Georgia is a small country of 4-5 million people in a strategically important part of the world. They have not always been anti-Russian, both Georgia and Russia are Christian orthodox and on occasions Georgia has considered Russia to be their defender against neighbouring Muslim countries.
Georgia gained independence in 1918-1921 but then got absorbed into the USSR in 1922 as part of the Transcaucasus republic. Georgia became a union republic inside the Societ Union in 1936. They were not speared the terror of the Stalin Years but Stalin was a Georgian and thus had a hero status in Georgia. Under the USSR Georgia was one of the more prosperous places to live.
There were three regions: Ajaria, Abkhazia and south Ossetia. Some unrest in these areas that escalated after Gorbachev came to power.
Zviad Gamsakhurdia led Georgia to independence, he was elected in 1990 after demonstrations violently supressed by the soviet authorities in 1989.
1991: 99% voted for independence.
The Georgian economy collapsed after the fall of the soviet union and the country remains one of the poorest soviet successor states today.
1990's: Gamsakhordia wanted the autonomous republics integrated into Georgia but Abkhazia and south Ossetia declared their independence and conflict broke out.
- Russian groups helped the minority regions.
- 1992 an agreement of peace in south Ossetia between the Russians and Georgia was made.
Former Georgian leader and Gorbachevs foreign minister was elected president in 1995 and then in 2000. He concluded peace in the regions and tried to improve the economy by improving relations with the west. Forced to leave in 2003 because of failure and thus lack of support.
Mikhail Saakavili elected president in 2004 and with him Georgia turned West. Allied with the US and wanted membership in NATO. This was very bad news for Moscow.
Saakhavili succeeded in integrating Ajaria where most were Georgian and tried to force south Ossetia into Georgia in 2004 but they resisted with Russian help.
2008: Georgia attacks south Ossetia -> 5 day war, Russians drove Georgians out and furthered moved to destroy the military the US had helped them build up.
EU negotiated a peace agreement in 2008 and Putin and Medvedev recognised independence to south Ossetia and Abkharia.
GEORGIAN VIEW OF THE WAR:
Georgia acted to pre-empt the Russian military take over. And Russia was scared of Georgian advances and membership in NATO because they did not want to loose influence.
accepted Georgian view that Russia was aggressive. Their ultimate aim was to overthrow Saakashivili and prevent Georgia integrating with the west. Russia sought to rebuild the soviet Union and threatened peace in Europe. New Cold war.
Russia had the right to intervene to protect the civilian and their own peacekeepers. but Russia had acted in a provocative way before the war and their response to the Georgian attack was disproportionate. They also criticised outside powers most notable the US for building up Georgian military (provocative!)
DID RUSSIA WIN THE WAR?
Goergia is not a part of NATO or the EU and the two regions are independent. They had remained influence in the region.
However they lost the propaganda war and were perceived as aggressive.
Saakashvili voted out in 2013.
29% of south Ossetia are Georgian and 20% of Abkhazia is.