The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Student Council on World Affairs and International Studies will host a public lecture by Ms. Mahnaz M. Harrison, entitled, “Russia’s Military Intervention into Georgia—A Georgian Perspective” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 18 in 138 Blackington Hall on the Pitt-Johnstown campus. Ms. Harrison is Honorary Consul, Embassy of Georgia.
One of the oldest Christian societies in the world dating back to 337 AD, Georgia has had to live with its Russian neighbor to the North. From the early 1800s through the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia has been ruled from Moscow. The Soviet Union’s most notorious leader Joseph Stalin was a Georgian. A decade after independence, Georgia became more assertive under its new President, the American-educated Mikheil Saakashvili, and sought membership in NATO and holds a close alliance with the United States. In particular, Georgia tried to reestablish authority over two “renegade” provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which had seen a Russian-supported rebellion against the Georgia state.
In August 2008 this conflict erupted into a full-scale war between Russia and Georgia, which ended with a Russian invasion and occupation not only of the two disputed provinces but also areas beyond. This advance into Georgia was accompanied by reports of widespread looting, burning, and killing of civilians by the Ossetian militia. After a European Union mediated ceasefire, Russia, claiming Georgia had “committed genocide” in South Ossetia, recognized the two Georgian provinces as independent states. The move by Moscow has left Russian troops within striking distance of the only oil pipeline in the region not yet controlled by Russia and was widely interpreted as a signal to Russia’s neighbors not to ally themselves too closely with the West.
Additional information is available by contacting Dr. Reinhard Heinisch, director of International Studies, at 814-269-2977.
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