Briefing Note (part of the Perspectives on the Georgia Conflict series)

Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Culpability in this conflict is not equal, but it is shared. Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to respond with force to Russian-sponsored provocation was rash and ill-considered. Russia, which primed the mechanism for the August war, has succeeded in transforming the political and military landscape in the south Caucasus. The West, which also carries responsibility for its policy failures in the region, has given some indications of a more positive approach. The task ahead is to strengthen the security of Russia's neighbours, restore confidence, and create the conditions in which Russia starts to question the value of a foreign policy based on 'spheres of influence'.

This briefing note forms part of the series - 'Six Perspectives on the Georgia Conflict'.