The South Caucasus has traditionally been a playground of contesting empires. This region, on the edge of Europe, is associated in Western minds with ethnic conflict and geopolitical struggles in August 2008. Yet, another war broke out in this distant European periphery as Russia and Georgia clashed over the secessionist territory of South Ossetia. The war had global ramifications culminating in deepening tensions between Russia on the one hand, and Europe and the USA on the other. Speculation on the causes and consequences of the war focused on Great Power rivalries and a new Great Game, on oil pipeline routes, and Russian imperial aspirations.
This book takes a different tack which focuses on the domestic roots of the August 2008 war. Collectively the authors in this volume present a new multidimensional context for the war. They analyse historical relations between national minorities in the region, look at the link between democratic development, state-building, and war, and explore the role of leadership and public opinion. Digging beneath often simplistic geopolitical explanations, the authors give the national minorities and Georgians themselves, the voice that is often forgotten by Western analysts.
This book was based on a special issue of Central Asian Survey.
Table of Contents
1. Preface: Georgia on Everybody’s Mind: The Aftermath of War Ronald Suny 2. Introduction: Georgia's Domestic Front Stephen Jones The Colonial Context 3. ‘David and Goliath’ and ‘Georgians in the Kremlin’: A post-colonial perspective on conflict in post-Soviet Georgia Laurence Broers 4. Managing Ethnic Diversity in Georgia: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Jonathan Wheatley The Revolutionary State 5. The Dangers of Reform: State Building and National Minorities in Georgia Julie George 6. The August 2008 War in Georgia: From Ethnic Conflict to Border Wars Vicken Cheterian A Polarized Democracy 7. Compromising Democracy-State Building in Saakashvili’s Georgia Lincoln Mitchell 8. Saakashvili in the Public Eye Nana Sumbadze The Post-Revolutionary Economy 9. Georgia’s Economy: Post-revolutionary Development and Post-war Difficulties Vladimer Papava 10. Corruption and Organized Crime in Georgia before and after the ‘Rose Revolution’ Alexandre Kukhianidze An Alternative Perspective 11. The View from Abkhazia of South Ossetia Ablaze Paula Garb
Stephen Jones is a Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, USA. He has studied Georgian politics and society for 30 years and has written over 80 articles and chapters on Georgia and the South Caucasus. His recent book Socialism in Georgian Colors: The European Road to Social Democracy, 1883-1917, was published by Harvard University Press in 2005. He is currently working on a book, Georgia: A Political Life, 1991-2007, to be published by I.B.Tauris, London.