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The Daily Vertical: Russia's Quiet War On Georgia (Transcript)


The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

It's happening below the radar.

It's not making international headlines.

And with everything else going on, it's easy to miss.

But it is nevertheless a good idea to keep a close eye on the quiet, stealthy pressure Russia is applying to Georgia.

Russia's quiet war on Georgia takes many forms.

Last week, for example, pro-Kremlin leaders in Russian-occupied South Ossetia announced that they would shut down the remaining Georgian-language schools in the region.

The Russification of South Ossetia follows a pattern established in occupied Abkhazia, where all Georgian-language schools in the predominantly Georgian speaking Gali district were closed in 2015.

According to a report last month by the U.K. Foreign Office, pro-Moscow authorities have also systematically restricted the freedom of movement, residency, and property rights of ethnic Georgians in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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The two Russian protectorates have also been thoroughly militarized, with approximately 8,000 Russian troops and hundreds of tanks based there.

Russian troops in South Ossetia have been periodically and persistently moving the boundary line in the dead of night, erecting razor-wire fences, putting up so-called border posts, and effectively annexing more Georgian territory.

And according to media reports, Vladimir Putin plans to make a provocative visit to Abkhazia on August 8, which is the ninth anniversary of Russia's invasion of Georgia.

And bear in mind that Russia's quiet war on Georgia is happening with a government in power in Tbilisi that has actively sought to reduce tensions and improve relations with Moscow.

Russia's war on Georgia never really stopped. It just became stealthier.

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