Russia's national interests towards the Caucasus: implications for Georgian sovereignty
Papava, David Z.
Clunan, Anne L.
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This thesis explores the causes of Russian foreign policy towards Georgia. It argues that the Russian Federation continues to pursue a policy which weakens the sovereignty of the Caucasus. The main priority of this thesis is to identify why the Russian Federation seems to be pursuing a set of policies that economically and politically weaken the sovereignty of Georgia. Therefore, this thesis examines the forces and factors of Russian domestic politics that drive Russian national interests towards the Caucasus. The analysis focuses on one particular issue-area: the role of the economic elite in shaping Russia's domestic and foreign policies vis-a-vis the state in the electricity sector. In focusing on the energy policies of the Russian Federation, this thesis reveals the negative consequences for Georgia's sovereignty that result from a strong Russian influence in the region. This thesis analyzes how Russian national interests towards Georgia challenge the latter to establish autonomous decisionmaking with regard to its foreign policy and to exercise its own authority through an exclusive competence in internal affairs of the state. In conclusion, this thesis offers policy prescriptions on how Georgia might best preserve its sovereignty with respect to the Russian Federation in terms of energy dependency.
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