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In the summer of , a conflict that appeared to have begun in the breakaway Georgian territory of South Ossetia rapidly escalated to become the most significant crisis in European security in a decade The implications of the Russian Georgian war will be understood differently depending on one s narrative of what transpired and perspective on the broader context This book is designed to present the facts about the events of Augustalong with comprehensive coverage of the background to those events It brings together a wealth of expertise on the South Caucasus and Russian foreign policy, with contributions by Russian, Georgian, European, and American experts on the region


10 thoughts on “The Guns of August 2008 (Studies of Central Asia and the Caucasus)

  1. Bill Tell Bill Tell says:

    A good and authoritaive all round analysis of Russo Georgian relations, the background to the 2008 war, the conflict itself and its aftermath It helpfully comprises chapters from a selection of quotable contributors.I read it after I had already completed my own in depth analysis for a MA dissertation and found it reliable on the bits I was familiar with, but I also learned plenty of new points as well The contributors all share the same Gerogia US EU persepctive so there is not a great deal of controversy between them and some of the central points do get repeated rather a lot There are justified criticisms of Saakashvili, the Bush admin and the EU but the main villain is Russia and Putin in particular throughout This bias is not the fault of the editors it s just that the Russian side have not yet made their material available for analysis.Thoroughly recommended as a reliable and quotable source on the topic.


  2. Philip Philip says:

    Not much to add to what previous reviewrs have written It is heavily biased towards Georgia, this is relevant Anyone wanting to know about that conflicct might be advised to find a objective view vof the conflict, if only to be in a position to appreciate pro Georgian or pro Russian biases in books such as this.


  3. Robert Hogenraad Robert Hogenraad says:

    Editors Cornell and Starr have produced a readable work that goes well beyond the legalistic jargon of diplomatic powwows, indeed avoids diplomatic niceties One theme recurs repeatedly in the volume, that is, that Russia had decided to wage war against Georgia well before August 2008, probably between September 1999 and June 2003 pp 40 50 That is well before Presidents Medvedev and Saakashvili were in charge In his chapter 4, Illarionov displays a table pp 77 80 , also available in Russian from his web site The table provides details of the 46 acts of aggression committed by Georgia or the Russian coalition Russia, Abkhazia and Ossetia from 2002 to 2008 Of these 46 acts of aggression, 45 could be imputed to the Russian side, and 1 to the Georgian side To the question who started first , Popjanevski, in her chapter 8, shows the Russian forces started to move through the Roki tunnel hours before Georgia attacked Tskhinvali She adds that Georgia, being on its own territory, had no need to justify itself about the international law And elsewhere, Nilsson underlines Georgia s long lasting effort to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to the question of separatists regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia In a compelling chapter 3, Goradze brings to mind this facet of Russian ideology according to which, being inassimilable to Western culture by essence, the former countries of the Soviet Union ought to remain together One wishes that Goradze would have given space to Russia s eurasianist ideology described in another work by Marl ne Laruelle in 2008 In part, the Cornell and Starr s work stops where another European Union report starts Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini and her team prepared this 1,122 page report for the European Union and presented it on September 30 2009 Under its officialese title Independent International Fact Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia lies in fact a legalistic bent I had the curiosity of counting the frequency of use of the word legal or illegal in the EU report I counted 24 instances in the 44 pages of part I of the report, and 381 ones in the 446 pages of part II I stopped counting for the 639 pages of part III The business of the Tagliavini report is much about international law This emphasis explains the focus on a facet of Russia s war in Georgia not considered in Cornell and Starr s book, that is, the humanitarian desolation of the thousands of Internally Displaced Persons after the war Here, the Tagliavini report puts blame on Russia than on Georgia for failing to respect the international laws about Internally Displaced Persons , not to mention Russia s repeated breaks of promises about its illegitimate occupation of parts of Georgia The work edited by Cornell and Starr is an excellent book for anyone interested in European affairs, or just in war and peace All the contributors are convincing because they provide vision and context to a war too many which the lack of vigilance and the inertia of the international community could not predict, much less prevent.


  4. Matthew Lerner Matthew Lerner says:

    A collection of essays from leading scholars related to the conflict, the book touches on how Russia launched their attack on Georgia in 2008 It is very much a one sided book that goes to great lengths to show Russia as the main culprit, while not touching on anything Georgia did While it is true Russia played a major role in starting the conflict, to excuse Georgia as they have here is to deny the fact that Saakashvili was also culpable, and that should not have been ignored However it is one of the only books on the war out there, and thus is an important piece of literature of anyone interested in looking at the conflict.


  5. Bernhard K. Bernhard K. says:

    Ein wirklich spannendes Buch ber den russisch georgischen Krieg in Georgien 2008 Nachdem man es durchgelesen hat versteht man den Konflikt in der Ukraine mit einem Male sehr viel besser Der kurze Krieg 2008 war eben nicht ein zuf lliges Ereignis, das dem Pr sidenten Georgiens un berlegt in den Sinn kam, sondern ein Vorfall, der sich durch fortgesetzte Interventionen Russlands ber 20 Jahre aufgebaut hat Die Parallelen zum Ukraine Konflikt sind un bersehbar Sehr empfehlenswert.Da jedes der Kapitel von einem anderen Autor geschrieben wurde, erh lt man nicht eines einzelnen, sondern viele Perspektiven, welche die Geschehnisse aus ihrem je eigenen Blickwinkel betrachten Nebenher erf hrt man jede Menge ber Georgien, wie es mit Russland verbunden war, dann die frisch gewonnene Unabh ngigkeit wieder an die Sowjetunion verlor, um endlich wieder unabh ngig zu werden Wer Russlands Politik im Kaukasus verstehen will, kommt um dieses Buch nicht herum.


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  8. L. T. Boydstun L. T. Boydstun says:

    I had to write a research paper on the Georgian Russia conflict and this book came in quite handy Generally speaking, there are not many books exclusively dealing with this subject available For academic articles the book read pretty easily The book could have made of an effort, in my opinion, to be objective No matter how one sided you think this conflict may or may not have been it would ve still been nice to hear information on both sides Overall, good book.


  9. Wallie Wallie says:

    The MSM have at the time of that little war just followed their birdbrain habit just repeated what the official Russian media wrote And they did not bother to research the historic events that preceeded the war in August 2008 One year has passed, the Russians did not fulfill their side of the bargain arranged by EU Sarkozy , but NATO turned the page and Hillary and Barry hit the reset button The authors of the book did their research and the book is a MUST READ for all who care about that part of the world and about political realities in general I wish people, especially those somehow professionally connected with things Russian would read this.


  10. A. Hartoka A. Hartoka says:

    I appreciate this work as a great result of great effort and thinking for sure But it collects ideas from only a single side, which I assume as the American Georgian side I do not think personally that Russia is a peacekeeper or real friend of the minority people around the region.I still hear, read and learn about Russia s efforts on exiling, killing of the people who were ancestors of today s minorities, but the book does not reflect the voice of the people who were victims of Georgian aggression and suffered much from violence, embargoes, etc Why the Abkhaz decided not to be together with Georgia, what were the given rights to these people with constitutions which were ignored by Georgian Soviet authorities Even on one article, Abkhaz people are regarded as poisonous pawns , which is unacceptable.Read this book to learn a brief history of the land, and also American Georgian point of view of the events If you re a somehow a part of Caucasian people like I am, it will hurt you as it did hurt me.