When the Soviet Union came unglued, former Soviet states quickly agreed not to impose visa requirements on each other’s citizens. Russia pulled out of this multilateral arrangement in August, but since then every state but Georgia has reached a bilateral no-visa deal with Russia to keep the border open.

When the new rules take effect December 5, thousands of Georgians who live and work in Russia at least part of the year will fall into the maw of Russia’s passport bureaucracies–the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the border police. Unless of course Georgia yields to certain Russian demands, including allowing Russian military forces to use bases in Georgia for attacks on Chechen rebels. Georgia’s President