Vienna, Austria, December 7, 2018 - Since establishment of a crises hotline between Armenia and Azerbaijan in October 2018, reports of ceasefire violations have decreased approximately 75% according to George Niculescu, Partnership for Peace Consortium's Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group (RSSC SG) co-chair. These developments come in the wake of RSSC SG recommendations to keep communications cannels open between the leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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The 17th RSSC SG workshop, convened for the first time ever in Minsk, Belarus, aimed to look at ways of peacefully transforming the Euro-Atlantic security order. This policy paper is a synopsis of the discussions that took place 18-21 April 2018 in Minsk and the policy recommendations that were extracted from the break-out groups.

Published in Policy Papers

REICHENAU, Austria (12 November, 2017) - Berlin-based think tank Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC), jointly with Goettingen University and the Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports have increased their partnership and cooperation to support the 9-12 November 2017 workshop of the PfP Consortium’s Study Group on Regional Stability in the South Caucasus (RSSC SG at https://pfp-consortium.org), championed by the Austrian National Defence Academy.

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This policy paper, produced by the Regional Security in South Caucasus Working Group, explores the relationship between Defence Institution Building (DIB) and regional stability in the South Caucasus as well as in Ukraine.

Published in Policy Papers

These policy recommendations propose leveraging the South Caucasus media to reshape public opinion and to prepare for constructive change in relations among groups locked in frozen conflict in the South Caucasus.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015 00:00

Russia and the Caucasus

Russian influence in the South Caucasus region has a long history. Czar Ivan IV initiated construction of the Tarki fortress on the Caspian Sea as early as 1559. In the subsequent centuries Russia gradually extended control over the surrounding area, culminating with the 1829 Treaty of Turkmenchay that established the Aras River as the expanding empire’s boundary with Persia. Russian policy toward the region has been dominated by the goal of maintaining a position of influence ever since.
This article represents a part of a larger study that examines the relevance of the Western (NATO) standards to the process of Armenian defense transformation. In particular, it pays close attention to the democratic values of the Alliance and the degree of their practical application by the partner country within the respective cooperation agenda. The interplay of strategic mutual interests as the motivating force for NATO’s conditionality and Armenia’s compliance is reviewed closely, as are the relevance of the
language of communication and the varying interpretations of cooperation mechanisms. The article is an attempt to evaluate the status of democratic progress and, in particular, to assess the degree of democratic control over the armed forces in Armenia. The search for motives and reasons for democratic deficit or failure remains outside of the scope of this analysis.
The period from September 2013 until October 2014 is distinguished by a series of events that drastically changed the trajectory of developments in the post-Soviet area, including those in the South Caucasus.
In this case, a crucial role is played by Russia’s relationship to the West, which is shaping the security environment in Europe and Eurasia. On the one hand, both sides blame each other for violating core principles of international law, including those related to the sovereignty of states and, on the other hand, each side introduces its own decisions and approaches as “pragmatic.”
 
This article addresses the following question: “How pragmatic are these approaches?” It focuses on developments in the South Caucasus, viewed through the prism of decision making by the main regional and non-regional actors. Mainly owing to the allegedly pragmatic decisions of the stakeholders involved in processes in this region, the South Caucasus states have become even more divided and insecure. Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Georgia have found themselves facing more difficulties both in dealing with each other and with all the external actors concerned.
Oddly enough, much of what is happening in the South Caucasus today resembles the turmoil of the pre-Soviet era and the inter-war period of the early twentieth century. As was the case then, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are again facing the daunting task of safeguarding their state sovereignty and protecting national security. The region’s unique geostrategic position is now of crucial significance for the evolution of the twenty-first century world order. While competition for energy resources is a highly
geopolitical issue, the rivalry over control and influence in the South Caucasus has become an ideological factor and acquired greater strategic importance for Russia and the EU.
 
The South Caucasus nations face the momentous choice between repeating the events of the early 1920s, when the Soviet Union was created, or those of the late 1940s, when the Marshall Plan was proposed. The return to past geopolitical models has raised interesting, yet sensitive questions. Will the current and future circumstances of competition be like those of 1917–1920 or 1947–1949, merely with new content? Are
Russia, the EU and the South Caucasus going to cooperate internationally in ventures that unite them in the reconstruction of a larger Europe, or will they fail that test?
Just like other parts of Eurasia, the South Caucasus is facing a new breed of East-West geopolitical competition interwoven with three evolving challenges:
1) a growing ideological gap between Russia and the West;
2) the chronic persistence of protracted conflicts;
3) the dilemma of the post-Soviet states: European vs. Eurasian integration.
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