I'm still confused as to what exactly happened, especially since the Wikipedia article isn't neutral and can't be fully trusted. Neither can second-hand information from my parents either.
They did raise a pretty good argument, though - with Russia as the primary energy supplier to Europe, what would the world do if Russia tried to take back succeeded satellite nations?
Yeah, Wikipedia is biased most of the times. But you can still dig some truthful information from that site. I'm a wikipedian myself (somebody who edits wikipedia on a regular basis), that's why I can assure you that if you will just read the whole article, you'll have at least the enough knowledge on why the hell this war is happening. Anyways, I felt writing a quite lengthy response for you, but this is far shorter than the wikipedia article. So if you feel reading it, just go:
During the USSR regime, we all know that Georgia is part of it. It's called Georgian SSR that time. Inside Georgian SSR is an autonomous region, the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. Autonomous oblasts are essentially independent from their mother republic. They have self-rule and are directly under the USSR national government, not the Georgian SSR government.
When USSR fell in 1990, Georgia declared independence. South Ossetia and another territory inside Georgia, Abkhazia, declared independence as well. However Georgia never acknowledged them, so as the other nations. South Ossetia and Abkhazia are officially recognized as Georgian territories by most countries.
However, Georgia was not able to act quickly regarding the declaration of independence of these two territories. Through the time, since 1990, South Ossetia and Abkhzia were able to beef up their military might and establish a strong political structure. They were able to form agencies that will heed to the call of their citizens. They are like independent states actually. They have Presidents or Prime Ministers, legislators and justices. Georgian troops and politicians can’t be found inside their territories. If it’s not for the fact that they are not recognized by most other countries, they could have been another two countries you should add everytime you count all the countries in the world. These type of “independent” Republics are called as de facto Republics.
It is also important to note that ethinic Georgians are a minority in these two de facto Republics. South Ossetia is largely consisted by Ossetains and Abkhzia, by Abkhazians. So some ethnic pride plays a role on why these two de facto Republics wanted independence.
Georgia, in my opinion, can be blamed for this actually. It didn’t act quickly when these two states declared independence. Perhaps because Georgia has just declared independence from USSR also by that time. Normally, if a territory declares independence or makes moves towards independence, the mother country should quickly organize an appropriate military response. That’s what my country, the Philippines, did in 1970s when some educated Muslims formed a rebel group in the southern part of our country. Though these guerillas still exist up to this day, they were not able to form any de facto Republic inside our country. (I’m not saying I support my government for this).
What happened now is that Georgia suddenly realized the thing it should have done 18 years ago. Georgia suddenly sent a large troop to quell the South Ossetian forces and regain control over their territories. About 1000-2000 civilian deaths were reported. Georgia never attacked Abkhazia, I don’t know why. But Abkhazia was suddenly involved when its troops fired on passing Georgian troops near its border. Most Ossetians fled to Russia. This is primarily because there are many ethnic Ossetians in Russian regions near South Ossetia.
It is during this time when Russia intervened. Russia accused Georgia of massacring its own citizens (South Ossetians are technically Georgian citizens). Some also pointed out that most of South Ossetians have Russian passports, so it means most of them are Russian citizens too. Apparently, Russia offered these passports to them with ease years ago. (There might be a confusion here. For Georgia, South Ossetians are Georgian citizens. For South Ossetians, they are South Ossetian citiezens. For Russia, most of South Ossetians are Russian citizens too. Though the South Ossetians accepted the Russian passports, this does not mean that they (South Ossetians) accept being Russian citizens. They accepted the passports probably to have ease with going across the Russian-South Ossetian border and to visit their relatives on the other side. There are many ethnic Ossetians in Russian provinces adjacent to South Ossetia as mentioned earlier.)
So for Russia, this war is also for protecting those who the Russians believe as Russian citizens too (the South Ossetians). But there’s something fishy here, argues some critics of Russia. It seems that Russia is slowly making a move to incorporate South Ossetia in its federation. First step of this move, give South Ossetians Russian passports. Second, make South Ossetians feel that Russia is a trusted ally. Third, bring an all-out war agiant South Ossetian’s nemesis, Georgia. And finally, offer South Ossetia to be part of their federation. This can be done through a plebiscite. If the no-vote wins, critics argue that Russia can still do more fishy things.
As of now, Russia is already targeting Georgian forces inside the territory of Georgia itself (outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia). More civilian deaths were reported. So now, AP forum members, you’ve got another idea on why humans are such a despicable species.[/hide]