After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, South Ossetia, a small land to the northeast of Georgia, broke away from the country in a war. In August 2008, Russia sent in troops, saying it was protecting civilians in South Ossetia from attack by Georgian forces. After a brief war, Russia recognised South Ossetia as an independent state. Only a handful of other states recognise it as a state.

South Ossetian troops and their Russian allies reportedly moved a border sign hundreds of yards further into occupied territory in South Ossetia. They had worked through the night, sinking new border-marking poles across fields outside a hamlet called Tamarasheni in the golden hills of central Georgia. The Russians granted the local farmers 72 hours for an emergency harvest then ordered them to leave forever.​ Russian and Ossetian troops creep out after dark to move the unofficial line, usually only a few yards, but once by more than a mile deeper into Georgia. Over the past seven years of frozen war, Georgia says more than 800 of its citizens have been detained by Ossetian forces for “illegal entry” to their lost fields, pastures and wood lots.

Georgia calls this nibbling away of its territory by Russia a “creeping occupation.” And the outside world that is represented by a small and rather lonely European Union peace monitoring team, labels the land grabs “borderization.”