georgia2Jason E. Strakes, PhD
(Associate Researcher, Ilia State University, Georgia)

Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (www.rieas.gr) Publication date: 10 June 2015

In the years since the South Ossetia War of 8-13 August 2008, Western observers have produced much alarmist commentary regarding the imminent Russian threat to Georgia's continued existence as an independent state, and the imperative of greater Euro-Atlantic commitment to its deterrence.1 On one hand, this reflects the international public relations campaign launched by the former United National Movement (UNM) government to justify its unsuccessful strategy of reintegrating the disputed territories by force, which (in defiance of the 2009 EU Independent Fact Finding Mission Report) cast the conflict as a premeditated and expansionist gambit by Moscow.2 Yet, this narrative followed upon an existing unofficial domestic security doctrine during its incumbency from 2004-2012 that identified all major instances of organized political opposition or unrest as Kremlin-orchestrated actions, which both preceded and was reinforced by the five-day invasion.3 This essential credulity on the part of some U.S. and European representatives has encouraged the drawing of spurious associations between the August War and the Russian annexation of Crimea and involvement in the ensuing insurgency in the eastern oblasts of Ukraine since February 2014, in turn fueling the trope of entitlement to "shortcuts" to NATO membership among Georgian societal elites.4...Read more