Armed Conflict between Georgia and Russia

Case Studies of ‘EU Policies toward Peace Process

The post-conflict peacebuilding between two major ethnicities – Abkhazians and Ossetians – with central authority of Georgia has a long history that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. This research tries to address the dynamic of frozen conflict and an unstable ceasefire in Georgia, from the early 1990s when the conflicts erupted, till early 2019. The central claim of the research is that despite the long peace process, at first, mediated and arranged by the United Nations (UN) and Russia, and then negotiated and mediated since 2008 by the European Union (EU) and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), has not brought about any serious progress towards a peace settlement. Hence, a frozen hostility and potential conflict zone in the Caucasus still persists. 

The main aim of the research is to give a more up-to-date understanding of the Abkhazian, and South Ossetian conflicts which is called the ethnoterritorial-ethnopolitical conflict in Post-Soviet era and to explore how it plays in and influences the peace process. To explain the relatively stable frozen nature of the conflicts, the research focuses on the role of the protector state and the EU as the main mediator. By analyzing the process of peace settlements and particularly the errors made by international organizations and other external players, this research aims to then recommend new potential peace approaches to the conflict in this area.

Building a sustainable peace in the consequences of civil war and armed conflict is one of the biggest challenges and problems of academic literature about peacebuilding in Georgia. The post-conflict peacebuilding between two major ethnicities – the Abkhazians and the Ossetians – with the central authority of Georgia has a long history that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Two major armed conflicts that took place in the early 1990s and 2008 caused further insecurity, fragility, instability, and obstacles to development in the whole Caucasus region.

This article addresses the dynamic of this frozen conflict and an unstable ceasefire in Georgia, from the early 1990s when the conflicts erupted, until early 2019. Generally, the hostilities and tensions between ethnic groups in the Post-Soviet countries in the Caucasus resulted in violent conflicts after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2008, confronting a deep security conflict, the peacebuilders and external players – the European Union (EU) and Russia – have stepped up their involvement in these conflicts. According to literature, Russia has not been an accurate mediator in the process of peace, but one of the outstanding reasons for starting these conflicts and sustaining those in an unresolved tensions condition (Popescu, 2006; Trenin, 1998; Trenin, 2009). Therefore, the security remained brittle, with some of the ceasefire regime’s requirements unrealized, and there has been little rightful progress in the EU mediated negotiations. The central claim of the research is that despite the long peace process, it has not brought about any serious progress towards a peace settlement. This long process, first mediated and arranged by the United Nations (UN) and Russia, and then negotiated and mediated since 2008 by the European Union (EU) and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)[1]. Hence, a frozen hostility and potential conflict zone in the Caucasus still persists (Ciobanu, 2008; SWP, 2016; Hill, 2001; Popescu, 2009). 

The main aim of the research is to give a more up-to-date understanding of the Abkhazian, and the South Ossetian conflicts which we will call the ethnoterritorial and the ethnopolitical conflict in the Post-Soviet era and explore how it plays in and influences the peace process. These conflicts in Georgia show many communalities as frozen conflicts, such as ineffective peace resolution, the emergence of the separatist regions as de facto states[2], and the active role of a protector state namely Russia. To explain the relatively stable frozen nature of the conflicts, the research focuses on the role of the protector state and the EU as the main mediator. By analyzing the process of peace settlements and particularly the errors made by international organizations and other external players, this research aims to then recommend new potential peace approaches to the conflict in this area. This introduction briefly elaborates on the background of the research. Subsequently, it explains the choice of the focus of the final research as well as the case selection.


[1]. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections.

[2]. De facto state, De facto regime, self-proclaimed region – these concepts are used as synonyms and refer to a separatist region, which declared independence from a central government but has not gained international recognition, like Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

Main Article:

Click to access International%20Conference%20on%20Peace%20and%20Security%20in%20the%20South%20Caucasus%20%E2%80%93%20%20February%202020%20.pdf

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