The following article takes a close look at the current economic situation in the Republic of Georgia, in particular at the influence the Russian- Georgian war had on the economic relations between Tbilisi and Moscow. It outlines the consequences of the political dispute, the main foundations of Russian economic policy towards South Caucasus and its consequences for the region’s states. The paper also analyses the main threats that stand to undermine Georgia’s economy and its political and economic security.
The South Caucasus is the region where the interests of EU, Russia, Turkey and Iran are crossing. Some of these powers have been involved in the rivalry over this region for centuries. The competition concerns mainly an economic dimension (natural gas and oil resources), but relates as well to political, military and security issues. However this text concentrates on the rivalry in the field of culture and ideology. Each of the powers involved in this competition has a vested interest regarding the historical and cultural bonds with one or more of the Caucasian states. Even though we can observe similarities between countries like Turkey and Iran (Muslim states) their rivalry seems more intensive then competition between Ankara and EU. Partly it is a consequence of close links between them (and the US) and the co-operation which is motivated by fear of Iran’s radical Islam influence in the region. Despite the rivalry, which takes place in the South Caucasus and despite the decreasing Russian role in this region, Moscow is still the most important player. It is worth noting that Iran quite often cooperates with Russia in the South Caucasus, mainly to balance Turkish and Western influence in the region.
The Caucasus is the only corridor for the export of Central Asian oil and natural gas to the rest of the World not entirely controlled by Russia. After 1991 the region became a theatre for clashes between the political interests of the West (mainly US interested in deconstruction of the Russian hegemony in the region) and the Russian Federation (interested in blocking all but own routes of export of oil and gas). Thus one may distinguish two vectors of political interests in Caucasus pipeline geopolitics: Russian from North to the South of the region and American from East to the West. The situation has started to change as China slowly develops a third vector of oil and gas export from Central Asia directly to Xinjiang. The changes in pipeline geopolitics in Central Asia caused by China may influence the Caucasus situation in the future more than contemporary Russian–US competition.
Over the last 20 years the Caucasian region has been witnessing unprecedented migratory flows, much more intense than in other post-Soviet locations. Exceptionally high people mobility that resulted from ethnic conflicts has turned Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia (to a lesser extent) into ethnically homogenous states with nationalistic internal policies pursued. The same relates to the republics of Russian Northern Caucasus while Stavropol and Krasnodar regions being transformed into multi-ethnic societies with high level of emigration and growing xenophobia. Although the mass economic emigration from Caucasus was halted, a complex system of circular labour emigration has evolved instead. This trend is likely to continue unless Russia survives economic downturn. After the second Chechen war and the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, ethnically motivated exile has appeared once again. In contrast to the previous refugee waves, the last two were to a great extent directed towards the EU states.
Armenian-Turkish relations are profoundly marked by traumatic experience and difficult collective memory of annihilation of part of the nation on the Armenian side and by the equally traumatic collective amnesia about the inglorious past on the Turkish side. Tragic incidents that involved both nations almost a century ago still shape foreign policy choices and strategies of the two countries, both at the regional and global level. Failure to achieve reconciliation not only results in resurgent hostility and inability to resolve present regional conflicts, but also determines options and room for manoeuvre of the global players, namely the United States and the European Union.
The Eastern Partnership is becoming a more and more recognisable mark of the European Union’s actions in the east of Europe. The Eastern Partnership is a young policy, in the process of implementation. For the purpose of effective implementation of the policy, cooperation of all 27 member states of the EU is needed and cooperation of the 6 countries covered by the policy. The efficiency of the EU’s Eastern policy depends on the Union itself too. The EU, by its lack of a clear strategy in relation to the region, weakens its efficiency.
The Russian Federation strives to maintain its presence in South Caucasus countries, which constitutes its vitally important interest in the region. The most important priorities of the policy of Russia towards South Caucasus countries are: security assurance and the maintenance of stability in the region; the maintenance of military presence; the prevention of the intervention of third-party countries; the development of economic co-operation and the use of energy instruments. The following issues are of limited significance: the participation of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in integration processes in the CIS area; the protection of Russian minority’s rights and Russian citizens’ rights in the countries of the region; the migration of South Caucasus’ population to the Russian Federation; the development of cultural co-operation as well as building Russia’s positive image among South Caucasus countries.
The article shows an analysis of social protests in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the first decade of the 21st century. As post-Soviet states, they faced many obstacles in the process of democratization. These countries appear as semi-authoritarian or not fully democratic and are in a bad economic situation with a low standard of living for much of the population. In the last decade in the countries of South Caucasus there were numerous mass public protests, including the spectacular Georgian “Rose Revolution”. Generally they are added to the so-called “colour revolutions”, as defined by the mass protests of the last decade, which shunned the use of violence aimed at the overthrow of authoritarian rule. The protests are of interest to many students of international relations because of the strategic importance of the region concerning a variety of political and economic interests of global and regional powers. This article attempts to identify the specificity of the idea of social protests in the countries of the South Caucasus.
The article deals with the results of the oral history projects which have been completed in Armenia and Georgia in the years 2010-2012. The author has concluded 65 biographical interviews with elderly Armenians. The author of the text used collected audio-resources and presented memories of interviewers toward ancestors, soviet reign and genocide. Most of the interviewers were able to draw a precise picture of the families’ history. Also most of the group positively remembered the USSR and the leaders of Armenian SSR. In the interviews the issue of genocide is present as well. The interviewers, who currently live in the Republic of Armenia, had not seen the genocide, but they treat this event as a common experience of whole diaspora.
The article analyses some elements of Caucasian fairy tales that reflect their regional character. The author aims to specify some of the fairy tales’ particular values determining their local Caucasian character. She starts with the universal nature of fairy tales in which a protagonist has to face many obstacles on the road to personal happiness. The qualities of bravery, cleverness, obedience towards elders and hospitality are analyzed on the basis of numerous fairy tales of the North and the South Caucasian nations. The author indicates also the vision of the world the fairy tales derive from local myths, and as a consequence the substantial role the fairy tales may play in reuniting a human being with the spiritual heritage of his ancestors, as well as with the natural world he used to feel a part of.