Georgia after the august war : implications for EU engagement

15-10-2008

Overview This paper, commissioned in June 2008 for delivery in late August, was originally intended to focus on rehabilitation aid to the region of South Ossetia, and its impact on confidence building between the Georgian and Ossetian sides. However, after the 'August' war between Russia and Georgia, and Moscow's unilateral recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the context for aid and any international engagement in Georgia and its breakaway regions has been dramatically transformed, and the focus of this paper has been changed accordingly. The paper will analyze the implications of the recent war for Georgia. It will focus on the human costs, security, the domestic political fall-out, and the economic consequences. It will then specifically consider the impact on the conflict regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Where appropriate, it will recommend ways in which the EU can effectively engage. The final section reflects on achievements and challenges of aid to the breakaway regions prior to the conflict, and points to future possibilities. The paper draws on field research in Georgia, including South Ossetia, in July of this year and a number of interviews since August. Of course, to comprehensively address the current crisis in Georgia, the international community needs to reconsider its strategy on dealing with a resurgent Moscow whose policies are aimed at limiting the sovereign choices of its neighbors. Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the countries of ex-Soviet Central Asia have all experienced increased Russian pressure since the crisis in Georgia. But, while this context is important, this paper will not look at these issues in any depth, as an examination of the changed relationship between the EU and Russia is well beyond its scope.

Overview This paper, commissioned in June 2008 for delivery in late August, was originally intended to focus on rehabilitation aid to the region of South Ossetia, and its impact on confidence building between the Georgian and Ossetian sides. However, after the 'August' war between Russia and Georgia, and Moscow's unilateral recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the context for aid and any international engagement in Georgia and its breakaway regions has been dramatically transformed, and the focus of this paper has been changed accordingly. The paper will analyze the implications of the recent war for Georgia. It will focus on the human costs, security, the domestic political fall-out, and the economic consequences. It will then specifically consider the impact on the conflict regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Where appropriate, it will recommend ways in which the EU can effectively engage. The final section reflects on achievements and challenges of aid to the breakaway regions prior to the conflict, and points to future possibilities. The paper draws on field research in Georgia, including South Ossetia, in July of this year and a number of interviews since August. Of course, to comprehensively address the current crisis in Georgia, the international community needs to reconsider its strategy on dealing with a resurgent Moscow whose policies are aimed at limiting the sovereign choices of its neighbors. Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the countries of ex-Soviet Central Asia have all experienced increased Russian pressure since the crisis in Georgia. But, while this context is important, this paper will not look at these issues in any depth, as an examination of the changed relationship between the EU and Russia is well beyond its scope.