Nikoloz Samkharadze, August 2012
Georgia regained independence in December 1991 after Soviet Union officially ceased to exist. In Soviet Union, all borders between the neighbouring Soviet Socialist republics were considered as administrative and one could freely travel between the “fraternal” republics without any border checks. Only traffic police booths with blue-and-white stripes and road signs separated the territories of union republics. In contrast, Georgia’s border with Turkey, which at the same time served as – to use the current EU terminology- a Soviet external border with a NATO member country was properly delineated and demarcated. In 1998 the last detachment of Russian border troops left Georgia and the newly independent nation started to guard the state borders with its own resources. Unfortunately, after 21 years of independence, out of 2148 kilometres of Georgian state border only 275 kilometres – roughly 13% – is delineated and demarcated. Border delimitation is a lengthy and complicated process and only Russia and Azerbaijan have managed to sign a border treaty in the region so far.