In 2008, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale assault against a sovereign state—its immediate neighbor, Georgia. This incursion, systematically preceded by political and other provocations, was the violent climax of policies pursued by Russia against Georgia over many years. Rather than work to peacefully resolve the conflicts in Georgia, Russia systematically stoked them. Moscow interfered in Georgian politics, supplied separatist militias with arms, ignored its peacekeeping responsibilities, failed to prevent widespread ethnic cleansing of Georgians and, ultimately, sought to annex Georgian territories by means of military force. Russia’s main goals have been to annex Georgian territories, overthrow Georgia’s legitimate government, subvert Georgia’s independence, curtail Georgia’s sovereignty, and send a message to its neighbors and to the West that it is in control of what it calls its “sphere of privileged interest”.
To date,the Russian Federation has only partially achieved its aims: since August 2008, inalienable parts of Georgia – namely, Abkhazia and the South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region – now exist under a state of full-scale Russian military occupation (note, however, that these areas had previously been controlled by Russian military and law enforcement forces, disguised as “peacekeepers”).
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