The Russo-Georgian War began on August 8th 2008 with formal hostilities ending on August 23rd. The invasion by Russia was ordered after it was discovered the assassins of Russian First Lady Anya Riosovska were discovered to be Georgian nationals of an extremist group of ultranationalists.
At first President Riosovsky demanded that Georgia extradite the men to be tried for the murder of his wife. Yet the Georgian government refused, citing that there was no evidence to suggest that they had formalily or informalily supported the assassins. After months of back and forth dialog Riosovsky grew impatient and began plans for a fullscale invasion of Georgia to both punish them for their unwillingness to cooperate and to find those responsible for orchestrating his wife’s murder.
The War Begins
On the morning of August 7th, the Russian Embassy in Tiblisi was ordered by the Foreign Ministry to destroy all sensitive documents and to depart with all personel with Russian citizenship to the Georgian separatists region of Abkhazia for rendezvous. The action drew widespread international attention, for NATO feared war would soon begin between the two states. In Moscow at the stroke of midnight, Riosovsky proclaimed to the world that “the unwillingness of Georgia to cooperate with our motherland can only be met with one solution, it is our sacred duty to dispose this Western puppet state and ensure the safety of the Russian people”. As he gave his speech, the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which had recently departed Sevastopol fired hundreds of ballistic missiles into Georgia while airstrikes and artillery bombardments began.
At seven in the morning after an intense nearly six hour bombardment, over 50,000 Russian soldiers poured across the border, over 3,000 South Osesstian and 4,000 Abkhazian troops supported them. The weary and unprepared Georgian armed forces were no much for the mammoth invasion. Russian submarines of the Baltic Fleet under the command of President Riosovskys brother had destroyed the entirety of what few ships Georgia possessed. In the air the Georgian Air Force was outmatched 20 to 1, the Russian pilots had the combat experience of Checnya and Uzbekistan under their wings while very few Georgian pilots had ever seen combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.
On the ground was where the situation was the worst, the Georgian units were overwhelmed by the sheer number of Russian soldiers, armored vehicles and tanks on the field. Many either were killed or surrendered without fighting at all. Terrified civiians desparete to escape swamped the border crossings of neighboring Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, though some found themselves caught in the crossfire.
The Russian forces enjoyed a series of quickly win victories with their forward units coming within ten miles of Tblisi on the first day. It did not come without consequences however, as over 200 paratroopers were killed by Georgian artillery fire as they met up with South Ossestian troops near the city of Gori. Enraged by this loss of his soldiers lives President Riosovsky ordered that Gori be reduced to rubble. After an eight hour bombardment by land, air and sea the city of Gori lay in tatters, over sixty percent of the city had been damaged by the bombing, with over 500 civilians now dead as a result.
The War Drags On
The international response was tremendous. NATO declared a state of alert while the United Nations met in emergency session. Being a permenant member of the Security Council, Russia was not as easy to deal with in the UN as any other nation, all resolutions voted on condemning the invasion were vetoed by Russia which left them useless and null. They simply asserted that Georgia was providing sanctuary for wanted terrorists and they had refused to allow them to be handed over diplomatically. The Georgian ambassador detested this, comparing Russias aggressive actions to those of Germanys invasion of Poland and later the Soviet Union during World War Two.
By August 15th the Russians had gained control of over seventy percent of the country. Even after the bombing the troops in Gori refused to surrender, resulting in street by street fighting in the city which damaged it further. Meanwhile the Russians faced heavy resistance around Tiblisi which resulted in them losing over twenty tanks in a five hour span. The Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili refused to leave the capital unless he had to. He appealed to the international community to assist his country in the face of the invasion, yet Russias veto power in the UN prevented any action by the rest of the world.
On August 18th the Russian forces began an encirclement of Tbilisi. President Saakashvili was now almost trapped in the capital, shortly before the encirclement was complete he and many government officials were smuggled out on civilian transports to villages on the southeast of the country. On August 20th the Georgian garrison in Gori collapsed and surrendered to the Russian and South Ossestian forces, in the coastal city of Poti however the Georgian troops fought the marines of the Russian Black Sea Fleet to the end, with the commander himself dying in combat. On the same day the Russians began to push into Tiblisi after intense airstrikes on Georgian positions.
The city fell after a heavy battle lasting into the next day. Now Russia controlled over ninety percent of the country.
With little choice facing himself and his government President Saakashvili did what he regretted the most. On August 22nd, the Georgian Foreign Minister relayed a message to Moscow through their embassy in Kiev for a ceasefire. When presented with the message Riosovsky nearly contemplated rejecting it in favor of destroying the Georgians altogether, yet his Foreign Minister advised agreeing to the ceasefire would play better on the international stage. Seeing the advantage of that Riosovsky agreed to the ceasefire, it was to begin at midnight the next day.
On August 23rd the Russians sweep through the occupied regions for any straggling Georgian soldiers and succeeded in either arresting or killing hundreds of others while gaining as much ground as possible. By now they had pushed the Georgians to within five miles of the Turkish border in some areas, while the southeast of the country was the last stronghold. At midnight, after nearly 15,000 dead on both sides the guns fell silent, now the war was over.
President Saakashvili was forced to meet with the Russian Foreign Minster the next day outside Tbilisi to finalize the armistace. Though it stated that Russia would occupy the country until the President saw fit to withdraw, but Saakashvili would not be harmed and would be allowed to serve as provisional governor of the country until the conclusion of the occupation. Saakashvili refused and handed the task to his Prime Minister then signed the documents, after which he fled to Ukraine in shame.
In Russia massive celebrations were held to celebrate the armistace and to commentate the heroes of the war, Riosovsky declared that his government would not stop until the terrorists were found and brought to trial. Though at the same time the task of disarming the defeated GeorgIan’s began, with the FSB and SBOR starting their own operations.
Under the occupation the Russian government allowed international aid to enter occupied Georgia. They also allowed for international workers to begin repairing the infrastructure of the country, though in some places it was so heavily damaged it was demolished.
By mid-2009 the terrorists had been caught and tortured to death per Riosovskys orders. Though he wasn’t finished in humiliating the defeated Georgians and pledged to the West that the occupation would only last two more years at maximum. Western leaders were suspicious of this, given that while there had not been any large scale armed resistance against the occupation they were weary of provoking Riosovsky any further.
The Closing Stages
In May of 2011 President Riosovsky announced the beginning of Russias withdrawl from Georgia. A provisional government was organized in the meantime for the still decimated country. Yet he also announced South Ossestia and Abkhazias statuses as protectorates of the Russian Federation, though this made the regions de facto puppet states as a result.
On July 23rd the final Russian unit departed Georgia and the country was left to fend for its own, the West did not wish to provoke Riosovsky by occupying the country too and so they held their breath. With the conflict officially over Riosovsky felt victorious, membership for his ultranationalist party skyrocketed as a renewed pride swept across Russia. Though his territorial ambitions would be reignited three years later, and beyond.