Home / Would Blowing Up Roki Tunnel Have Made a Difference?

Would Blowing Up Roki Tunnel Have Made a Difference?


A lot of criticism of Georgia’s operational mistakes (as opposed to its basic strategic error) has focused on the failure to blow up Roki Tunnel, which is the only passable route between Russia and South Ossetia. I’m wondering, however, whether even an adeptly conducted offensive in South Ossetia that succeeded in destroying the tunnel would have prevented the Russian invasion. The Roki Tunnel is the only way into South Ossetia, but it’s not the only way into Georgia; the Russians delivered troops to Abkhazia by sea and by rail, and probably could have mounted a larger offensive through the region if they’d needed to. Closing the tunnel might have made it more difficult for the Russians, but the mismatch between the Russian and Georgian armed forces was so enormous that I doubt the Georgians could have held on. Indeed, liberating South Ossetia through Georgia, rather than through the Roki Tunnel, might have led to a much more destructive war.

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