Borderization in the politics of Georgian and South Ossetian power elites
The dissolution of the Soviet Union led to both the restoration of independent states and the emergence of entities with the status of unrecognized states. In the aftermath of the five-day Georgia-Russia conflict of August 2008, the borderization incidents have intensified. The process involves the installation of barbed fences along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) between Georgia and South Ossetia, and shifting border marks deep into the Georgia-controlled territory to transform the official ceasefire line into an international border by the Russian FSB border guards. The paper aims to examine how ‘borderization’ activities have affected the politics of Georgian and South Ossetian ruling elites. By becoming a part of the political and social debate, border incidents have allowed victimization the Georgian nation to be presented to the world. However, especially in 2012-2013, the two main political parties in Georgia differed in their perceptions of borderization. From South Ossetian perspective, in turn, the process has served as a manifestation of strengthening national identity, independence from Georgia, and above all, the belief in Ossetian statehood guaranteed by Russia’s military presence and the growing importance of the military elite. The methodology of the work is based on the case study approach, as well as critical analysis of literature, documents, web content and a review of archival materials. The paper also includes data obtained during the 2018 and 2019 field research in Abkhazia and in the IDPs camp in Shavshvebi, near the Georgian-Ossetian border.