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THE GREAT ROAD OF GEORGIA….The Observer reports that despite Russian claims that they’re withdrawing from Georgia, they appear to be doing no such thing:

The country’s forces were in control of several key areas outside the original conflict zone — including the Black Sea port of Poti and the western town of Senaki. Additionally, troops had established new ‘buffer zones’ around the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

There was compelling evidence yesterday [] that Russia is planning a long-term occupation of Georgia. The Observer witnessed Russian soldiers digging trenches seven kilometres outside the port of Poti next to the Rioni river and the main highway to Tbilisi.

….The Kremlin’s plan now appears clear: to maintain a significant military presence in Georgia, capable of choking the country’s economy and shutting down its major trade routes. It also allows Russia the option of a future invasion, should it want one.

OK, fine. If the West is looking for a way of supporting Georgia that doesn’t involve dumb ideas like boycotting the 2014 Olympics or kicking Russia out of the G8, how about building the Georgians a new cross-country road and rail link? One further south that wouldn’t be under Russian control?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: every place south of the current cross-country road is full of mountains. And so it is. But that didn’t stop the Ming emperors from building the Great Wall of China, did it? If they can build a thousand miles of wall, we ought to be able to build a couple hundred miles of road and rail. So let’s get cracking.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

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And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

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