Both sides claim that the other side conducted "Ethnical Cleaning" of occupied territory. And probably both sides tell the truth.

The South Ossetians claim that the Georgians destroyed a water canal to flood the cellars in Tskhinvalli so that the citizens couldn’t take cover in them from the immense shelling in the first days of the conflict. The Georgians claim that behind the Russian troops Kossacks, Ossetians etc. followed and started looting and burning Georgian villages not only in South Ossetia but even in "undisputed" territory.

And that’s probably true. One reporter said "the Caucasus is an ethnical mosaic". And that brings it to the point. During the last 200 years (and before) the towns mixed and nobody really cared because they all were "Russians". So there were towns of Georgians in South Ossetia and vice-versa. The pictures of people shearing to Georgian troops moving into South Ossetia were not faked. Because Tskhinvalli has a mixed population and is surrounded by mostly Georgian villages. South Ossetia is supposed to have a 30% Georgian population and probably even more since it is hard to conduct an objective census. Each side wants to downplay the number of the other.

And as long as the people in the Caucasus are poor and have no work the people want to fight and die for their little towns and valleys. If you have nothing nationalism or rather townism or valleyism are the last thing you can hang onto. If you look at the problem: There is always fighting going on in this regions in August and may be September. That has simple reasons. First of all the snow and mud from the winter and spring is away. So you can move around without freezing off your ass or get stuck in mud. And it is the time when there isn’t much to do in farming. There are a lot of people without anything to do and due to the lack of all the modern equipment that entertains us in the western world and for the sheer fun of it all those young guys grab their AKs and head out to fight a little bit.

Each shootout ends in somebody wanting revenge. It’s an endless circle that feeds those conflicts. Not only in the Caucasus but everywhere in the world.

And than there are the Westerners thinking that you could solve those conflicts by drawing new borders and let everybody vote on were they want to be. This of course does not work in those regions because there are no ethnical borders! For example if South Ossetia is going to be independent or even a part of Russia than there will be the exact same conflict just with the opposite direction. The Georgian villages won’t stand to be separated from Georgia and keep on fighting. And if South Ossetia gets their independence than may be the North Ossetians want to be independent from Russia. Just because the Ossetians are kissing the ass of the Russians at the moment does not mean that in the next moments they’ll try to kick them. And alliance in such a mess doesn’t count. Its just the benefit they want.

There actually were some votes in South Ossetia about independence. But they were of course conducted in the way votes are conducted in these areas (even in our "democratic" pal Georgia it happens this way!): You just deny your opponents the ability to vote. In 2006 the South Ossetians votes with more than 90% for an independence. But this of course simply means shit.

And that’s were "Ethnical Cleaning" comes into play. If you want to pacify such an area you simply need to straiten out the ethnical borders (or even create them). You simply can’t have peace if the people living next to each other only wait for a good time to kill each other.