GEOPOLITICS OF RUSSIA S CAUCASUS POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WORLD. A Master s Thesis GÖKHAN TEKIR. Department of. International Relations - PDF

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GEOPOLITICS OF RUSSIA S CAUCASUS POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WORLD A Master s Thesis by GÖKHAN TEKIR Department of International Relations İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University Ankara May 2014 GEOPOLITICS

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GEOPOLITICS OF RUSSIA S CAUCASUS POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WORLD A Master s Thesis by GÖKHAN TEKIR Department of International Relations İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University Ankara May 2014 GEOPOLITICS OF RUSSIA S CAUCASUS POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WORLD Graduate School of Economics and Social Sciences of İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University by GÖKHAN TEKİR In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS in THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS İHSAN DOĞRAMACI BİLKENT UNIVERSITY ANKARA May 2014 I certify that I have read this thesis and have found that it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in International Relations Prof. Norman Stone Supervisor I certify that I have read this thesis and have found that it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in International Relations Assist. Prof. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis Examining Committee Member I certify that I have read this thesis and have found that it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in International Relations Assist. Prof. Paul Andrew Williams Examining Committee Member Approval of the Graduate School of Economics and Social Sciences Prof. Dr. Erdal Erel Director ABSTRACT GEOPOLITICS OF RUSSIA S CAUCASUS POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WORLD Tekir, Gökhan M.A., Department of International Relations Thesis Supervisor: Prof. Norman Stone May, 2014 This thesis examines an overlooked region in the discipline of international relations, the Caucasus. The collapse of the Soviet Union caused the independence of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, which comprise the South Caucasus. The North Caucasus remained under the control of the Russian Federation but the Russian Federation had to deal with separatist movements in the North Caucasus. Despite military and economic costs, Russia tries to hold on the region. The withdrawal of Russian rule from the South Caucasus led to the belief that newly established republics would join to the Western camp immediately. The South Caucasus emerged as a big energy prize for the European Union, which wants to diversify its energy transportation routes. However, regional conflicts and Russian presence, which increased gradually has prevented this opportunity. Russia has managed to establish a dominant presence in the region. This study claims that Russia s Caucasus policy rests upon geopolitical considerations. Russia ensures that the Caucasus will remain under its sphere of influence in order to provide its security and reestablish its great power status in international arena. Russia s goals in the region are frequently challenged by external powers. In order to maintain its hegemonic position in the region, Russia struggles with other external powers. Key Words: Geopolitics, Russian policy, The Caucasus, Energy iii ÖZET RUSYA NIN KAFKASYA POLİTİKASININ JEOPOLİTİĞİ VE DÜNYA ÜZERİNDEKİ ETKİLERİ Tekir, Gökhan Yüksek Lisans, Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü Tez Danışmanı: Prof. Norman Stone Mayıs 2014 Bu tez uluslararası ilişkiler alanında ihmal edilmiş bir bölge olan Kafkasya yı incelemektedir. Sovyetler Birliği nin çöküşü Güney Kafkasya yı oluşturan Gürcistan, Azerbaycan ve Ermenistan ın bağımsızlıklarına neden olmuştur. Kuzey Kafkasya Rusya Federasyonu nun bir parçası olarak kalmış fakat Rusya Federasyonu Kuzey Kafkasya da ayrılıkçı hareketlerle uğraşmak zorunda kalmıştır. Ekonomik ve askeri bedellere rağmen Rusya bu bölgedeki varlığını devam ettirmektedir. Güney Kafkasya daki Rus yönetiminin çekilmesi yeni bağımsızlıklarını kazanmış ülkelerin Batı kampına dahil olacakları inancını doğurdu. Güney Kafkasya, enerji yollarında çeşitlilik sağlama amacında olan Avrupa Birliği için büyük bir enerji merkezi olarak ortaya çıktı. Fakat, bölgesel çatışmalar ve bölgede düzenli olarak artan Rus varlığı bu fırsatın gerçekleşmesini engelledi. Rusya Kafkasya da baskın bir görünüm kurmayı başardı. Bu çalışma, Rusya nın Kafkasya politikasının jeopolitik temelli olduğunu iddia etmektedir. Rusya, kendi güvenliğini sağlamak ve uluslararası arenada büyük güç statüsünü tekrar inşa etmek için Kafkasya nın kendi etki sahası içinde kalmasına özen göstermektedir. Rusya nın bölgedeki amaçları sıklıkla diğer dış oyuncular tarafından engellenmektedir. Rusya bölgedeki hegemon pozisyonu devam ettirmek için diğer güçlerle mücadele etmektedir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Jeopolitik, Rusya politikası, Kafkasya, Enerji iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am indebted to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) for financial support that it provided me during my graduate study. I express my sincere appreciation to my advisor Prof. Dr. Norman Stone for his guidance, support and encouragement during thesis process. I express my gratitude to jury members Dr. Ioannis Grigoriadis and Dr. Paul Andrew Williams for the valuable comments and insights that they provided. I am also grateful for Senior Lecturer Onur Gökçe who assigned me academic tasks which developed my academic skills. Lastly, I would like to thank my family who has supported me throughout my life. v TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT... iii ÖZET... iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS... v TABLE OF CONTENTS... vi LIST OF TABLES... viii LIST OF FIGURES... ix CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Research Question Hypothesis Theoretical Framework Methodology... 5 CHAPTER 2: GEOPOLITICS Russian Geopolitics CHAPTER 3: RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY CONCEPT, MILITARY AND SECURITY DOCTRINES Foreign Policy Concept Military Doctrines of the Russian Federation Security Doctrines of the Russian Federation CHAPTER 4: THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE CAUCASUS Geographical Position of the Caucasus Ethnic Composition of the Caucasus Oil and Natural Gas Resources of the Caucasus vi 4. 4. Pipelines in the Caucasus Oil Pipelines Gas Pipelines Analysis on the Geopolitics of the Caucasus CHAPTER 5: RUSSIA S SOUTH CAUCASUS POLICY Russia-Armenia Relations Russia-Azerbaijan Relations Russia-Georgia Relations CHAPTER 6: RUSSIA S NORTH CAUCASUS POLICY CHAPTER 7: RUSSIAN ENERGY POLICY CHAPTER 8: OTHER EXTERNAL POWERS IN THE CAUCASUS Regional Powers Turkey Iran Extra-Regional Powers The USA The EU CHAPTER 9: CONCLUSION SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY vii LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Proven Oil Reserves in the Caspian Basin Table 2: Proven Natural Gas Reserves in the Caspian Basin viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Russian Expansion Phases Figure 2: Outside Influence on the Caucasus Figure 3: Ethnic Composition of the Caucasus Figure 4: Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline Figure 5: Alternatives to Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline Figure 6: Major Kashagan Oil Export Routes Figure 7: The Proposed Nabucco Gas Pipeline Figure 8: Nord Stream Project Figure 9: TAP Route ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Caucasus is located between Europe and Asia. It is surrounded by Russia, Iran and Turkey. The Caucasus Mountains divide the region into two parts as North and South. The North Caucasus republics are Adygea, Karachevo-Cherkassia, Kabardino- Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan. These republics are within the Russian Federation. The South Caucasus republics are Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The Caucasus had been under Russian rule from 19 th century to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the South Caucasus states declared their independence. The Russian Federation, the successor of the Soviet Union, retained its sovereignty over the North Caucasus although separatist tendencies have also been strong in the region. 1 The Caucasus area where three main regional players meet: Russia, Iran and Turkey. Besides these powers, the break-up of the Soviet Union has enabled Western involvement in the region. The European Union and the USA also emerged as actors of the region. Moreover, the ambitions of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Armenia increased the number of players in a very small space. Among all the regions of the world, the Caucasus is among the most potentially explosive (Friedman, 2010). The dissolution of the Soviet Union was a critical moment for the Caucasus. The South Caucasus states have become sovereign states whereas the North Caucasus remained under the control of the Russian Federation. During and after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, violence in the North Caucasus has increased. Chechen separatism gained power; ethnic clashes among groups in the North Caucasus have become frequent. The South Caucasus also experienced substantial disorder. Interstate and intrastate wars affected the region s stability. The entire region has become center of illegal drug trade, human trafficking, transnational crime and terrorism (Yalowitz and Cornell, 2004). Another factor that increases the importance of the Caucasus is its energy resources and a linkage between landlocked Caspian Sea resources to international markets. This role has boosted with Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (German, 2008). The construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is openly against Russian interest since it challenges Russian monopoly over energy routes towards the West by lessening the viability of Russian energy card as political leverage against Europe. This notion intensifies the competition in the Caucasus. 2 Despite the endeavors of other powers, Russia retains its influence over the region. In order to protect its interests it does not hesitate to enter into an open conflict in the area Russia-Georgia War was good example of this point. Just after the war, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev stated that Russia regards this area as its zone of privileged interests (Kuchins, 2013: 15). Russian forces engaged in two bloody wars in Chechnya in 1994 and 1999 respectively in the North Caucasus. It still tries to hold on in the North Caucasus in which religious and ethnic violence continues. In addition to military engagement Russia diverts economic sources from the federal budget to the North Caucasus. Although the North Caucasus costs Russia economically and militarily, Russian endeavors to keep the North Caucasus as a part of Russia continues Research Question In analyzing Russian policy towards the Caucasus after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this thesis will answer the following question: Why does Russia try to hold on in the North Caucasus, which burdens its economy and military sources and try to expand its influence and control to the South Caucasus? 3 1. 2. Hypothesis The hypothesis of this thesis is that if the Russian state concerns about the security of the southern border and the control over the energy routes, then the Caucasus has vital importance for the existence and strength of the Russian state. The Caucasus serves as a buffer zone that separates Russia from other regional powers. Thus, it secures Russia s southern border. By retaining its control over the Caucasus Russia tries to establish dominance over the energy supply routes to Europe. This monopoly over the energy supply routes enables Russia to hold political leverage against Europe. Therefore, geopolitical considerations shape Russia s Caucasus policy Theoretical Framework In addressing Russian policy towards the Caucasus this thesis uses geopolitics as a theoretical framework. Geopolitics focuses on geographical factors that shape states actions. It enables us to consider By analyzing geopolitical forces that shape the Russian attitude to the Caucasus, we can detect security vulnerabilities of the Russian Federation and make assessment and predictions over the conflicts and the competition over the energy routes in the Caucasus. 4 1. 4. Methodology This thesis is a qualitative study that attempts to explain Russian energy and security policies towards the Caucasus. The methodology used for this thesis will follow these steps: 1- Conducting a literature review about theoretical framework, geopolitics, Russian foreign policy, security, military doctrines, and books, journal articles, and NGO reports concerning the Caucasus region. Moreover, the strategies of other regional powers, Iran and Turkey, and the strategies of outside powers, the USA and the European Union, will be presented. 2- Making connections between geopolitical framework with Russian security and energy policies towards the Caucasus by locating strategies and events into the map of the Caucasus. 3- The implications of the Russian policies towards the Caucasus will be analyzed in light of geopolitics. Within this context this study consists of eight chapters. In Chapter 2, I will try to examine geopolitical tradition. I will respectively explore the historical trace of geopolitical thought and how Russian geopolitics has been developed. In Chapter 3, I will analyze how geopolitical thought has been reflected in Russian foreign policy documents. Russian foreign policy documents guide Russian policy makers for especially their conducts in former Soviet space. In Chapter 4, I will introduce the geopolitics of the Caucasus region. This part reveals why Russia gives special 5 importance to this region. In Chapter 5, I will examine Russia s South Caucasus policy. Russia s bilateral relations with three South Caucasus republics will be analyzed. In Chapter 6, I will examine Russia s North Caucasus policy. In this chapter, I will analyze how Russia responds to ongoing insurgency in the region. In Chapter 7, I will present Russia s energy policy and its place in Russian foreign policy goals. I will analyze the importance of the Caucasus in Russia s energy policy. In Chapter 8, I will present the attempts of other regional and global powers to influence the developments of the Caucasus. By presenting the aims of Russia s competitors in the Caucasus region, the significance of the Caucasus for Russia will be better understood. In Chapter 9, I will draw upon conclusions of the thesis. 6 CHAPTER 2 GEOPOLITICS In 1755, an earthquake devastated Lisbon causing the deaths of thousands of people. Voltaire, who is a famous French philosopher, protested the earthquake because it was against reason and intellect. According to Voltaire the earthquake was scandalous dereliction of the nature that destroyed the capital of Portugal (Kaplan, 2013). Voltaire s protest may sound absurd but this statement reflects denouncement against constrains of geography upon the nation s fate which contradict the idea that the endeavors of human agency determine the fate of nations. Personal and national economic health, prosperity and security are greatly affected by geography. For instance, geography determines which states possess natural resources and which states do not. When the states that possess natural resources raise natural gas and oil resources, other states will pay higher prices (Chapman, 2011). This 7 gives the political benefit to a nation which possesses natural resources. Nevertheless, to acknowledge geography s role is not to accept humankind is powerless. Kaplan argues that geography serves to qualify human choice with a modest acceptance of fate. Geography must be conceived as first order of reality whereas ideas as second order. Man will initiate but nature will control. Denying the facts of geography only invites disasters which will make states victims of geography (Kaplan, 2009). Human agency might have a role in international setting by acknowledging the opportunities or disadvantages presented by geography. The term geopolitics was coined by Swedish political scientist Rudolf Kjellen. Geopolitics is defined in Kejellen s works as the science which deals with the influence of geographic factors on the creation and existence of the states (Haggman, 1998: 108). Kjellen developed other systems of analysis such as Demopolitik, Economopolitik, Sociopolitik, and Cratopolitik. These systems of analysis form the cultural side of the state. Geopolitik forms the objective foundation of the state in which subjective creativity of the executive is able to act (Tunander, 2008). The state is a living organism which is able to expand its influence in accordance with geopolitical concerns (Costachie, 2011). Kjellen conceives state borders as permeable which can change. Friedrich Ratzel, who was a German geographer, used the term of Lebensraum to describe a specific amount of territory where the state draws sustenance. He advocates that when a state s Lebensraum becomes insufficient, the state needs to expand its territories (Jones et al., 2004). Geopolitical understanding must guide economic and cultural developments in the state to move the state in a more advantageous spatial space 8 (Costachie, 2011). Ratzel s writings had been influential on political life and provided intellectual justification for the German expansionism. Kjellen and Ratzel s works laid the foundations of geopolitics. The major debate in geopolitics is centered on the works of Mackinder s heartland theory and Mahan s sea power theory. In Mackinder s theory, the Heartland of the world serves as a pivot area for the control of the World Island which is composed of Europe, Asia and Africa. The Heartland area includes the Volga and Ural basin; the Lena, Yenisei and Obi rivers towards the northern Asia. The area also coincides with Baltic and Black Sea, Asia Minor, Tibet and Mongolia (Mackinder, 1942). He claims that throughout the history Europe had to deal with invasion attempts of the civilizations from the Heartland and that indicates the significance of the Heartland. Eastern Europe served as a linkage for these invasions (Mackinder, 1904). The history of Europe was shaped according to geopolitical imperatives. The Union of Franks, Goths, and Roman provincials against the invaders that came from the Heartland created the basis for modern France (Kaplan, 2009). Mackinder formulizes that: Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island. Who rules the World Island commands the world (Mackinder, 1942: 106). Mackinder s theory had predicted the rise of the Soviet Union as a great power. Most of pivot area was controlled by the Soviet Union after the Second World War. By establishing COMECON the Soviet Union had included Eastern Europe in its sphere of influence. Therefore, it was able to exert pressure over Europe. The control of the Caucasus offered the Soviet Union to reach to the Middle East. Now, Russia tries to consolidate its power on the same areas that once the Soviet Union had possessed. 9 On the other hand, Alfred Mahan articulates the importance of controlling the seas. He suggests that establishing control over seas is necessary condition to become a hegemon. The historical rise of Rome and Britain are examples of this premise. The geographical position gives some littoral states advantage in defending their costs and controlling the seas. For instance, England is placed more advantageous compared to France and Holland because its aim is directed upon the sea whereas the boundaries of Holland and France are continental. He suggested not only building a strong navy but also controlling naval checkpoints throughout the world for harboring and repairing the ships (Mahan, 1918). Maritime shipping, a strong navy, and benefits of seaborne commerce would give naval powers a great advantage over nations whose capabilities are bound mainly to the land (Dueck, 2013). Mahan s views had an effect on the restoration of the US navy and US expansion on overseas. Secretary of State John Hay, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and Theodore Roosevelt read the book and asserted that the USA should abandon its post-civil War isolationism. These individuals argued that the USA should increase its agriculture and industrial exports to overseas markets. In order to secure global merchant and naval shipping a st
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