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Security, Democracy and Development

In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region

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Edited By Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes

Since the early 1990s, the southern Caucasus and its larger neighbourhood, the Black Sea region, have experienced deep and sometimes painful transformations, including bloody conflicts. They have also become an arena of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between great powers. This has attracted growing attention from social scientists. In this volume, authors from universities in Europe, the United States and the southern Caucasus focus on several of the most topical problems of the region, particularly how nascent states and societies grapple with the results of unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts and how they try to construct new civil societies from the cultural mosaic that they inherited from their Soviet past. How do elements of democracy and autocracy combine in the political regimes of the new states? Can the West have an effect on their internal development and, if so, how? How do the rich mineral resources of the Caspian region influence the development of the region’s economies and define the geopolitical standing of these countries?
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Azerbaijan’s Role in the Euroasiatic Energy Chessboard: Geopolitical and Strategic Perspectives

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ABSTRACT: The availability of huge hydrocarbon reserves in Azerbaijan and its geographic position as a strategic “energy bridge” between East and West have contributed to enhance its geopolitical centrality in the regional energy chessboard. These conditions could allow Azerbaijan to successfully play both roles of energy supplier and energy hub in the “East–West” corridor in the near future. Baku is currently developing several pipeline projects, such as the EU Southern Gas Corridor and the Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline. Nevertheless, potential regional instability linked to the unsolved Caspian status, strained relations with neighbours and the obligatory Georgian export energy route could seriously hinder this Azeri geopolitical ambition.

KEYWORDS: energy diversification, Azerbaijan, Southern Gas Corridor, European Union, Trans-Caspian corridor, Russia

The presence on its territory of huge oil and gas reserves and its location as a kind of “energy bridge” between Caspian energy resources and European markets represent two main geopolitical factors that have enhanced the strategic relevance of Azerbaijan in the regional and international scenario.

These conditions have attracted several energy projects that have aimed to cross Azerbaijan or to use Azeri oil and gas reserves through pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) transport options: the most famous is the EU Southern Corridor (which includes pipeline projects like Nabucco, TAP, ITGI, White Stream) among others like the Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania–Hungary Interconnector (AGRI) or the recent Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline Project, which stress the rising importance of this Caucasian state. ← 269 | 270 →

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