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The Caucasus And The Territorial Integrity of Russia

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The Caucasus is one of the most complicated and sensitive regions in the world: with many different ethnic groups, religious allegiances, and conflicts. It consists of three independent republics: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia; and Russian parts of Caucasus. Russia became a significant player in Caucasus after it conquered Astrakhan region in 1556. But complete control of Caucasus by Russia was achieved only in the nineteenth century after its conquest of Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Tsarist Russia did not pay much attention to the needs and desires of the people who lived in the region and hoped to Russianize them. Russia lost control over Caucasus for a short period of time after the communist revolution in 1917 but regained control again in 1920s. The Bolshevik rule prevailed from 1920 to 1991 and distinguished itself with divide-and-rule policies, exiles and executions.

Russian control over former Soviet republics weakened with the end of Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. As the economic downfall continued, some regions in Russian Federation such as Chechnya also claimed their sovereignty form Russia. Russia saw this as a threat to its territorial integrity. In following years Russia struggled to regain control over its own territories and to increase its influence over all former Soviet Republics. Caucasus region received most of Russia’s attention and efforts.

Russian attempts to consolidate its power in Caucasus proved to be bloody. In 1994, Russia launched its first military assault on Chechnya to prevent its secession from Russia. The first Chechen war lasted for two years and was a military and political defeat for Russia, but it weakened the Chechen government’s authority and left it in a ...

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Ariel Cohen, Robert E. Hamilton, The Russian Military And The Georgia War: Lessons And Implications, (Strategic Studies Institute, 2011), 2

Ariel Cohen, Robert E. Hamilton, The Russian Military And The Georgia War: Lessons And Implications, (Strategic Studies Institute, 2011), iii

Lasha Tchantouridzé The New Russian-European Condominium: Re-evaluating Canada’s Defence Commitments to Europe. Canadian Military Journal • Vol. 11, No. 3, Summer 2011, 32

Frederik Coene, The Caucasus: An introduction, (London and New York: Routledge, 2010), 3

Ariel Cohen, Robert E. Hamilton, The Russian Military And The Georgia War: Lessons And Implications, (Strategic Studies Institute, 2011), 2

Lasha Tchantouridzé The New Russian-European Condominium: Re-evaluating Canada’s Defence Commitments to Europe. Canadian Military Journal • Vol. 11, No. 3, Summer 2011, 32
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