Tuvalu, one of the smallest nations in the world, retracted this week its diplomatic recognition of two Russian puppet states, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and restored diplomatic ties with the Republic of Georgia, the state most of the world recognizes as having legitimate ownership of the territories.
The two mountainous republics in the South Caucasus achieved de facto independence from Georgia after the fall of communism through ethnic cleansing and the help of Russia. In 2008, after a brief war with Georgia, Russia established Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “independent states.” So far they have had diplomatic recognition only from Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and three Pacific island nations: Nauru, Tuvalu, and—briefly and confusingly (as reported in this blog at the time)—Vanuatu.
Taukelina Finikaso, who is Tuvalu’s foreign minister, was in Georgia on March 31st to finalize the transfer of recognition. Finikaso also holds the cabinet’s trade, tourism, environment, and labor portfolios. When your country is 10 square miles and has just over 10,000 people, a cabinet minister must wear many hats. Tuvalu’s main industries are tourism, subsistence fishing, and the leasing out of its coveted Internet domain suffix, “.tv,” which can also stand for “television.”
|The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, future king and queen,|
visited Tuvalu recently.
|The Russian (left) and South Ossetian flags|
|The flag of Abkhazia|
[You can read more about these and many other separatist and new-nation movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar. The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon. Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this interview for more information on the book.]