The South Caucasus contains three states that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Geographically, the region is populated by some fifteen million people, and links the Caspian Sea basin to the Black Sea on the east-to-west axis, and is the juncture between the greater Middle East, Turkey and Iran, and the Russian Federation.
This Chaillot Paper is the product of collegial reflection by the EUISS’s research team. The effects of the current enlargement process are already making themselves felt in not only the internal but also the external policies of the widening Union.
EU-Russian security cooperation remains nascent, but some important ground has been cleared since 2000. Yet, the dialogue is neither without ambiguity or problems. It is replete with both. This Occasional Paper examines three facets of EU-Russia security relations.
Despite the crisis in Iraq, President Vladimir Putin has accelerated a strategy of alignment between Russia and the states and security organisations of the Euro-Atlantic community. In this, Moscow has dropped previously held notions of multipolarity in which Russia figured as an independent, if enfeebled, ‘pole’, balancing off other ‘poles’ in international affairs.
The year following 11 September witnessed Russian movement on a wide front. In the flurry, however, the origins of Russian shifts have been obscured. It is worth recalling that they reside not so much in September 2001 as in 1999. 11 September was an accelerator, not a turning point.
One year on, the only thing that is systematic about the international system is its disorder. The United States, shaken to the core by the terrorist attacks and the fraud perpetrated by leaders of globalised companies, is relentlessly pursuing its course down the path of unilateralism.
One could have been forgiven for thinking that little had changed since the 1980s when, in late February, thousands of pro-Romanian demonstrators took to the streets of Chisinau, Moldova's capital, to protest against government measures seen as pro-Russian.
Many observers have mocked the divisions among Europeans, their absence and therefore their impotence, in the search for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But that is to forget that it is above all the strongest player who lacks the will to act, and that today it is in particular in the European theatre that the Union’s performance, or lack of it, should be judged.
In addition to the fifteen states that emerged from the Soviet collapse in 1992, four other states exist and have declared independence, but are unrecognised. These are the Pridnestrovyan Moldovan Republic (PMR) inside Moldovan borders, the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia within Georgian borders, and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in Azerbaijan.