Russia Georgia Conflict
Russia Georgia Conflict
This research paper takes a keen look at the crisis that took place between Georgia and Russia that lead to war between them. It keenly examines the build up of the crisis between the two states. The tension between the two states had been caused by disagreement between them regarding matters of international importance. There were to separatist regions, Abkhazia and Ossetia, which had broken away from Georgia and were seeking recognition as independent states. Georgia, their mother country, objected this move and was struggling to win them back.
In fact, she, along with other Commonwealth International States, had even imposed sanctions on Abkhazia. However, the resilient states went on to seek assistance in their bid to be recognized as independent break away republics. They approached Russia, along with other nations too and international organizations. Initially, Russia had warned Georgia against joining the NATO. Georgia disregarded this move and went ahead to join. This made Russia to be in support the breakaway republics. Russia acted by first lifting the sanctions imposed by the Commonwealth of international States on Abkhazia.
She claimed that the sanctions were making life hard for the people of Georgia and also acting as an impediment to development. She also called upon other members of the Commonwealth International States to take the same action f lifting the sanctions. According to them, these sanctions were outdated and did more harm than good to the socio-economic development of the region. It also tries to look at whether there were any international agreements that had existed between the two states so as to identify whether the crisis was caused by a breach of agreement.
This will assist in exposing the party which could have acted in breach of the agreement or expectations. In doing this, the cause of the war between Russia and Georgia will be clear because a brief outlook into the events that preceded the war has been done. The paper has also looked at some of the after war events and the analysis of the whole crisis from different view points. The lessons which can be drawn fro the crisis so as to have a better way of approach to conflicts in the future also emerges from the keen analysis.
Attempts to have proper agreements between Russia and Georgia There were two break away regions which were Abkhazia and Ossetia. They had broken away from Georgia and were seeking recognition as independent states. They mostly sort assistance from Russia among other countries and international organizations. Russia had warned Georgia against joining the NATO, lest they, made recognition to Abkhazia and Ossetia as independent countries. Georgia went ahead to join NATO and this made Russia to make the first move of lifting the sanctions that had been imposed on the Abkhazia by the Commonwealth of Independent States.
A major conflict had arisen had arisen between Georgia and Russia because they had failed to come into an agreement about whether the two self proclaimed republics were to be recognized. The UN together with other Western countries intervened in this conflict and attempted to resolve the dispute in an amicable manner. Several sessions were convened all with an aim of striking an agreement between the two states but they ended up bearing no fruits. Another Non Governmental Organization that has majorly contributed to this topic is the Global Centre for the Responsibility to protect.
It evaluated the Russia Georgia crisis. According to its findings, the Russian government argued that its military operations in Georgia were conducted for humanitarian purposes. Russia’s president, Prime Minister and UN ambassador termed Georgia’s actions against populations in South Ossetia as genocide. The foreign minister also aired his views that Russia’s use of force was an exercise of its ability to protect. This was supported by what the constitution stipulated. It said that the president is obliged to protect the life and dignity of Russian citizens, mostly during times that involve armed conflict.
The most relevant states and their interests in the Russia- Georgia Conflict In the year 2008, there arose a big crisis between Russia and Georgia. Both states were had, for a long time been accusing each other of deploying their military troops near the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This led to Russia’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Independent States. The tensions escalated to levels that led to an outbreak of war between the two states. This left behind a lot of negative impacts.
Russian officials declared that Moscow should reshape its relations with self proclaimed republics, as a response to Kosovo’s declaration of independence. It was this move that led Russia to lift the Commonwealth of Independent States sanctions, declaring them the as outdated and hindering development in the region. This caused unjustified hardships for the people living in Abkhazia. Russia also requested other members of the Commonwealth of Independent states to follow suit. This was however met with protests from Tbilisi and little or no support from other member countries.
Russia continued to increase it involvement with breakaway republics in Georgia (Sterling-Folker). Abkhazia and Ossetia presented requests for recognition of their independence to Russia as well as to other international counterparts. This was because Russia had recognized Kosovo’s independence. A session was called by March 13 to discuss this issue of recognition of the republics in the Former Soviet Union. The foreign minister for Slovenia aired European Unions concerns about Russia bid to recognize Abkhazia. The External Relations Commissioner declared European Unions support for Georgia’s territorial integrity.
The committee that ad been appointed to see if there were any possibilities of recognizing the complaining states. It was on the April 16 that the Prime minister announced that that Russia was going to support some documents issued by the separatist authorities and cooperate with them and in other businesses. Russia had given a warning to Georgia that if they joined NATO, they would recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and supported the move by saying that The NATO referendum held in Georgia and did not include the breakaway states.
This was a move that could have been interpreted to mean that Georgia wished to go on alone. Direct relations between Russia and Abkhazia that involved transfer of Russian citizens into Abkhaz prisons raised a lot of concerns as it was done without authorization by the Russian government. The crisis graduated into the next level later in the month of April the same year when a Georgian unmanned unarmed aerial vehicle was shot down over Abkhaz. The separatist administration of Abkhaz admitted responsibility of shooting down the drone because it was violating Abkhaz airspace and breached ceasefire agreements.
However, Georgia’s defense ministry released a video that showed that it was indeed Russia who were responsible for shooting down the drone. Georgia requested the convening of a closed door UN Security council emergency session on the 24th of April, but failed to resolve the conflict, but other players such as the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany issued a joint statement expressing their concern over Russia’s recent moves in Abkhazia. They beseeched Moscow to reverse or not to implement the decision to legalize their operations with the two break away regions.
Russia’s representative to the United Nations brushed this demand by Western countries as a tall order and declared that Russia did not have even the slightest intentions to reverse its plans. Tension rose between the two countries and this led to military build up in Abkhazia. Russia accused Georgia of trying to exploit the NATO to solve the conflict in Abkhazia. Russia deployed more troops in Abkhazia claiming that they would be there on a peace mission. This caused the Georgian prime minister to say that he would treat any additional troops in Abkhazia as aggressors.
Georgian president pledged to pursue only a peaceful line in the conflict. He called upon Abkhazia and Ossetia to join their camp and thwart all plans to have bloodshed. The European Union also urged caution arguing that sending of more troops to the conflict area would be provocative. The United States also echoed the same sentiments. Russian Cossacks and North Caucasian volunteers declared their readiness to fight Georgia incase of a renewed confrontation in Abkhazia. This crisis continued to grow until August 7 2008 when a war broke between Georgia and Russia along with Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Georgia launched a large scale military offense against South Ossetia in a bid to reclaim the territory. Analysis of the topic from a realist/neorealist and liberal/neoliberal perspective Despite the fact that Russia had a great military victory over Georgia, it still remained one of the greatest losers in this big conflict. Here is a stringent analysis of this conflict from a liberal point of view. Ludwig von Mises, one of the most outspoken liberal thinkers has dealt with several topics one of the books he has written including war, peace and liberal foreign policy.
The book called Liberalismus was written in 1927 by this scholar. In developing his argument, he differentiates between three kinds of attitudes towards the use of violence as a political means. According to him, the first attitude refuses to consider military power an option for politics, because of philanthropic considerations. It is not encouraged by philanthropists for rulers not to wage war. This is regardless of whether they are going to win. This is definitely because of the suffering that it causes.
They consider it more morally superior to stick to peaceful means even though it means neglecting possible gains. Von mises refutes this argumentation as it only takes into consideration the sacrifices that have to be made, despite the many benefits of waging war. This liberalist argued that rational human beings cannot forgo prospective benefits for some abstract idealistic norms. Therefore, the philanthropic argument was considered as comparably weak. The second attitude towards the use of war can be found in militaristic arguments.
These ones do not dispute the huge sacrifices that are necessary since only the hardships of war provide incentives for human beings to accomplish extra-ordinate achievements. If war was to cease, humanity was to wither into limpness. This liberal view was however was rejected strongly by Von Mises. He argued that the source of progress cannot be found in war, but in peace. The progress of man can only be found in cooperation that enables men to specialize in their endeavors. This kind of specialization can occur only during times of peace since people do not.
Have the fear of being stripped off their property rights by the brute of violence. However there is war, people conduct entrepreneurship thereby foregoing the profits that would have been made. The war between Georgia and Russia sparked the exact repercussions liberal thinkers like Von Mises had predicted. Immediately after the war, Russia’s stock really went down. This was triggered by the turmoil at the financial markets. The Russian government argued that its military operations in Georgia in the year 2008 were primarily conducted for humanitarian purposes. Russia’s head of state Dmitry Medvedev, along with
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the UN Ambassador termed Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia as genocide. The president of Russia asserted that it was his constitutional obligation to protect the citizens from any outside attacks. He retaliated that his peacekeeping troops would remain in the war torn areas until the desirable results were achieved. Russian officials argued that the area which had been affected by the war was a place where Russians lived. This therefore left them with no obligation but to protect their own citizenry according to the constitution.
This invocation of responsibility to protect by the Russian officials both as a principal enshrined in the Russians constitution and a term that is well understood by the United Nations showed a moral force of the responsibility to protect as a new normative framework to address global concerns. The only risk that was possible was that some governments would misapply the norm and justify their unilateral actions unrelated to the protection of citizens from mass atrocities. This would highly threaten the security of the civilian because such heinous acts like genocides, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity would probably occur.
There were some views that said that the responsibility to protect as codified by the general assembly did not justify Russia’s military actions in Georgia. These were the reasons behind this view. The primary ground stated for intervention: it was beyond the scope of the responsibility to protect for Russia to intervene for their citizen who lived outside its boarders. The Foreign Affairs Minister for Russia downplayed the difference between responsibilities of a state to protect citizens inside its boarders and those responsibilities that the state should maintain to protect citizens who are abroad.
He seemed to have underplayed the responsibility of the international community to act through the United Nations after it has been realized that a state in whose boarders, the populations are found manifestly fails to protect them. No authority had been conferred on an individual country by the 2005 Outcome Document to take action on its own in a bid to protect citizens located outside its boarders. However, the exercise of military force by a state in order to guard its citizens has been traditionally been accepted as a measure of self defense. This has been so since 1945 under article 51 of the UN charter.
Therefore Russia’s actions could have been evaluated whether it had acted legitimately in self defense or if under the principals of the responsibility to protect as outline in the 2005 Outcome Document. The scale and intensity of the military operation was beyond the direct protection of the South Ossetia populations that were being purported to be under threat. According to the Global Center for responsibility to protect, any military action being conducted with an aim to protect populations from mass atrocity crimes would only be legitimate if it is tailored to ensure physical protection of that population.
The intervention by Russia was beyond the scope of that what would be needed to protect the physical security of the South Ossetia populations from mass atrocity crimes. There was no explicitly set forth requirement in the 2005 Outcome Document that an operation should be proportional to achieve the human protection goal. However, the international humanitarian law outlines that precautionary principals should be applied in order to ensure that claims of interventions being legitimate and solely aimed at protecting populations from mass atrocity crimes are genuine.
Its basic aim is to gauge the legitimacy of any military action that is supposedly aimed at protecting its citizens from mass atrocities. The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change together with Secretary General Kofi Annan in his larger freedom report to the 2005 World Summit all recommended that the Security Council all adopt precautionary principals so as to ensure that all military actions aimed at protecting citizens were genuine.
However, some of the parties present in the convention failed to agree on their inclusion in the 2005 Outcome Document. This however did not eliminate the relevance of this move especially when looked at from Russia Georgia crisis’ point of view. The Global Center believes that every military action should satisfy all parties involved before being implemented so as to be acceptable as legitimate under the responsibility to protect. It suggested that the following questions should be asked before taking action. * Does the threat qualify to meet the standards of mass atrocity ore genocide? Is the sole aim of the intervention to prevent or stop mass atrocities? * Would an alternative of peaceful measures be appropriate to ensure protection of the population at risk? * Is there any precaution that the action is proportional with a single purpose of halting or averting mass atrocity crimes? * In the end of it all, would the action result in more harm than good? In the absence of the UN Security Council approval, there is no legal authority for a responsibility to protect based military intervention.
According to the 2005 Outcome Document, any country or group of countries seeking to apply forceful means in the case of a responsibility to protect situation must take its actions through the Security Council. In the case of the Russia Georgia crisis, there was danger and risk of states, whether individually or in a coalition, interpreting global norms unilaterally and launching military action without Security Council authorization. Anther interested party to this crisis was the Human Rights Watch. It was deeply concerned about the use of indiscriminate weapons especially Grad and Uragan rockets during the conflict over South Ossetia.
It was reported that Human Rights watch in South Ossetia were eye witnesses to the moving of Russian Military trucks and rockets together with their launchers. Among the heavy artillery being moved by the Russian towards Georgia by the Russian army were the Uragans. The soldiers operating the machines told the human rights watch that the trucks were being transported to the Georgian boarder waiting for orders of strike. Later, on the 12th of August, Russian Television aired video images of Uragan Rockets that rained fire on the Kodori Gorge, an area of Abkhazia that was formerly being controlled by Georgia.
These were weapons of mass destruction. There were high explosive warheads and rockets that have a cluster munitions warheads that contain sub munitions. These weapons were designed to affect and destroy areas and not specific targets. If these weapons were used on highly populated areas, they are able to cause death and injury to dozens of civilians. Therefore, at all possible costs, they should not be used in areas occupied by civilians as their effects are tragic. The human rights watch learned that about 1500 people had been evacuated just hours before shelling started.
Efforts were made by the human rights watch to travel to South Ossetia to try and learn about the people who had been displaced by the conflict and the number of casualties. They also wanted to obtain information about humanitarian consequences of the fighting in south Ossetia. The same was to be done on the Georgian side of the conflict. Sources from south Ossetia tell that the Georgian airstrikes continued on August 11. T was reported that Georgian rockets had fired one of the villages in Java, but missed their target. However, two houses were estroyed and a child was wounded during the attack. A doctor from the Java hospital reported to the human rights watch that on the 9th of August, the hospital treated about 50 wounded people. What is the future of the Russia-Georgia conflict After the deep analysis of the Russia- Georgia conflict, we are left with numerous things to ponder about. This conflict triggered a war that amazed many in the modern world. Both countries wanted to have their way and each pushed for their demands to be met. This caused a friction that would end up blowing up nations.
This whole scenario must be used to warn the other states that may run onto a conflict against using the means of war in solving their differences. War leaves both states that are conflicting at a worse position than they formerly were. The country that portrays great military prowess might appear to have taken home the victory but in the real sense, this is not the case. The conflicting states suffer major economic meltdowns as no business transactions may be carried out normally when there is war. The stocks of the coutries go down on their knees. Conclusion The Russia –Georgia conflict was a very critical issue.
An agreement has not yet been reached to justify which state had the right over the other. Both of them claim that what they did was the correct thing. Some factors of neo realism show that Georgia’s weakness, balance of power, and security dilemma are portrayed by Neo realism theories. As an international relations theory, neo realism shoed that anarchy was the biggest problem during the Russia Georgia conflict. Still, Neo realism shows some other factors that added to the conflict such as Georgian. It also shows that weak states can be targets of bigger states as the have inadequate power.
Balance of power can be portrayed by the great power between the Russian federation and the USA. On the other hand, liberalism emphasizes the importance of freedom and protecting rights of minority groups. The two theories oppose each other. Liberalism is actually more optimistic than neo realism. As a result. In this case, we see that conflicts if not solved in an amicable way could result in dire consequences of not handle properly. Therefore, in these modern times states should improve their ways of handling conflicts. In this way, a lot of tragic happenings like what happened in Georgia and Russia would be avoided.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 January 2017
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