Russia, it was said, was still reeling from the loss of its empire. It had formally
accepted the right of countries like Ukraine to self-determination. But among
its leaders, some sought ways to bring the ‘near abroad’ back into the fold. As a
result, all the countries on Russia’s borders were actively seeking the protection of
European powers and America. This, in turn, was interpreted by the Kremlin as
a kind of encirclement. Tensions with Poland were running especially high. And
then the Russian army invaded Georgia.
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