The Kremlin hopes the small cadre of workers tucked away in Abkhazia will help win some more goodwill with Kim Jong Un’s regime
By day they are building apartment blocks and pharmacies and laying railway tracks in a region still pockmarked by the secessionist conflict of the early 1990s when Abkhazia, backed by Moscow, broke away from Georgia.
‘Hard to replace’
“The approaching exodus is pretty painful for us,” said Artyom Lukin, a professor of international politics at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, near the Russian border with North Korea. “I’m already seeing idle construction sites. They will be hard to replace.”
But in recent months, tensions have cropped up between Russia and cash-strapped North Korea.