Malin E. Wimelius
Peace by other means - ideas, ideals and Russian intervention in Georgia and Moldova
The breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991 was a momentous event. Fifteen federal subjects started down their respective paths to independence. However, with the exception of the three Baltic republics, none of the post-Soviet states have successfully introduced or sustained liberal democracy. Moreover, in a slow, some would say deliberate, build-up Russia has regained some of its status as a leader also in the post-Soviet context.
International interest in modern Russian warfare has risen but less interest has been directed toward Russian perceptions of peace. In this project we explore such perceptions through case studies involving Georgia (Abkhazia) and Moldova (Transnistria). What ties them together in an interesting but largely under-researched way is that Russian peacekeepers are key actors in both Transnistria and Abkhazia and, significantly, that we know very little about what it is they have done, why and how this has been received by local societies. There has been no recurrence of violence in Transnistria and Abkhazia since 1992 and 2008 respectively. Various cease-fire and other agreements have been successful in regulating the behaviour of involved actors but what type of peace has been restored in the two cases? Is there - as suggested by other scholars - a distinctly Russian approach to peacekeeping – mirotvorchestvo?
In this project we think that exploring Russian interests and views of peace could add important knowledge. As the literature in peace and conflict studies is moving beyond liberal peace, how different are Russian ideas and ideals and how can these be conceptualized?