The true driver of Russia's foreign agenda is the domestic situation. The Russian ruling class has returned to a traditional matrix of power which cannot exist without spheres of influence, macho posturing and the search for an enemy. The war provides essential support for the status quo, a status quo which is destroying all modernising impulses. However, the reserves of power and legitimacy needed to maintain this matrix are not unlimited; at some point the elite will face a choice between reform and collapse. The war in Georgia has brought forward this new moment of truth.
This briefing note forms part of the series - 'Six Perspectives on the Georgia Conflict'.