Georgia–Russia border

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The Georgia–Russia border is the state border between Georgia and Russia. It runs mostly along the Caucasus range and thus closely follows the conventional boundary between Europe and Asia. Peaks along the border include Shota Rustaveli Peak, Dzhangi-Tau, Shkhara, Dzhimara, Kazbek and Tebulosmta.

Border crossings[edit]

The only[citation needed] legal border crossing point is north of Stepantsminda on the Georgian Military Highway. It can handle up to seven thousand people, 50 buses and cars a day.

There are also border crossings between Russia and the breakaway states of Abkhazia (in Adler) and North Ossetia (the Roki Tunnel).


The Georgian Kingdoms (Kartli-Kakheti and Imereti) begin to fall within the sphere of interest of the expanding Russian Empire in the later 18th century, following the Russian treaty with North Ossetia and the construction of Vladikavkaz as a base in 1784. Construction of the Georgian Military Road was begun in 1799, following the Treaty of Georgievsk. Kartli-Kakheti and Imereti were absorbed into the Russian Empire in 1801 and 1818, respectively. Alexander I ordered General Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov, commander-in-chief of Russian forces in the Caucasus, to improve the surfacing of the road to facilitate troop movement and communications. When Yermolov announced the completion of work in 1817, the highway was heralded as the “Russian Simplon”. However, work continued until 1863. By this stage it had cost £4,000,000 (a staggering sum in the 1860s) but according to Bryce[1] in 1876 was of a high quality with two or three lanes and "iron bridges over the torrents", something he considered astonishing given that within Russia proper at this time decent roads were virtually non-existent. The Georgian Military Road played an important role in the economic development of Transcaucasia and in the Russian-Circassian War.

The modern Georgia–Russia border was drawn with the proclamation of the Georgian Democratic Republic on 8 June 1918. From 1921 to 1991, it was an internal border of the Soviet Union. The border was changed during 1944–1958 to include part of the territories of the deported Chechens and Karachai into Georgia (now part of Karachay-Cherkessia, with cities Teberda and Karachaevsk, and the highlands of modern Chechnya).[2] After 1958, the border reverted to following the Caucasus range.

With the independence of Georgia in 1991, the border became an international one. After the armed conflict in 2008, Russia recognized the Russian-occupied territories of Georgia as the independent republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, so the border between Georgia and Russia, from the Russian point of view, has become much shorter (from 694 to 365 km), and is separated into two portions, a western one between Abkhazia and South Ossetia and an eastern one between South Ossetia and Azerbaijan. From the Georgian perspective, the Russian–Georgian border did not change after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


  1. ^ Lord James Bryce, TransCaucasia and Ararat (London 1877), page 116