By Alexey D Muraviev
Posted Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:06am AEST
Updated Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:39am AEST
On 12 August, President Dmitry Medvedev declared the end to Russian military operations in Georgia on the basis that they have accomplished set tasks: Georgian forces were pushed back from Southern Ossetia and their fighting capability was seriously curtailed. However, the end of the Russian counter-offensive will not halt the information war that carries on.
In his highly emotional article on the ongoing conflict in Southern Ossetia, Mr Grigol Ubiria was quick to identify Russia as the root cause of the problems in the south-eastern Caucasus and the world in general. The conflict over Southern Ossetia is a complex multi-layered phenomenon that requires a balanced analytical approach. To be able to get a comprehensive picture, apart from the viewpoints of the United States and Georgia, Russia's motives and strategic intentions have to be examined also.
Russia's claims about its traditional role in the area are based on the history of its engagement in regional affairs. The nation's influence over the Caucasus was established in the 18th century as a result of the nation's prolonged struggle with the Ottoman Empire. After yet another war with the Ottomans (1768-74), Russia secured the Crimean Peninsula, the Sea of Azov and further south along the Black Sea coast. In 1783, the Russian Empress Catherine II (the Great) and the ruler of two Georgian provinces (Kartly and Kakhetiya) Irakliy II signed the so-called Georgian Treaty, according to which Russia offered Eastern Georgia a status of a protectorate and guaranteed the safety of the local Orthodox Christian population against the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-91, the Russian protectorate was extended to the rest of Georgia.--MORE--