Russia and Georgia 2008-2018 – Escapism for the Sake of Peace?
The process of political transformation of Russian foreign policy—which can be described with the lofty metaphor “getting off the knees”—also means the development of a foreign policy “independent of the West.” This policy can be tracked through a series of conflicts in the post-Soviet space in which Russia either was one of the main active protagonists or had some other level of involvement.
In this sense, the conflict in Georgia was extremely important. According to many experts and researchers, this conflict became a turning point for a very serious transformation of Russia’s foreign policy. Jeffrey Mankoff argues that the armed conflict between Russian and Georgian armies, while short and relatively small in scale compared with other conflicts in the post-Soviet space, carries importance for at least two main reasons. First of all, the Western countries became “more reluctant to challenge Russia’s leading role in the post-Soviet space” (Mankoff 2011, 267). Secondly, Russia became “increasingly conscious of the limits of its power in the [CIS] region, as well as of the need to make itself a more attractive partner for its neighbors” (Mankoff 2011, 260-261).