Sukhumi, Abkhazia—Angie loves traveling, dancing, and peach juice. She doesn’t like boundaries. That’s because this young human rights worker is from Abkhazia, a self-declared independent territory claimed by Georgia. The 26-year-old, who works for the organization World Without Violence, survived a war, and it has left her with some strong opinions. “I have this habit not to trust Georgians, except those I know long and well,” she says. “There isn’t a family in Abkhazia which doesn’t have a victim from those days. This is terrible, and it’s really hard to forget.”

Tensions between Georgia and Abkhazia grew after the fall of the Soviet Union, with Georgia sending troops to the region in 1992, sparking a year-long war. Eventually Abkhaz forces drove out the Georgian troops, winning de facto independence in 1993. The violence left thousands dead and more than 200,000 people—mainly...

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