Its been one year since a brief war between Georgia and Russia left South Ossetia and Abkhazia independent and the Georgian government’s ego bruised and battered. The shooting may have stopped, but indications are the resentment is as high as ever.
In a major speech in the city of Gori, which was briefly occupied by Russian forces during the war, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili publicly condemned Russia as “invaders” and vowed to defeat them “by getting closer and closer to the European Union.”
President Saakashvili accused Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of being “determined” to kill him, but the accusations didn’t end there. The Georgian government issued its official report, which blamed Russia for starting the war with a massive invasion, a case of dramatic historical revisionism considering the clash was only 12 months ago. A high profile Georgian blogger even accused Russia of being behind last week’s outages of Facebook and Twitter.
The resentment swings both ways, of course, and anti-Georgian sentiment in South Ossetia seems as high today as it did last year, when the Georgian military shelled South Ossetia’s capital of Tshkinvali. Even if the Saakashvili government manages to somehow expel Russia from the breakaway enclaves, that resentment is going to make ever reasserting its own control over the regions next to impossible.