Hastening The End of the Empire

Despite the crackdown in Lithuania, Georgia is intent on independence, even if it is the next on Moscow's hit list

Shaking their fists defiantly, protesters last week massed at the government house in Tbilisi, capital of the Georgian republic, chanting, "Lithuania! Lithuania! Lithuania!" For this fiercely independent nation of 5.4 million in the Caucasus, the troubles in the Baltics far to the north seemed alarmingly near. Georgians had already felt the Kremlin's determination to keep the union intact, when Soviet paratroopers armed with sharpened spades brutally dispersed a nationalist demonstration in April 1989, killing 20 people. Just as the Baltic states showed support in that hour of crisis, Georgians embraced the tragedy in Vilnius last week as if it were their...

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