The Georgia Watershed

On August 8, following Georgia’s reckless attack on the Russia-supported separatist enclave of South Ossetia, Russia invaded Georgia. For the first time in post-Soviet history, Russian troops crossed the internationally recognized border of a sovereign neighboring state. Yet there were several other lines that may have been crossed. This short war looks more and more like a culmination and an emblem of the troubling evolution in the Kremlin’s values and priorities and, by extension, its vision of the country’s national interests. It may have heralded the onset of a distinct, and profoundly disconcerting, agenda both inside and outside the country. What has been said and done by the Russian authorities since last August strengthens this impression.

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