Unsettled ex-Soviet republics could become the scenes of proxy battles in a new cold war, the Christian Science Monitor reports, with the breakaway Georgia region of Abkhazia a case in point. The US and NATO are backing Georgia, with Russia supporting the separatists. "Tensions are growing very fast, and we find ourselves on the line of confrontation between Russia and the West," one Abkhazian academic says.
Last week, Georgia raised hackles by arresting four Russian peacekeepers. If it happens again, a Russian general warned, “there could be bloodshed.” Flush with oil revenue, Russia hopes fostering divisions will prevent post-Soviet states from joining NATO. "Russia is no longer weak and at the West's mercy," one analyst notes. "It's on its way to re-creating itself as an imperial power."