What's considered a "disproportionate use of force?" Apparently, the Russian government thinks it knows, because on August 4th, Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin stated:
"Moscow is seriously concerned about the escalation of tension in the region caused by disproportionate use of force by the Georgian side," Karasin told Vashadze, according to the press release.
Then the Russian military routed Georgian forces military from South Ossetia on August 7th and then continued with the subsequent invasion of the nation Georgia.
Again, the Russia government could determine what a "disproportionate use of force" was, but that consideration apparently ended at Georgia's northern border as the Russian military continues to meander around the Georgian countryside. But then again, no one can say the Russian government didn't warn Georgia either. Or the West for that matter.
The ground work for Russia military action was laid and all that was needed was a provocation. Georgia offered it up with a full-fledged military incursion into S. Ossetia. The fact that Russia was unhappy with Georgia, "which has angered Russia by pushing to join NATO" will fall to the wayside. Now, if Russia is not happy with someone else, the probability is strong that any ol' provocation will do and it will even be announced in public first.
Russia's neighbors are providing all sorts of possible provocations.
Gen Anatoly Nogovitsy lashed out after Poland agreed to help the US create a "missile shield" over Europe. He said: "Poland is making itself a target. Such targets are destroyed as a first priority."
Another scandal connected with the position of the Russian-speaking population is gathering pace in Estonia (a former republic of the Soviet Union). It turned out that the humanitarian aid, which elderly people of Russian origin receive in the Baltic country, consists of expired food stuffs from Finland. Authorities presumably ship the expired food to the areas where the Russian-speaking population is predominant. . .
or in a group:
Russia now contends that Latvia and Estonia discriminate against Russian speakers, and says all three Baltic nations fail to recognize the heroism of Soviet soldiers.
These problems, large and small, seriously concern Russia and are not going away and will continue to exacerbate relations with former-Soviet republics. How the Russian government sees these problems and what constitutes an act of provocation bear careful scrutiny on the part of the US and the West. We have to acknowledge the reality that Russia will see these problems differently.