The European Union and Russia in the contested South Caucasus
This chapter seeks to analyse how the state of play in European Union (EU)–Russia relations has relevance for the developments in the South Caucasus region. It aims to highlight the dynamics of relations of former strategic partners, and to discuss the factors and conditions that have shaped the geopolitical competition in and for the South Caucasus. The chapter introduces European and Russian approaches towards the South Caucasus along the latest patterns of change in their policies and attempts to depict the possibility for the EU to increase its involvement in the protracted Armenia-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The chapter covers the South Caucasus as a geographical area of study where the competition between the EU and Russia has intensified in a linear fashion after the revolution in Georgia. The relations between the Russian Federation and Western powers enjoyed a mutual optimism in times when Russia defined its national interests as that of integration with Western economic and security institutions.