance included ground troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers, and air and sea operations, combined with coordinated kinetic and cyber attacks. Russian forces also crossed into Abkhazia in defense of their compatriots – 70 percent of the Abkhaz population of 220,000 are Russian passport holders, and 90 percent of the South Ossetian population of 70,000 are also Russian citizens.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Affairs, Population
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Georgia, South Ossetia