Participants in a round table discussion in Tbilisi put the blame on the Saakashvili regime for a series of actions that brought about the August war.
The roundtable discussion, called “August 2008 – the tragedy of Georgian statehood: causes and results,” took place days before the one-year anniversary of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict.
Notable Georgian scholars and journalists took part in the discussion, which produced a declaration on the events surrounding the war.
Listing various provocations made by Mikhail Saakashvili’s regime in the build up to the Five Day War, such as his defense minister’s declaration of intention to spend New Year’s Day 2007 in Tskhinval, the declaration also accused Saakashvili of ignoring the potentially dire consequences of military action that were evident to “all reasonable people.” Still, Saakashvili prepared the August events for years.
The declaration noted that Russia had traditionally considered the existence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states as non-expedient.
“Saakashvili ruled out any interest of Russia in the restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity” by “stubborn declaration” of irreversibility of Georgia’s NATO accession.
The whole August war itself, according to the discussion participants, served the interests of the US. The Americans tested Russia’s readiness to react to military intervention, while at the same time ridding Georgia from its conflict-ridden territories so it could continue its pursuit of NATO membership.
Another safe bet for the US was the conflict’s impact on both Russia’s and America’s image internationally. The US would look like a friend and defender of peace, while Russia would most likely to be considered the villain.
However, Georgian scientists justified Russia’s engagement into hostilities. According to them, had Russia refrained from engaging its forces in the conflict, the nations of the Northern Caucasus would have serious doubts about its ability to protect them. This would in turn lead to an array of separatist movements in the Northern Caucasus, which would have the potential to start not only a full-scale Caucasian war, but a new world war.
“In general, the consequences of the war are the following: hundreds killed, thousands left homeless and without any income, and Georgians have lost part of their homeland,” the declaration concluded.
The declaration also admitted that “the marcor in Georgian politics continues today,” calling on Georgia to reject its disastrous foreign policy course, stop “obeying blindly to the US” and restore relations with Russia by establishing a force able to win the trust of the Russian leadership.
Among those adopting the declaration were Tariel Gagnidze, head of Georgia’s non-governmental Historical Heritage organization; Temur Koridze, chairman of Historical Heritage’s public council; Irakly Todua, editor-in-chief of Georgia and the World weekly; Jimmy Jaliashvili, professor of political science; academic Elizbar Javaleridze; Shota Kvirtia, doctor of philosophy; Roland Jalagania, editor-in-chief of Ilori newspaper; Arno Khidirbegishvili, journalist and political scientist; Victor Tzaava, deputy head of the Center for Globalization Problems; Givi Gureshidze, professor of political science, and Anzor Danelia, publicist.