Traveled to Tbilisi on an overnight train from Baku. A train ride of 16 hours, which included an hour of stopping for passport check at the Azerbaijan border, then two hours at the Georgian border. Just last August Georgia and Russia had a five day war, the resulted in the deaths of many Georgians and the occupation of some of the Georgian land. Heard a lot about the reasons and current relationship between the two countries.
One of the main reasons for the war and something that you really don't hear much about in the USA, but Russia, as a country, is a severe decline. Their economy has tanked even much more than the US decline, their birth rate has dropped with no likely increase to come, and they are literally drinking themselves to death. All of these things combined have their population hovering around 140 million which is less than half of the US. The Russian leaders want to "expand their sphere of influence". Georgia, on the other hand with about 4 million people who consider themselves more European (and trying hard to become a member of the Europeann Union), is the front door to the entire Caucausas region...so, to Russia easy pickings...especially prior to a new incoming US president. They knew Bush couldn't do anything to stop them nor would any other western country....okay enough of the international politics...but all of this is so meaningful to this region of the world.