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