06/13/2024, 10.50
Send to a friend

Fears in the Caucasus over Georgia's turnaround

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Tbilisi's turn towards Moscow also threatens to have repercussions on the gas pipelines that connect Azerbaijan to Europe by crossing its territory. And Armenia, which is trying to break away from Russia, could also lose its most important ally.

Baku (AsiaNews) - The countries of the South Caucasus, and in particular Azerbaijan, are watching with some concern the course of politics in Georgia, which with the approval of the "Russian law" and other decisions is distancing itself from the West, with the risk that this will create a more complicated situation for the entire region. The US has issued a series of sanctions against pro-Moscow politicians and supporters, and US State Department representative Matthew Miller stated that the US could "review the entire aid programme that is being provided to Georgia" due to the increasingly anti-Western bias.

In recent years, Miller explained, some 390 million dollars have been allocated, and now everything is being called into question, far beyond the granting of entry visas to Georgian citizens. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also spoke of the restrictions that will be imposed on 'those who are damaging democracy in Georgia'. The problem for Baku is that these barriers could also affect energy and transport development plans, which affect precisely the route between Azerbaijan and Europe.

It is no coincidence that in recent days the EU has proposed to Ukraine not to stop transporting gas even after the final termination of the contract with Russia, with a new scheme whereby European companies would buy gas from Azerbaijan and then route it on the pipelines leading from Ukraine to Europe, which would be a great boon for the Ukrainian economy itself.

As Georgian diplomat and analyst Mamuka Gamkrelidze comments, 'every abrupt change in our country's foreign policy is in some way also reflected on our neighbours, all the more so in a region like the South Caucasus where different logistical routes and the interests of so many international players intertwine'. The turn from the west to the east, and especially to the north, 'could have tragic effects for Georgia, to the point of losing its sovereignty', warns Gamkrelidze.

These circumstances would also greatly affect the situation of Armenia, which in turn is trying to turn to the west, and could lose its most immediate ally. The effects on Azerbaijan, according to the analyst', 'would be less direct'; Europe needs the hydrocarbon flows, which are crucial for the geographical layout of the new Silk Road, and the close alliance with an important player such as Turkey should preserve the Azeris from political or economic earthquakes.

Another Georgian expert, Centre for Strategic Analysis member Gela Vasadze, says that 'we have been raising this issue for a long time, which does not only concern the state of democracy in Georgia, but precisely the change of the entire geopolitical vector at the regional level'. As long as Georgia remains under the 'roof' of the United States, several projects on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, Baku-Supsa and the South Caucasian gas pipeline in general are possible, all of which are impossible to realise without Washington's support.

It is now feared that Russia, relying on Georgia, may impose restrictions on these works (perhaps not immediately, but over time), so as not to lose the priority of its own corridor between China and Europe, and not to allow the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus to turn their energy traffic onto alternative routes to Moscow. For this, the Kremlin needs to maintain control over the South Caucasus, and it needs Georgia first.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
White House to stop Beijing's "imperialist" policy in the South China Sea
24/01/2017 15:55
Catholic music to promote dialogue in Ambon, the city of sectarian violence
17/10/2018 13:29
National Commission for Women asks for 'immediate action' in the nun rape case in Kerala
07/02/2019 17:28


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”