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Georgia: Russia Flashes Territorial Appetite

Georgian border guards on patrol near the Russian frontier. Two decades after independence, Georgia still lacks fully demarcated borders with Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. (Photo: Molly Corso)

The Greater Caucasus Mountains form a natural buffer between Russia and Georgia. But in the absence of a border agreement between the two states, even some of the highest peaks in Europe are not enough to protect Georgia from the risk of Russian territorial nibbling, analysts say.

The 894-kilometer-long Georgian-Russian border is largely delineated – meaning there is a line on a map, based on Soviet-era documents, that defines it. But that line has not been confirmed by both sides. Before the 2008 war between the two states, 86 percent of the border had been agreed upon, according to Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The topic has not been addressed since then.

With both sides now divided over the status of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia – Russia recognizes them as independent states; Tbilisi does not – further discussion in the near future is unlikely.

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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.

Georgia: Russia Flashes Territorial Appetite

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