Last week REEEC hosted a very interesting lecture by Sergey Markedonov, a visiting fellow from Russia entitled ‘The Caucasus region as crossroads of the interests of Russia, Turkey, Iran, USA and EU’. Mr. Markedonov received his degree in history from Rostov-on-Don State University, located not far from the Caucasus Region, which I am sure affects the insight he gave us on the complexity of the historical narrative and the intricate game of the interests of Russia, Iran, Turkey, the US, and the countries of the region.
When compared to the Balkan region the Caucasus seems as complicated and unpredictable, but is actually even more volatile at the moment and there are still many factors of instability that cause regional and international concern. It appears that the international community, including the United States should pay particular attention to developments in this area if they want to avoid future serious conflicts. Mr. Markedonov stressed on the complex interaction of Russian, Turkish, Iranian, and other interests, which sometimes stir up existing conflicts and complicated relations between Caucasian nationalities. Another important point Mr. Markedonov stated that radical Islamism is gaining ground in the region and escalating the situation. In this line of thought, he stated that there are a lot of concerns about the possible effects of the Arab Spring on the situation in the Caucasus.
Professor Markedonov also touched on Russia’s intervention in Georgia, an event that provoked a lot of international attention and concern about Russia’s role in regional conflicts. He advocated that Georgia had breached an earlier agreement thus provoking the intervention, further arguing that the Georgian government’s claim that agreements signed by a different prime minister are not binding is rather a “Bolshevik” statement.
Overall, Mr. Markedonov gave the listeners a really informative insight into historical events and the current situation in the Caucasus, a region just as complicated and fascinating as the Balkans. Its complexities need to be examined with care if the international community wants to avoid future serious conflicts.
Written by MA Candidate, Hristo Alexiev, a graduate hourly working at REEEC. Hristo, originally from Bulgaria, now calls Texas his home and is majoring in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.