Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has conceded defeat in parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic, clearing the way for the opposition Georgian Dream party to form a new government. The country's new ruling party says it will continue a pro-Western stance but also seek to restore ties with Russia.
Crowds of anxious Iranians are flocking to foreign exchange offices as the rial continues to plummet; it lost about one-third of its value in just a day. Tough economic and banking sanctions, and an oil embargo, are at the heart of the crisis. Tehran is blaming outsiders, and seems unable to stop the free fall.
Elections in Georgia, Ukraine and Lithuania are being closely watched in the West as a test of whether former Soviet states will shift closer to Russia. Russian president Vladimir Putin, for his part, has made political, economic and security reintegration of former Soviet republics a priority.
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