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2009 May 1
by sfcg

Russia has signed a five-year deal taking formal control of its de facto borders with two breakaway regions of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  NATO said Russia was in “clear contravention” of the ceasefire ending last year’s conflict with Georgia; while Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev argued that NATO’s exercises in Georgia next week represent overt provocation to Russia.   The length of the deal Russia signed with re bel leaders in the breakaway republics is significant but it will change little on the ground.

During the brief war last August, Georgia’s attempts to regain control of its breakaway region of South Ossetia were repelled by Russian forces.  Georgian troops were eventually ejected from South Ossetia and the other breakaway region of Abkhazia, both of which Russia subsequently recognised as independent states – a move which drew strong international condemnation.

Question to the Blogosphere:  This represents a case in which finding common ground between two groups (in this case the Russians and the rebel leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia) has caused the breakdown in relations between Russia and one of its neighbors, Georgia, and has strained its relations with the West.  What do you think the agreement signed today means for Russia’s relations with the rest of the world?  Do you think that South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be recognized as independent entities?  Is the rift between NATO and Russia a matter of a misunderstanding, or is there a deeper mistrust between the two parties that needs to be addressed to maintain security in the region?  Today two Russian diplomats were expelled from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels after they were accused of spying.  What can be done to improve relations between Russia and NATO and who should work on this?

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