The situation in Georgia dates to at least 1991, when the government slapped a lid on South Ossetia, setting off a "time bomb," Mikhail Gorbachev writes in the Washington Post. The ex-Soviet president outlines his vision for regional stability. "In addition to patience, this situation requires wisdom," he writes, calling on regional leaders to "devote their efforts to building the groundwork for durable peace."
The conflict has made clear nominal PM Vladimir Putin’s continuing significance, the New York Times reports. With barely a mention of his successor as president, Putin has become the Russian face of the crisis. "He is playing the game which is designed by Putin," one expert said of Dmitry Medvedev.