Russia-Georgia War the High-Water Mark for Moscow’s Black Sea Resurgence

Russia-Georgia War the High-Water Mark for Moscow’s Black Sea Resurgence

Five years ago, Georgian forces crossed into the Moscow-backed separatist territory of South Ossetia, seeking to clamp down on attacks against ethnic Georgian villages along the de facto boundaries and re-establish authority over the breakaway region. Russia's response was swift: Its troops poured into South Ossetia, pushing out Georgia's overmatched military. When the guns were finally silenced after the short but fierce war, hundreds had been killed or wounded and tens of thousands of civilians were displaced.

Although the global community refused to follow Moscow's lead in recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Georgia’s other separatist province, the war nonetheless buried what little hopes remained for peaceful reconciliation between Tbilisi and the breakaway regions. And to many, the war seemed to mark the end of one era and the beginning of another. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Russian troops had invaded another state.

Moscow’s decision to unilaterally prosecute its objectives in Georgia, at Europe's edge, called into question the very fabric of the prevailing Euro-Atlantic security architecture, which enshrined a rules-based order underwritten and policed by NATO's unquestioned dominance. While a diplomatic blitz by Europe, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, seemed to save Georgia from a possibly worse fate, the peace deal's final tally underlined which side held the cards: Moscow won exceedingly favorable language in the six-point plan (.pdf), which it continues to contravene at will.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review