Earlier this week, Moscow signed a deal with Abkhazia, the region it pried off of Georgia in the 2008 war. The details of the deal constitute a big win for the territorially ambitious Kremlin. Reuters reports:
Under the terms of Monday’s accord, Putin said Russia would grant 5 billion rubles ($111.4 million) to Abkhazia, whose population of 240,000 comprises a mix of ethnic groups.The agreement, posted on the Kremlin website, envisages a “joint defense and security space” and stipulates Russian “protection of the state border of the Republic of Abkhazia with Georgia.”It obliges Russia to facilitate “in every possible way” growing Abkhazia’s international ties and promoting its global recognition.Moscow would also ease requirements for Abkhazia residents to obtain Russian citizenship, but it has not voiced plans to annex the territory.
The deal falls short of an annexation, but it could pave the way for one. Putin has effectively managed to take over a coveted Russian-speaking region that is the internationally-recognized sovereign territory of a neighbor, despite Western protests and threats. Sound like any other geopolitical crisis you know?The parallels between Ukraine today and Georgia six years ago run deep. If things keep going the way they are going, what we could be seeing in Abkhazia today is a snapshot of what we might expect for Donbass in a few years.