`Perspectives: Georgia—Another Target in Russia’s “Near Abroad”
Svante E. Cornell, Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program
Russia went to war with Georgia in 2008, in a manner that, at least with the benefit of hindsight, appeared a trial run for this year’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, Russia has stirred trouble in Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Azerbaijan, and as far as the Baltic States, while bankrolling right-wing extremist parties in European Union countries. It is remarkable, however, that after the 2008 war, Georgia seemed off the target list.
Does that mean Moscow had given up on Georgia? Far from it. Moscow may have adopted a more gradual and sophisticated approach, but the objective remains the same: subjugating Georgia and thereby asserting Russian hegemony over the Caucasus region, thereby blocking Western access to the Caspian basin and Central Asia.