10 years after Georgia formally re-gained its independence, Turkey has become Georgia's main trading partner but Russia still retains four
large military bases in the country, which it has promised to phase out. Russian troops also man armed peacekeeping forces in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. All the Russian bases are in ethnically sensitive areas where Tbilisi's control is most tenuous.Other Russian pressure points include Georgia's 82km long mountain border with Chechnaya, the fate of more than 1m Georgians living in Russia and the remittances they send home, dependence on Russian gas imports and Georgia's proximity to the giant northern neighbour that gave protection from Turkey for three centuries. These issues underline the sensitivity of the Russo-Georgian relationship, whose evolution will strongly condition Georgia's future - and Russia's search for a more constructive post-imperial foreign policy.