While the world watches Syria, Russia is creeping closer to Georgia

Concrete bollards mark the "border" between Georgia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia outside Gori, Georgia. The ...

Concrete bollards mark the “border” between Georgia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia outside Gori, Georgia. The Russian and Ossetian flags can be seen in the distance. Photo: New York Times

 

Jariasheni, Georgia: Marked in places with barbed wire laid at night, in others by the sudden appearance of green signs declaring the start of a “state border” and elsewhere by the arrival of bulldozers, the reach of Russia keeps inching forward into Georgia – with ever more ingenious markings of a frontier that only Russia and three other states recognise as real.

But while dismissed by most of the world as a make-believe border, the dirt track now running through this tiny Georgian village nonetheless means that Vephivia Tatiashvili can no longer go to his three-storey house because it sits on land now patrolled by Russian border guards.

That track marks the world’s newest and perhaps oddest international frontier; the elastic boundary between Georgian-controlled land and the Republic of South Ossetia, a self-proclaimed breakaway state financed, defended and controlled by Moscow. Continue reading