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Crimea Highlights Risks, Uncertainties of Georgia’s Turn to West

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In the wake of Russia’s military intervention into Ukraine, no states are feeling as unsettled by the fear of a revanchist Russia as Moscow’s erstwhile conquests along the Baltic and Black Seas. Though some of these states can now look to NATO as their safety net, nonmember Georgia, itself a recent victim of Russian aggression, appears isolated and badly exposed.

Russia’s newly heightened aggressiveness could not have come at a worse time for Tbilisi. Just over a month ago, the context looked remarkably different. Though still smarting from the devastation wrought by Russia’s 2008 invasion, Georgia had managed to restart trade and restore limited transportation links with Russia, rebuilding a sense of normalcy in bilateral relations—all while managing Moscow’s regular provocations and continued occupation of separatist Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It wasn’t a thaw, or even peace, strictly speaking, but it was an attempt to arrest the acrimony of the previous period in an effort to reduce prospects for renewed conflict. ...

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