Russia: December 15, 2002


  Georgia is demanding $700 million in back rent for four Russian bases in Georgia and if payment is not made soon, wants Russian troops out of the country within six months. In 1999, Russia agreed to get out by July 1, 2001, but is still occupying two of the bases. Russia wants to keep the bases for another eleven years, while Georgia is only willing to let them stay for three. Meanwhile, Russia still threatens to invade northern Georgia to take control of areas used by Chechen rebels and criminal gangs. The Chechens are increasingly using kidnapping to raise money, using hideouts in northern Georgia. It is thought that Georgian police are cooperating in the kidnapping racket, which is beginning to scare off foreign investment as the kidnappers are taking foreigners as well. 


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