In a landmark verdict, the European Court of Human Rights has found Russia guilty of Human Rights violation in Georgia in 2008. In that light, let’s look at what happened there as well as several wars Russia has been engaged in with former Soviet territories.
Crux of the Matter
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently found Russia guilty of human rights violations during its 2008 war with Georgia. It was found guilty of civilian killings, property destruction, torturing prisoners of war, etc.
2008 Russia-Georgia War
All regions involved are former parts of the Soviet Union. Also, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are officially part of Georgia but consider themselves autonomous.
- 2006: Georgia publicly accused Russia of supporting the two regions’ separatism.
- August 2008: Georgia launched an attack on South Ossetian to “neutralize separatist positions”. The attack came after months of clashes between the two.
- Russia immediately launched an attack on Georgia – reached within 30km of Tbilisi (Georgian capital).
The war, lasting 5 days, saw more than being 228 Georgian civilians killed. In its report, the European Union (EU) also found Russia guilty of ‘long history of provocation‘ and ‘disproportionate reaction’.
Russia has been involved in conflicts with several nations previously being part of the Soviet Union. The major such wars are as follows.
First Chechnya War
Chechnya is a Muslim majority region, which declared independence from Russia after the Soviet breakdown.
- 1994: Chechens under Akhmad Kadyrov declared jihad (holy war) on Russia after it invaded Chechnya against separatist forces.
- 1996: Russia retreated, making Chechnya practically independent.
Second Chechnya War
- Islamic extremism increased in the region – Akhmad Kadyrov switched to the Russian side.
- 1999: Russia launched an attack after Chechen rebels allegedly killed 300+ people in bombing attacks inside Russia.
- Such guerilla attacks continued, but Russia eventually won in 2009 and gained control of Chechnya.
- February 2014: Pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown after pro-West protests broke in the nation.
- Russia soon annexed Crimea (belonging to Ukraine) – part of re-establishing authority and partly due to its expansionism.
- 13,000 people were killed, out of which 3,300 were civilians as per 2019 UN report.
Read about Russia’s relationship with Germany here.
- The Russo-Georgian War was regarded as the first European war of the 21st century. Since the war, Russia has occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of the ceasefire agreement of August 2008.
- The Rose Revolution was a change of power in Georgia in November 2003. The revolution was brought about by widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections and culminated in the ousting of President Eduard Shevardnadze, which marked the end of the Soviet era of leadership in the country.
- The Battle of Tskhinvali was a battle for the city of Tskhinvali, capital of the breakaway state of South Ossetia. It was the only major battle in the Russo-Georgian War.