When states act, they generally focus on their interests for their existence in political area. They have some goals and different actors are effective in their deciding processes. Deciding process of states change but generally remains in the same patterns in spite of different actors and places. Those deciding patterns contain states’ aims and interests. Russia is one of major country among the states. In this article, Russia’s goals and gains from the Georgian War in 2008 will be analyzed. Those analyzes cover the period from beginning of the war to its consequences.
Beginning of the War
War needs to be analyzed deeper according to both sides’ views. Of course there is much more in the background and it is more than a war. In that point, we could point that conflict between Georgia and Ossetia relations getting worse in 90’s. With falling of USSR, Georgia couldn’t profit by USSR’s economic and political union anymore. After 1991, Georgia was affected negatively from that situation as economic and political. The situation was getting intensified by the time. So, Ossetians lose their belief about improving Georgia’s situation. And also Ossetians, believed that politics were not enough in Georgia and they could solve the problems with their local politicians. Their belief got strengthened with nationalist and separatist feelings by the time. In 91’s last days those conflicts turned into hot clashes. In 1992 those clashes continued and then both sides Ossetians and Georgian administration decide to ceasefire and after ceasefire agreement signed a peace force which contains Russians, Ossetians and Georgians were located at the area.
After Rose Revolution in 2003, Mikheil Saakashvili became Georgia President. As a president, he immediately started to unite Georgia and take control of Abkhazia to keep the state as unitary. It was look like he needed to solve that problem in its internal affairs but he avoided Russia’s pressure and he also needed help to overcome that issue. So help means that the issue would not be internal anymore. And he tried to get help from NATO by applying, that action realized as threatening pace force contains Russian soldiers, and Tbilisi’s new approach to Ossetia didn’t get so good.
Russia changed its looking to Ossetia after Saakashvili’s move. Saakashvili’s western politics took Russia’s attraction more to Ossetia. Another hot clashes developed in 2004 summer and in Russia’s belief it was the time to decide whether to against Georgia or vice versa, because of Georgia’s western politics Russia chose to be against that politics and Russian National Parliament signed some treaties support Ossetian and Abkhazian freedom movements. Of course we could look from another point to that issue for Russia, we know Ossetians live in the Caucasus, speak Osetian and Russian as secondary language and their population is about 700.000; they are an ethnic group. South Ossetia is in Georgian borders, covered by Georgia from three sides and it has just one connection with Russia directly from its North. In this case, we need to point that area has natural resources like oil and gas. Those resources may be noted by Russia. Areas like that has natural resources always would be conflict material for the state has right to governance it and the others which is neighbor of that state and have transfer ways. That natural resources issue may contribute Russia’s attraction to that area.
7th of August in 2008, Georgia attacked Ossetia from ground and air. Georgia made that move because of Russia’s soldier forwarding to that area just before the August. So, Russia claimed that its citizens lived that region and its soldiers as peace force there were endangered because of Georgia and acted against Georgia strongly and immediately. Abkhazia joined that clash which is one of major among the others between the 7th-16th of August near Russia. In that situation Georgia withdrew its army from Ossetia lands but Russia was going on its forward in spite of Georgia’s withdraw till Sarkozy Plan of France signed on the 16th of August. In Sarkozy Plan frame, Russia also withdrew its army and recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia as freedom states but Russia is still going on its military workings in those countries.
Consequences: Goals versus Gains
Russia’s movement and aggression on that war could be explained with “Kill the chicken to scare the monkey”  as the simplest way, because that aggression also sends signals to Ukraine and other states. Russia has imposed its hegemony in each opportunity and influence the zone. Sarkozy Plan aimed to return both sides before their clashes, but there were no any articles about Russia’s peace force; so Russia army is still existed in Abkhazia and Ossetia. That means Russia is going on its affecting policies. Russia would open a debate to Kosovo’s situation by recognize Ossetia and Abkhazia as symbolic. In that way, Russia shows how to make annexation or independence with using IPC (International Penalty Court) by pointing Kosovo sample.
Cornell, Svante E. – Starr, S. Frederick, The Guns of August 2008 Russia’s War in Georgia, USA 2009, Ch. 2.- Ch.4.
Öztürk Ahmet, The Russian-Georgian Crisis: A local conflict and Its Global Repercussions, USAK (International Strategic Research Organization), 2009
Cohen, Ariel – Hamilton, Robert E., The Russian Military and the Georgia War: Lessons and Implications, SSI (Strategic Studies Instutes), June 2011, p.6.
Yapıcı, Utku, Gürcistan Savaşı: Öncesi ve Sonrası, Ankara Üniversitesi SBF Dergisi, 63-3
Cilt:1, Sayı:1, Güz 2009, Bilge Strateji, Çakmak, Cenap, South Ossetia Policy of Russia, Neo Self-Determination, and the Role of ICC
 For further information: Svante E. Cornell – S. Frederick Starr, The Guns of August 2008 Russia’s War in Georgia, Ch. 2.- Ch.4.
 Ahmet Öztürk, The Russian-Georgian Crisis: A local conflict and Its Global Repercussions, USAK (International Strategic Research Organization), 2009
 Ariel Cohen – Robert E. Hamilton, The Russian Military and the Georgia War: Lessons and Implications, SSI (Strategic Studies Instutes), June 2011, p.6.
 Utku Yapıcı, Gürcistan Savaşı: Öncesi ve Sonrası, Ankara Üniversitesi SBF Dergisi, 63-3
Cilt:1, Sayı:1, Güz 2009, Bilge Strateji, Cenap Çakmak, South Ossetia Policy of Russia, Neo Self-Determination, and the Role of ICC
Image is taken from http://henryjacksonsociety.org/2008/08/28/the-russo-georgian-war-and-its-implications-for-other-russian-neighbors-and-european-security/ address on January 8th, 2018