Russia: November 26, 2003


 In the Caucasus, Georgia, a former part of the Soviet Union, underwent a popular, and bloodless, uprising last week, and overthrew the corrupt Soviet era bureaucrat who had been running and plundering the place since 1991. Russia had tried, for the past ten years, to pressure the corrupt Georgian government to cease aiding, or tolerating, Chechen rebels. The rebels established camps in Georgia, just across the border from Chechnya. This pressure included providing military aid to ethnic rebels in Georgia. As a result of that, portions of Georgia have broken off and declared themselves independent. One of these areas, South Ossetia, wants to merge into Russia. Three percent of Georgia's six million people are Moslem Ossetians. Some 70 percent of Georgians are ethnic Georgians, who are Christian. The Georgian politicians who led the overthrow movement are not only younger, but many studied in the US. This upsets Russia, which wants Georgia to look north for guidance, not across the Atlantic. But new elections have to be held in Georgia, so the change in government won't have much effect on the war in Chechnya until next year. 


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