Do Fences Make Good Neighbors?
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Updated Resources - August 30, 2023
Map of the European part of the USSR in 1929. (Riwnodennyk/Європейська частина С.Р.С.Р, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Kyiv Independent: Newsfeed
Novaya Gazeta Europe: Newsfeed
The Insider: Newsfeed
Georgian soldiers during Russo-Georgian War. 9 August 2008. (Giorgi Abdaladze/Communications Division of the Administration of the President of Georgia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
WHAT'S ON OUR MIND
Recent events draw our attention to the nations and peoples for whom the war is - if not in their backyard - across the street. Prigozhin’s death raises the temperature in Belarus as the future of Wagner troops relocated following the mutiny comes into question. Neighboring states offer Ukraine words of solidarity following last week’s Independence Day. This month’s anniversary of the Russo-Georgian War sparks historical parallels and examination of current Russian influence. In today’s resource update, we draw focus to these issues and further perspectives emanating from within the former Soviet sphere
GEORGIA - Though a poor match in duration and scale of devastation, 2008’s Russo-Georgian War and the war in Ukraine offers useful insight into the challenge of living in Russia’s shadow. Civil Georgia, published by the UN Association of Georgia, sheds light on the parallels between these two conflicts as well as the nation’s current relationship with Russia. The Conversation expands on this discussion, positing that modern Georgia exists at a ‘crossroads of influence’ between Europe and Asia. The Kyiv Independent highlights the shared plight of both Georgia and Ukraine and examines the roles of Georgian Society and the ‘Free World’ in rebuffing Russia and returning territorial sovereignty to both nations. Finally, The Moscow Times offers a more intimate view from the perspectives of Russians who emigrated to Georgia following the invasion of Ukraine and who must now reckon with their homeland’s actions against two of its neighbors.
BELARUS, MOLDOVA Foreign Policy broadens the scope in an exploration of the Kremlin’s hegemonic pursuit of influence within Belarus, Moldova, and Georgia. In this vein, a piece from The Hill shares the concerns of Belarusian opposition in exile who warn against isolating Belarus, leaving its people with no means of escape, and goes on to examine the rising tensions along the Polish-Belarusian border following Prigozhin’s death. Al Jazeera offers a podcast sharing how these ratcheting border tensions have affected residents.
BALTIC STATES The Moscow Times reports that Poland and the Baltic states have asked Minsk to expel the Wagner Group following Lukashenko's remarks that he would retain 10,000 mercenaries within Belarus. In the overview, Meduza outlines how a post-WWII struggle between locals and Soviet leadership over the fate of the Daugava River and its communities gave rise to Latvian independence.
SERBIA Following a recent meeting between Zelensky and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, The Insider makes a case for holding off on counting Serbia amongst the Kremlin’s allies.
Ukraine comes back into focus as The Kyiv Independent examines how the Russian and Ukrainian perspectives on Soviet legacy lead both nations to different futures.
In the arts, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra formed after the start of the invasion plays in Berlin, Sean Penn’s film documenting the war to come to streaming, and rock band The Killers receive a dose of anti-Russian sentiment in Batumi, Georgia.
Find these stories and more - including important pieces highlighting the war’s impact on Ukrainian schools, refugees, and the crucial role of its national railway service - in today’s resource update.
Track Two: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy stands in opposition to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. We have many friends in both countries and we stand with the people of Ukraine and Russia. We deplore their suffering.
Track Two does not believe violent conflict or war are valid means to push political agendas. Today, threats to our existence from nuclear arms, climate catastrophes, diseases and cyberattacks are intensifying, and we do not believe any country should resort to violence. All people, of all nations, have a right to peace, meaningful work, shelter and food. Much collective work must be done to ensure our children and grandchildren can live full lives in a habitable world.
We believe there are humane and diplomatic avenues to coexistence that must be explored to mutual benefit. Let's arrive at these with deliberation so that we can continue work essential to preventing the end of life on this planet.
More than ever, it is incumbent upon all of us to be acutely aware of the disinformation campaigns orbiting the globe, and offer support to those who need it most. To that end, we've compiled a selection of resources from our team and network as we follow this crisis closely.