Today Russia released the findings of its probe into the August war with Georgia, with the head of the committee saying “we can say that we have witnessed the genocide of the Ossetian people.” Georgia’s actions in the war have been under repeated scrutiny since August, and last month Amnesty International accused them of “indiscriminate attacks” during the shelling of Tskhinvali which sparked the war and other organizations piling on with accusations of their own, including Georgia’s use of cluster bombs in populated areas.
But “genocides” aren’t what they used to be and the Russian government, which had previously claimed 2,100 civilians were killed in the war, lowered that number dramatically, concluding that the official civilian toll is 162. Also killed were 48 Russian soldiers and 215 Georgian soldiers. Georgia, as it has with previous allegations of war crimes, condemned their accusers, saying it was a “cynical lie” and part of a “Kremlin propaganda campaign.”
Since the brief war, an uneasy truce has prevailed, with Russia recognizing the independence of the breakaway enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the United States vowing to prevent international recognition of them while increasing their own ties with Georgia.