The Politics of Ethnic Separatism in Russia and Georgia /by Julie A. George. In the summer of 2008, open war broke out once again in Georgia, a small, multiethnic country along Russia’s Caucasian border. It was not a new conflict. In 1990, as the Soviet Union collapsed, the region of South Ossetia, then part of Soviet Georgia, fought a war of independence with the Georgian government. Both sides in that conflict signed a cease-fire that left the political question of Ossetian sovereignty unresolved. The outbreak of sustained violence in August 2008 marked the conflict’s most significant renewal since the earlier cease-fire.