Of the 14 nations on Russia’s borders, only five (Norway, Finland, Mongolia, North Korea, and Poland) have treaties that mark the border. A sixth, Lithuania, has a treaty awaiting ratification in both capitals. The other eight have border disputes of some kind, the most important being Japan’s claims in the Kuril Islands. Demarcation commissions are at work with Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and China, and a commission is being formed with Kazakhstan. The work can be painstaking — the border with Estonia is being measured to a tolerance of about four inches. ON THE BORDER