Author: Botakoz Kazbek – 08/08/2021
Black Sea-Caspian region is the area of national security and stability for neighbouring countries, including Georgia and Ukraine; the latter initiated “the creation of a joint peacekeeping battalion of the GUAM member states under the auspices of the OSCE to ensure the security of the South Caucasus” (Dudnik, 2013, pp. 36-45). Therefore, Ukraine consistently supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, advocated the internationalization of the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh through the mediation of the UN and the OSCE, proceeded from the principles of a peaceful settlement of the conflict, and advocated that the status of the Nagorny Karabakh Autonomy should be determined by agreement of the conflicting parties. GUAM is an alternative integration project in the ex-Soviet space and Ukraine tried to conduct joint military exercises and present its military forces in Nagorny Karabakh in the framework of the GUUAM membership. Under the 1999 Istanbul Summit, the GUUAM states initiated the amendments to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe to force Moscow to limit its military presence in the region. These activities caused certain consequences – Russia decided not to withdraw its troops from Georgia and Moldova, hence, not to follow the 1999 Istanbul Summit decisions. As a result, OSCE decided not to introduce the GUUAM forces into the region so as not to aggravate the situation. I think that this case illustrates that small countries still cannot act as independent decision-makers and cannot show real leadership when there is a hegemon neighbour. Especially, if it is a bordering country, then it is difficult to separate from the hegemon.
If a small state poses a threat to the hegemon, the corresponding measures on the part of the latter are irreversible. Therefore, due to the growing influence of Russia in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus – i.e., the war between Georgia and Russia, annexation of Crimea, conflicts in eastern regions of Ukraine, consequently, self-proclamation of two Ukrainian regions – Azerbaijan was forced to become friends with Russia (Shiriyev, 2019, pp. 6-11). In 2010, Russia and Azerbaijan agreed on the delimitation and demarcation of the border (Russia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011). The signing of the five-party Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in 2018 can also be considered a common success of Baku and Moscow.
In 2020, the hegemonic position of Russia was challenged by the military and political alliance of Turkey and Azerbaijan. As the result of the Nagorny Karabakh war in 2020, Turkey gained a foothold in the region. I assume that Turkey will continue to help Azerbaijan to defend its territories and will train its army. The provision of military assistance to allied Azerbaijan provided Turkey with access to the transport corridor, which could be used as a direct route to the Caspian Sea, and from there to the Central Asian region. Therefore, Nachikhevan is a zone of Turkey’s permanent interests. The idea of creating a corridor through Armenia – a possible route to connect with Central Asia – has caused concern in Georgia that may lose some of its transit revenue (Tishchenko, 2020). The Turkish authorities expect that the corridor will strengthen the country’s status as a logistics centre and expand access to regional energy markets. It is expected that the corridor will include a road and a railway.
Anjaparidze Z. discusses expert opinions according to which (1) new transit corridors cannot compete with existing routes passing through Georgia, and that new gas and oil pipelines from Azerbaijan to Turkey cannot undermine Georgia’s transit function in the energy sector; (2) Georgia’s transit capacity may decrease in the long term (Anjaparidze, 2021). It is impossible not to agree with these opinions, however, the question is about what space of time we are talking about, i.e., can Georgia’s transit capacity decrease in the foreseeable future, given, for example, the speed of the Turkish side’s statement about investments in the railway project? (TRTWorld, 2020) I think it is difficult to specify the exact space of time, but I assume that Turkey will make every effort to accelerate the implementation of its projects. Anjaparidze Z. notes the important role of Armenia in establishing partnership relations with Turkey and Iran, which, as a result of the implementation of projects, may negatively affect the transport potential of Georgia. However, without decreasing the role of Armenia, I would note the key role of Russia in the region. Its position was strengthened as a result of the 2020 war due to the deployment of the peacekeepers in Nagorny Karabakh. As for Armenia, it should be noted that because of military-commercial activities during the statu quo period, Armenia remained indebted to Russia for $ 200 million (this is only between 2015 and 2017) (Kommersant.ru, 2020). Therefore, the real privilege of establishing partnership relations with the designated countries remains with Russia.
 GUAM is a regional organization for democracy and economic development, member states of which are Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova.
 Initially created as GUAM, the organization accepted membership of Uzbekistan, which lasted during 1999-2005. Therefore, it was called GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova).
 The statement on the project was made on November 12, 2020, i.e., two days after the signing of the ceasefire agreement by Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia.
Anjaparidze, Z. (2021, February 16). The Second Karabakh War and Georgia’s Threatened Transit Role. Retrieved July 2021, from www.jamestown.org/: https://jamestown.org/program/the-second-karabakh-war-and-georgias-threatened-transit-role/
Dudnik, A. (2013). Nagorno-Karabakhskii vopros vo vneshnei politike Ukrainy (1992-2012). Chast I, Nagorno-karabakhskii vopros v politike L.Krabchuka (1991-1993) i L.Kuchmy (1993-2004). Kavkaz i globalizacia, 7(3-4), 36-45. Retrieved April 2021, from https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/nagorno-karabahskiy-vopros-vo-vneshney-politike-ukrainy-1992-2012-gg/viewer
Kommersant.ru. (2020, September 27). Chto nuzhno znat o konflikte v Nagornom Karabahe. Kluchevye momenty protivostoiania Azerbaijana i Armenii. Retrieved May 2021, from kommersant.ru: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2955509
Russia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2011, July 18). www.mid.ru. Retrieved May 2021, from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation: https://www.mid.ru/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/199854
Shiriyev, Z. (2019, March). Azerbaijan’s Relations with Russia. Closer by default? Retrieved from https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/2019-03-14-Azerbaijan2.pdf
Tishchenko, M. (2020, December 25). Ottoman Renaissance. Is Turkey Using Victory Over Armenia To Break Into Central Asia. Retrieved June 06, 2021, from https://mediazona.ca: Available in Russian at https://mediazona.ca/article/2020/12/25/osman
TRTWorld. (2020, November 12). Turkey’s infrastructure projects, investments total almost $6B in 2020. Retrieved July 2021, from www.trtworld.com: https://www.trtworld.com/business/turkey-s-infrastructure-projects-investments-total-almost-6b-in-2020-41399
Botakoz Kazbek is the University of Padua / University of Grenoble Alpes double degree programme graduate with more than 10 years of professional experience in quasi-government institutions and international think tanks. She received degrees in human rights, finance and banking and international economics from Italian, French, Kazakh and Polish universities. She is a winner of multiple scholarships, including the “Mille e una lodi” (“A thousand and one praises”) scholarship of the University of Padua for her excellent academic performance. Her research interests centre on human rights, public administration, security studies, artificial intelligence and peacekeeping.
Other articles by Botakoz Kazbek published in Vision & Global Trends. International Institute for Global Analyses’ website: