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Before Russia invaded Ukraine, it invaded Georgia. Both states are part of Russia's "near abroad" - newly independent states that were once part of the Soviet Union and are now Russia's neighbors. While the Russia-Georgia war of 2008 faded from the headlines in the wake of the global recession, the geopolitical contest that created it did not. Six years later, the spectre of a revanchist Russia returned when Putin's forces invaded and annexed the Crimean peninsula, once part of Russia but an internationally recognized part of Ukraine since the Soviet collapse. Crimea's annexation and follow on conflict in eastern Ukraine have generated the greatest geopolitical crisis on the European continent since the end of the Cold War. In Near Abroad, the eminent political geographer Gerard Toal moves beyond the polemical rhetoric that surrounds Russia's interventions in Georgia and Ukraine to study the underlying territorial conflicts and geopolitical struggles.



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