Conflict and peacebuilding in the Caucasus
|In 2014 SIPRI launched a new three-year research project that aims to identify emerging security and conflict challenges across the Caucasus and develop conflict management and peacebuilding initiatives to promote peace and stability in the region.
The Caucasus has been transformed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region has become a strategically important producer and exporter of hydrocarbons and is fast emerging as a transit route between China, Central Asia and Europe. It has also experienced significant conflict, for example between Georgia and its breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The interrelated set of conflicts in the Russian North Caucasus is also a source of increasing instability in the region. Over the past two decades, the Russian Federation has conducted two wars against separatist and Islamist insurgents in Chechnya and, together with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, was involved in a war with Georgia in 2008. As a result of these conflicts and the tense security situation, the Caucasus is heavily militarized with increasing levels of expenditure on armaments.
Concerns about the stability of the Caucasus have led to growing international engagement in the region. The United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union (EU) have deployed conflict management, monitoring and peacebuilding missions in response to the region’s conflicts. Increasingly, the Caucasus is seen a zone of competition for influence by extra-regional powers. Russia, the United States, Turkey, EU member states and Iran all maintain close ties with the region, raising further concerns about regional stability.
This project is conducted in cooperation with expert groups in Europe, the South Caucasus and the Russian Federation, and is part of a larger European initiative, Security and Democracy in the Neighbourhood: the Case of the Caucasus (CASCADE), which will examine the relationship between security and democratization in the region.
For more information contact Ekaterina Klimenko.
- Boonstra, J. and Melvin, N., ‘Challenging the South Caucasus security deficit’, FRIDE Working Papers no. 108, Apr. 2011.
- Melvin, N., Building Stability in the North Caucasus: Ways Forward for Russia and the European Union, SIPRI Policy Paper No. 16, May 2007.