Russia-Georgia Conflict in South Ossetia: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests Page: 4 of 41
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Russia-Georgia Conflict in South Ossetia:
Context and Implications for U.S. Interests
Most Recent Developments
Russian tax official Aslanbek Bulatsev was confirmed by the South Ossetian
legislature on October 22, 2008, as the region's new "prime minister." He pledged
to improve the regional economy to match that of Russia's North Ossetia region.
Bulatsev joins other Russian officials who have long held top posts in South Ossetia.1
On October 15, 2008, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried reiterated that
the April 2008 NATO summit had declared Georgia and Ukraine will one day be
members of the Alliance, and stressed that "it is our view that countries should have
a right to choose for themselves whether they want to be in NATO. And if they do
want to be in NATO then they have to meet NATO standards." He also suggested
that "NATO membership for these countries is years away...."2
On October 19, 2008, the Washington Post called for the United States and
Europe to cooperate to ensure that "Russian companies that invest in [South Ossetia
and Abkhazia] without obtaining the approval of the Georgian government can be
sued, sanctioned, and eventually prohibited from doing business in the West. The
territories should be placed under an international trusteeship while their future is
negotiated...." The newspaper also called for the Bush administration to insist that
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili carry out democratization pledges.3
An international donors' conference in Belgium on October 22, 2008, received
pledges of $4.5 billion in aid for rebuilding Georgia (see below).
Tensions in Georgia date back at least to the 1920s, when South Ossetia made
abortive attempts to declare its independence but ended up as an autonomous region
within Soviet Georgia after the Red Army conquered Georgia. In 1989, South
Ossetia lobbied for joining its territory with North Ossetia in Russia or for
1 Open Source Center. Central Eurasia: Daily Report (hereafter CEDR), October 23, 2008,
Doc. No. CEP-25001.
2 U.S. Department of State. Press Briefing at U.S. Mission Geneva [by] Daniel Fried,
Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, October 15, 2008.
3 "Where Georgia Stands: the Struggle to Ensure That Russia's Aggression Doesn't Succeed
Has Not Ended," The Washington Post, October 19, 2008.
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Russia-Georgia Conflict in South Ossetia: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests, report, October 24, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc807919/m1/4/: accessed January 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.