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What tools are available for Georgia to respond to Russia’s borderization of the administrative boundary lines demarcating Abkhazia and South Ossetia? What is the most appropriate and effective response for Georgia to take?
On July 3, Russian soldiers moved the barbed wire fence demarcating the breakaway region of South Ossetia roughly 700 feet further into Georgian territory. That was only the most recent instance of a now commonplace practice. The act of sporadically grabbing portions of Georgian territory—commonly referred to as “borderization”—has been used by Russia since June 2008 to increase the size of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both breakaway regions occupied by the Russian armed forces.
In each instance, Russia’s military has taken a small chunk of Georgian territory: enough to intimidate Georgia’s government and citizenry, but not enough to provoke a significant international backlash. The illegal practice of borderization continues to pose a problem for Georgia and its government is under growing pressure to take a firm stance.
At the request of the Georgian Institute of Politics, a selection of experts from Estonia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States commented on potential actions the Georgian government can take to counter the practice of borderization.