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The Five-Day War

Managing Moscow After the Georgia Crisis

Courtesy Reuters

On August 8, as world leaders gathered in Beijing to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Russian tanks rolled across the border into Georgia. The night before, Georgian forces had responded to attacks by secessionists in South Ossetia, an ethnic enclave in northern Georgia, by pummeling civilian areas in the region's capital, Tskhinvali, and seeking to retake the territory by force. Moscow, which had supported the province's secessionist government for more than a decade, retaliated with a full-scale invasion, sending aircraft and armored columns into South Ossetia and targeting key military and transport centers inside Georgia proper. Russia also beefed up its military presence in Abkhazia, another secessionist province, in the northwestern corner of the country. Russian troops had been present in both enclaves as peacekeepers, deployed with Georgia's consent 15 years earlier. When the Georgian attack on South Ossetia killed Russian soldiers and threatened the fragile status quo, Moscow

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