The Competition between the European Union and the Russian federation over the South Caucasus and its implications

Muradov, Ibrahim
The South Caucasus is a strategic region both for the European Union and the Russian Federation. Each of these actors has developed different policies towards the region in order to achieve their interests. The EU’s energy diversification and security policies prioritize closer cooperation with the South Caucasian republics. Apart from this, the region may serve as a gate opening to Central Asia and therefore may allow the access of the EU to the whole Asian market. Keeping the South Caucasian countries in its sphere of influence is a vital need for Russia to maintain its hegemony in the post-Soviet countries. Besides this, the EU’s energy policies in the region undermine the Russian monopoly in the energy sector in Europe. In contrast, the South Caucasian countries are also analyzing the pros and cons of the EU’s as well as the RF’s policies. They formulate their policies towards the EU and the RF on the basis of their maximum potential gain. This thesis aims to answer the following questions: Why does the EU and Russia compete over the South Caucasus? Why is the region vital for these two actors? What interests lead them to develop such policies towards the region? What are the responses of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia towards the involvement of the European Union and Russian Federation with the region?