Yet Mr. Medvedev said this month that he favors restoration of direct air service between Moscow and Tbilisi, and Russia's border service hailed last week's decision to reopen the Upper Lars checkpoint, citing the "shared need to resume international traffic between Russia and Georgia."
Russia's only Caucasus ally, Armenia, has suffered badly from the cutoff of land transport links. Moscow maintains a cold war-era military garrison in Armenia, reportedly with more than 1,000 troops, and has had chronic difficulties resupplying them.
"Russia's ties with Armenia are important, and so it would be of some benefit to Russia if it could normalize the transport links," says Alexei Makarkin, deputy director of the independent Center for Political Technologies in Moscow.
For his part, Saakashvili has repeatedly accused Moscow of plotting his overthrow, a charge he renewed in a weekend speech.
"Russia has tried all possible ways to destroy us, including war, occupation, and espionage," he said.
And he urged Georgians to prepare for a fresh Russian invasion. "Every Georgian citizen should be ready for defense, and every family home should become a stronghold of resistance from enemy attack," he said.
But in a tone not heard since the war's end, Saakashvili added: "Georgia can't want to have bad relations with Russia. We're not crazy."