Russia, better known as Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, is the largest country in the world—spanning eleven time zones across tundra, grassland, mountains, coastline, and semi-desert.
Russia dates back to prehistoric times when nomadic tribes roamed the territory—and then Vikings, and then Slavs, and then Russians.
Georgia, better known as Sakartvelo, formed in the 11th century—which was precisely one century before the burgeoning territory was swallowed by the Russian Empire. Georgia tried independence again following the Russian Revolution of 1917—but the Red Army invaded a few years later, absorbing Georgia into the Soviet Union. This dance continued until the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, when Georgia struck out on its own again.
At first Russia liked having an independent Georgia, sitting there all pretty at Russia’s feet, acting as a buffer between Russia and those countries Russia feared—such as Turkey.
But there was one big problem, where one big problem equals two small territories: South Ossetia and Abkhazia:
South Ossetia and Abkhazia are two regions in Georgia with a small population of an ethnic group originally from Russia. These ethnic Georgians within South Ossentia and Abkhazia want to be independent from Georgia—just like their people who live over the Russian border in autonomous North Ossetia:
But the newly independent Georgia didn’t want the ethnic group within their borders and so tried to cleanse them away. And the ethnic group didn’t want Georgians within their territory and so tried to cleanse them away.
This went on for two years, and several uprisings killed thousands of people—so in 1994 Russia deployed a peacekeeping troop to Georgia to help, even though they kind of sided with the Ethnic Georgians.
And then in 2002, Georgia applied to join Nato, angering Russia who worried that it would encourage the spread of a pro-Western ring.
And in 2004, pro-Western Mikheil Saakashvili became President of Georgia, and the first thing on his agenda was regaining control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, further angering Russia.
Fast forward to now.
Last month Russia illegally flew over Georgian airspace, and then on August 7, Georgia launched forces against South Ossetia on the ground and in the air, and then Russia poured more troops into the area and launched bombs over other targets in Georgia, and then and then and then.
The President of Georgia argues the only reason Russia invaded his country is to gain control over the oil pipeline in the region, while leaders in Moscow state they continue to deploy forces in order to establish a demilitarized zone, while George Bush has pledged support and aid for Georgia, while Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin insists Russia is fully committed to the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and as Bossy types, Russian troops are advancing deeper into Georgian territory.
Bossy doesn’t know how this escalation will end, but she sure wishes the outcome was in the hands of Dr. Seuss:
Cathy D. saysAugust 14, 2008 at 2:36 pm
Wow, Bossy has a much better grasp of world politics that I ever imagined. I am going to quit reading boring BBC stuff, and read Bossy exclusively! The graphics are MUCH more interesting. Thanks Bossy!
Cheri @ Blog This Mom! saysAugust 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm
I will send a link to this post to my middle child. She is a high school World History teacher. This will help her teach her students, don’t cha think?
WhenSheWorePonyTails saysAugust 14, 2008 at 2:54 pm
I think people underestimate Dr Seuss.
CarolynOnline saysAugust 14, 2008 at 2:57 pm
I agree with Bossy. I wish it could be in the hands of Dr. Seuss instead of two big countries with old grudges and short memories.
vanessa saysAugust 14, 2008 at 2:58 pm
Off topic: but my kid posed as Bossy today. No conflict.
Amy saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:02 pm
That was awesome. My husband & I were trying to figure all this out last night, and although I think we did well, this has excellent illustrations – so I sent him the link.
Grandma J saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:02 pm
Some one has to dig a deep ditch between Georgia and Russia. Then someone has to make a movie, naming it A River Runs Through It.
Chesapeake Bay Woman saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:10 pm
Mmmmmm, Turkey. Nobody should be afraid of a good Turkey.
Foolery saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:10 pm
See, I’m so glad you did this today, because I’ve been wondering what BOSSY did to piss Russia off.
Pamela saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:17 pm
All of these tiny men with their tiny men complexes keep trying to be big men by killing people. I though natural selection should have eliminated this kind of stupidity by now.
junebug saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm
I have to say that was a brilliant post! I mean it. I really don’t know where you come up with this brilliance. Thanks for the guidance. I think we should nominate you for world leader. 😀
Avitable saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:37 pm
If Russia invades Georgia, where will get our peaches from?
Beverly saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:53 pm
you made that as clear as mud. interesting timing of the invasion of Russia to coincide with the olympics sense logistically it would be difficult to actually send an army to Georgia so quickly. seems this may have been a plan of russia all along.
The Great Getzby saysAugust 14, 2008 at 3:55 pm
how you gonna ignore what I said and leave out Kosovo?!?!
Damn, woman. That’s cold.
Liz saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm
Ah, the Zax! I love them. I am also fond of the Poor Pale Green Pants with Nobody Inside Them.
Dr. Seuss for World Leader! Except that he is dead… but then so is our country’s leader. (Whoops! Did I say that out loud?)
amanda saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:18 pm
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve been a bit confused by what’s going on.
davido saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:23 pm
Hey, keep Pedro outta this!
Mr Farty saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:34 pm
So where does Atlanta come into the equation?
Manic Mommy saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:42 pm
But…don’t we trust Putin? I mean, Dubya looked into his eyes and all that…
ms ellie saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:43 pm
Is Bossy feeling a little sympathetic towards her “sounds-a-lot-like” country?
MamaMo saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:45 pm
Has this got anyone craving buttered bread?!
HeyJoe saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:55 pm
Wow, I’m impressed; confused but impressed. Perhaps Bossy was a history professor in a former life, that or she reads the paper.
Jackie@agsoccermom saysAugust 14, 2008 at 4:58 pm
I agree I am coming back here for my global news.
Jen saysAugust 14, 2008 at 5:04 pm
Wow! I was just commenting to someone that I don’t have any idea what started the whole conflict in Georgia, and then you come along and explain the whole thing to me! Thank you – I think I get it now!
Suzanne saysAugust 14, 2008 at 5:08 pm
Even with the helpful pics and drawings and the child-like language, I still don’t completely get it. Why can’t people just get along???
Jacquie saysAugust 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm
I wonder if this is equally confusing to the people who live in Georgia. Or for the people who live in Atlanta, for that matter.
HeyJoe saysAugust 14, 2008 at 5:17 pm
P.S. I would appreciate a larger picture of Russian Fashion.
Camille saysAugust 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm
Oh, bossy. If only all the world’s problems would end in the words of Dr. Seuss. That would be great, because the whole world would have Diffendoofer days, and nobody would need a thneed, and I can lick 20 tigers today.
Meg saysAugust 14, 2008 at 5:48 pm
Wow, I feel smart now. Weird.
Sass E-mum saysAugust 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm
Excellent post. Making sense of madness.
ms picket to you saysAugust 14, 2008 at 6:27 pm
Bossy is brazilliant and Anderson Cooper better his watch his back.
Mjohnson saysAugust 14, 2008 at 6:51 pm
You forgot to mention that this is George Bush’s fault. He can’t go empire building under the guise of nato expansion if he has no clout at all to back it up because all his armies are tied up fighting pointless wars that he started.
He’s been shown up as a fool once again and he has made the USA look like even more of a Paper Tiger.
Who would have though France would come to the rescue!
USA you suck big time.
Julie saysAugust 14, 2008 at 7:03 pm
If Bossy was my history professor in college, I would not spend so much time over my morning coffee saying, “HONEY? What’s an Abkhazia??”
Shayera saysAugust 14, 2008 at 7:29 pm
Bossy is so many kinds of brilliant.
Hattie saysAugust 14, 2008 at 7:33 pm
Yes. The graphics help a lot!
Say What? saysAugust 14, 2008 at 8:36 pm
Thank you Bossy – now I understand. And anyone who can tie world politics in with Dr. Seuss is totally awesome in my book! (pseudo pun intended)
BTW, if you have never seen “In Search of Dr. Seuss” starring Kathy Najimy and a whole host of others, you really should. It is entertaining but gives you a lot of insight into everyone’s favorite Dr.
Fairly Odd Mother saysAugust 14, 2008 at 8:47 pm
Wow! I didn’t know they had North of the Border there. Thank you for explaining it all to me. Could you make this a monthly tutorial on world events?
Mary saysAugust 14, 2008 at 9:37 pm
*Sigh* As a Sakartvelophile (Georgia lover, Georgia in Georgian is Sakartvelo), it pains me to see Russia trying to crush such a beautiful country with such a rich musical and cultural history. I’m completely, head over heels, in love with Georgia and its amazing music (look up the Rustavi Ensemble, Trio Kavkasia, Anchiskhati Choir, etc.).
I’m not saying that Georgia has been acting like a saint (and certainly nobody could say that about Sakashvili after his staged January “election”), but I do think that Russia is out of line for:
a. invading Georgia
b. failing to get the hell out when they’ve supposedly called a ceasefire.
Honestly, Russia, don’t you own enough land already? SHEESH.
Portia saysAugust 14, 2008 at 11:10 pm
Bossy, you could be the next Jon Stewart. You make the news understandable. Can you explain oil prices next?
Jenn @ Juggling Life saysAugust 15, 2008 at 1:52 am
I’m going to copy exactly what you said whenever anyone asks me what is going on between Russia and Georgia. I can’t thank you enough.
Aimee saysAugust 15, 2008 at 1:52 am
I just hope the ethnic Georgians and the Georgians and the Russians are better looking than the Dr. Seuss characters. Seriously.
meleah rebeccah saysAugust 15, 2008 at 3:25 am
where is Dr. Seuss when you need him the most?
Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy saysAugust 15, 2008 at 3:47 am
The light bulb has been lit. Thank you.I was so confused!
Helena saysAugust 15, 2008 at 6:11 am
If you had been my history teacher I would have been able to keep my concentration and get a better grade. Where were you?
Random thinker saysAugust 15, 2008 at 9:34 am
Brilliant summary as usual, Bossy, but you left out Schuneman. A contemporary history of Georgia without Schuneman’s shenanigans is like a soup without salt.
Momo Fali saysAugust 15, 2008 at 9:46 am
I’m on Georgia’s side. Just because I like the name.
Barb saysAugust 15, 2008 at 11:19 am
Did you hear about Saakashvili’s nickname for Putin? Apparently Saakashvili is a tall man, while, despite his large attitude, Putin is on the short side. So Saakashvili calls him “Lilli Putin”, as in the Lilliputian from Gulliver’s Travels. Bet that pissed him off!
MP saysAugust 15, 2008 at 11:21 am
OK, I think I get it…kind of. This was actually on my to do list for today.
junebug saysAugust 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm
As I say, (like John Mayer) Why? Georgia, why?
Lisa saysAugust 15, 2008 at 12:30 pm
Georgia produces the very very best semi sweet red wine in the world, I surely hope they dont stop now. Im addicted..aHem, kinda..
SinisterDan saysAugust 15, 2008 at 1:04 pm
This is the best explanation of this crisis that also had a picture of a clock with eyes.
Mike saysAugust 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm
That was brilliant. More teachers need to start including the excellent pictures. I had been meaning to do some research on why they were fighting. Now I at least know where to start.
Brooke saysAugust 16, 2008 at 10:15 pm
Ahem, thank you Bossy. I’ve not wanted to look like an idiot by asking about what exactly was going on over there! Shew, now I know. Plus I got to watch some Dr. Seuss…….Peace out.
Missives From Suburbia saysAugust 16, 2008 at 11:17 pm
Flawlessly explained! I had no idea Bossy was so well-versed on world affairs! Have you summarized the presidential election yet? Because that I need to read.
Krista saysAugust 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm
Thank you for that tutorial! Krista wonders how Bossy got to be so smart and is glad that she was able to explain the history behind this most recent craziness.
Oh, The Joys saysAugust 18, 2008 at 9:40 am
I get all the good polysci here.