The Currency of Independence

A new player has emerged in the roiling political theater of the Caucasus: the tiny, destitute Pacific island nation of Nauru, which on Tuesday became the fourth country to formally establish diplomatic relations with Abkhazia, effectively recognizing its sovereignty.

The announcement comes 15 months after Russia began lobbying its allies to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two separatist territories at the center of its 2008 war with Georgia.

Nauru, an eight-square-mile rock in the South Pacific with about 11,000 inhabitants, was no pushover, according to the influential Russian daily newspaper Kommersant. In talks with Russian officials, Nauru requested $50 million for “urgent social and economic projects,” the newspaper reported, citing unnamed Russian diplomats.

The article is interesting throughout. Perhaps this is a good way to think about the process of statehood: you have to be clever and or lucky enough to be able to buy in.

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