The secessionist movement in Eastern Ukraine galvanized the attention of the world with the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Donetsk on July 17. Many of those now paying specific attention to the intensifying conflict in Eastern Europe’s largest nation-state have begun researching the history of conflict throughout the former Soviet states of Russia’s near abroad and have found the human terrain, the history of ethnic migration, and the geopolitical value of the area confusing.
In the effort to provide just a bit more fidelity to the important regions that could dramatically affect the quickly intensifying conflict between the West and a resurgent Russian state, I will be publishing a series of analytical pieces designed to offer just a head nod to areas of importance in the weeks, months, and years ahead. These regions include Abkhazia, Găgăuzia, Transnistria, the former Yugoslavia, Nagorno Karabakh, and Eastern Ukraine (Donetsk). In this, I intend for these articles to be only a primer for the reader on understanding the related events that make these areas important in the ongoing conflict between Russia and the West. Specifically, I will focus these articles upon areas that constitute fracture points. I loosely (and generally) operationalize the term fracture points (specifically for purposes of examining the conflict between Russia and the West) in this context as follows: geographical areas and regions that occupy space along or straddling important lines of demarcation or fissure points between the two belligerents and represent valued terrain connecting the two competing sides of the conflict.
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