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Event | 11 May 2023

Contact Group on Russia-West Relations: Russia and the South Caucasus

This month, the Contact Group convened to discuss how the war in Ukraine has changed views on Russia in the South Caucasus.

Highlights included:

  • The South Caucasus is the region of fault lines of confrontation between West and East: the West vs Russia and the West vs China.
  • Armenia had been shifting its foreign policy before the war in Ukraine, so the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Armenia has been minimal.
  • The war in Ukraine has exposed Russia’s military weakness, which might affect Russia’s mediation role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
  • Before the war in Ukraine, Russia had sticks, but no carrots, while the West had carrots and no sticks. After Russia invaded Ukraine, it has lost its sticks whilst the West has acquired them.
  • There is no illusion that Russia is going to leave the region. Russia is still viewed in the region as a security provider and an ‘arbiter’.
  • There is a negative trend in Georgia’s public opinion towards Russia. However, considering Georgian economic dependency on Russia, the Georgian government’s attitude towards Russia remains ambiguous.

You can find an anonymised summary of the meeting here.