Monday, September 1, 2008
In a perhaps unsurprising development, Georgia and Russia severed diplomatic relations last Friday. The countries will maintain consular offices in each other's territories to handle matters such as issuing passports and assisting citizens with legal problems. (In the United States, Cuba officially has no embassy but there is a consular office in Washington DC to assist Cuban citizens here.)
Russia had not had its diplomatic ties severed with any of the other 14 republics that became independent states after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Shutting down a diplomatic channel of communication may inadvertently increase the difficulty in finding a solution to the current crisis in Georgia.