I’ve just returned from an epic trip in Russia, Central Asia and China to find this — a tentative plan by Gazprom to build a direct pipeline from Russia to Abkhazia, a breakaway region in Georgia that is currently the major wedge between Russia and Georgia.
Russia seems to be deliberately stoking the flames. When I lived in Moscow years ago, eating inexpensive Georgian food was one of my favorite things to do. A few weeks ago I spent three days in Moscow and learned that there is no such thing anymore as inexpensive Georgian food. Certainly, the weak dollar and ever-increasing cost of living have much to do with this, but that’s not all. Georgian cafe proprietors are apparently raising their prices so they will have the means to leave the city on a moment’s notice when the hostilities between Russia and Georgia inevitably begin. I’m getting this from only a couple of sources off the record and I myself am not so certain that war is inevitable, but I’m told that this does represent the general perception — among Russians, Georgians and expats alike — in Moscow.
— Scott Paul