Russia’s role in the official peace process in South Ossetia

Tomáš Hoch, Emil Souleimanov, Tomáš Baranec



The aim of this article is to analyse the role of Russia in the transformation of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and analyse this important period in the history of the Caucasus, where Georgia and its secessionist region of South Ossetia have been trying to find a peaceful solution to their post-war situation. Major milestones of the official peace process are set in the context of Russian-Georgian relations. We then proceed to the analysis of the internal changes within the Russian Federation at the turn of the millennium and try to find a connection between this internal transformation of Russia and the transformation of the conflict in South Ossetia. The most important factors behind the more assertive approach by the Russian Federation towards Georgia in the last decade are considered: internal centralisation of power and economic growth of the Russian Federation, the reinforcement of the importance of the South Caucasus as part of the geopolitical discourse within the Russian Federation, the deterioration in Russian-Georgian relations, and the suppression of the fear of the spill-over effect since the end of Second Chechen War.


South Ossetia; Russia; Georgia; de facto states; unrecognised states

Full Text:



Agreement on Principles of Settlement of the Georgian- Ossetian Conflict, available from: Annual Report 2000 on OSCE Activities, Vienna: OSCE Secretariat, 24. 11. 2000, available from:

Azar, E. and Burton, J., 1986: International Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Benediktov, I., 2004: Saakashvili vstupil na tropu vojny (Saakashvili entered on the road of war - in Russian). In: Izvestija, 12. 7. 2004.

CEDR 7.10.2005. Central Eurasia: Daily Report, CEDR, Oct 7, Doc. No. CEP- 15001.

Clinton, W., 1998: A national security strategy for a new century, Washington, DC: The White House, available from: Civil Georgia 30.1.2003. Nino Burjanadze: Normalization with Russia Number One Priority, available from:

Civil Georgia 17. 8. 2004. Government Comes under Fire from Opposition over South Ossetia, available from:

Civil Georgia 21.9.2005. Peace Process Endangered as Civilians Shelled in S. Ossetia, available from:

Civil Georgia 12. 8. 2008. Russia Endorses Six-Point Plan, available from:

Cooper, W.H., 2009: Russia’s Economic Performance and Policies and Their Implications for the United States, CRS Report Service.

Coppieters, B., Kovziridze, T., and Leonardy, U., 2003: Federalization of Foreign Relations: Discussing Alternatives for the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict, Caspian Studies Program, Working Paper 2.

Cornell, S., 2001: Small nations and Great powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus, London: Courzon Press.

Davidson, W. and Montville, J., 1981: Foreign policy according to Freud. In: Foreign Policy, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 145-157.

Demetriou S., 2002: Politics From The Barrel of a Gun: Small Arms Proliferation and Conflict in the Republic of Georgia (1989-2001). In: Small Arms Survey Occasional Paper No.6, pp. 9-10, available from: http://

Devdariani, J., 2005: Georgia and Russia: the troubled road to accommodation. In: Coppieters, B. and Legvold, R. editors, Statehood and security: Georgia after the Rose revolution, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Dzutsev, V., 2012: Moscow Strives to Diminish Its Foreign Protectorates to the Level of the Russian Regions, In: Eurasia Daily Monitor 23.3.2012.

Echo of Moscow 20.7.2006 (Echo Moskvy - in Russian), Interviju s gostem radiostancii Echo Moskvy S. Lavrovem (Interview with the guest of radio station “Echo of Moscow” - S. Lavrov), available from: 1.6.2004. Georgia uses carrot and stick approach with South Ossetia, available from: http:// Expert 4.4.2005, Interview with Dmitry Medvedev, available from: Fall, S.B., 2006: Conflict in the South Caucasus. In: Asian Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 198-209.

Galtung, J., 1996: Peace By Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization, London: Sage Publications.

Georgian Law on Occupied Territories, available from:

Georgia Times 21.10.2011, Russia reduces financial assistance to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, available from:

Georgia Times 23.7.2012, Ossetian Opposition has Forgotten its Heroes? available from:

Government of Georgia (2008): Interview with Heidi Tagliavini, available from:

Gruska, U., 2005: Separatismus in Georgien. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen friedlicher Konfliktregelung am Beispiel Abchasien (Separatism in Georgia. Possibilities and limits of peaceful conflict resolution in Abkhazia - in German), working paper No. 1., University of Hamburg - IPW, 38.

Hoch, T., 2010: The Limits of Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation in War-torn Separatist Regions: A Case Study of Abkhazia. In: Beyond Globalisation: Exploring the Limits of Globalisation in the Regional Context. Ostrava: University of Ostrava, pp. 139-145.

Hoch, T., 2011: EU Strategy towards Post-Soviet De Facto States. In: Contemporary European Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 69-85.

ICG Europe Report No. 159. Georgia: Avoiding War in South Ossetia. 26 November 2004, available from:

ICG Europe Report No. 205. South Ossetia: The Burden of Recognition. 7. June 2010, available from:

Kleveman, L., 2003: The New Great Game, New York: Grove Press.

Kolossov, M. and O’Loughlin, J., 1998: Pseudo-states as harbingers of a post-modern geopolitics : The Example of the Trans-Dniester Moldovan Republic. In: Newman, D. editor, Boundaries, Territory and Postmodernity, London: Frank Cass, pp. 151-176.

Kolossov, V. and O’Loughlin, J., 2011: After the Wars in the South Caucasus State of Georgia: Economic Insecurities and Migration in the ‘De Facto’ States of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In: Eurasian Geography and Economics, Vol. 52, No. 5, pp. 631-654. DOI: 10.2747/1539-7216.52.5.1 DOI:

Kolsto, P., 2006: The Sustainability and Future of Unrecognized Quasi-States. In: Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 43, No. 6, pp. 723-740. DOI: 10.1177/00223433060681 DOI:

Kopeček, V., 2010: Russian geopolitical perceptions and imaginations of the South Caucasus. In: Mácha, P. and Kopeček, V. editors, Beyond Globalisation: Exploring the Limits of Globalisation in the Regional Context, Ostrava: University of Ostrava, pp. 99-105.

Lough, J., 1993: Defining Russia’s relations with neighbouring states, RFE Research Report.

Lynch, D., 2006: Why Georgia Matters, Paris: EU Institute for Security Studies.

Malcolm N. and Pravda A., 1996: Democratization and Russian Foreign Policy. In: International Affairs, Vol. 72, No.3, available from:

New York Times 12.9.2002. Putin Warns Georgia to Root Out Chechen Rebels Within Its Borders or Face Attacks, available from:, 31. 7. 2004. Mid RF vystupil protiv predlozheniju rozshirit mandat misii OBSE v Gruzii (Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the proposal to extend the mandate of the OSCE Mission in Georgia - in Russian), available from:

Nichol, J., 2008: Russia-Georgia Conflict in South Ossetia: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests, Washington D.C.: Congressional research service.

Norling N., 2007: Gazprom’s Monopoly and Nabucco’s Potentials: Strategic Decesions for Europe, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program SAIS.

Pegg, S., 1998: International Society and the De Facto State, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Popescu, N., 2006: Outsourcing de facto statehood, CEPS Policy Brief No. 109.

Putin, V., Annual address to the Federal Assembly, 25 April 2005, Moscow, available from:

Putin, V., Annual address to the Federal Assembly, 26 May 2004, Moscow, available from: 20.9.2005. Fotoreportazh s prazdnestv, posvjascennych dniu nezavisimosti Juzhnoy Osetii (Photo report from a celebrations of the Day of the independence of South Ossetia - in Russian), available from: 13.11.2006. Za nezavisimost Juzhnoy Osetii -99%. (For the independence of South Ossetia - 99% - in Russian), available from:

Reimann, C., 2005: Assessing the State-of-the-Art in Conflict Management: Reflections from a Theoretical Perspective, Berlin: Berghof Research Centre for Constructive Conflict Management.

Ria Novosti 11.7.2004. South Ossetia: any incident to get violence under control, warns Lavrov, available from:

Roeder, P., 1997: From hierarchy to hegemony: the post- Soviet security complex. In: Lake, D. and Morgan, P. editors, Regional orders: building security in a new world, University Park: Penn State Press.

Socor, V., 2002: The Russia squeeze on Georgia. In: Russia and Eurasia Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 6-8.

Socor, V., 2006: Georgian Parliament Calls for Replacing Russian Peacekeepers with International Police Contingent. In: Eurasia Daily Monitor 20.7.2006.

South Ossetian Joint Control Commission Official Site, 1996: Memorandum o merakh po obespecheniyu bezopasnosti i ukrepleniyu vzaimnogo doveriya mezhdu storonami gruzino-osetinskogo konflikta (Memorandum on Measures to Guarantee Security and strengthen mutual trust between the parties in the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict - in Russian), May 16, 1996, available from:

Stake, R.E., 1995: The Art of case study research, London: Sage.

The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation 2000: Federation of American Scientists (FAS), available from:

The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation 2008: President of Russia official web portal, available from:

Tsiklauri, M., 2012: Two Journalists and One Human Rights Defender in Vladikavkaz Penitentiary, Media. ge 16. 1. 2012, available from:

Print ISSN: 1732-4254
Online ISSN: 2083-8298

Partnerzy platformy czasopism