Russia and the Caucasus

A. Official Documents and Declarations
     I. Southern Caucasus
       1. Background
       2. Russia and the Southern Caucasus
       3. NATO and the Caucasus
       4. Co-operation with the European Union and the Council of Europe
     II. The Chechnya conflict
       1. International reactions to the conflict in Chechnya
       2. The position of Russia
B. Speeches
C. Research Studies
D. Parliamentary Reports
E. Links

A. Official Documents and Declarations

I. Southern Caucasus

1. Background

1.1 Security Issues in the Region 

The Georgian-Abkhazian Conflict 

In July 1992 Abkhazian separatists declared their independence from Georgia, leading to a war between the Abkhazians and Georgian Government forces. Supported by volunteers, partly from other countries, Abkhazian forces gained territory within their region. Looking for a way out, Georgia asked Russia to mediate as a regional power. This gave Russia the opportunity to expand its influence on the non-CIS state Georgia. After the failure of the first agreement between the separatists, Georgia and Russia, a second ceasefire was signed by all three parties on July 27th, 1993. The agreement favours the separatist side, which at the present moment controls all of Abkhazia. On May 14th, 1994, the Abkhazian and Georgian parties met in Moscow and signed an agreement on the deployment of CIS peacekeeping troops in the region. 

More information on the AKUF site (German only)

The Georgian-Ossetian conflict 

Following ethnic tensions and the abolition of the autonomous status of South Ossetia by the Georgian government in December 1990, Ossetian separatists began an armed revolt in the spring of 1992. They demanded the unification of North and South Ossetia, with the consequence of integrating the region into the Russian Federation. As a result of negotiations between Georgian President Shevarnadze and Russian President Yeltsin a ceasefire agreement was signed in June 1992, and a joint Russian-Georgian-Ossetian peacekeeping force was deployed. 

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict 

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh started in 1988 following a vote by the regional Soviet authorities, that mandated the transfer of the predominantly ethnic Armenian province from Azerbaijan to Armenia. As a result, war broke out in 1989 between Azerbaijani forces and Karabakh militias supported by Armenia. On January 18th, 1992 the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh declared its independence. On May 12th, 1994 a ceasefire agreement was signed with the mediation from Russia. 

1.2 International Missions in the Region 

*The CSCE renamed itself OSCE at the Budapest Summit in Dec. 1994*

OSCE Mission in Georgia 

The OSCE mission in Georgia was established in December 1992 to reach a peaceful political settlement to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and to help define the political status of the South-Ossetian region within Georgia. In Abkhazia the OSCE supports the UN in its efforts to maintain the territorial sovereignty of Georgia, while at the same time taking into account the interests of the Abkhazian population, a position that is expressed in the CSCE Declaration at the Budapest Summit of December 1994. Cooperation between the OSCE and the CIS peacekeeping forces deployed in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is an issue that is addressed in Chapter III of the Helsinki Document of 1992. Click here for the OSCE Declaration on Georgia from November 1999. On December 15th, 1999 the mission was extended to monitor the border between Georgia and the Chechen Republic. 

The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) 

UNOMIG was established on August 24th, 1993 by Security Council Resolution 858. Following the Abkhazian-Georgian Agreement signed in Moscow in May 1994, the mandate of UNOMIG was extended by Security Council Resolution 937 (1994), which included the monitoring and verification of the agreement's implementation by the involved parties, as well as providing for cooperation between UNOMIG and CIS peacekeeping forces. The mandate of UNOMIG has been repeatedly extended, most recently until January 31st, 2003 by Security Council Resolution 1427 (2002). 
In December 2001 the Secretary-General's Special Representative D. Boden presented the document "Basic Principles
for the Distribution of Competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi" to provide a basis for negotiations between the Abkhaz and Georgian leaders on the future political status of Abkhazia within the State of Georgia. Despite the support of the "Friends of Georgia", a group including the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and Bulgaria, objections are still being made by the Abkhaz side to use the paper as a basis for negotiations.  

OSCE mediation in Nagorno-Karabakh 

The CSCE Ministerial Council in Helsinki decided in March 1992 to convene a conference in order to promote the negotiation of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Minsk Conference did not take place since Azerbaijan wanted the occupied territories to be returned first, but this initiative gave birth to the Minsk Group. The Minsk Group, now comprising Austria, Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, the United States as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan, aims for a political solution to the conflict and to let the Minsk Conference take place. 
The December 1994 Budapest Summit expressed the will to set up a multinational CSCE peacekeeping force in the region. A high-level planning group (HLPG) was established in Vienna to examine the modalities of a deployment if the two conflicting parties reach an agreement. Additionally, a Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on the conflict was appointed in August 1995 to assist in achieving this agreement. At the December 1996 Lisbon Summit the Chairman-in-Office defined in a statement, supported by all participating states except Armenia, the principles to be part of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The OSCE has so far not managed to reach a consensus on a basis for negotiations between the parties. 

1.3 Relations among the Southern Caucasus States and Cooperation in the Context of Regional Organisations

In the Southern Caucasus Armenia remains a close ally of Russia, whereas Georgia and Azerbaijan increasingly cooperate with NATO and other international organisations, distancing themselves from Russia. 

Armenia wants to keep close relations with Russia to protect itself from potential threats coming from its neighbours Azerbaijan and Turkey. Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan are still problematic regarding the Nagorno Karabakh issue. Click here for a statement by Armenian President R. Kocharian on Nagorno Karabakh. 
Georgia maintains good relations with both Azerbaijan and Armenia, stressing the need for cooperation to improve the stability of the Caucasus. Georgia considers strengthening the relations with the European Union and the United States and its integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures as a major objective of its foreign policy. From this cooperation, Georgia expects to eventually obtain security guarantees. Click here for references to the EU and the United States in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Azerbaijan follows the same foreign policy line as Georgia, trying to develop close relations with its neighbours Georgia and Turkey, for instance through the agreement on a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project which was signed in 1999. Azerbaijan evoked the possibility of membership in NATO and of accepting NATO military bases on its territory. In view of this, Russia is trying to improve its relations with Azerbaijan. 

Regional organisations like GUUAM and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) were created as an alternative to the CIS, which is perceived to be dominated by Russian interests. Both organisations view the future security of the region as depending first upon economic and technical cooperation, as well as the development of infrastructure between the countries in order to facilitate the access to European and international markets. GUUAM countries, particularly Ukraine, are willing to reduce their dependence on energy and pipeline infrastructure from Russia and are therefore promoting a Eurasian Transportation Corridor for energy and goods. 
For its part, the BSEC is trying to bring Russia to adopt a cooperative policy towards countries in the Black Sea region. The BSEC, which became an international economic regional organisation in April 1999, is developing communication networks and transport infrastructure between its members. 

GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova)

GUAM, an organisation whose name is made up of the initials of its member states, was founded in 1997 by the former Soviet Republics of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. Its goal is to establish cooperation between these four states on political, economic and security issues, with the objective of strengthening their independence and sovereignty. During the NATO Summit in Washington in April 1999 Uzbekistan joined the organisation, resulting in the change of the organisation's name from GUAM to GUUAM. On this occasion GUUAM member states expressed their wish to cooperate closely with NATO within the framework of the EAPC and PfP Programmes in a joint statement. Click here for an older GUAM statement on cooperation with NATO (1997). 
In the security field, cooperation among GUUAM states is based on a commitment to the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts based on a respect for territorial sovereignty. This position includes common peacekeeping activities, the fight against international terrorism and extremism and the adoption of Euro-Atlantic and European structures of security. GUUAM states also expressed their wish to cooperate in the security of transport corridors and pipelines. GUUAM expressed a critical view of the CIS peacekeeping mechanism's efficiency  in securing stability in the region in a joint statement at the special meeting of the OSCE security model committee in July 1998. 
The New York Memorandum was signed by the Presidents of the GUUAM states on September 6th, 2000 at the UN Millennium Summit in order to institutionalise GUUAM consulting mechanisms. During the Yalta Summit in Ukraine in June 2001 GUUAM member states signed the Yalta Charter (in Russian). Following September 11th, a joint statement was issued with the United States on cooperation to fight terrorism. At the Yalta Summit of July 2002, an agreement establishing a Free Trade Area (FTA) was signed by the four countries of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. The ineffectiveness of GUUAM in implementing its decisions since its creation in 1997 was underlined with the decision of Uzbekistan to suspend its membership in the organization in June 2002. 

The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)

The BSEC, founded in 1992 by eleven states, is aimed primarily at increasing economic cooperation and development in the Black Sea region. Click here for the Declaration of the BSEC at its founding summit in Istanbul. Its membership comprises Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. BSEC objectives are not restricted to the economic field, but consider economic cooperation to be a basis for the promotion of peace and security within the region. The Southern Caucasus states are also trying to increase their cooperation with the European Union through the BSEC. Click here for references to the BSEC in the Foreign Policy Concept of Georgia
Click here for the Bosphorus Statement of June 25th, 1992 and the Istanbul Summit Declaration of November 18th, 1999. 
The Agreement on the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (BLACKSEAFOR) was signed on April 2nd, 2001 in Istanbul by six member states of the BSEC: Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia. BLACKSEAFOR will pool the naval forces of these countries in order to respond to emergency situations, its tasks including search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, mine countermeasures and environmental protection. Click here for the statement by Georgian Minister of Defence D. Tevzadze on Blackseafor at the EAPC Meeting of Defence Ministers, June 8th, 2001. A document on confidence- and security-building measures in the Black Sea area was signed in Kiev on April 25th, 2002. In its Istanbul Decennial Summit Declaration of June 2002, the BSEC expressed its will to build stronger ties with the EU.

2. Russia and the Southern Caucasus

Russia tried to keep its historical control of the Caucasus region by integrating the former Soviet Republics into a security system in which it took the role of a "security manager". However, the CIS did not succeed at gaining credibility as a regional peacekeeping system, which gave some member states the incentive to explore other options for conflict settlement. Some of the CIS member states are opening up to the influence of Western organisations (primarily to NATO), and are furthermore seeking alliances with neighbouring states like Turkey as well as cooperating in subregional organisations like GUUAM. 
In the aftermath of September 11th, the presence of U.S. military advisers in Georgia appears to be further reducing Russian influence in the region. At the US-Russian Summit of May 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President V. Putin recognized in a joint declaration the common interest of their countries in the stability and security of Central Asia and the Caucasus and affirmed cooperation in the resolution of regional conflicts.

2.1 The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) 

The Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed on December 8th, 1991 by the presidents of Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine. Later on the Almaty Declaration and Protocol to the Agreement on Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States was adopted on December 21st, 1991 by the eleven republics: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan as an observer. Azerbaijan joined the CIS on September 24th, 1993 and Georgia on December 9th, 1993.  

The CIS Collective Security Treaty was signed in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on May 15th, 1992  by six of its members: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. Georgia, Azerbaijan and Belarus joined later. 
However, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan decided in April 1999 not to renew the CIS Collective Security Treaty.  

The activities of this group have concentrated on two issues: peacekeeping operations and the fight against terrorism. 

  • An Agreement on Groups of Military Observers and Collective Peacekeeping Forces in the CIS was signed during the Kiev Summit on March 20th, 1992 by all CIS members except Turkmenistan. 
  • A CIS Antiterrorist Center was established on December 1st, 2000 during the CIS Summit Meeting in Minsk. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine expressed reservations to the founding of this organisation, and refused to participate in all of its prescribed activities. On May 25th, 2001 the states parties to the Collective Security Treaty met in Yerevan and issued a joint statement in which they declared international terrorism and extremism to be a major challenge to the security of CIS countries.

2.2 Relations with Southern Caucasus states

Russian-Georgian relations

Following its independence in April 1991, Georgia accused Russia of supporting the separatist movements in Abkhazia and South-Ossetia in order to destabilise the country's internal political situation. In Georgia's view, it was the aim of Russia to thereby strengthen its influence in the region. At the same time, Georgia is in a position to accept the military presence of the CIS peacekeeping forces within its territory in order to maintain the ceasefire in Abkhazia. This presence implies a degree of Russian political and military influence within Georgia.

The following issues are now determining the relations between Russia and Georgia: 

The withdrawal by the Russian Federation of troops and military equipment from Georgia

In the context of the adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) undertaken during the OSCE Istanbul Summit of 1999, the Russian Federation agreed to withdraw part of its military equipment from Georgian territory in a joint statement with Georgia. Russia undertook to close the military bases of Gudauta and Vaziani by July 1st, 2001, while Georgia granted Russia the right to basic temporary deployment at the bases at Batumi and Akhalkalaki. But as of now, Russia is still procrastinating on the withdrawal from Gudauta. In the NATO Prague Summit Declaration adopted on November 21st, 2002, the Russian government was urged to fulfil the Istanbul commitments on Georgia and Moldova.

Tension over border control

The presence of Chechen rebels in the Pankisi gorge and of Georgian armed groups in the Kodori valley is a primary source of tension between Russia and Georgia. The Pankisi gorge, a region bordering Chechnya, became a home for Chechen refugees following the Chechen war. The Kodori valley is the only area in Abkhazia, which is still under the control of the Georgian government. The Russian government repeatedly accused the Georgian government of allowing Chechen fighters to use the Pankisi gorge as a safe haven and announced their intention to lead a counterterrorist operation in this area. The Georgian government, for its part, denounced the attempt made by the Russian government to interfere with its sovereignty. Following September 11th and in the context of the U.S. military aid to Georgia regarding counterterrorist activities, the mutual accusations are intensifying. 

Two issues are raised by Russia in its criticism of Georgian policy 

a) The presence of Chechen rebels in the Pankisi gorge

In an official declaration regarding an incident on the Russian-Georgian border dating back to 2000, the Russian Foreign Ministry urged the Georgian government to cooperate in operations against terrorist activities. Following September 11th, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning of the spread of international terrorism into Georgian territory. The Russian Foreign Ministry asked repeatedly for the extradition of Chechen rebels arrested by Georgian border guards while crossing the Russian-Georgian border, most recently in August 2002. The refusal by the Georgian government led the Russian government to question Georgia´s goodwill in participating in the fight against international terrorism.
On August 25th the Georgian government, under the leadership of Georgian law-enforcement agencies, launched a security operation in the Pankisi gorge. In an appeal to the UN Secretary General and to the UN Security Council and heads of OSCE countries on September 12th Russian President V. Putin criticized the Georgian security operation which failed to arrest the Chechen fighters and international terrorists who allegedly moved to other areas. He declared the intention of the Russian government to expand its anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya to the Georgian territory by citing UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) on anti-terrorism and the right of "self-defense" under the UN Charter. This appeal followed a statement by V. Putin in Sochi on September 11th, threatening to launch preemptive strikes against Chechen fighters in the Pankisi gorge, which provoked a prompt reaction from the Georgian side in a statement by the Georgian Foreign Ministry. The Russian Duma declared in a statement on September 13th its support for a Russian military operation in the Pankisi gorge. Already on August 26th the Russian Foreign Ministry called in a statement for a joint Georgian-Russian counterterrorist operation in the area. 
During a meeting in Chisinau on October 6th, Russian President V. Putin and Georgian President E. Shevarnadze agreed in a joint statement on joint military patrols of the Russian-Georgian border and on closer cooperation between their countries´ special services. On this occasion Georgian President E. Shevarnadze announced the extradition of the 13 Chechen suspects detained in Georgian custody since August 2002 to Moscow on terrorism charges. After the extradition of five detainees, the Georgian government suspended its decision to hand over the remaining eight suspects to the Russian authorities following an appeal from the European Court of Human Rights. The recent Moscow hostage crisis in October 2002 renewed the pressure of Russian authorities on Georgia to extradite the Chechen suspects still in custody. After having received guarantees from the Russian government regarding the future treatment of the prisoners, the European Court of Human Rights announced in a communique on November 26th that it no longer has any objection to the extradition of the Chechen suspects.
On December 7th, an anti-crime operation was conducted by Georgian law-enforcers in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi resulting in the arrests of 80 people and the extradition to Russia of one Chechen suspected of being involved in the Moscow apartment house bombings of 1999. The Georgian Ministry of State Security disclosed in January 2003 classified materials, including video tapes, in proof of the presence of Chechen and Arab fighters and their training camps in the Pankisi Gorge. 

b) The support for armed groups in the Kodori valley 

A series of incidents in the Kodori valley of Abkhazia, ranging from the shooting down of a UN helicopter and violation of Georgian airspace by Russian military jets in October and November 2001 to a quick deployment of Russian peacekeeping troops in April 2002, led to tensions between Russia and Georgia. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement criticizing the Georgian policy of tolerance towards terrorist groups. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted by accusing Russia of interfering with its sovereignty in a statement on October 10th, 2001 and a following statement on November 28th, 2001. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued another statement on September 3rd in reaction to the civil casualties resulting from a bombing raid by the Russian military aircraft on Georgian territory on August 23rd.
In the context of alleged support by the Georgian government to guerrilla groups, Russia accused Georgia of increasing  the instability in the Kodori valley as preparation for military operations in Abkhazia. In a statement by the Georgian Foreign Ministry these accusations were rejected as groundless and mainly motivated by Russian concerns over Georgian-American military cooperation in counter-terrorist activities. 

c) Special visa regime for breakaway regions 

In December 2000, the Russian Federation granted a special visa arrangement to the Abkhazian and South-Ossetian regions, which undermined Georgia's control over transit across its borders. Click here for the corresponding statement on the introduction of a new visa regime between the Russian Federation and Georgia from the Russian Foreign Ministry and a statement by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from June 2002 on the negative consequences of this special regime for the resolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. 

Nagorno Karabakh

In January 2000 Russia expressed its readiness to act as a guarantor if a settlement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict could be reached. In this way, Russia hoped to regain influence over Azerbaijan and to profile itself as a peacemaker in the region. Click here for Russia's declaration on acting as a guarantor

3. NATO and the Caucasus 

3.1 Cooperation between the Southern Caucasus states and NATO

The signing of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Framework Document by Azerbaijan on May 4th, 1994, by Georgia on May 23rd, 1994 and by Armenia on October 5th, 1994 institutionalised the cooperation of the Southern Caucasus states with NATO. This strategy of cooperation had first been developed within the EAPC (Euro-Atlantic Partnership Joint Council). The Southern Caucasus countries have recently begun to participate in the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo (KFOR), Azerbaijan having troops within the Turkish Battalion. Click here for references to NATO international peacekeeping forces in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Click here for the statements by the Foreign Ministers of Georgia and Azerbaijan on NATO's role in the Caucasus at the meeting of the EAPC on December 15th, 2000 and references to NATO in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
On September 13th, 2002 the Parliament of Georgia adopted a resolution urging the Georgian government to take the necessary steps to start the accession process to NATO. On October 1st, a memorandum of understanding on logistic cooperation was signed between Georgia and the NATO Maintenance and Supply Organisation (NAMSO), opening the way for the implementation of a PfP Trust Fund Project for the demilitarization and disposal of missile stockpiles and the remediation of Georgian military sites. Georgia and Azerbaijan officially applied for joining NATO at the NATO Prague Summit of November 21st-22nd, 2002 as declared in a statement by Georgian President E. Shevarnadze and a statement by the President of Azerbaijan H. Aliyev. 

3.2 U.S. Interests in the Caucasus

In the Caucasus - and generally in the Caspian area - the objective of the U.S. until recently was primarily to maintain access to the region, particularly to its oil and gas resources, while at the same time avoiding involvement in regional conflicts or direct confrontation with other major powers. The United States is mainly interested in assuring the security conditions that are necessary for oil production and export. 
However, this policy of neutrality is likely to change with the sending of U.S. military advisers to Georgia in April 2002. 

U.S. involvement in the Caucasus

Following September 11th the United States increased its involvement in the Caucasus. Click here for a statement on U.S. Policy in the Caucasus by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, E. Jones, from March 13th, 2002.

The U.S. policy in the Caucasus focuses on two issues: 

  • Counterterrorism: With the Georgian Train-and-Equip Program, which was launched on April 29th, 2002, the United States offered military assistance in counter-terrorism to Georgia in response to the growing instability of the Pankisi Valley, a region bordering Chechnya on Georgian territory. At the U.S.-Russian Summit of May 2002 the United States affirmed its commitment to work along with Russia on the elimination of terrorism in Georgia in a joint statement by President George W. Bush and President Vladimir V. Putin on counterterrorism cooperation. In a statement on September 14th, U.S. President G. W. Bush affirmed its full support for the Georgian government security operation in the Pankisi gorge and appealed to Russian President V. Putin to allow the Georgian government to fulfill this task. On September 26th the U.S. Mission to the OSCE outlined in a statement the opposition of the United States to any unilateral Russian military action inside Georgian territory. Click here for a description of terrorist activities in Georgia in the report Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001-Eurasia Overview issued by the U.S. Department of State on May 24th, 2002. See the testimony by Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs L. Pascoe from September 24th, 2002 for an overview of Georgia´s strategic importance for the United States.
Pipeline projects

The transport of Caspian energy resources to international markets is an issue that involves the interests of all major powers acting in the region: Russia, the United States, Turkey, Iran and China. The aim of U.S. involvement in oil production and export in the Caspian Region is to reduce the its future dependence on oil resources in the Persian Gulf. The two major oil exporting countries in the Caspian region are Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. In 1994 the Azeri State Oil Company (SOCAR) signed the "Contract of the Century" with an international consortium of foreign oil companies. Click here for information about participation of foreign oil companies in Azerbaijan
Under the Clinton Administration, a Caspian energy diplomacy effort was initiated as described in a statement by the Secretary of State for Caspian Basin energy diplomacy, J. Wolf, from October 4th, 2000. A general description of the U.S. interests in the Caspian region can be found in a statement by Under Secretary S. Eizenstat on Caspian energy development from October 23rd, 1997. The Clinton Administration followed a "Caspian strategy", which consisted in the promotion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline through Turkey. An alternative to this plan would be the Baku-Supsa route on the Georgian Black Sea coast. For its part, Russia is seeking to promote the use of the existing oil pipeline which runs through Grozny between Baku and Novorossiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast. This option has the advantage of being cheaper than the construction of a new pipeline through Georgia, but both the United States and the countries in the region are trying to avoid a Russian monopoly. Also, due to the volatile political situation there, the route through Chechnya is not secure; the pipelines have been subject to numerous terrorist attacks during the Chechen crisis. The security of pipelines is of concern to all of the countries involved, as pipelines can become the target for terrorist activities. Click here for references to pipeline security in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In September 2001, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an agreement on the construction of a gas pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey. This agreement was welcomed in a statement by the U.S. Department of State. 
There seems to be a general preference for the existence of  multiple pipelines because this would allow the Caspian states to escape foreign influence and to facilitate their global economic integration. In a joint statement of U.S. President G.W. Bush and Russian President V. Putin at the U.S.-Russia summit of May 2002, a New Energy Dialogue between the United States and Russia was announced, centering on cooperation in their energy sectors by promoting joint projects. On November 22nd, a joint statement was made in St. Petersburg on the first results in the development of the U.S.-Russian Energy Dialogue.

Overview on Oil Exports Options in the Caspian Sea by the Energy Information Administration
Map of existing and proposed pipelines in the Caspian region

 Two main projects are emerging from the different options:

  • The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Project: During the OSCE Istanbul Summit on November 17th, 1999 the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan framework agreements were signed. This route would make it possible to link Georgia and Azerbaijan with NATO ally Turkey and, consequently, with the West. Despite objections based on its commercial viability, the construction of the pipeline will begin soon. An official ceremony was held in Baku in September 2002 to mark the start of its construction. The U.S. Department of State welcomed the official approval of the Georgian government of the BTC oil pipeline in a press statement. The Bush Administration is now actively supporting the development of a Aktau-Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan route, which would allow the inclusion of Kazakhstan in the BTC project. 
  • The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) Project: The CPC Project involves the governments of Kazakhstan, Russia and Oman as well as American oil companies (Chevron and ExxonMobil). Click here for a press statement by U.S. Deputy Spokesman P. Reeker on CPC from November 2000. The CPC Project was officially launched in November 2001 and welcomed in a statement by U.S. President G.W. Bush as a means to enhance U.S. energy security. The CPC pipeline links the Tengiz oil field in western Kazakhstan to the Russian port of Anapa on the Black Sea Coast.

Support for NIS sovereignty

Until recently U.S. policy was to help the Newly Independent States (NIS) to assert their independence and sovereignty and to escape the influence of Russia, as expressed in a statement by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Special Adviser for the NIS States S. Sestanovich on U.S. Policy Toward Russia from July 16th, 1998. The U.S. Department of State criticized the Russian Federation's threat to the territorial sovereignty of Georgia following the war in Chechnya. Click here for a selection of Press statements by the U.S. Department of State on the following topics: 

4. Cooperation with the European Union and the Council of Europe

Georgia was admitted to the Council of Europe in April 1999. Accession of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been voted respectively on January 17th and January 25th, 2001. 

The European Union (EU) signed Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with Armenia,Azerbaijan and Georgia during the visit of the three Caucasian presidents in Luxembourg in April 1996, which entered into force on July 1st, 1999. The EU is active in the Caucasus along two different lines: 

  • Cooperation with the OSCE: The EU cooperates with the OSCE in the Caucasus by promoting confidence-building and through the implementation of special actions in conflict areas. The European Union supplied equipment to the Georgian Border Guard on the Chechen border in order to support OSCE monitoring operations and signed an assistance agreement with the OSCE in December 2001. The EU Presidency issued two declarations respectively on August 12th and August 28th on the violations of the Georgian airspace by military aircraft. The EU expressed its concern over the exacerbation of tension between Russia and Georgia and declared its support to the Georgian government in its efforts to restore order in the Pankisi valley.
  • The TRACECA Programme: The EU is supporting the project of a transport corridor connecting Europe and Asia through the Caucasus. See the Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for the Development of the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia, its Technical Annexes and the Baku Declaration issued at the Conference "TRACECA - Restoration of the Historic Silk Route" held in Baku on September 8th, 1998.

II. The Conflict in Chechnya

In contrast to the states of the Southern Caucasus, Chechnya remains part of the Russian Federation. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, two wars have taken place between separatist rebels and Russian federal forces in the region. 
The first Chechen war broke out in December 1994, when Russia intervened in the armed conflict between forces supporting President General Dudayev, elected in 1991, and his Islamic fundamentalist opponents. The Khasavjurt Agreement, signed in August 1996, brought an end to the First Chechen war. The Russian-Chechen Treaty, signed in Moscow on May 12th, 1997, established the framework for relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic; however, a decision on the final status of the Republic was postponed until five years later. As provided for in the Treaty, Russian troops were withdrawn by the end of 1996. 

Click here for further agreements between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic: 

The Second Chechen war was sparked in the summer of 1999, when Chechen rebel forces lead by Basajev entered Dagestan and proclaimed an Islamic republic. Russia intervened with a bombing campaign and eventually deployed ground troops. Although Russian forces managed to expel the rebels from Dagestan as well as from most of the territory in Chechnya, some separatist elements still remain in the Argun valley.

1. International Reactions to the Conflict in Chechnya

In reaction to the war in Chechnya, the international community has repeatedly condemned the Russian forces´ attacks on civilian population as well as human rights violations committed by them. A number of declarations by various international bodies call upon Russia to search for a political solution to the conflict while recognising its right to defend its territorial integrity. See Recommendation 1456 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of June 27th, 2001. 
Further resolutions and declarations on Chechnya:

Russian military operations conducted in Chechnya have cast doubts as to the good will of Russia's peacekeeping role in the Caucasus.
Three Chechen organizations - the Islamic International Brigade, the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment, and the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs - were designated as foreign terrorist groups with links to Al Qaeda under Executive Order 13224 on terrorist financing by the United States on February 14th, 2003 as declared in a press statement by the U.S. Department of State Spokesman R. Boucher. 
The constitutional referendum held on March 23rd, 2003 resulted in the adoption of a new constitution. It declares the Chechen Republic as being an integral part of the Russian Federation. Strong objections were voiced by the Chechen fighters and international bodies like the Council of Europe regarding the validity of a referendum in times of war and the absence of international observers to monitor it. The Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary of the Council of Europe called for an international war crimes tribunal for Chechnya to be set up if the "climate of impunity" should continue. Click here for the corresponding report on the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights by Rapporteur R. Binding from March 13rd. A new peace proposal was presented by the Chechen Foreign Minister I. Akhmadov at two press conferences in Washington on March 18th. 
For reports on human rights violations in Chechnya click here: Human Rights Watch, Memorial: English/Russian

2. The Position of Russia

Russia justifies its military intervention in Chechnya as the defence of its territorial sovereignty and as an anti-terrorist operation directed against "bandit formations", as proclaimed in the Statement of the Russian State Duma on Chechnya. Click here for Resolution No 1040 of the Russian Government on "Measures of Terrorism Control" of September 15th, 1999. Following the events of September 11th, Russia argues that this intervention takes place in the context of the fight against international terrorism. Click here for 

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized in January 2002 the meeting of a U.S. State Department Official with Chechen Official I. Akhmadov and the reception of Chechen Official A. Zakayev by the British Foreign Office as contrary to the spirit of the coalition against terrorism by arguing of direct links between the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda and Chechen fighters. 
Following the recent hostage incident in Moscow, when a group of armed Chechen militants took some 700 hostages in a Moscow theater demanding the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Chechnya, Russian President V. Putin announced in a statement at a meeting with government members on October 28th new measures aimed at reinforcing the anti-terrorist campaign against the Chechen separatists. These measures include broadening the power of the military in the breakaway republic of Chechnya and increasing efforts to close Chechen information centers abroad. Russian President V. Putin further ordered the Chief General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces to prepare for new anti-terrorist operations possibly to be conducted abroad. On October 30th, A. Zakhayev, special envoy of Chechen President A. Maskhadov, was arrested in Denmark at the request of Russian authorities, while attending the Chechen World Congress. However, the Danish authorities rejected the extradition request on terrorism charges of the Russian authorities for lack of evidence and released him on December 2nd. 

See further official Russian documents and declarations on Chechnya: 

B. Speeches

      1. Georgia

      2. Armenia

      3. Azerbaijan

      4. Chechnya

      5. Southern Caucasus

1. Georgia

2. Armenia 3. Azerbaijan 4. Chechnya 5. Southern Caucasus

C. Research Studies

      1. Georgia

      2. Regional Conflicts

      3. Southern Caucasus

      4. Caspian Pipelines

      5. Chechnya

1. Georgia
2. Regional conflicts 3. Southern Caucasus 4. Caspian Pipelines 5. Chechnya

D. Parliamentary Reports

E. Links
EurasiaNet provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. 

Civil Georgia
Civil Georgia, an online magazine and information service, provides information about Georgia. 

Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR)
The weekly Caucasus Reporting Service provides on-the-spot coverage and an unbiased analysis of events across the region.