ussia has been diplomatically wounded of late. As punishment for taking over Crimea, it was isolated in the United Nations Security Council, condemned in the General Assembly by 100 votes to 11, excluded from the G8, and some of President Vladimir Putin’s best friends were sanctioned by the United States. Few of these recent snubs, however, have been quite as embarrassing as that from Pacific microstate Tuvalu, which, on March 31, scrapped its recognition of the Russian protectorates of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and established diplomatic relations with Georgia. The island nation may only have a population of 10,782, but its decision could spell the end of a years-long diplomatic strategy that has cost Russia millions.
Back in 2011, in the heady years after the Russo-Georgian War in 2008, Tuvalu was one of five countries that sided with Moscow in recognizing at least one of the two small, South Caucasus republics as independent, rather than as part of Georgia. Now, that number is down to three: Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru, a Pacific island whose population of 9,488 makes it the second-smallest independent nation in the world, after Vatican City.
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