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TALLINN — Communism’s fall gave the nations of the former Soviet bloc a chance to turn toward democracy, a market economy, and the rule of law. Some countries cut ties decisively with the communist past; others were less successful, a few failed catastrophically.

Moldova and Georgia were in the last category until recently. Their economic and political failures were in large part due to secessionist movements — actively supported by Russia — that aimed at keeping both countries in the Kremlin’s “sphere of influence.” When bloody conflicts erupted in Transdnistria, Abkhazia and South-Ossetia, Russia turned its military presence into “peacekeeping” forces as a means of maintaining control.

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