Destinations Magazine

Georgia and Russia: Dreams Deferred

By Stizzard
Georgia and Russia: Dreams deferred

RUSSIA’S unacknowledged war in Ukraine did not start with the annexation of Crimea. The precedent was set six years earlier, during a five-day war between Russia and Georgia that resulted in Russia’s occupation of the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Unwilling to confront Russia directly, Western leaders instead blamed the recklessness of Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s president at the time. That was when Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, reportedly began talking about Crimea.On the face of it, Georgia’s relationship with Russia has since much improved. Flights have been restored, and bans on Georgian wine, mineral water and fruit lifted. Yet Georgia may now be more vulnerable than ever. If Ukraine crumbles under Russia’s pressure and its own failings, Georgia could be the next target.A small country that reinvented itself under Mr Saakashvili, Georgia is of strategic importance to Russia and its control over the Caucasus. Gas and oil pipelines from Azerbaijan to Turkey pass through the country. With Armenia choosing an alliance with Russia over Europe and Azerbaijan being courted by Moscow, Georgia is the last piece of the puzzle.Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic…

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