What Happens If the Big Bad Bear Awakes?

Moscow's neighbors fear they may fall prey to a new post-Soviet empire

A few miles down the road from the border guards' shack where Lieut. Colonel Reso Chachua wards off the winter winds of the Caucasus, a thick rope stretches across a boundary that neatly illustrates what it means to have Russia as a next-door neighbor. On Chachua's side of the rope lies Georgia, a former republic of the Soviet Union that declared its independence in 1991. Less than 200 yards on the other side lies Abkhazia, a former part of Georgia, which won its as yet unrecognized independence last year by breaking a Moscow- mediated cease-fire and, with the help of arms...

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